Saturday, June 27, 2009

a running report

Today was a 6 miler, tomorrow is a rest day, and then I turn the page on my training calendar to the 2nd page (there are 4 pages). So far, it has been very low mileage and definitely doable. A training week calls for 4 running days (1 long run), 2 cross training days, and 1 rest day. I haven't missed one mile of the runs yet, but I did skip one cross-training day each week for various reasons. This week was my best week. Not sure why, but every run felt good and easy, even though it has been so humid and gross.

If I'm sounding super confident about actually running 26 miles, not so fast. But I am feeling quite calm about the concept of taking one week at a time and having trust in the training.

Somebody recently asked me to write about why I run, and I've been trying to figure that out ever since. I have come up with a few answers that are possibly very obvious, but here they are anyway:

- As far as a workout, it is the most bang for your buck. You really work your muscles, burn the most calories, and raise your heart rate the highest in as little as 30 minutes, and you go right out your front door to do it.
- It means I can eat a lot of food, and pie, and not gain weight.
- It is a lot easier than chasing kids around, especially when they are cranky, and it makes me a better and more patient mommy when I get back.
- I have way more energy than I ever have before, all day.
- Please don't judge me for saying this, but I'm feeling pretty good about the way my legs are looking for age 35.
- It's the only thing I do that is only for myself. It's about me, my body, and my watch. I don't need anyone else to validate or agree with it, and pride in my progress is based on cold, hard facts, not on anyone's opinion.

So, why the marathon specifically, and not just running 4 days a week?

Well, for starters, I love large crowds, loud music, finish lines, race photographers, and race medals (or in the case of the San Francisco marathon, a Tiffany necklace for all finishers).

I also love it when someone hands you a cup of water while yelling how great you are doing, and you take a swig and then throw your cup on the street. I love that.

But for a more philosophical answer, here is a passage from a book I just read called: The Non-Runner's Marathon Guide for Women by Dawn Dais:

"We all have our limits, the maximum we can take. But the fact is that we as human beings rarely approach our limits. Things we perceive as personal limits usually just mark the limit of our comfort level, not the limit of any actual ability. It's not until we're challenged that most of us ever know what we are really capable of doing.

One of the greatest things that will come as a result of your marathon training will be the absolute shattering of what you used to accept as your physical and mental limitations... I set out to train for a marathon because I knew there was no physical reason why I shouldn't be able to do it."

Obviously, I signed up for the marathon before reading this passage, but I dog-eared the page because it made a lot of sense to me, and is definitely aligned with my own feelings about my physical limits. The first time, over a year ago, that I ran 6 miles, I thought I was going to die and I actually cried real tears in mile 2. This morning, it felt good and invigorating. I'm feeling ready for the bigger mileage that lies ahead on my calendar. Bring it on.

And here is a section of the book that made me laugh out loud.

The author describing her first 16 miler:
"When I got to the mile 13 marker, I started trying to psych myself up, I can do this; three miles is nothing. Unfortunately, at this point my body said, Uh, no, you can't do this, mostly because I will no longer be moving. Thank you for your support during this difficult time.

It was awful. It was horrible. It was hell. I wanted my mom. I wanted a bus. My mom driving a bus would have been perfect."

Yes, I definitely find this to be hilarious because I often talk to my body when I'm running, but my body never says funny things back. We'll have to work on that. Also, I love the image of my mom coming on a bus to rescue me from a long run, don't you? I know I'll be laughing about this from the road, right around mile 13.


Tiercy said...

You always write the most amazing and motivating posts on running! I love the part that made you laugh out loud, it made me laugh out loud too.

Baute Family said...

ok, so you have started me on the road to running. I can't say that I am up for a race yet, but I have started running PRETTy regular..which means some weeks are regular and some are just plain failures. But I feel good...I definately feel better when i exercise. I never thought i would be a runner. I pray one day I can say the same things you have said about 6 miles. 1-2 miles right now seems like i have conquered a mountain!

Lisa said...

Look at you inspiring us all, Emilie. Thank you. That quote about approaching our limits hit home with me. I haven't wanted to try a race that much, but the water thing is really enticing...I can just picture throwing that cup with similar satisfaction. nice post. I've had to take my running to the treadmill lately as it's gotten way to humid here. Looking forward to Michigan runs.