A story of going from being a non-runner to planning for a marathon in three years...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday Tell-All

Okay, it's not really a tell-all, but I am taking part in the interview meme that's going around. Last night's two-miler on the treadmill was uneventful (although I finally saw the How I Met Your Mother cockamouse episode) so I don't have much to report. I will say, though, that I'm SO HAPPY that the time changes next week. Perhaps just a few more days of treadmill running after work? Too bad the weather doesn't immediately warm up when the time changes.

Anyway, here's the deal with the interview -

If you'd like to play along:
1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You then update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you ask them five questions.

The following questions are from Holly.

1. What race do you think would be the most fun to participate in (as far as sights or atmosphere or something like that)?

Everyone tells me the Chicago Marathon is the place to be. Just spectating last year really got me pumped up and convinced me that I really did want to try a marathon one day. The streets are literally packed with cheering spectators at least two deep for almost the entire course. The pre- and post-race events are supposed to be unmatched. My only concern would be that I would spend the entire time trying to dodge other runners. At least, though, you know you'd never be alone. And it just seems like such a great way to see so much of the city in one day. Although, I'm sure by a certain point the only thing you're staring at is the asphalt or the person in front of you.

In terms of destination racing, what could be more spectacular than Maui? The idea of the Maui marathon seems spectacular. I don't know anything about it, though. But, come on, it's Hawaii! At the very least it's an excuse to go to a tropical place.

As for smaller-scale races, some day I really want to do the Allerton Park 5.5 Mile Trail Race. It's the most talked about race of the year for my old running group and I have very fond memories of Allerton. I volunteered at the 2007 race and had planned to run it in 2008 before I changed jobs and relocated. It's just so down-home and friendly and I'd like to do it at least once.

2. How has your body changed since you started running?

I have awesome calves! No, seriously, the muscles in my calves are more defined than they've ever been. A friend even noticed and said something. My quads are slowly becoming more defined as well. I think some of that was also due to the Pilates/stability ball class I used to take but I'm sure some was due to running, too.

Overall, I think I've toned up more than I've realized. The thing is, it isn't just running that does it. Wanting to be a better runner is the catalyst that causes me to take Pilates classes and do additional cardio in addition to the running. Before I started running I worked out probably 2 days a week. Now, with the running, I work out 5 days a week. Those extra three days definitely make a difference!

However, I haven't lost much weight. That's fine because I didn't have much to lose in the first place. Some of this is probably due to gaining muscle (which weighs more than fat) and some of it is probably due to the fact that I have to eat more to maintain my running.

3. Do you have a running idol, and if so, who?

My running idols are people who went from not being runners to deciding they wanted to run as adults...and stuck with it.

The head "coach" of the Beginning Women's Running Group is one of my idols. She told us about how her husband ran marathons with his dad and they would travel all over to do them. She became a "running widow". Until she decided to take matters into her own hands and learn to run herself. She's now quite good! I don't know how many marathons she's run, but it's a lot. She loves to run and has put her passion into being the president of the running club and coaching the women's group. Plus, she has three dogs and no kids so of course I like her :-)

4. Do you have a holy grail of running that if you achieve it, you'll feel like you've "made it", that you'd accomplished what you wanted to as a runner?

I've never really thought about it, to be honest. I run 3 days a week and I'm constantly trying to get better. I think that's all it takes to be a runner. I don't think you need to run a marathon to be a "real" runner. I don't think you need to run a sub-20 minute 5K to be a "real" runner. My goals are simple: to do the best I can every time I'm out there. To be and stay passionate about it. To support other runners no matter how fast or slow. If I ever find myself lacking those things, well, then I'll feel I've failed as a runner.

But I guess I do have a current goal of getting my 5K time under 27 minutes. But once I do that I won't stop. I'll just aim for an even faster time.

5. What has been your absolute best run? It could be a race or just a workout where you felt great.

Last spring I was really struggling with my running. Runs felt hard and laborious. My legs felt like dead weights. And then one day I went out for a run, aiming to do 7 miles, and ending up doing just shy of 9. That day I felt like I could have run forever. I have no idea what was different about that day. Similarly, this past fall I went out to the bike path and ran 8 miles. The mile 4 marker was appeared out of nowhere. The 4 miles back felt like nothing. Again, I have no idea what made that difference between that run and other runs. Let's just hope that this weekend's 9 miler goes just as well.

Speaking of my 9-miler, you may have noticed that 9 miles is my further distance ever and I've only run it once. I'm not super-apprehensive about running 9. I'm pretty sure I can do it just fine. My issue is trying to find time for it this weekend. Last Saturday I was talking with another runner about how much time training eats up. Jason indicated he would be happy when this was over. I don't know how to break it to him, but it probably won't ever be over.

I was reading somewhere (on a blog? In Runner's World? I don't remember!) about how you know you're a runner. One of the bullet points was that on weekends you get up earlier than you do on weekdays in order to get in your long run. I'm not a morning person and hate getting up early when I don't have to. But it looks like this weekend (and maybe next!) might be the weekend I get up before my usual weekday alarm to squeeze in those 9 miles. I'm trying to figure out how I can get around it. It looks like the easiest thing to do would be to push my long run from Saturday to Sunday. I just hate doing that because it makes for a tiring week. So, we'll see. All I know is that I really don't want to get up at 6AM on Saturday (when it's forecast to be 16oF out) in order to be done with my run by 9:30.


Bayjb said...

Let me know if you run the Chicago marathon! It goes right by my apartment. I always watch with a muffin and cheer people on.

kristen said...

Cool post. Good luck with your 9 miler.

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