Sunday, December 15, 2013

2013...My Newest Venture

So it's been another two months since my last post. To say it has been busy is a bit of an understatement, but isn't it for all moms? Trying to settle into a routine this school year has been a challenge, in many ways.

But, as things start to settle in some ways, things get busier in others. Today I completed a milestone though so I thought I would post a little about it since I am feeling nostalgic (and I need a break from the mind numbing existence that is facebook). I figure I need to write a little of my history of this journey so I never forget.

Back in January, I began the year that I would turn 40. I hated the view in the mirror, as I was EXTREMELY close to the 200 lb mark and disgusted by it.

I tried Weight Watchers yet again and by May had only lost a total of twelve pounds and was starving all the time. Then we went for my birthday family vacation trip to Florida and a few days after we got back I made a change that I hope to last the rest of my life.

Aaron had asked me to go play tennis with him and I agreed. We played for over an hour and I worked up a great sweat and felt so alive for the first time in a long time. A few days later he asked again and we did so again. At that time, I started wondering what it would take to try to run a little bit. I went out and couldn't even go three driveways before I was huffing and puffing and felt like I was going to die.

After some gradual increases, I got to the point where I could run a mile without walking and I made a crazy decision to try to run a 5K before the year was over. So I went home, searched the computer and found one  for September 15th, three months later. I figured I could get myself to that point. My goal was to run it in under 45 minutes.

A short while later, I started becoming obsessed with reading everything I could about running and even entered a contest to run a "practice" 5K. Crazily enough, I won and I found myself registered to run my first 5K on August 1st, six weeks earlier than I had planned!

August 1st came and I was scared to death as I lined up for the Metro Way 5K. It was not pretty. It was not fast. I even walked a bit of it. But I finished it with a smile on my face. My amazingly supportive husband and my sons were there and I was so proud. My time was just over 38 minutes. I figured for a first 5K for someone of my weight, it wasn't a bad start. AND I had my REAL first 5K only 6 weeks later.

Six weeks later, I found myself again at a 5K starting line. This time it was for the Grand Rapids Bridge Run and I was feeling more prepared this time. As I was getting lined up, the skies opened and huge raindrops came pounding down. I had given Steve and the boys permission to go to church rather than being at the waiting line this time. But as I was coming halfway through mile 2, I looked over to the Gerald Ford Museum parking lot and there were three awesome Wheelz Boys, cheering for Mommy. After turning the last corner, they had walked up the street and were there again waiting for me. This time Aaron even ran about a half of a block with me toward the finish line. I cut abut two minutes off my time and enjoyed the chocolate milk at the finish line before heading home to dry off and take a very long bath.

Then school started and I wondered if I was going to be able to keep up with this running thing. No question, it became more and more difficult as my schedule had something every night of the week and the skies became dark earlier and earlier in the evening. I figured the only way to get motivated again was to sign up for more "races". So I found one that ran through a local college, which looked like fun.

For the Grand Valley Turkey Trot the Saturday before Thanksgiving, I recruited my teaching partner from last year, who was one of the three women who motivated me to try this running thing in the first place. The forecast for the race was a 16 degree windchill and I was panicked about what to wear. I had to justify the cost of some cold weather running gear and even then I didn't  know if what I got would satisfy that cold of weather. I was also nervous because this would be the first time I would be running with a partner, after having spent 5 months only doing solo running in training. There were definitely good and bad moments of the event. The timing got goofed so I don't have an accurate time and the route was pretty uninteresting. But running with my friend Heather made the day great, with a chance to catch up and we were very evenly matched as running partners. (She has since asked me to do a half...yeah right!)

After that, the Michigan snow season began and getting out to run became even more difficult than it was before. sister, who was another of the three women who motivated to begin this journey,  asked me if I was going to run the Whoville 5K with her. $30 for a race in the throes of winter didn't seem very feasible, but I still went ahead to enter. I was extremely nervous for this one as well, given that as of the morning of the race I had still never run in snow.

So December 15th (this morning) arrived and I bundled up, again having no clue if I was wearing enough clothes. My sister gave me a wonderful gift when I got there, which was yak trax which are basically coils that attach to your running shoes to make your run grip the snow.

The race did not have an official time and that wasn't the point of the race anyway. It was so very fun. The snow was coming down hard as I ran along the Grand River riverbank and it was absolutely beautiful. My frozen toes started to thaw a bit after about the first mile and a quarter. Every so often a Grinch would jump out at you to throw you off and Things 1 and 2 would hide behind trees and throw snow balls at you if you weren't paying attention. It was a blast and by far my favorite of the FOUR 5K races I have run in the past 6 months. It was fun doing it with my sister too! When I got back in my car, I saw that the wind chill outside while we were running was a balmy SEVEN DEGREES. I felt like I had conquered a mountain!

So here I am at the end of six months contemplating where do I go from here. I have many ideas. After today I know that I can handle this cold weather and don't need to stop. I have spent some time already today researching the next few races in which I want to participate.

But mostly I just think of how far I have come in six months and hope that I can stay with it and not quit. Yes I am a quitter and hoping to break that habit when it comes to my running. Will I be sitting here a year from now writing about new running

accomplishments that occur in 2014? Or will I discover that I just didn't have the discipline to push through? I guess only time will tell.

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