Pre Game Warm Up
You know the scene in "A Christmas Story" when Ralphie has just finished telling Santa in almost stunned silence that he wants a football, but then as he's getting shoved down the slide he stops himself and says, "No! No! I want an official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!"? Santa laughs, tells him he'll shoot his eye out and then shoves him down the slide by slapping his shiny black leather boot on Ralphie's forehead. That's pretty much how I felt picking out my new "gear". See, I wanted a watch. I knew I wanted a watch that could calculate my pace, laps, distance, time, heart rate, location and elevation all while serving me a piping hot cup of coffee. A girl can dream, right? But when faced with the decision (and frankly the price) of those monsters, I said, "Football...yeah, football" while pointing to the cheap Timex that guesses at your steps and heart rate and really just keeps track of how long you've run. I mean, it's not like I'm a triathalete and need to be able to tell that I'm 50 feet higher than I was a mile and seven minutes ago. But darn it, I wanted it!!!! So I was mentally preparing myself to suffer with a plain ol Timex with the same grace which Ralphie suffered the pink bunny outfit Aunt Clara had made him. Then my birthday money started rolling in. And shazam! Just like getting that Red Ryder BB Gun on Christmas morning, I started trolling Amazon for a Garmin Water Resistant Forerunner with Heart Rate Monitor and USB ANT Stick. Do I know what an ANT stick is? Uh, nope, but I wanted it! So I got it. And I used it. And I shot my eye out.
So far on this journey I have relied on a couple different forms of motivation. One being friends and family cheering me on, the other being a book called "The Nonrunner's Marathon Guide for Women". This book is freaking hilarious. You can get it on Amazon.com for a steal. The author, Dawn Dais, writes about her experience training for a marathon and the ups and downs of what she went through. I have literally laughed out loud at this book till I cried. My husband has asked if it's really that funny and the answer is "yes, yes it is THAT funny". Dawn nicknamed her training coach "Chipper Jen" for a multitude or reasons that I'm assuming your logical brain can probably deduce on its own. Which is completely ironic because as I'm reading this book preparing for MY half marathon, I realize I have my OWN Chipper Jen.
I can't say enough about Jen Biela. We seem to have been paired together by something slightly more important than myself. See, this is how it works in a nutshell. We both show up to run early in the AM or late in the evening for our group run. Jen is all psyched and ready to take on the seven mile challenge. I'm ready to cry and puke in the back seat of her car. About halfway through the run, we seem to change places and I start getting all psyched that I DID NOT puke and that we're more than half way there and I haven't died yet. She gets all serious and starts to silently cuss me under her breath. I'm pretty sure this last Saturday I got the "I'm going to chop you in small pieces and bury you behind that oak tree over there" look when I suggested we run two minutes and walk one instead of the other way around. Thankfully she's also very patient with me and lets me jabber non-stop for the two hours it takes us to run our seven miles. And she didn't hit me once!!! How much more inspirational does it get? :-)
Dodging Poop and Angry Squirrels
MALLARD CREEK GREENWAY
I've decided that one of the best things about running and exercising in general is that you get to go places you wouldn't normally go. Saturday Jen and I went to the Mallard Creek Greenway (which has other names as well) and enjoyed the splendour of God's nature. We saw things like piles of dog poo, large nuts chucked out of a tree by an angry squirrel, random locked fences leading onto the path and cat puke. The normal stuff you associate with wild nature. We also were surrounded by tall trees, an actual creek that wound around the path and quite a few bridges that crossed the more treacherous areas. It was - in a word - beautiful. When else would I get to see this? Certainly not while watching Episode 2, Season 4 of Lost.
It's also nice not to be by yourself, that way when you're yelling, "COME ON YOU CAN DO IT JUST KEEP GOING ARE YOU KIDDING ME???" you don't like a total freak because there is technically someone next to you to receive the words...not just air, or the horses that happen to be in the field next to where you're running. Being ABLE to talk while you're running is also quite nice. It's coming on slowly, and getting a bit easier as time goes on.
You know what? Super skinny dudes running without a shirt gross me out. I mean, I'm sure the guy was nice and all, but seriously? He lapped us like four times. I'm pretty sure he ran 40 miles in the time it took us to run seven. I don't even think he broke a sweat. In FACT, I think to pay him back for his rudeness I'm going to find him this Saturday and force him to watch me run without MY shirt on...so THERE!
There were plenty of other people to entertain Jen and I, and since we were now running two minutes at a time instead of one, we couldn't say anything to each other. We would just laugh and raise our eyebrows when we saw a character. There was a blonde headed girl running like a gazelle. I know she ran like a gazelle because I was thinking it and then Jen said, "Dang, she runs like a Gazelle".....after we started walking again of course! Then there was the three fingered wave dude, the guy with the iPod strapped to the back of his ball cap, the bird watchers that just didn't seem to make it too far, the landscape dudes we passed twice (they were holding still....doing landscaping), and there goes the skinny dude without a shirt on...again.
Post Run Glory
Dunkin Donuts Coffee
Everyone knows that after a long run you have to celebrate. You can't just walk away from something like that and say, "yeah, I just got done running seven miles, I think I'll go do some yard work". NOOOO...you MUST celebrate first. And what better way to celebrate making a healthy choice of running seven miles than by ordering a large vanilla LATTE from Dunkin' Donuts? I can't think of a better way! So I ordered a Large (Not tall or grande, but LARGE) Vanilla Latte, ice cold with whole milk. Just the way I like it. Mmmmmmmmm....goooooood stuff.
I feel stronger, and more confident in running the longer runs now. I now know it's NOT going to kill me. I'm not going to randomly get some heart condition and fall down dead on a trail where no one can find me. Other people actually do exercise and would have been able to help me. I'm not going to mysteriously collapse into a fit of crying and rage. I AM going to keep running. I am going to keep putting one foot in front of the other and make it to the finish line on December 10th. God willing...and the creek don't rise.