Monday, May 10, 2010

13 lessons in 13.1 Miles

Sat. May 8th, I finished my second Indianapolis Mini Marathon! 13.1 miles! It was a balmy 40 degrees with winds gusting up to 35 mph. I was beyond excited about that! Since the race ended, I have been reflecting on the experience and in many ways found that this finish meant more to me than the first. The first race was about endurance. Did I have what it took to keep walking a steady pace for 13.1 miles? The second was about digging deep and determining that I am not a quitter. Let me explain...

The fear of staying ahead of the bus that picks you up if you don't keep an 18 min mile pace has always been a driving force for me. Last year the 5K race started after the Mini so the bus was never even in my sights. Even still, at first I was scared to death for the first several miles that I wouldn't walk fast enough and would get picked up. This year, they started the 5K first which means the "Back of the Pack" crew was right behind the last people to cross the start line. I knew this was going to be the case, so I entered a faster time in order to start well ahead of the back. Somehow without realizing it, most people forged ahead and I didn't even realize I was one of the last people crossing the start line. I never looked behind me, so I had no idea this was happening. Needless to say, about 5 min. into the walk, my friend Missy pointed out that the "Back of the Pack" crew was right behind us. I totally freaked out! Lynn, Missy and I took off running. Due to different paces, I ended up going ahead by myself. I wanted to walk with Lynn and Missy, but fear of getting picked up made me keep running every little bit to stay ahead. It seemed like those clanging cow bells were right behind me.

Needless to say, the first couple of miles were a complete mental battle for me. I felt the task was hopeless. I didn't think I could go fast enough to put distance between myself and the bus. I didn’t think I could battle the wind for 13.1 miles. I didn’t think I could mentally go the full 13.1 miles with the bus right on my heels. I didn’t think I was strong enough to do it all alone. With tears streaming down my cheeks, I fought the urge to quit…to give up for nearly 2 miles. But as I contemplated quitting, I kept thinking how my family had come to see me cross that finish line, how I had bought a shirt that said “I Finished 13.1 miles”, how I knew that EVERYONE in my life including my kids at school knew that I was doing this, and I didn’t want them to think I had failed. Instead of picturing defeat, I started to picture myself crossing that finish line. So, I kept running every little bit. I noticed that by mile 3, I couldn’t hear the cow bells any more and I could barely see the bus. All the people who had stopped to go to the bathroom were now behind me and there was a whole sea of people between me and the bus. I am starting to believe I can actually do this.

Between miles 3-5 I really made good time and got into my stride. During mile 5 as I was approaching the Indy 500 track, I started talking to a girl who was also walking alone. She had quite a story to tell and was doing her first marathon. Many people had told her not to do it because they thought she was setting herself up for failure. We had a wonderful talk and it was very motivating to me to be able to encourage her…it was exactly the spark I needed to face the 2.5 mile lap around the track. During mile 9 things started to get a little tough. I could feel some blisters forming and the thought of 4 more miles was depressing, but I knew I could finish. Right before mile 10 I heard someone scream my name. I turned around and there was my friend, Jami that I teach with. I was able to join her and her sister for the last 3 miles. It was nice to have someone to talk with as I finished the race.

Having my family and my best friend cheering for me at the finish line was very special. I loved having them there. They were really the motivation that kept me putting one foot in front of the other when it would have been easier to give up.

So, here are 13 lessons I learned in 13.1 miles…

13. Next year (if I do this again), I’m starting with the Kenyans!

12. I will not die if I run.

11. I hate cowbells.

10. Nervous pee is just that…if you ignore it, it will go away. (I
refused to stop for the whole 13.1 miles)

9. Yellow Gatorade is gross.

8. Black spandex is not flattering on everyone.

7. Telling my students my goals is a good motivator.

6. Sheer determination can take you farther than you think.

5. I’m stronger than I give myself credit for.

4. God sends along people when we really need them.

3. It’s okay to be alone.

2. If the bus (or a large dog) is nipping at my heels, I’ll not stick
around to help you…I will run to save myself. (Sorry, Missy)

1. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
-Phil. 4:13

Saturday, April 10, 2010

What happened to 6,7,8,9?

Wow! I was astounded to see that I hadn't written since mile 5! That was a long time ago! Since that time, I have been to Florida for spring break where the weather was crappy and the wind made the walking difficult. I got off for a few weeks, but I'm back on track.

Last week I did 8 miles. It was rough. I did good until mile 6, but after that was a real struggle. I did finish and in decent time, but it was not very encouraging to me. I feel miles behind where I was at this time last year. I realized that last year I wasn't just walking, but also working out at the gym. I was doing the elipcial and training with Ryan. I can really tell that my overall stamina is not what it was. So, that has me a little worried. I stressed all week long as I did my walks about doing 9 miles today. I was especially concerned because Sue wasn't going to be doing the whole walk with me. She drew the line at 8 so I was going to do the first 4.5 by myself and then she would join me for the last half. So, this morning at 9:30 I set off on my course. I actually did pretty well. It was easier today doing nine that it was doing 8 last week. Sue met me right on time with a cold bottle of water which was wonderful and I made it with no problems.

Overall, I'm having mixed feelings about the marathon. It's getting close. Next week is 10 miles and that's the most I'll walk. I think I will struggle more this year than I did last. Knowing how hard it is going to be, is not working in my favor at this point. I'm not sure who I'll be walking with. I have options so I won't be alone, but I sure wish my sister could walk with me. I'm going to miss her for sure.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

5? No Problem

Well, that's not exactly true, but kinda. I am at Andrea's this weekend so I did my 5 mile training walk on her treadmill. Less than exciting way to do it, but I got to watch Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, an old favorite, while I walked which was nice.

Things that were better about the walk:

*I got to watch the movie
*I didn't have to go anywhere
*I felt NO pain in my legs or feet at all (this amazed me)

Things that were worse:

*It seemed really long for some reason
*I have a terrible cold and have congestion in my chest so I could hardly breathe. This made it a tad difficult
* The speed on the treadmill certainly didn't match what I do at the gym. The 17.5 pace was literally almost throwing me off the back. I had to jog to keep that pace, so I was slow today according to the treadmill.

Feeling good about the training. Today was not a problem. :)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Another 4 Miles

Feeling good after today's 4 mile walk. Today was supposed to be a 3.1 mile walk, but since I didn't walk 4 last week I thought I needed to do 4 today. My walks this week have all gone well, so I was hoping for a good time today. I got it. I completed my 4 miles in 69 min exactly which is a 17 min. 15 sec. mile. Realizing that I only need to knock 15 sec. off of each mile which is essentially a 1.5 sec a lap, is not too bad. I think I can do that! I only neared a 17 min. mile at the end of last years training so I'm feeling really good about where I am right now. I also noticed that my pain lessened much more quickly today. It really only hurt during the first mile after that I was good.

My feelings about this whole process seem to be all over the map. I feel everything from dispair to elation...hopelessness to determination...dread to excitement. I find that I have days where I just don't want to do it. It's hard and now that I've done it once, I know how hard it is. It's more a feeling of not wanting to do it though, not fear that I can't. But, the good news is that once I get myself to the gym and start that first lap, the determination to better myself kicks in and then the elation at the end when I've finished and finished faster is awesome! Next week...5!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

4 miles -Check

Saturday's walk went really well. I was nervous because Friday's walk was extremely difficult. I only walked 2 miles. At the end instead of being happy I was completely freaked out that tomorrow that would only be half way!! Just couldn't imagine getting through the 4 by myself. But, I did! I blared my music and played mind games but got through it. I was even faster than an 18 min mile which is way ahead of where I was last year at this point.

On my way home I called my sister to gloat about my success. We ended up having a half hour conversation which was great except I was sitting down that whole time. When I stood up to hit the shower, I nearly fell down. The muscle in mt right calf was in a complete ball. Lesson learned- stretch more and keep moving after the walk! :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

It's a New Day!

Yes, I know...I disappeared again. That's what I do when I don't have anything good to say. The holidays were hard and I would say that I was really bad. But, we're in a new year and it's a new day! I decided last fall to sign up to do the Indy Mini again this year. Andrea signed up with me and so now it's time to train. All fall, I "rested" my foot hoping it would be better by now. All I accomplished was gaining back weight I had lost and I still have an injured foot. As this week approached and I knew the training was to officially start, I wondered what I had done. I felt trapped by the commitment to my sister and wished I had never agreed to do it again. So, with a heavy heart I went out for a walk Monday to "test the water" so to speak. I did a mile just to see how the foot would do. Surprisingly, the foot wasn't too bad. Everything else hurt, but the foot pain was minimal. So, that was encouraging. Tues, Wed. and Thurs. I did not walk. It was icy outside and I hadn't been to the Wellness Center yet to pay my $50 so I could use the indoor track for 4 months. I needed to wait till I got paid Thursday. So, Friday afternoon, I forced myself to the gym. I paid my money and set off on a two mile walk. That was the goal I set for myself. I am happy to report that I made it. The first mile was somewhat torturous, but the 2nd was easier and I felt proud that I had completed it. So, I decide that I will just count that as my "big" walk for the week and break myself in easy. I was supposed to do 3 today and then 4 the next two weeks. In my mind, it made more sense to go 2, 3, 4, so that's what I had decided to do.

Well, I woke up this morning and thought, "Kelley, you need to get to the gym." I decided I didn't want to start the training off by making excuses and allowances so I needed to grit my teeth and do 3 today. I put it off till 12:30 but finally got myself out the door. As I was walking that first mile, I thought, 3 was going to be pretty hard to achieve. I was hurting, but I realized that I had something this time around that I didn't have last time...the knowledge that I can do way more than I ever thought I could. I proved that to myself last year. I can dig deep and fight through pain, so I became determined then to complete the 3 and to be no longer than a 19 min. mile. That's slow, but faster than the 20 min. miles I started out with last year. I was on lap 15 of 33 when the gal at the desk asked me if I realized they closed at 1:00. It was 5 after. I quickly grabbed my coat and keys and was out the door. (feeling a little like I had been saved.) I was consoling myself with the fact that I had done the first mile in 19 min. as planned and was well into my 2nd mile realizing that the pain was easing up and I had no doubt I could finish the 3 miles.

On my way home, while stopped at 50th and Harmon, I saw a girl walking. She was bundled up but moving right along and then I knew what I had to do. I rushed home, pulled on my heavy sweatshirt and a scarf and headed out the door. I needed to get another mile and 6 tenths in. I knew exactly where I needed to walk to get that, so off I went. It was easy to finish that last half of today's walk...probably easier than if I had stayed at the gym going round and round. I kept my pace and the pain subsided the longer I walked...just like it did last year.

So as I was walking, I was doing a little comparing. I was making a mental checklist of what was the same as last year and what was different. Here's what I came up with.

1.The first mile or two still hurt. The pain in my shins, calves, and sometimes back is enough to draw tears...BUT, just like last year, if I can fight through it, it eases up after that and gets better.

1. I am doing this on my own. Best friend is not available to walk with me this year. There were walks especially the first several that she literally talked me through. This year, I'm going on the knowledge that I can do this. I know my abilities are more than I give myself credit for.

2. There were no tears on walk 1...just determination.

3. I am faster starting out than I was last year. Hoping to be faster overall this year.

4. I don't feel an overwhelming sense of fear that I will fail. I know I can do it!

I'm sure there are even more. I also want to say here at the end, that I'm thankful for that "trap of commitment" I feel to my sister. I probably wouldn't have started this week without it and maybe wouldn't have done it at all, but now, I feel excited and motivated! I have felt like a failure for a while now, but as I begin AGAIN, I realize that I'm only a failure if I fail to keep trying. I will not quit this fight. I am still trying to give it to Jesus and I know that someday with His help, I'm going to win this fight over weight.