History Lesson: Part 1

20 May

I know it’s been a while since my last post.  My goal is to write two to three times per week, and I have already missed that goal. C’est la vie, each week offers us the ability to start fresh, and to begin anew.  When I was brainstorming for this post, my first thought was to tell you about my 2012 running goals, but then I realized that we should not venture into the future without first looking at the past.  Before moving forward it is important to know where you have been.   

I vividly remember running in my middle school gym class. We were sent out to run around the field, and I’m pretty sure that the goal was to run a mile.  The gym teachers stood at the finish with their stopwatches timing us.  I remember thinking that it was so hard, that running wasn’t for me, and possibly that my teachers were sadists.  I also remember that there was a girl in my class that ran that mile in around six minutes.  What I don’t remember is how fast I ran that mile.  Judging by the fact that I thought the teachers were sadists, I’m pretty sure that it was nowhere near six minutes.  It was at least twice that.  And I hated it. 

Instead of attempting to improve, I gave up.  Running wasn’t for me I decided (neither was any form of physical activity for that matter).  I half assed by way through gym class, and focused by efforts on art and academics, things that “mattered” in my mind.  Physical fitness wasn’t going to get me anywhere, so it didn’t deserve my attention. Especially since I seemingly was quite the opposite of physically fit.  

That decision, coupled with my love of all things related to eating (and drinking), is probably how I wound up weighing 220 pounds.  For those of you who don’t know me, I am 5’11, so 220 pounds on me isn’t morbidly obese, but it’s still not pretty…or healthy.  I’ll devote another post to describing how I lost 50 pounds (I eventually gained 27 pounds back, and recently lost 18 pounds of that: insert yoyo diet comment here), just know that coming to the realization that I was unhealthy was instrumental in my decision to find a place for physical fitness in my life.

In 2007, when my husband was still my boyfriend and we had been together for less than a year I went to visit my great-uncle in Taiwan.  On my way back to the States I had to layover in Seattle, so I did what any traveler does, I bought a random magazine at Hudson News.  That magazine changed my life.  What was it you ask?  Runners World.  While flipping through the magazine on my way to Newark I saw a full-page ad for the Philadelphia Distance Run, a half marathon in my hometown.  I was inspired, and exhilarated, and possibly a little crazy.  I decided that Alex and I would become half-marathoners and told him so almost immediately upon getting back to our house in State College, PA. 

My trip was in May, and the race was in September.  That gave us roughly four months to get ready.  I bought a book and started reading up on running.  There are very few things in life that I jump into without first researching fully.  I am, after all, the adult who taught herself how to knit with a book from the library called, “Kids Can Knit.” The book I bought came with a training schedule, so I made a copy of it and posted it on our wall, and we crossed off our workouts as we completed them. 

I’d like to say that we trained super hard, and were ready to rock and roll come race day, but unfortunately that wasn’t quite the case.  Our longest training run was eight miles, which is respectable, if I had actually run the whole thing.  A great deal of my training consisted of running and walking. Don’t get me wrong, that is a great method to ramp up your physical fitness level, but probably not the best way to be ready to run a half marathon.  The fact that I couldn’t run eight miles during training probably should have been a clue that I wasn’t ready.  Another clue that I wasn’t ready should have been when my running shoe guy, Terry, told me that he didn’t think that I was ready. 

Of course I eschewed all of those obvious signs and lined up at the starting line of my first half marathon.  It took me 3 hours and 15 minutes to finish it.  I ran a small portion of the race, and walked the rest.  I did finish, and I took great honor in that, but I left disappointed that I didn’t run the race.  When I gave a recap of the event to Terry the shoe guy he told me that my race sounded painful.  He was right, not only was the race physically painful, as moving yourself for 3 hours and 15 minutes is no easy feat, but it was emotionally painful.  I felt like I failed. 

I hung up my running shoes and didn’t lace up again until 2010…more history in the next post! 



One Response to “History Lesson: Part 1”

  1. sylviebeauvais May 21, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    I’m really impressed you stuck with running. I couldn’t. And I’m awed that you went the half marathon route for a first effort.

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