Sunday, January 27, 2013

I Must Be Crazy

“If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you.” My friend, Christine, says this all the time.  She reminds everyone she trains and inspires of this on a regular basis.  She is right.  My running experience has been a series of challenges. Starting to run was a big challenge, and then there are little ones like pushing out another half mile when I am ready to call it a day.  It has been a cold week for many across the country.  To some of you, 10 degrees may be nothing, but that is not normal for New Jersey.  Tuesday and Wednesday, that’s about where we were and with the wind, it made it feel like 2 degrees Fahrenheit.  I did not run at 5:30 A.M. like I would normally do.  I had the week off (sort of), so I decided to wait until later in the day when it was a whole 2 degrees warmer. I threw on my hat, turtle fur, layers, and jacket and stepped outside.  MAN IT WAS FREEZING.  But I knew I would warm up, so off I went straight into the headwind.  It would be easier to run with the wind to my back, but I decided just before I stepped out the door that I was going to challenge myself to do something out of my comfort zone.  Ironically, Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” came on just when the wind was at its roughest.  Feel free to call me crazy, but it was fun.  Now 20 degrees isn't so bad anymore.  

And then there was Sunday morning’s 18 miles.  This should not be a problem.  I have done 18 miles successfully a couple of times before.  Today should be no big deal, but I was wrong.  I have been waiting for this run for a good month.  I mapped it out and drove the distance many times from my house to Main Street Hopewell and back.  There are a few hills; one particularly long and steep.  I imagine that to be my own "Heartbreak Hill."  The run to Hopewell was good.  I was feeling great and things were going well.  I tripped a couple of times and twisted my ankle slightly, but I was still going strong.  Just at the turn around point, I got hungry and I realized that I had not been fueling up during the run.  I also remembered that I did not have dinner the night before...which is never a good thing before a long run.  But anyway, I downed a gel shot and kept on going.  As I ran up the hill I contemplated which type of hill would be easier.  Long, steady incline, or short and steep? Which would you prefer? I still haven't decided yet. I am still learning how to run both.  But after the hill my left calf and shin began to ache.  No, they hurt, but I kept going.  I can run through the pain.  What doesn't kill you makes you strong, right? We shall see.  

My pace slowed down, but I was still moving.  Then at mile 15 I switched to a run/walk.  I really should have had dinner last night and gone to bed at a decent time.  Note to self: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! Then at mile 16, I mentally lost it.  Ever cry and run at the same time? It's not very pretty.  There was an old man on the trail who got really concerned that I was bawling.  I told him I was fine and his response was, "it's never fine when a girl cries!"  Sweet old man.  He wanted to call someone to come get me.  I considered that many times during the run, but I knew if I could push through I would be fine.  I thanked him for his concern and told him I was going to get my 18 miles in today no matter how long it took and if I had to crawl the rest of the way home.  When he heard what I was training for he laughed and told me I was crazy.  So, maybe I am, but I can't wait to see how this challenge changes me when I cross that finish line.  Remember everyone, "If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you."

....Please help me reach my goal of $5,000 to raise money for the Massage Therapy Foundation:  THANK YOU. 

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