A foam roll is something physical
therapists love to torture you with. It's a large Styrofoam
log that you lay down on sideways--although there are other
fun ways to use it for the gluts, hamstring, calf, etc--and
roll on top of, letting it grind into your IT band--this long,
jelly like thing that goes from your hip to below your
knee--kneading it like it's bread dough. I have a love/hate
relationship with my foam roll and if it could talk it would
have a lot of nasty things to say about the names I've called
it. Poor little abused foam roll.
||On the up side, dropping out of the 18 mile
race made me really face up to the fact that I needed physical
therapy and got me in to see Mike and his co-worker, Greg,
both of whom got my knee back to functioning. And if you're my
mother reading this and are worried I've been ruining my body,
well, okay, maybe I have a little, but honestly, a lot of this
was (and is) preventable. If I had been doing strength
training religiously twice a week from the start of my
training, had stretched more--particularly my IT band--and if
I had gotten a foam roll earlier and used it more often,
things would have been better. So, with a lot of all of the
above and leg lifts and ice, Mike and Greg made my knee well
enough to do a pre-race 20 miler and the marathon itself.
And then there was that lovely prescription
anti-inflammatory I was on: Voltarin. I'd recommend it, as it
dealt really well with the swelling, but after being on it for
three weeks I had a horrible reaction to it. If I hadn't been
so busy and sleep-deprived I might have seen it coming, but I
didn't put two and two together until the Sunday before the
marathon when I completely lost my appetite, got more and more
nauseous, and then woke up at 1 a.m. puking my guts out.
I pretty much couldn't eat from Sunday to
Tuesday and could barely eat on Tuesday. Which didn't stop me
from going to the practice that night or from doing the 30
minute run scheduled. And it made me feel better. Really. I
think I sweated out the toxins. But not realizing Aleve was in
the same drug family as Voltarin, I started taking that and
spent most of Thursday nauseous until it got out of my system.
Then I was just nauseous on and off until the day after the
marathon, but I don't know if that was the effect of the drugs
or pre-race anxiety.
So far sounds like fun, huh? You ALL want to
train for a marathon now, don't you? But seriously, this isn't
how it goes down for most people, and through all this, I
still loved it. Yes, we all know I'm nuts, but training for a
marathon is an incredible challenge and that you're facing it
while raising money for a good cause and spending time with
fun people makes it pretty addictive.
Through this whole experience, I think, in
many ways, that I've never been happier. It was tough. Many
days I felt hollowed out and with nothing in my physical or
emotional tank to keep me going. But somehow, in facing a lot
of my fears and doing this, I've really opened up and feel I'm
relating to people from a different, better place. And I feel
much better in my body and about my body (although I doubt my
body is all that different). All said, training for this
marathon and finishing it has had a deeply profound effect on
me. Weeks before I even did the marathon I was already talking
about signing up to be a mentor for a spring Team in Training
event--most likely a half marathon since my body needs a
little less abuse for awhile.
And, before I get to Maui, I have to mention
how amazing everyone at work has been about this marathon. Not
only have they donated about a third of the money raised, but
they were all so sweet before I left, applauding and hugging
me on my way out the door and applauding me when I swung by
the office today. So many people told me they were thinking of
me on Sunday and sending me good wishes. Elzy and Rebecca did
the cutest "Go, Ruth!" dance before I left so I
would have a cheering contingent to picture along the route
(which I did at many, many points). I've been so moved by
their generosity and support and feel so lucky to work with
such great people (and I'm not just saying that because Kieran
discovered this journal and spread the link around the
Now…Maui! The whole team flew together,
which automatically started the bonding as we were all nervous
and excited about the marathon and worried about people
running late for the plane. My roomie Kelly showed up just as
we were boarding, and I joked with her that I was beginning to
think I'd have to buy a Kelly doll, take pictures of it in the
hotel room and run the marathon with it on my shoulder so she
could say she was in Maui and had done the race.
When we took off from NYC for San Fran
(where we connected to Maui), the pilot announced that our
team was on the plane, what we were going to do, and how much
we had raised. There was some very loud clapping, mostly from
Ramon and Emily--our NYC TNT staff member--at the back of the
plane, but we all were very pumped up and excited to be part
of the group. And it was pretty funny to fly with us, everyone
of us asking for more and more water as we also drank from
these HUGE water bottles we were carrying. I felt all the work
Greg had done on me two days before being reversed as I
cramped up in my small seat and kept going to the back of the
plane to stretch (and yes, pee, I was inhaling water). At one
point, I asked the flight attendants for ice, and then sat in
my seat with my leg in the aisle, a small blue vomit bag full
of ice on my knee.
We arrived in Maui at 6 p.m. Hawaii time,
which was Midnight on our body clocks. The drive from the
airport to the Sheraton where we were staying was essentially
the marathon route (there are only about 6 roads on the
island) and we all got more and more nervous as we realized
how truly LONG 26.2 miles is. We're all used to running in the
park, where you do the same 5 or 6 mile loop over and over
again, that to see it all spread out was pretty intimidating.
Then there were the hills--4 miles of them, going from about 0
to 150 feet in elevation. Luckily they were early in the
course and everything from mile 13 or so on was at sea level
and right next to the ocean. But I definitely do NOT recommend
driving the marathon course before you do it. We all kept
asking, "Are we at the finish line YET?!"
The Sheraton is a beautiful resort hotel
with a gorgeous pool and patio area leading down to the beach
and the pounding surf of the Pacific. Saturday morning, before
meeting everyone to head over the running expo to pick up our
race packets and numbers, Kelly and I ran along the boardwalk
for about 20 minutes to loosen up. We just kept pointing at
the boats, the view, the parasailors in awe of the utter
beauty of Maui. But the most important part of the run was
that it built my confidence. The drive along the course the
night before had completely freaked me out and while running I
remembered that I was Ramon Bermo trained. I'd covered 20
miles already. I was prepared for this marathon and I knew how
to do it.
The rest of Saturday was spent riding around
in Jamie and her boyfriend Marcello's rented jeep, checking
out the tourist hot spot town, Lahaina, where we ate lunch at
Cheeseburger in Paradise, and napping. Oh, and remembering
halfway through the day that it was my birthday!! Then we
headed to the Pasta Party, which was on a lawn of the Sheraton
overlooking the water with tiki torches illuminating
everything, including the Team in Training banner. We ate good
food, bonded as a team, and were re-inspired as to our reason
for being there.
After, we all grabbed a spot on the lawn and
decorated our purple Team in Training singlets with White Out.
Yes, THAT White Out. The Maui team is thinking of springing
for better decorating materials for the Hartford and DC teams
because White Out is not a very good art supply. But we all
managed to write our names on the front of our singlets (it's
incredible race day to have random people yelling your name,
it really helps keep you going) as well as phrases or the
names of people we were running for on the back. I wish I had
thought to write, "No toe nails? No problem!" but
instead scribed, "Wait…how many miles?!"--a phrase
that confused the hell out of a Japanese runner passing me at
At 9:30 p.m., I was back in the room for a
final pre-race icing of my knee and some much needed sleep.
Before I went to bed, I heard a scraping under the door and
got up to see two red notes lying there, one each for Kelly
and I, from Emily and Ramon with words of encouragement. I
carried that note in my back pack to the race's start and have
it now in front of me on my desk.
At 2 a.m., Kelly and I were up and getting
ready for the race. We'd set everything out the night before
so we could just go through the motions. At 2:30 a.m. Jamie
joined us, after knocking on the wrong room and waking some
poor non-runner up, to get breakfast together. She had brought
the bagels, I had the peanut butter. 15 minutes later,
downstairs in the lobby, we all gathered for a large NYC team
photo and then got on the bus to ride an hour to the starting
line. We sat together, encouraged each other, and joked about
Gary and Jim's breakfasts, as the two had somehow managed to
bring cereal with them. Rich and Jim spent the ride coming up
with marketing themes for Jim's pre-race breakfast in a bag.
We arrived at the starting area (around the
corner from the starting line) a little after 4 a.m. Crowds of
runners kept coming in and coming in, many with purple TNT
singlets. We made up about half of the race. It was amazing to
stretch under the stars with runners from around the country
and the world, particularly Japan, while listening to the
blaring music geared to pump us up. After numerous trips to
the bathroom--where Rich saw some woman having a pre-race
cigarette --a chanted Hawaiian blessing and a not so great
version of the Star Spangled banner, we were off to line up
for the start. The whole NYC team lined up together,
regardless of mile time, and many of us were looking for our
pre-race glimpse of Ramon (who had, like the insane Coach that
he is, ridden his bike the 26+ miles to the start line, even
after running a 5k--he came in 4th--and riding up Haleaka, the
island's volcano, on his bike the day before).
After a lighting of tiki torches and a
blowing of a conch shell, the race started at 5:30 a.m. And
there was Ramon, ringing his cowbell for us. Throughout the
training, Ramon kept saying that we only got to hear the
cowbell during the race, so when we finally heard it we were
so excited. Not only that, but we knew exactly where our crazy
coach was. We all looked over and started screaming and
yelling to him. It was the perfect way to start.
Slowly, as the day began to break, we all
spread out over the course. I was at the back of the NYC
runners' pack with Kim, a girl on the team who had trained a
lot on her own, only coming to about 7 practices. We were
paced about the same and both had had knee problems, so hung
in there together to the end and helped keep each other going.
I definitely got Kim hooked on my supply of Tylenol, which was
in a sweat proof ziplock back in my back pocket next to my Gu,
although I luckily had little knee pain until mile 24 so
needed almost none of it.
I'd love to break the race down for you mile
by mile, but not only would I most likely bore you to death, I
can't really remember all of it. There's a part of you that
has to hit a very basic survival mode to get through keeping
your body in motion that long, and a lot of time you're not
even thinking but just breathing and listening to your
But Kim and I would talk and get to know
each other. We'd cheer on other TNT people we passed or were
passed by. We'd thank people out along the road rooting for us
(and in one case, handing out candy). Every 3 miles or so
there would be a TNT staff cheering group screaming for us and
checking in to make sure we were okay, which was incredible. I
was so impressed by the organization and their support. I
can't imagine doing a marathon without this kind of cheering
team. And at the halfway point and mile 22, Emily was there;
it was so great to chat with her and see how happy she was for
all of us.
|Then there was Ramon. For the first 8 or so
miles of the race (it would be more miles for the faster
runners), he rode back and forth between our running group,
encouraging all of us, and there was nothing like hearing that
cowbell coming (or going). When Kim and I hit mile 24, we
could hear Ramon coming back for us on his bike (he had run in
the rest of the team), and it will most likely remain one of
the happiest sounds in my life.
I wish I could say that it was my best
running day, but honestly, it was my worst. After being sick
all week, after not getting enough rest, I think I got
dehydrated pretty early into the course (water stops were
every 2 miles until mile 10). When we started at 5:30 a.m. it
was already 77 degrees, so by the time the sun was up and we
were halfway through it was in the high 80s. And there was
absolutely no shade along the course. I am positive I would
have gotten sun stroke except for the iced sponges they had at
every water stop.
Then there was the fact that I was nauseous
from about mile 10 on and had a hard time stomaching Gu,
Poweraid, warm, fizzless Coke, pretty much all the things that
help keep you going. I tried to get in as much water and
oranges as I could, but I definitely wasn't getting all the
nutrition I needed. I would run until I felt ill and then walk
it off, and then run again. There was a spot along the road, I
think at about mile 15 where there was construction, and I
swore I was going to lean over the barriers and puke. Who
knows, it might have been better if I did, but I hung in there
and kept going. Somewhere in mile 18, when I hit "the
wall" everyone always talks about, I thought,
"There's no f*#king way I'm doing THIS again!"
(Yeah, I wouldn't hold me to that.) But once the 20 mile
marker was in sight and it felt like I was in the count down
to the finish line, things got better. Especially after having
a Popsicle at mile 22.
And as tough as it was, because, I'm telling
you, it was tough, I also had fun. I decided that no matter
how much it hurt, I had to smile at everyone cheering us on
and thank them, which in a weird way really helped keep me
going and going in a good mood. There was guy in the
"rolling" hills, somewhere around mile 9, who none
of us could see, but was pounding a drum so it reverberated
off the rock. A crazy woman dancing with drumsticks in her
hands entertained us at the half way point, where we also
stopped to take a photo with two TNT runners who wanted every
TNT person near them to be in their picture. The people
manning the water stops were incredible, practically jumping
over each other to hand us drinks and fruits and sponges and
all cheering like mad to help keep us going (so unlike NYC
races where the water is laid out on a table and the people
behind it couldn't care less about you). And along the whole
course, someone had written encouraging words in chalk for
their friend Tori, including my favorite, "Got Gu?"
I spent a lot of miles wondering who the hell Tori was.
From the halfway point on we could see
surfers riding the waves, and at about mile 17 Kim and I both
looked over at this pick-up truck with these two gorgeous,
blond surfer boys, all tan and wet, standing next to it. We
just looked at each other without needing to say a word. Talk
about your scenic marathons.
When we got to mile 21 and were directed off
the highway to run through the town of Lahaina, people were
outside their houses with hoses offering to spray you down. A
couple of guys had attached a hose to a tree that they could
turn on and off from a switch by their lawn chairs where they
shouted offers of free beer to us as we went by. But my
favorite race moment happened somewhere in mile 7, when a guy
drove by us in his pick-up (everyone drives pick-ups in Maui
so their surf boards can hang out the back), holding his door
open so we could all hear his stereo and the music he was
blasting for us: the theme song to "Hawaii 5-0."
|In mile 25, after hanging out with Ramon for
a mile, I hit that point where I just needed the thing to be
done and started running as much as possible, pushing ahead of
Kim. Ramon rode off so he could meet us both at the finish
line to run us in that last .2 of a mile, and was there
waiting for me with his cowbell when I hit mile 26.
Everything, all the months of training, the lack of toe nails,
the knee pain, the nausea, was worth it for those last .2
miles. I was amazed by how many spectators were still there
cheering all of us on (the elite runners had finished about 4
hours earlier), and there I was running through them, the
finish line in sight, my name, number, age, and city being
called off by the announcer, Ramon running next to me ringing
the hell out of his cowbell, and my whole team on the sideline
cheering their heads off. I'm teary now thinking of it and I
was very teary then. It was an unforgettable moment. Ramon
hugged me and left me to run those last few steps across the
line on my own, at 6 hours, 19 minutes, and 19 seconds.
Nothing has felt better than having that finisher's medal put
over my head and feeling the weight of it hanging around my
After that, I was kind of in a daze, going
through the motions of checking in at the TNT booth, saying hi
to my team and getting hugs, screaming Kim in moments behind
me, taking photos, getting my bag and picking up my finisher's
T-shirt, and trying to eat food and drink water. Jamie,
exhausted and wiped out, was kind enough to wait a few more
minutes (after already waiting an hour and 10 minutes to cheer
me in!) so I could use her cell phone to make finish line
phone calls to Tasha (who picked up in the shower because she
wanted to hear all the details and who just kept saying,
"I can't believe you're done and I have a month of
training left!"), Mike, the Asst. Coach (no idea what I
said on his machine), and my brother, Isser, my leading
sponsor (who said something like, "That's a long
time," when I told him how many hours it took me to
finish, but also said he was proud of me).
Post-race hyperness winding down, I made my
way to the massage tent. Yes, Maui treats you right and had a
bunch of massage therapists in training waiting for us. I got
a guy from NYC and chatted him up in the hopes of more massage
time, which I most definitely got. I don't know how they did
it, but these guys spent hours massaging funky runners and we
were more than grateful. I got my quads, hamstrings, calves,
lower back, ankles, and feet all worked over and it made a
huge difference in my recovery over the next few days.
But when I took my shoes and socks off for
the massage I got a good look at my feet and was horrified.
Actually, terrified might be a better word. I knew the second
toe on my left foot was getting banged up pretty badly, and I
knew the fact that some overenthusiastic teenagers at a water
stop at mile 23--who poured so much water over me they got it
in my shoes, soaking my socks--had unintentionally made it
worse, but I had no idea how bad it really was. The end of my
toe was red and inflamed, and all around the toe nail (which
was the worst of the lot to begin with) was a huge sack of
blood and pus.
I hobbled over to the blister tent, but
between being in a daze and having little faith in their
roadside doctoring ability, just asked them to put some
anti-biotic on it and wrap it in a bandage. I then made my way
back to the team members still left on the sidelines and to
Ramon to help cheer in the last of the NYC walking team. Back
at my hotel room, where Kelly my roomie was kind enough to
pick lunch up for us, I left an hysterically funny, babbling
message for Laurie back at the office and picked up a message
from my Dad, who had checked the marathon website for my time
and called with it and a "You Go, Girl!"
|That evening, we all made it to the victory
party for a little food, drink, and dancing. A few of us even
rallied enough to keep the party going and headed into Lahaina
to the Hard Rock Café (the only happening spot on Sunday
night). We drank, and joked, and had a great time until a band
started playing Death Metal. I think we all made it across the
street and into a cab back to the hotel in 15 seconds flat.
But still not finished, even at Midnight, Ramon, Jim, Rich,
Kelly and I got into our suits and jumped into the Pacific for
some body surfing. New York City really has nothing on Maui.
On the way back to the hotel from the ocean,
I showed Ramon my toe and I think even managed to freak him
out. It became more than obvious that I would have to make my
way to a doctor, which I did the following afternoon. In an
attempt not to make all of you sick, lets just say the toe
needed to be drained (which it continued to do for a week) and
I was put on anti-biotics to ensure I did not get an
infection. I was also banned from sand, which, when you're on
Maui, is not exactly what you want to hear. My big toe on my
right foot also hurt, but since it didn't seem bad we left it
alone. A mistake, as I was back in on Thursday so they could
drain that as well. A week and a half later they're both still
ugly but are definitely healing.
The rest of the week on Maui was fantastic.
I hung out with my teammates, toured the island, and generally
enjoyed myself. And despite the fact that Greg and Mike don't
seem to think I have a tan, I promise you I have one. Or what
counts for one when you're me.
And now that I'm back, do I want to keep
running? Yup, I do. In fact, I'm upset I can't run now. But my
knee needs some rest and my toe nails…well, lets just say I
went to get fit for new running shoes and the sales guy did
everything in his power to talk me out of buying new shoes so
that I wouldn't be able to run again until I'd had more time
to heal. But with new shoes that fit better, orthodics, and a
PT regime for strengthening my knee, I should be up for
training with TNT for a half marathon in April or May.
Although, I'm not sure Ramon will let me off that easy. He was
picking on me about it when Jamie and I swung by last night's
practice to say hi, saying I could race a half this weekend,.
And judging by how much I wanted to be doing the 4.5 mile
speed run with the group…who knows?
Saturday, July 20, 2002: After last
week where I ran so much I blew my knee out a little, I had a
week of not running enough. I think it's safe to say
consistency is not my strong suit. I rested my knee until our
Tuesday night group run, when we took on cat hill again, the
quarter mile hill by the Met on the East side of the park. As
difficult as these runs are, I prefer them to the long runs. I
enjoy pitting myself against a hill or hard speed work for a
few miles, getting out all the frustrations of the day, than
getting up early on a Saturday to keep my body running for 2+
And during one of my "recovery"
runs down the hill, a guy from the advanced group pulled up
next to me to say hi. I looked over, and there was this tall,
muscular guy, sweating with his shirt off. All I was thinking
was, "Hel-lo?! Come to this hill often?" Oh yeah, I
definitely prefer hill work.
After the workout, Michael had all of us
stay who had knee pain and took us through some strength
building exercises. While he was having us do squats and
lunges in the middle of the park, this group of Italian
tourists came by and started taking pictures of us and
imitating us doing our exercises. We ended up in some many
photos that evening taken by passing tourists that I feel like
we should all go on some major workout tour of Europe, hailed
"as seen in your cousin Paolo's photos."
By the time the full workout was over, it
was getting dark. An orchestra was playing in the bandshell
across the way, and I walked out of the park listening to
them, feeling great that my knee was fully functional again,
and enjoying the relaxed sensation of a slow summer night,
with fireflies sparking yellow all around me.
But I was too tired to run on Wednesday
morning, and then booked Wednesday night socially, then sick
Thursday morning (due to anxiety, my digestive track is
completely on the fritz), and home too late from work on
Thursday night to run safely in the park. This is the thing
about the marathon-I'm so glad I'm doing it, but I don't seem
to have the time or energy right now to get in my miles. I was
so exhausted after last Saturday's run, that I slept the rest
of the weekend, which means I didn't get to a lot of work I
needed to finish for my job.
However, Friday morning I dragged myself out
of bed and ran. It was hot, but it felt great to be back out
there. I went out with the intention of doing an easy three
miles, but at the end of mile one realized I really just
wanted to cut loose; so I started booking it. By the end of 2+
miles I was soaked in sweat, panting, my legs burning, my
tension and anxiety released. It was the perfect run, and
afterwards I was still so pumped up by it I put in a workout
tape and did some strength training.
The next day we all met up early, at 7 am,
to drive up to Sleepy Hollow, a town about an hour North of
NYC, to run in Rockefeller State Park. It is full of trails,
and Ramon picked an especially hilly loop of about 8 miles to
start us off with. But it was lovely running through the
woods, past cows and farms, over rivers and through fields,
the smell of grass and wildflowers and the cold mist that
lifts off a rushing, wooded stream following us everywhere.
Once back at the visitors center, Ramon let
us drink, stretch and chill out for a few moments, before he
sent us back out for more running. There was a second loop
with a big hill and Nicole and I went for it. I was a bit
wiped out, so needed to walk some of the uphills-and yes, I'm
still having problems keeping my body going through the pained
exhaustion of a long run-but enjoyed a great run back down the
trail, especially after finding some wild raspberry bushes and
eating its fruit.
Tasha and I snagged a ride back home with
Frannie, one of the mentors, and she, Esther and I had a long
talk about my five black and blue toe nails, especially the
three with the blood blisters under the nails. Seems like my
shoes aren't cutting it, even with the thicker socks I bought
to help stop my heel from slipping forward (which causes my
toes to bang the front of the shoe as I run). I'm going to
need to make some time, and gather some money, to get new
shoes and possibly orthodics for the insoles, as well as see a
podiatrist about my healing my toenails.
When Frannie dropped Tasha and I off at an
intersection near my place, we had the very funny problem of
trying to get out of the car quickly while our extremely stiff
joints and muscles fought against us. There was a lot of
groaning and laughing on our parts before we started limping
back towards home.
Sunday, July 14, 2002: A good
week of running, although I never relaxed enough to let myself
get the sleep I needed after the Bronx Half. I should have
crashed for a good two hour nap, but pushed myself through to
finish work and felt the lasting detrimental effects of that
choice all week.
But after a day off of running on Monday, I
was back at the group run on Tuesday night. For those of us
who did the half, we could either run 4.5 miles slow or do the
hill run if we felt our body could take it. As I showed up
late from work, I did a 5 minute out and back to warm up and
then caught up with the team on the hills. We did a slow
recovery from 86th to 90th Street, and then sprinted the hill
from 90th back to 86th three times. Ramon was showing us how,
by pumping our arms more, we could go faster without
necessarily lengthening our stride and losing efficiency.
It was pouring rain out, which felt
fantastic, and was exactly the kind of workout I needed after
a very hard, long two days at the office. Nicole was there,
who I had done part of a long run with weeks before, and she
and I arranged to meet up and run the next day. We clocked 3
miles together Wednesday morning at the reservoir in the park
with her friend Sunny, and then we all did another 3 miles
together Friday morning, running along the water in Riverside
Park. She and Sunny are both great to run with, make the miles
go by faster, and best of all, knowing I've promised to meet
them gets me out of bed!
Come Saturday morning, though, I was
exhausted. Between long hours at work, marathon training, and
a host of other commitments, I'd worn myself down quite a bit.
I almost didn't make it out of bed. However, I was excited to
see everyone, had brought Gu (something akin to a Powergel)
and was looking forward to trying it out, felt well hydrated
and utterly determined to run 10 miles straight, which I had
yet to master.
I took the run slow, and while I'd started
out with Jamie and Tasha, decided not to keep up with them as
I knew how tired I was and how much I wanted to make the
distance without conking out. And honestly, I was really in a
mood to run on my own. I didn't feel like talking. I just felt
like enjoying the park, some relative quiet and meditative
time with myself, and the feeling of my body running. I was
also experimenting with how to keep myself going on my own,
breaking the run down into distances I could enjoy and
mentally handle without feeling overwhelmed.
And I was doing great. I took the Gu at 5
miles and loved it. I had finally hydrated enough on a run to
feel good. In fact, I had hydrated so much I had to go to the
bathroom, which kept me going for a good mile or so until I
reached the boathouse bathrooms.
I came up on mile 8 feeling tired and a bit
sore, but also confident that I would complete the run. And
that's when my knee decided it was thoroughly sick of me and
all this running. Now normally my knee hurts at some point, a
little soreness here and there is to be expected, but this was
shooting pain that was cramping both my knee and my thigh to
the point that I was limping.
So I stretched out a bit, walked for a
minute to two, and then ran again. Then my knee would hurt,
and I would start the process all over again. This went on for
pretty much the rest of my run. It shouldn't have been
devastating for me, but given how exhausted and emotionally
wiped out I'd been the past two weeks, it just did me in.
When I got home, I sat down on the floor
next to my cat and started crying. It was more from all the
pressure I've been feeling these past few weeks at work and
general exhaustion than anything else, but I just felt so
disappointed by my run. At the same time, there was a large
part of me that was laughing at the utter ridiculousness of
crying because I'd walked a half mile of a ten mile run.
Especially when I think about how three months ago, running a
half mile was a long run for me! Also, I ran approximately 32
miles this past week. 32 MILES! Can you say someone needs a
After crying, though, I felt much
better-cleansed of a lot of pent up emotion, and determined
again to enjoy every moment of running and making it to the
finish line. Then with a few breaks to eat, I promptly fell
asleep for the rest of the day.
Sunday, July 7, 2002: I'm not sure
where to start, with how great today was or how difficult. So
lets start with last night instead. After a day of having
people over to chant for hours and hours (which was great!),
the carbo-loading dinner was a lot of fun (thank you, Peter,
for arranging it), and it was really encouraging to talk
through pre-race anxieties with my teammates, as well as just
joke around. It was also great to see everyone with normal
hair, smelling good, in non-running clothes.
Then, after about 6 hours of relatively
solid sleep, I met up with Tasha and the rest of the team to
head up to the Bronx for the Bronx Half Marathon. I really can't explain how much anxiety
I had, or how many doubts, or how completely clueless I was
about race things: like that I'd need to clip a race time chip
to my shoe, or that my bag check number would attached to my
race number, or that the line for the bathroom would be
outrageously long and almost make me miss the start!
Then there were the things I should have
brought with me but didn't, like sun tan lotion, tissues, and
Power Gels. However, Tasha hooked me up with the sun tan
lotion and the race supplied the Power Gels and the tissues,
well, two out of three isn't bad. I also wish I had brought
some fruit for after the race, or had least thought to grab
more than one banana from the race stock at the end.
Tasha and I lined up towards the back of the
pack with fellow team members Sylvia, Pat, and Leslie. I'm so
used to races with starting guns from high school that I was a
bit confused as to what was happening when we all started
walking forward towards the starting line. Naturally, the race
started, and the front group started running. For the rest of
us, we all had to walk up to the starting line and then start
running once we had the room to move. This is what the race
chip on your shoe is for: instead of being timed off the
clock, on which you've already spent about 4 minutes just
walking up to the starting line, it times you from when you
actually start the race. At the end of the race, the clip it
off and you can read your "real" results on the New
York Road Runners website.
Once we were running, Tasha and I both let
go of the anxiety. Suddenly, it was just like a slow Saturday
run in the park, just different scenery, set-up water stops,
loads more people, and there were numbers pinned to our chests
(which make you feel ultra-sporty). There were people
scattered throughout the course cheering us on or yelling from
My favorite exchange:
"Hey, you! In the pink
shorts. Why you runnin'?"
"Because I'm nuts,"
the runner in question yelled back.
"How far you runnin'?'
"Oh my God! You go make me proud,
And we also had great encounters with runners we
met along the course (and sometimes not so great, as in the
case of the man I saw pretty much peeing on himself so he
wouldn't have to stop running!).
The first 6 or 7 miles were great. I felt
good. It was amazing to be out there doing it. My pace felt
right. I hit the zone and was just chugging along. When we hit
that halfway point at 6.5 miles, I thought, "Wow. I'm
really doing this."
But then, I don't know, at about 8.5 miles
the soreness kicked in, I got tired, and running was all about
mind over matter. Except my mind just didn't seem to want to
be Master. Tasha and I had both taken Power Gels at about mile
7, a little later than we should have, and I honestly couldn't
take even half of it because the sugary-sweet utter chemical
nature of it just made me ill. I tried having more of another
one at the next water stop, but couldn't do it either. So I
didn't have much in the way of food energy to help keep me
going, which you're supposed to have (and which I'm now going
to have to play around with on my long runs so I can find what
to eat instead of Power Gels).
So I started walking. And I walked on and
off for the rest of the race. Although, once I saw the Mile 11
marker, things got much brighter. I had missed the marker for
mile 10 and thought that was what I was approaching, so it
felt great to be further than I thought. Also, a part of me
just said, "You've got two miles left. That's nothing.
You do that as a light run before work, no sweat." So I
started running a lot more than walking, and ran in the full
last half mile.
Throughout the race, we kept doing
switchbacks, so while you were running one side of the road
out, the people in the faster pace groups would be running
back towards you. This was great, because all of us Team-in-Training people would cheer each other on. I also saw
marathon running co-worker who has been immensely supportive
and helpful to me, running with her friend and my teammate
Rick. That was really fun for me. It just felt great to be in
the same race as her, getting to cheer each other on. And then
throughout it all, our coach Ramon was riding around on his
bike, encouraging all of us, keeping us going with pep talks.
He especially helped me when I was at my lowest somewhere in
I definitely did not realize how much it
would mean to me to come across the finish line, but I turned
a corner and there it was and before it, waiting on the
sidelines, was my whole team yelling for me. And Elzy ran with
me a few steps, which I swear, meant so much to me I totally
started tearing up and am even crying now thinking of it.
Also, Tasha, who was doing great throughout the race and
pushed it in ahead of me, was there with her husband Michael
snapping a photo of me coming in. And Peter ran along with me
to the finish line, which was extremely encouraging.
It feels incredible to cross over that line.
To have everyone there for you. To know you did it. And to
know you can stop running. Drink water. Eat a banana. Chat
with friends. And stretch. But I was actually so deep inside
at the end of it, just so overwhelmed and processing
everything, that it was hard to focus or stay present with
anyone for at least 5-10 minutes. I was just so amazed I was
there, and so moved by everyone's support.
After, I don't know, it's been a little hard
for me, the fact that I didn't run the whole thing. And hard
more that I seem to continually hit some emotional wall I
can't run through on long distances, which really has nothing
to do with my body itself. There's just some part of me that
seems to give up and feels like stopping and sitting down
somewhere and crying. I've honestly been teary all day since
the race. In Buddhism, we'd say I was hitting up against my
Sensho Shima or devilish function - the biggest, deepest, most
personal obstacle unique to myself. And trust me, I know this
one well, see it for what it is, and get it. Now I just need
to figure out how to run through it!
I also took a good look at my training
routine for the last few weeks when I got home, and saw that
I've been slacking off a bit on covering my weekly miles and
that I haven't done any strength or cross training for awhile.
And since Michael, the Asst. Coach, particularly stressed the
benefits of strength training to me last night, it's time to
get back on my marathon game, get my miles in, and lift some
weights. I know this will help make the long runs better!
But mostly, despite how emotionally hard
this race was for me, I loved being out there doing it,
learned a lot that will help me out for the marathon, and feel
great about the fact that I challenged myself to do something
I've only dreamed about. I also realize that a race this
length was a bit of a stretch at this point in my training,
and am glad I took it on. I now know not only that I can make
it to the end, but how great it feels to cross the finish
Saturday, July 6, 2002: I've been insanely busy for weeks
now, too busy to write, so there is much to catch you up on!
First: California. It was so great to be
there, seeing friends, and being a part of my friends'
commitment to each other. It was a beautiful wedding. I didn't
expect to be as nervous and shaky as I was when I performed
the ceremony, but word is it went well. I have no idea. I was
just trying to stay in the moment and speak clearly!
My long run while there went well. I hoofed
it for an hour and 45 minutes, which, at my tortoise pace, is
about 9 miles. I was going to run around this reservoir near
my friend's house, but unfortunately, due to some serious
trauma over the matron of honor's dress, that wasn't possible.
So I ran the streets of Belmont instead.
Only problem is, go a mile in any direction
there and you hit up against an enormous hill. So my run
became utterly ridiculous, with me running the main drag,
turning into side streets and going as far as I could go until
the hill became too much, and turning back around. At one
point I think I ran a Senior Citizens parking lot just to get
in an extra quarter mile!
During my last mile or so I ran past a gas
station I'd run past during my first mile. I couldn't tell if
the attendant was talking to me or some really old car, but I
swear I heard him call out, "You're still running?!"
Have to admit, I couldn't believe it myself.
Unfortunately, with wedding chaos, the trip
back home, the pile of things to do waiting for me at work,
and my general exhaustion, I didn't run again for a week. And
it's ten times harder to do a long run with no mileage under
your belt than several days of running. So my Saturday long
run, ten miles in 80+ degree heat, basically sucked. I think
it was my worst run to date, mostly because I wasn't running.
To my credit, I need to say I paced myself
wrong, was dehydrated to start, and hadn't run in hot weather
in at least two weeks, but still. I did five straight and then
walked and ran the last five. According to my coach, though,
all that matters is that I covered the miles and I'm sticking
with that theory. First, he knows a lot more than I do about
this running a marathon thing. And second, it makes me feel
like less of a loser.
But my Tuesday night run was great. It was
about 93 degrees out and humid as hell (literally), but I
paced myself right and just really was in a good frame of
mind. I was completely enjoying the utter insanity of being
out in the park running hills with 30 people, sweating from
places I never knew could sweat. Ramon has us running hills
for the next 6 weeks to build strength, so we warmed up with
1.5 miles and then ran up and down cat hill (in the E. 70s, by
the Met) four times. It's a quarter mile hill, so that's 2
miles of running up and down.
What was wonderful, though, was that as a
beginner, you never get to run with anyone more advanced than
you. They sprint out and are gone. But doing hills, you keep
passing each other, cheering each other on. And it really
helps keep you going. Especially when you see the Assistant
Coaches doing twice or three times the number of hill charges
Wednesday after work I purchased some
"real" running clothes-like good long underwear in
skiing, you can't run long distances in cotton; you need
clothes that wick sweat away from your skin. And let me share
with you all that wearing cotton jog bras for miles and miles
in heat can cause some nasty chafing! So Thursday night I took
my new clothes out for spin, covering about 2.5 miles in
sweltering humidity. The clothes are wonderfully light, airy,
and I don't have that sticky feeling at the end. But I kind of
missed that lived-in, sticking to your skin, good run sweat
feeling of cotton. I'm sure I'll get over it, though, while
running 13.1 miles tomorrow!
Yup, you read that right. A bunch of us are
running the Bronx Half Marathon tomorrow. My first road race.
To say I'm terrified is an understatement. And to say I'm
completely excited and don't think I'll be able to sleep
tonight would not be an exaggeration. I really can't wait.
Tasha and I are doing it together, and we're just going to
keep each other going the whole way.
In fact, I need to book off and meet her now
to buy some Power Gels (like liquid Power Bars - I have no
idea what they taste like, as tomorrow will be my first go
with them), and then we're both off to meet the team for a
Tuesday, June 18, 2002: Okay, could I
have been in a worse mood this evening? I don't know how it
happened, I was looking forward to the group run, but with
everything going on in my life right now and the stress I've
been carrying around without a break for what feels like
months, I just really plummeted into hell this evening.
It's been one of those weeks where you feel
you can't stop for a second to take a breath; by the time I
reached Central Park this evening, all I wanted to do was
crawl into bed and sleep for hours. So I was in absolutely no
mental shape to face my body's soreness from Saturday's run
and yesterday's three miler and my sense of being completely
wiped out. I had nothing to give, and yet had to run.
We did 4.1 miles, two laps of the lower loop
doing three lampposts fast, two slow, and then doing two final
fast pushes across the 72nd Street Traverse with a slow
recovery run in-between. By the end, I was panting, my legs
burned, and I honestly didn't think I would finish the run.
But I did. I just feel horrible for being so utterly cranky
around Jamie, Michael and Tasha. Well, maybe not Tasha, she
knows me well and was utterly cranky herself.
I realized this evening, though, that I'm
beginning to hit my personal wall—mentally and, just a
little, physically—and I'm hitting it early. So I have
two options: either I don't run this marathon, which is
actually not an option at all, or I start chanting like
mad. I'm a Buddhist. Chanting is the only thing I know
to do when faced with this kind of inner negativity. It's the
only thing that's going to keep me going and keep me going in
a good mood so my teammates, coaches and mentor don't end up
pummeling my grumpy guts.
So this is what now needs to happen: I need
to chant daily. This hasn't happened for awhile, but it's
going to happen now. And I'm scheduling 3-5 hour chanting
sessions every weekend and inviting every Buddhist (and
non-Buddhist, if they wish) to chant with me. I also need to
schedule fewer things and sleep more. But everyone who knows
me knows I've been saying that for years….
Ok, I need to pack. I'm off to California
tomorrow for my friend Helen and Dave's wedding (how cool is
this: I'm officiating!). The funny thing is, I'm more worried
about having to do my long, slow run by myself (9-10 miles!)
than I am about performing the wedding ceremony. But I am so
looking forward to this weekend. I really need some time to
myself, and some time with my good friends from college.
Saturday, June 15, 2002: 7.8 MILES!
That's what I ran this morning. And it felt great. After a
week of crappy runs and intense pain, it felt so amazing to
have a solid, relatively pain-free run. You get addicted to
that, to having good runs. Trust me, I never thought it would
happen, but when your running is off, it feels like your whole
life is out of whack. Plus, you don't get to walk down the
street with that post-run, low level soreness, "I'm going
to be an Olympian one day, you just watch me," swagger.
And word on the long, slow run street is
that we're all doing the Bronx half-marathon on Sunday, July
7. I cannot believe I'm running 13.1 MILES in my first road
race in three weeks! I am so excited. OK, I must be nuts. Who
but insane people would love the idea of reaching double digit
After the workout, about 10 of us went out
for brunch. There's something about being seen at your
absolute sweaty worst that really bonds you with people. But
ugh, going to the bathroom when you're soaked in sweat…it's
like that post-swim pee, wet bathing suit thing. I NEED to get
some running shorts and stop using my five year old exercise
Wednesday, June 12, 2002: So, after a
major freak out on Sunday, much worrying on Monday, a very
sweet “You’re going to be fine,” phone call from Peter,
and a quick e-mail exchange with Michael (our Assistant Coach
who is also a physical therapist) about stretching and icing
my hip, I showed up at last night’s workout dying to run but
worried about the pain. During a meeting at work that day, I
swear I was squirming in my seat from it. But Michael was
great, talked with me about it before the workout, and since
it was pain that was moving to various areas of the hip
instead of staying focused in one spot (meaning it was general
soreness and not an injury), he felt I could do the run,
taking it slow and seeing how it went.
Tasha, being very supportive, stayed with me
instead of running with the group (although it did get her out
of the night’s speed work!). Michael ran with us to start,
to see how I felt and to talk to me about my form. It ends up
I look down when I run, which makes me lean forward and hunch
over. This, most likely, is why my hip and back hurt like
hell. I spent the rest of the run having to correct myself,
trying to stay focused on the horizon. You wouldn’t think
this was hard, but try spending 30-40 minutes correcting the
way you walk. It takes some serious focus.
And I did the full three miles. In
80-something degree heat (your body turns into a furnace!) and
without speed work, yes, but also with very little pain. I was
just extremely tight at the end. Michael showed me this
amazing stretch for my hip and butt (it involves lying on the
ground with one leg folded under you and the other stretched
out behind you). It totally hit the spot. And today I feel
only about 15% of the pain I felt yesterday. I think with a
little more stretching and another light workout this week I
should be back on track for Saturday’s run. YEAH!
But this has really brought home the fact
that a marathon means pain. I knew that, of course, on one
level, but it’s a different thing when you face it. This is
going to be a really tough road for me, both mentally and
physically. And I’m terrified about what that means, but
also really excited. If I can challenge myself to do this,
what’s out there that I can’t accomplish?
Sunday, June 9, 2002: OK, I have come
to think that I'm not sore or tired, I am possibly injured.
The running hurts like hell. I couldn't do my full 2 miles
this morning; I had to walk part a good of it. Not only
disappointing and frustrating, but very depressing. I'm trying
not to get too emotional about it, but all my fears are coming
up. There's a big part of me that's thinking, "If this is
what happens when you hit 5 miles, how do you ever get to
It's that post-benefit charlie horse thing
again. Right at the hip. It hurts deep. And worse, it
continues to hurt after the running and stretching. I've just
felt like crying about it all morning, but that probably also
has something to do with the fact I'm a bit stressed out in
general and PMS-ing big time.
So, I have an e-mail into the Assistant
Coach, Michael, who just happens to be a physical therapist,
am going to lay off tomorrow (but still do some stretching),
and start getting very serious about sleep. But I'm telling
you, there's going to be a way to heal this, and quick. I have
to finish this marathon.
With some of
my fellow Maui Marathoners - Gary
Osborne and Derek Smit.
|Saturday, June 8, 2002:
OK, running still hurts. I thought taking Friday off
would do it, get me out of Thursday's running funk, but
that doesn't seem to have happened. Ramon had us run for
an hour and ten minutes. He told us not to ask how far
we ran because it was "long enough." He also
warned us to take it easy, because he's going to work us
hard on Tuesday. Judging by last Tuesday's work out, I'm
definitely nervous about that!
We ran from the park to the West side,
and then North on the running path in Riverside Park. 35
minutes out, 35 minutes back. If we paced ourselves
right, it should have taken just as long to get back as
it did to run out (which it did!). Running along the
Hudson river was great. A lovely view and fun to pass
the 72nd Street boat basin.
I did most of the run with Nicole. It was
her first time making it to a run because she was too scared
to come before. Naturally, I completely understood and tried
to share a lot of my experience with her, about how I was
terrified but now look forward to runs, and I think she'll be
there on Tuesday. The great thing is, she lives in my
neighborhood, so we're going to try to do some runs together.
But as I said, this run hurt in a way runs
haven't hurt to date. I'm beginning to see how important it is
that I sleep regularly and fuel myself right. I think I've
become a bit too focused on trying to lose weight and haven't
been eating all I should.
After the run, a couple of us went out to
breakfast and chowed down. We made the waiter bring us a
pitcher of water, and he had to refill it for us about 15
times! Dina, the Marine Corps marathon honoree came with us,
and it was incredible to hear about her experience battling
Myeloma. I can't quite put the feeling into words of being
part of this great group of women, tired but exhilarated from
a tough run, really enjoying ourselves and joking around, and
having Dina as involved in our training as we became in her
treatment through that brunch. I may be only three weeks into
this process, but I'm telling you, you need to do this
Friday, June 7, 2002: Last night
there was a shoe clinic for all us marathoners. A handful of
us made it, and had the great pleasure of taking our normal
shoes off and walking and running for Mike, a guy who works at
the Super Runners Shop and is an expert on fitting people for
running shoes. I think he fit most of us out pretty well.
And I was glad to see that I've been running
in the right shoes all along. Well, except for the fact that
they're way too old (the support in the soles breaks down
after awhile, even if the shoes are just sitting in the
closet) and were way too short. You need about a thumbnail's
width between your toes and the tip of the shoe. Evidently,
your feet expand quite a bit while running long distances.
Which explains the bleeding under my toe nails after I run!
(Yes, it hurts and it isn't pretty. You do not want to see
what's lurking under my red pedicure.)
So I now own a brand spanking new pair of
Saucony (saw-ka-knee) grid stabilizers, size10 and a half
(take a step back from the clown shoe joke). Peter took a
picture of me with them, which I know he's evil enough to post
right next to this entry, so I just want to say in my defense
that it was POURING out, I was soaked, and my hair was
freaking out. [Editor's/Peter's note: Photo to Follow]
After the clinic we all went to the Tiki
Room to drink and socialize with our fellow TNT marathoners,
triathletes, and century cyclists. The place was packed and
loud, so it was hard to meet anyone, but I chatted with a few
new people, caught up with some marathon buddies, and then
waded home through the thunderstorm.
Thursday, June 6, 2002: Baby, into
every life a bad run must fall. I don't know if it was because
I'm still sore from Tuesday's run. Or if I was overly
dehydrated while it was 70 degrees and 85% percent humidity
(at 6:30 a.m.!). Or if I'm just still tired from the benefit
craziness. But this morning's run sucked. I couldn't hit my
pace. It felt like I was trying to breath through muslin.
Usually my body hits a rhythm and I have to pull back mentally
on my body's reins to make sure I don't outpace myself. But
this morning I had to mentally kick my ass around the
About one and a half miles into the run,
when I wanted to call it quits, I started to think of Gabe,
Peter's cousin, who's 17 and has Leukemia. I grew up about a
half hour from where he lives in Greenwich, in the very
similar town of Westport, and I just thought of all the things
I was doing at his age right about now—particularly hopping
in friends' cars to go to the beach after school—and how
he's being denied all those normal things I didn't even think
twice about then. While I know there's good that comes from
everything bad—I'm a practicing Buddhist, and that's a deep
part of our philosophy—mostly I just thought of how much
that sucked. And how it definitely sucked a hell of a lot more
than my run.
So I started focusing on something Peter
e-mailed me and his other mentees: how the money TNT runners
raised helped a doctor develop a drug, Gleevec, that has
increased survival rates for people with CML (a type of
leukemia) from 7 to 70% in the past year and a half. And I
just kept saying to myself, "If this run could do that…If
this run, right now, could help create something like that…how
can I stop short?"
That last 3/4 of a mile was definitely the
most motivated of the run. And because of that, I hit my
stride and flew through it. Not that it hurt any less, but the
pain was definitely put into perspective!
Tuesday, June 4, 2002: Tonight's
session was fun. Or, maybe "fun" is the wrong word
since it hurt like hell. But I'm really beginning to look
forward to the group workouts and catching up with the people
I'm meeting on the Saturday runs. And of course, catching up
with Tasha. I've spent more time with her in the past three
weeks than I have in a year. I can already see how much I'm
going to miss this when it's over.
Now my father, if he could run (bad back),
would love our Tuesday night sessions because they're like a
mathematical word problem in motion. Tonight, Ramon our coach
had us count how many strides we make in a minute. He wanted
us to reach 170 (the idea being a more economical—shorter—stride
helps you last the distance but in no way slows you down). Of
course, most of us lost count somewhere around 83. I felt like
I was in 8th grade algebra: if Ruth runs 158 strides per
minute, and the goal is 170, by how many inches must she
shorten her stride and by how many seconds must she reduce her
stride time, using 2x+4y=z as your formula. (You must show ALL
work to receive partial credit.)
Then we sprinted laps, recovered for laps,
and sprinted for more laps. I think I officially won the award
for "Girl Who Has No Idea How to Pace Herself." I
took off much too quickly and my quads let me know it. My body
parts are so not subtle when it comes to pain. They'll scream
at the top of their lungs, who cares if we're in public.
But I'm really glad I'm doing this. It hit
me walking home: I'm actually training for a MARATHON! I just
couldn't stop smiling. I am so happy I overcame all my doubts,
fears, insecurities, nerves, whatever, to sign up and make
that first training day. I'm damn sure this is going to be one
of the best things I ever do.
Monday, June 3, 2002: First, I need to
let all of you know that my mentor is nuts. Peter's
journal does not in any way clue you into this fact, but
the man is out of his mind. He's run two marathons in the past
two weeks. No, you did not read that sentence wrong. And he
just ran the London marathon in April. He's probably run other
marathons on the sly he's not telling us about. I think a
marathon intervention might be in order.
The good part of all this
insanity is: when he finishes the Maui marathon, I'll still
have a good ten miles to go. He'll be in more than good enough
shape to turn around and run the last ten all over again with
me. The sad part is: he'll still be able to run them faster
than I will! [Editor's/Peter's Note: I've been
at this a little longer than Ruth, so she'll catch up so
Me, I'm just happy I made it to yoga class
tonight. Getting into plank position, resting only on my
forearms and toes, was more than enough for me. Can you say,
"Ouch," boys and girls?
Saturday, June 1, 2002: That
I got up this morning at all is a bit of a minor miracle. I've
had one crazy week. On Friday, I was in more pain than I've
ever been in my life. My quads and inner thighs killed, and I
was having some horrible charlie horse in the top of my right
thigh, by my hip.
Of course, my sleep schedule got totally out
of whack, with 3 hours of sleep going into Friday, a nap
Friday afternoon, and then a night of tossing and turning
until I finally passed out again at 3 a.m. So you know why I
was thinking, "No way am I going for a f@#king run,"
when my alarm went off at 6:30 a.m. this morning. Add to that
that the two people who hold me accountable at runs—Tasha,
and my mentor, Peter—weren't going to be there, and you can
see how little there was on the con side of staying in bed,
and how very much on the pro.
But I knew that if I didn't get out of bed
and join the group, I would never go for a run. And I would
feel horrible about it all day. Hell, all week. Especially
since I hadn't had time to exercise since Tuesday night. So
somehow, I got to the park and joined the Beginner Advanced
group in a 5 mile run. Yup, you read that right. Five miles.
With my legs whispering at me the whole time, as if a
character on The Sopranos, "You're gonna pay when we get
I did it, though. Only walking for about two
minutes when I pushed the pace too fast and started to feel it
in my hip flexor. The best part was that there was a group of
us. Finally. I've been having a hard time finding people at my
own pace, except for Tasha, so it was great to run with about
five other women, all of us chatting and encouraging each
other. The more I do this, the more people I meet, and all of
them are pretty amazing. The more you get to know their
stories, the more it becomes about all of you, collectively,
getting each other over the finish line.
The run over, I naturally felt great that I’d
done it. But it was strange. I thought I'd feel crazy
enthusiastic about running five miles for the first time.
Somehow, though, the perfectionist in me looked at those
minutes of walking and the time we stopped to check on a
fallen jogger as making the run somehow less than the full
five. Stupid, yes, but there it is. I'm just reminding myself
what I overcame to get there, what I accomplished once there,
and then, that I hobbled a mile back home. How can I not see
that as impressive?
And strangely, after the run, the walk, and
all the stretching, I feel better than before the run. Looser.
In less pain. But not less tired. I can't resist the siren
song of my bed anymore.