As per my coach devised training schedule, I dutifully started the training for what is clearly going to be known as Kristen’s folly around here. I’m such a quick study, I’ve already learned some important things both about myself in general and about me running (I was going to just say running rather than qualifying it as “me running” but I suspect I’m such a ding-a-ling that it’s not particularly universally applicable).
First: I’ve been told this adventure will change my life. While I don’t doubt that in the slightest, I’m wondering if I get to pick in which way it changes me. I’m just shallow enough to hope that it changes the obnoxious muffin top and corresponding kangaroo pouch around my middle that I have, rather disingenuously, been calling “baby weight” for over 6 years now. Other more noble changes would be fine too but that cosmetic one is high on my list.
Second: I sweat like a boy. OK, I’ve known that one my whole life (gee thanks, dad!) but getting out there every day and running just reinforces it. When I ran only twice a week, it was easier to ignore because I chalked it up to being a weekend warrior. Nope. I’m a full on gross mess. No “lightly glistening” thing going on here. Makes you all want to see me during/after a run, doesn’t it? Another interesting observation about sweating: pulling my hair up in a pony tail, while cooler on my neck, means lots more sweat runs into my eyes and boy howdy does that sting! Must come up with a solution to that one before the actual race. Oh, and any offers to work as a launderer will be gratefully accepted. ;-)
Third: I am very definitely a social runner. This one surprised me because I am an introvert (those of you who have ever tried to get me to do something social are not surprised by this fact, are you?). But I cheerfully run long(er) distances when I get to talk the entire time than when I have to occupy my own head. Just imagine my internal conversations and you probably aren’t surprised I cut solo runs shorter than group or paired runs. On the flip side, solo runs do give me a lot of time to come up with good one-liners. If I ever remember them by the end of the run, I may start a new career as a wildly successful stand-up comedian. Oh, and about the chattering thing—I guess I see where T. “I like to hear myself talk” K. gets it now. Maybe that’ll make me more tolerant toward his constant nattering. OK, probably not.
Fourth: Having a good cause to work towards has made me more capable of approaching people, asking for favors, and public speaking. All of this is completely and totally out of character for me. I do plan to revert to being napkin-shredder in the corner aka hermit girl once this is all over so this is a temporary thing but fascinating to me nonetheless. I mean, I even took advantage of the lights going out at my tennis league the other day to announce my marathon and to show people where I was putting copies of my original letter asking for donations. Not only did no one take advantage of the dark to swat me with their tennis racquet but about half the letters I left there were taken and one tennis buddy has already donated! Of course, once the lights went back on, knowing I was a runner, they all expected me to be willing to run for any and all balls (“You wanted me to get that lob?!”).
Fifth: I am truly built for plodding, not for speed. But the tortoise wins the race so there’s hope for me yet. Despite my penchant for quitting early on solo runs, I really do feel like I’m just starting to settle into a good place at about 2 ½ miles into a run. Given that I’m generally only running 2-3 miles a day right now, that doesn’t mean much easy, mechanical running but hopefully bodes well down the line. I’m hoping that as some weight comes off, some speed will magically appear. If not, I’ll just focus on the fact that I have always been an Energizer bunny of an athlete: keeps going and going and going. And as one of my running buddies says, “Anyone can run a marathon in 3 hours, it takes a special kind of person to keep going for 6 or 7 hours.” My mama always told me I was nothing if not special!
Sixth: I am getting old and have the associated aches and pains but they somehow feel earned if I feel them after running as opposed to after sitting on the couch. The good news is that they don’t feel any worse after running than they do after sitting on the couch and the running earns me the opportunity to ease them with some ice cream (yeah, I know, it’s no wonder I still have the “baby weight”).
Seventh: I have some wonderful friends and acquaintances. Not only are people happy to donate to a great cause (of course!) but you are all really rooting for me. That, my friends is a bigger rush than any rush I’ve ever gotten from running. (OK, that feels a little Sally Field-ish: “You like me! You really like me!" But true nonetheless.)
I imagine as time goes on, I’ll learn even more important things about myself and I hope you don’t mind if I share them. If you do, well, you’ve got a delete button, right? It feels like this should be a communal journey so I fully intend to drop something into your inboxes every once in a while, after all, who else in your life is letting you be an armchair marathoner this spring/summer/fall? As Bartles and James used to say, “Thanks for your support.” (Yes, a wine cooler quote and Sally Field all in one post. What can I say? High-brow culture is just my middle name.)
Still need to donate to my run? Go to http://pages.teamintraining.org/mi/nikesf08/kknox1n5c2 and find out how.