My friend and I did 12 miles on Saturday morning, the longest she'd ever gone at one time. We did it in 3 hours and 15 minutes, which is a pretty good clip for walking. That didn't include a break halfway through at her house for water, a snack and a potty stop. Tomorrow we do 15 around my neighborhood (we take turns driving to the other's house each week), so I'm mapping out three 5-mile loops. I want to keep things as varied as possible, and I'm used to doing out-and-backs instead of loops when I run by myself. I have to, or else i find myself cutting things short after one loop. But my buddy has a smaller bladder than I do, and while I can go a full marathon without stopping for a bio-break, she is more comfortable if we're close to a full-service facility. so hence the looping route.
Anyway, one of the things that I've been meaning to do is to reply to Ellie's tag. So here goes:
1. How would you describe your running 10 years ago?
Let's see, that would be in 1998? Hmm. I think at that time, I spent a lot of time doing short 3-milers with the jogging stroller and Elder Child falling asleep about three blocks from the house. He loved the stroller (TDP DinoBoy and I finally killed it about two years ago when the threadbare tires popped -- you can see it in the header photo above) and it took away all my excuses. Hub was traveling a lot at the time, so most weeknights when we'd get home, Elder Child and I would wolf down an improv dinner and then head to the park with the stroller. I'd run about three miles there, then he'd get out and play until the sun went down, then we'd walk back. I didn't worry about time or distance and certainly never kept stats like I do now. It was a way to get out and spend time doing something for myself.
2.What is your best and worst run/race experience?
Best: Without a doubt, my first full marathon. Being at the starting line and seeing my friend about fifty yards past the timing mats -- he NEVER woke up early on a Sunday and here he was at 7:30 to cheer me on. Then, about 13 miles later, another friend was there with her two boys waving and cheering. Another four miles down the road, my family with was there with their burnt-orange lawn chairs, fresh water bottles, and hugs, right at the toughest part of the course. Five miles later, as I turned into the home stretch toward downtown, my mentor and friend was there, laughing at my dancing to the Aretha Franklin on the loudspeaker. With the exception of my husband , none of them had told me they would be there. To have so many people take time out of their day to come cheer me on was ridiculously uplifting. And I was SOO behind schedule by mile 15 that I can't even imagine how long they sat there waiting for me to come by. Finishing upright and smiling (that photo is also in the banner up top -- I'm in the yellow top and Texas shorts) was just the topper on an amazing day. I felt like I could move mountains after that race, and more importantly, that when I needed to move a mountain, I had some good friends to help me out.
Worst: Waco Marathon, October 2006. It was my fourth marathon and I was really looking for a sub-5:00 performance. But the hills, they were hilly, and the sun, it was sunny. If I'd found a sag wagon at mile 18, I would have climbed on board and probably never run another step in my life. But I didn't, so I kept running, and I finished in fine physical shape, but utterly defeated mentally. It was a tough point. There was nobody at the finish to give me a "way to go" and I had a nearly 2-hour drive in front of me. It just was not fun. I swore I'd never run in Waco again (and I lied -- the Bearathon half was there this spring, and I enjoyed the same course tremendously this time) and I wasn't sure why I was doing this.
3. Why do you run?
Because I can. Because, for a while, I couldn't. Because I am wired genetically to be fifty pounds overweight, with high blood pressure, diabetes and who knows what else. Because I want my kids to see me as a role model for how to live a healthy active lifestyle and even if I'm never a size 6 they will remember the mornings that I come home, already drenched in sweat from a nice little 10-miler before dawn, right when they are waking. I want them to see my drawers full of medals and race shirts and know that I run because I want to and I can, even if I'm not the first and sometimes the last one to cross the line. Because so many people I grew up with (including some/many in my own family) are content to be inactive and unhealthy and spend their days griping about how tired they are and how they just don't feel well. If I'm going to b!tch and moan, it's going to be that I can't move because I did too many squats and lunges. Or that my feet are beat to hell and back from the long run I finished this morning. Or that my quads are burning from the hills on the course. Not because I'm sitting idly by and letting my body fall to pieces around me like it's coded to do. And because I won't.be.that.person.
Running is my therapy, it's my time for me, it's my mental health. It's where I do my problem-solving, my organizing, my planning, and my dreaming. I draw up sketches for the back patio, for the furniture arrangement, for the next dinner party, for my career, all in my head while I run.
4. What is the best or worst piece of advice you've been given about running?
If I ever got bad advice, I'm pretty sure I ignored it. According to my husband, I never do what anybody says anyway. Probably the best is that you've got to just have fun. I will never be fast. I will never be lean and I will probably never even look like a runner. But I sure have a hella lot of fun while I'm out there.
And something about stretching. I may not have paid attention to that part.
As a freshman in college, I participated in numerous marches and demonstrations. All for very, very, VERY liberal causes. I do not support those causes any longer. Something about having children, paying taxes, and owning a home has caused my political leanings to veer a little further to the right.
So there you go. If you've read this far, and you've ever put on a pair of running shoes, consider yourself tagged.
Gotta run. I've got a conference call in a bit and something about having finished a self-evaluation. I should start on that...
Peace out folks! have a great weekend, and I'm as always hopelessly optimistic that I'll have a chance to post again before I head out on Monday. If not, enjoy the weekend!