Diving In

Before you read the following, I have to let you know that everything I'm about to say makes me feel like a complete poser.

I'm making a plan - a race plan, that is. These are words I never thought I'd say. Before starting C25K, running a race wouldn't have even crossed my mind.

But NOW, now that I'm thinking about it, the thought loops through my mind all day long. And I spend time almost every night looking up races near people I would like to visit.

I've got a 5K coming up next month (November 22 - Millersville Turkey Trot - Millersville, PA) before I stuff myself with Thanksgiving yummies! I'm hunting for a 10K in January or February. AND... dah dah dah DAH... I've chosen my first half marathon (April 28 - Flower City Challenge - Rochester, NY) and will be running it with (behind...far behind) one of my lovely college roommates, Rebecca, and possibly one of my favorite co-workers, Karin. In May, I'm running a Warrior Dash here in Maryland - mostly because I want a fuzzy viking hat.

After that, I'm considering doing The 18.12 Challenge, which starts in my hometown and continues for 18.12 miles to a battle site from the War of 1812 on the shore of Lake Ontario in Sackets Harbor. Seriously? Seriously. And, several friends have already noted, an 18 mile race in September puts me in pretty good position for a marathon in the fall. I'm not planning on that yet.

Phew! Even thinking about it is exhausting yet, somehow, completely exhilarating at the same time.

So, I'm going to start training. That word - "training" - intimidates me, makes me feel completely out of my depth and, as I mentioned before, like a total poser. But I'm going to do it. Until now, this running thing has been all about getting fit and losing weight and feeling better about myself. Those goals still apply, but as I'm getting closer to reaching some of them, it's becoming more about pushing myself, improving my time, increasing my distance, setting a goal and crushing it as often as possible.

Anyway, I think once I run 13 miles at a go, the occasional poser-y feeling should wear off.

Feel free to offer any advice as I begin my training journey.

Races I've Run

07/20/13 - Hot Buns Run - 31:51 (5k PR)
06/15/13 - 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut - 3:02:29
05/18/13 - Warrior Dash - 1:28:47
05/11/13 - The Color Run - untimed
05/05/13 - Frederick Half Marathon - 2:29:53 (HM PR)
04/28/13 - Flower City Half Marathon - 2:39:14
03/09/13 - Georgetown Ten-Miler - 1:56:18 (10-mile PR)
01/27/13 - Penguin Run 5k - 32:42
11/22/12 - Millersville Turkey Trot 5k - 35:16

Under Pressure

Okay, I'm willing to accept my share of the blame for the people around me jumping to conclusions. Apparently, when you write "Marathon?" on Facebook and suggest that possibly, just maybe, you will run a marathon at some time in your life, that means you are intending to run a marathon in 6 months to a year.

If I'd only known before I posted it! But I didn't and now that cat's out of the bag or something.

So, my lovely, encouraging friends are talking to me about doing a marathon and saying, "I'll run the first mile with you!" and "Let's do it!" The problem is that I am still actually undecided about this. I don't know if a marathon is a goal I'm interested in setting. I don't even know for sure if a half-marathon is in my future.

Mostly, the issue is that I'm a little bit stubborn. I don't like to do things because other people think I should. I want to do things because I want to do them. I don't want people to have expectations and goals for me.

More importantly, I don't want people to be disappointed if I don't live up to their expectations - and running 26.2 miles is a pretty big expectation.

This running thing - it's all new for me. I'm still not sure how far my mind and body will let me go. And I'm a bit overwhelmed by what it means to TRAIN for a marathon. There's so much to think about and plan.

And, I have this little thing inside me saying, "If you want to do it, you can't just do it, you have to do it well, you habitual over-achiever." And that little thing is not interested in watching me slog through a marathon at my current 13.5 min/mile pace and it has absolutely no confidence that I will be able to reach the 9-10 min/mile I'd prefer.

So, "Marathon?" really is a question in my world, not a vague and sneaky way for me to wave my arms and say, "HEY EVERYBODY, I'M GOING TO RUN A MARATHON!!!" I promise, when I make that decision, I will wave my arms and shout "WATCH ME! WATCH ME! WATCH ME!"

In the meantime, I am so grateful for everyone's encouragement (so keep it coming) and boundless confidence in my ability that I sometimes lack. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Am I Serious?

Baltimore Running Festival
On Saturday, I spent half the day at the Baltimore Running Festival. I didn't run, I was there to cheer on some friends and co-workers

We cheered from two different locations. Our first observation point between miles 15 and 16 was a bit subdued - populated only by those who knew a friend would be coming down the road. The finish line was a completely different story. There were hundreds of people, lining both sides of the path, cheering everyone who passed. Running through that line, feeling those encouraging vibes in the last two miles of the race would set me up for 2 to 3 months.

Less than three months ago, I was still telling myself, "Running is boring and painful. Why would anyone want to do that for 5 minutes, let alone 4-5 hours straight?" Even a couple weeks ago, my opinion still went something like "Running can be fun but I still don't understand long-distance running." My time at the running festival opened my eyes - just a little bit further.

I'm beginning to see the attraction - the satisfaction in training, the energy during the race, and the sense of accomplishment at the finish line. I'm even beginning to believe that, with sufficient training, I could do it.

Does that mean I'll be running a marathon? I guess we'll see.


Most of my closest friends live far away - some farther than others. At times, this fact is sad and distressing, almost a cause for despair. However, in the past year I've realized that it can also be a cause for rejoicing.

Though I miss living daily life with my friends - facing the mundane details side-by-side with my people - there is something to be said for having every visit be an occasion. When I want to see most of my oldest and dearest friends, I have to plan and coordinate to make it happen.

While the need to plan can sometimes be frustrating, it also means that when I'm with my friends, the time is for us to spend together. It doesn't matter what we do, we are more focused on enjoying one another than we might be if our visits were easier and more frequent. We know that our time is limited and I (I assume, we) cherish even the time spent doing nothing together.

And, as a bonus to all the amazing friend time, visits to my people can also be amazing retreats.

I get to spend hours reading at a friend's cabin.

Or watch the mist rise over a lake in early autumn at other friends' lake house.

Or write in my journal with only occasional (welcome) interruptions from little people.

My friends' homes are places full of good times and good people but the fact that I must travel to see them gives me the chance to get away from my normal life on a regular basis. It's beautiful. And, no matter how much I would love to be nearer my dear ones, distance has its benefits.