Saturday, November 20, 2010
I did it!
(This post is way overdue, just finding some time now.)
At this moment I am so proud of myself. At the beginning of the year when I came up with the crazy idea of running a half marathon (originally for the end of April, which was postponed) I do not think that I really believed it could happen.
Running half that distance was a challenge for me, and my knees were not super thrilled, plus, let's face it, I'm not a young lady anymore and I'm athletically challenged at the best of times.
I pushed myself January-March. I had a training schedule to keep, but with my kids and work I was constantly out of time and trying to squeeze my workouts into impossible times when I should have been sleeping or doing something else that was important. I got stressed out and felt guilty about not keeping my goals, not spending enough time with kids and slipping behind at work. When I decided I wasn't ready in April and I gave myself permission to pass, two things happened: I regained my love of running, which had turned into a chore that I was starting to dread, and I became even more determined to do the 21k. I decided that I would train and run the distance late in the year. I saw the Oka run advertised and I knew it was meant to be and signed up right away.
I increased my distance gradually and didn't freak out when I had setbacks. I tried to stay as disciplined as possible, and I talked to everyone I know who runs for guidance and encouragement. I also let everyone know what I was doing so that I had a bit of guilt-support built into my routine. Sometimes your motivation on those bad days is knowing that your co-worker is going to ask you how that training is going. Some of my runs got longer, but when I could only squeeze in time for a 5k, I just did that because it was better than nothing.
In September I started running to the mountain, up the mountain, around the mountain, and back, 19k. I love this run. My favorite part is stopping at the lookout to admire the view, I feel so strong and accomplished. On Thanksgiving weekend I ran along the lake in Hamilton and when I got back and plotted my route, I realised that I had run 21k! Wow! After that weekend I took a week off in Maine and ran the 21 twice, as well as other shorter runs and hiking. I felt ready for Oka, nothing was gonna stop me, I had actually managed to plan and prepare for this, I was thrilled!
On Monday, the week before the race, I realised that I was getting a cold.
I tried running it out of my system, but that didn't work. I worked from home most of the week and tried to rest and take vitamin c and all the stuff you should do. On Friday I went over to Adriana's and she worked her yoga magic on me with chest openers which cleared a lot of the junk in my lungs out.
That night I didn't sleep a lot, and at 5am I was up and getting ready. I packed everything just in case the weather changed. At 7 I was at the race site, the chalet was still relatively quiet. Within a half hour it was chaotic and crowded, so I was glad for my early arrival, even if it did mean some waiting around. I watched the sunrise over the water while I stretched and relaxed. A half an hour before the start time I went out to the start area and waited with all the other crazies. I found my friend Joanne and we jumped up and down trying to stay warm. It was freezing. By the time it started, the bottoms of my feet were frozen. It was good to finally start and the sun came out to warm us and melt the ice off the pavement.
I was at the back and stayed there for pretty much the entire way. I learned a few things. Runners are messy with the cups of water and throwing protein bar wrappers and tissues on the ground, they spit a lot, running clubs are way too cliquey - they move in little snobby packs, couples who run seem to stop a lot at the port-o-potties, and the really fast guys start late and run past you like you are standing still. The route was a go and double back sort of affair. The first guy passed me on his way back when I was at the 7k mark! That wasn't discouraging at all......
Most everyone else passed me around 9 or 10k which was fine. At some points I felt like I was running alone. There were a couple of people behind me, but not too many. The last couple of kilometers where I would normally feel a bit of extra energy I realised that I had nothing, probably because of being sick. All the way, the volunteers cheered us all on, it was so sweet. When I reached the finish, many cars were pulling out of the parking lot. My final time was 2:25, about 25 minutes after most people, but very respectable for me. I had my banana and bagel at the finish line and warmed up a bit at the chalet before heading home.
It was kind of anticlimactic. I'd been training for so long, now I'd done it and I was walking around feeling elated, but very alone at the same time.
I stopped at a friend's daughter's birthday party on the way home. My kids were there and many of my friends, and they all made a huge fuss over me and it was exactly what I needed, especially hugs from my two favorite people in the world. I ate like a pig and afterwards went home and got comfy on the sofa and iced my knees and tried not to move for the rest of the day. Sunday I went to yoga and once again Adriana fixed my body. On Monday I was perfectly fine.
So, the latest total (money is still coming in) is $1657 for the Children's Hospital and another $190 for the WIAHA. Thanks to everyone who donated :-)
I can't wait to do it again.