Monday, September 30, 2013

Will Run For Beer

That’s right, will run for beer. I’ve never been a runner – oh sure, I tried a couple of times in my adult life to run, and did two 10km races (2008 & 2009), but as soon as that goal was over, I stopped running. The motivation wasn’t there, I didn’t really enjoy running and frankly, I got lazy.

This January, I finally stopped all my excuses of why I didn’t have time to exercise and got my butt out onto the street to train for yet another 10km run on April 21. I diligently went out three times a week, per schedule, and was feeling pretty good. When my friend Monica asked me to do a half marathon with her in September, I said SURE! What the hell was I thinking? I couldn’t even run for more than 5 minutes at the time. But I thought having a goal to shoot for after the Sun Run was important, as well as having a much bigger challenge.
Even though I know how a 10km training program is supposed to build up your endurance, I chose an app for the convenience of having someone yap at me when it was time to walk and run. Sadly, it wasn’t a good training program and on April 13, I could barely run and had done damage to both of my calves. Two months of physio ensued and I started an uncomfortable relationship with a foam roller. Damn, that roller hurt on my over-worked and under stretched/rolled muscles.

Working backwards from the September 29 race day, I knew I had to start the half marathon training by June 5. My awesome physiotherapist, Timberly George from City Sports and Physiotherapy  had me to the point where I was fast walking, walk/running and doing elliptical/bike work however; I hadn’t done a full run since April. Screw it, I felt pretty good, so I went for a 3km run. It was successful – no pain. My first long/slow run on Sunday was 7km and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to run the entire distance after being sidelined for two months, but I ran it and I haven’t looked back since.

17 weeks
5x per week
533.5 km
56 hrs; 7 mins

At the start of training - to complete in 2:30 and/or not die
At the end of training – 2:15
On race day – 2:00

Actual race time – 2:02:04
Females 40–44 – placed 18/102
Gender – placed 75/585
Overall – 271/1008

I did it. I actually did it. And for an old chick, I’m pretty happy with my results. My RunKeeper app had my average pace at 5:34 and that I ran almost 22km. Either I ran extra distance or the GPS on my app was wonky.  

My cheerleader during my training was my fabulous husband, Kelly, who always sent me off with “have a good run” and asked how my run was when I got home. I’ve spent a lot of hours running up and down the dyke in Steveston so some of those runners have seen me a lot more on Sunday mornings than Kelly has. I’m pretty lucky to have someone so supportive on my side.

The second support group I had may not be what you think. It wasn’t my family (not sure they really noticed that this was a big deal and goal for me), it was friends from twitter and my boss. My boss is a runner and he regularly asked me how my running was going. It was great to be able to talk to someone about my progress and it’s due to him that I changed my goal to 2 hours. He pointed out to me, a week before the race, that I’d actually been training at that level. We both use the Running Room’s Book on Running schedules and frankly, I didn’t even look at the pace schedule for 2 hours until then. Thinking about running it in 2 hours freaked me out, but I did my three race pace runs the week prior to the race at 5:40 average pace or less so I felt pretty good about trying it on race day.

Then there are twitter friends. The twitterverse is an amazing place sometimes. I had lots of encouragement from people and found out that my training actually inspired others to start training. That was an unintended, but good, consequence.

What’s been the effect of becoming a runner? Weight loss (coupled with eating healthy), muscle gain, less stress, an enormous feeling of accomplishment and the desire to continue running. Next half marathon is November 17.

Running so I can drink beer. It’s all about balance.

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