I just realized in all my latest ranting and raving about insanity at work and how published authors got it ALL WRONG, I haven't updated on my running. Last report had me mired in self doubt and thinking I should hang up my running shoes but feeling hopeful for the next 5K. Since then, I've done another 5K and a 10K. This time the 5K was part of a much larger event - a Boston Marathon qualifier - on pretty much flat terrain. It was SO much better than that first stupid 5K which I would like to forever strike from the annals of my memory. (Seriously, we should have delete buttons for memories that there is no way we will ever want to remember. THAT run, would be the top of my list!) A couple of weeks later, I did my first 10K.
I went into the 10K much more mentally focused and prepared with the mantra that I was NOT in it to compete but merely to complete. At times I kept thinking about how it seemed that ALL the other 10K runners had passed me but then I remembered that I am a short chick with short legs and trying to go long distances, not sprint, and that it is my own personal best I'm ever trying to "beat". There was a woman with a green shirt on just ahead of me that I kept thinking "if she doesn't pull away then I'm okay" to block out everything else. She didn't... and halfway through the 10K route we met up with the 5K route where I got to start passing people left and right. Then there was no way to know if anyone around me was a 10K'er or a 5K'er and thus could not be viewed as competition. (At this point I admit I am a competitive monster and watch out when my body transforms into a COMPETITIVE runner and able to keep up with what my brain wants to do... oh boy!) I finished the 10K with a time of 1:31 which was a tiny bit faster than my training time AND there were hills. I didn't once feel like I couldn't go the distance and felt amazing afterward. (AND I beat 8 other people as an added bonus for said competitive nature.)
Since the 10K, I've been increasing my training distances on my long runs in final preparation for the half marathon. Two weeks ago two fellow Ragnar teammates and I ran down from the top of one of the local canyons to get a feel for how steep the marathon route will be. You know what's more beautiful than my favorite canyon in the morning in the fall? Running down it and hearing all the water as well as seeing all the scenery. It was so much fun and I had my best 10K time and my fastest mile on that nine mile run. (I LOVE downhill running!) Two days ago I did an eleven mile run - yes, ELEVEN MILES - in the rain and felt fabulous. Two and a half hours of straight running, in the rain. I had SO MUCH FUN - crazy, I know. Now I know exactly how to dress for cold weather - I needed something to keep my ears warm and some gloves - and am 100% certain I can do the half marathon distance this Saturday. Because once you can do eleven miles, what's adding two more, right?
What a journey it has been... My most ambitious goal I've ever shot for - train 12 weeks to run a half marathon as a brand spanking new runner - is in my sights. I'm living proof that anything you put your mind to is possible. Wish me luck on Saturday!