Hello, Running Community! First of all, thank you so much for the incredible show of support in the Rookie contest! I was astounded, not only by the number of people who voted for me, but by the number of people who asked others to vote, spread the word, or gave me a kind message. It created a real sense of community among all of the different groups of people in my life: friends, family, classmates, acquaintances, coworkers, and even my students!
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind with moving to a new home, planning curriculum and grading for a new semester, anticipating my sister’s new baby (she’s 38 weeks pregnant!) and playing phone tag with a caterer and florist. And not surprisingly, running (which sometimes feels like another item to check off the “to-do” list) helped keep me sane. My seasoned marathoner sister-in-law sent me a sixteen-week training schedule, but the panic settled in around the eighteen-week mark. It had been awhile since I ran routinely, and I kind of floundered just wrapping my head around a starting point. So, I just….ran! My fiancé, Dave, ran with me a time or two (super nice and supportive of him), including that ridiculously warm night we had a couple of weeks ago. Mostly I ran three to four miles a few times a week, until last week when my “real” training began. I have to admit, I’m surprised at how well it’s going so far!
I’ve been averaging a ten or so minute pace, although that’s just me running comfortably and letting my mind wander. I keep jumping the fence between the mentality of just wanting to succeed at finishing the marathon without dying, and wanting to try for an actual goal pace or time. When I start to doubt myself that I need to aim higher (or faster), I have to remind myself that running a full marathon is a pretty weighty goal in its own right! That’s okay, right? Just wanting to cross the finish line on my own two legs, preferably alive?
I have the tendency to never be satisfied, always finding fault or room for improvement. Someone very wise told me that sometimes you need to tell yourself, “I am going for a very imperfect one mile run, and that’s okay.” Every step will get me closer. On the days where I don’t feel like running (almost everyday) I imagine beautiful, warm, sunny beaches on my honeymoon, and the new swimsuit I bought (and what I’ll look like in it if I don’t get my butt out the door), and keep on truckin’!
Dave and I just moved to Fairfax this past weekend, and the long run seemed like an insurmountable obstacle on Sunday evening after lifting (okay…mostly watching other people lift) furniture, and driving back and forth in a U-Haul. I found ways to busy myself with activities that seemed like perfectly legitimate alternatives to running. I spent an hour in HomeGoods staring at Toss Pillows (I thought they were “Throw” Pillows? When did this change? Was “throw” too aggressive?) and forcing an incredibly patient Dave to tell me which lamps he liked better out of a selection that were pre-approved by me. (None of them, it turns out!) I lined up lotions in the bathroom cupboard, I created a new playlist, I arranged, then rearranged, my new toss pillows on the bed, and the couch, and all the while my running shoes mocked me from their place by the door. (How is it that I can’t find anything in the midst of unpacking but my running clothes?) So, I finally put on my headlamp and explored these new and unfamiliar roads for what I hope was a nine-miler (although I’m honestly not quite sure what the exact length was).
This leads me to my question: best apps for running? MapMyRun? I want one that lets me pre-map my course rather than choosing it for me or simply charting it as I go. Any tips on this one? Also, anyone know where I can get my hands on an inexpensive treadmill? That snowy day on Friday forced me inside to do P90x, which makes me feel utterly ridiculous and hurts so bad for several days after. I’m not a fan of treadmills but I could really use one!
In conclusion, the beginning of my training has been swell. I’ll leave you with the image of my red and itchy foot, which is a story still in progress. Until next week!