Sunday, October 27, 2013

Lessons Learned From a 5K Run

As some of you know, I began training in June with the goal of getting into better shape and losing some weight.  A month later I incorporated weight training as well.  I don't know how in the world I finally got the gumption to do this, and then stick with it, but I did - with help from my friend who was my training buddy  My goal was to run 3 miles in under 45 minutes and lose 25 pounds.  For three and 1/2 months I trained.....diligently.  I reached the point where I was clearly seeing muscle definition and feeling increased strength from the weight training and I was able to run 3 miles in just over 45 minutes.  I did not, however, lose a freaking pound.  It nagged at me mentally and emotionally and I had to fight to keep that from discouraging me and I will admit it became harder and harder to find the will to keep going.....but I did.  Then 'life' started happening.

Seven weeks ago Punky began rehearsals for her first major role as Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird.  Counting driving time, our entire evenings, from 6:30 until 11pm or later were taken up with preparing to perform and then performing.  I was no longer able to make it to weigh training class - which is only offered in the evenings and I was exhausted in the mornings and getting up to run was more of a struggle than ever.  I did keep training, working toward running 3 miles in 45 minutes or less, because my training buddy and I had decided to register to run our first 5K marathon - Run of Dye.  I was determined to run and not die.

About four and a half weeks before Marathon day, I did something to my left hip while running.  Whatever it was that I did it hurt like a son of a bitch.  I was already battling some pain from my left knee (I tore the hell out of it in a bicycle collision when I was 15) and swelling and pain in my left ankle, which I had severely sprained Spring of 2012 in a bad fall.  Did I mention that I have fibromyalgia?  Training became more and more of a struggle and I really missed my weight training - which really had helped with the 5K training.  I went from running 3 days a week to 2 days a week and then only here and there.  The day after a run my hip hurt so bad I could barely walk.  Finally one morning while running I 'blew my hip out'.  I say that because that is exactly what it felt like.  That was my "hit the wall' moment because I was never able to run again.  It took several days before I could even power walk and the last time I power walked the pain in my hip didn't disappear until a day before the marathon.    I didn't run again.  At all.  I couldn't.  To tell the truth I wanted to skip the 5K marathon all together.  I was still walking with some pain and a slight limp.

Yesterday was the marathon and I didn't skip it.  I did it.  Not only did I do it, but I actually met my goal.  I finished in 44:57.  That's a 14.37 minutes mile.  That's my best time ever.  While I'm not surprised I finished, I'm a little surprised I finished in my goal time.  Why,  I wondered, was I able to do that?  I hadn't run, or even walked, for weeks.  My hip had only JUST stopped aching every day and I have been so busy with Punky's schedule, having company, and preparing for hubby to get home for his two week R&R that I *never* thought it was even possible to finish within in my goal time.  On top of all that, when we arrived at the marathon we discovered that the terrain we were running on was more like a cross country experience than what I was used to doing - running on pavement/sidewalks.  The area had been mowed down but it was the most uneven terrain - roots sticking up everywhere, slopes and holes, etc.  I had to keep my eyes on the ground to avoid tripping or worse crashing to the ground like the giant in 'Jack and the Beanstalk'.  True story.

So, today I'm still wondering:  How did I do it?  How was it possible?  After some thought I have a few answers and I realize that they don't just apply to my 5K run. 

1)  Set a goal and work to achieve it.  You might fail, you might have to stop and start again, or you might just might succeed.  It's worth the effort to set the goal and work to fulfill it.  Success or failure notwithstanding.  The journey really is the most important part.

2)  Don't do it alone.  Find a buddy who understands you, wants you to succeed, knows when to push and how to push you and when to back off.  Most importantly find a buddy that will truly celebrate your success and support you when you don't.

3)  Realize that what you do today has a ripple effect in your life.  If you work hard for days at a time, weeks at a time, even months at a time and then become derailed remember that all that hard work you did isn't for nothing.  It *does* pay off in the end and maybe in ways you didn't expect.  It becomes a part of who you are and helps you along your path - one way or another.

4)  How you meet your goal may not end up being how you planned to meet your goal.  Putting in your best effort and working toward your goal matters more than following a detailed list of HOW to meet your goal.  Flexibility is necessary because life is always in a state of flux.

5)  There is nothing more rewarding that proving to **yourself** that you can do what you set your mind to do.  Nothing.  All the 'way to go', 'good job', comments from friends and family don't mean as much as being able to carry around that bit of pride and accomplishment in your mind from actually going for it!

So not only did my 5K training journey emphasize these life lessons for me, they are the reasons I succeeded.  I set a goal and worked, as best I could, to achieve it.  I didn't go it alone.  The time I was able to work hard and train paid off for the times I couldn't and still counted.  The last quarter mile of the race, when I wasn't going to finish in time, I wanted to prove to myself I could do it and I ignored the pain in my hip, knee, ankle and chest and pushed it as hard as I could and that last quarter of a mile felt like it would be the death of me in some ways, but I wanted to prove to myself I could do it and the pay off was huge.

Of course, I'm not the inappropriate homeschooler for nothing.  There were a few inappropriate lessons I learned doing the 5K:

-  I am capable of being so LOUD that the emcee of the event could hear me yell, "You suck" over the roar of a VERY large crowd and rock music coming from the speakers.  (In my defense he was throwing out free prizes and was totally ignoring the folks in the back, where my friends and I were.)

- When being chastised by the emcee for yelling out he sucked, I resort to language that wasn't appropriate.  It wasn't language that turned the air really blue - more like robin egg blue.

- I'm brazen enough that when city didn't provide any cops to help direct the crazy traffic into and out of the parking area I am willing to take my hat off and use it to direct cars.

So, that's my 5K training journey.

The most shocking thing of all for me though is the fact that I fully intend to get up in the morning and run.  I'm doing it for me, just for me. 

~Mari B.

P.S. - Can you believe the chick in the flexible picture??

P.S.S. - I didn't think it was necessary, but apparently it is.  I KNOW that a 5K is not a marathon.  I know that the proper terminology is 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon.  I know what the distances are for each as well.  I was being IRONIC.  ;-)  The 5K was my know for me, it felt like a marathon.....see it's not as funny when you have to explain the joke.  ;-)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for commenting on my blog! Upon a quick review of your post - to make sure you have not made me cry or really ticked me off - your comments will appear!