Despite all appearances to the contrary, I did not start life as an athlete. For one thing, I don't have a lot of self-discipline and the whole practice thing didn't click for me - I expected to be able to do things right away and got discouraged and quit when I couldn't. Also, I have no hand-eye coordination and have never, even with practice (golf, I am looking at you) been able to consistently do anything with ball sports. I was a happy bookworm, and never felt the lack of athletic talent.
I college though, I had to get consistent about exercise - we were required to participate in a sport every season (clubs, intramurals, or in the athletic program) and since it was a military school, there were lots of push-ups and running. Over the years, I began to enjoy running, especially in areas where I could sightsee while I ran. I tried lots of other things - yoga, weightlifting, but nothing stuck until the trapeze and circus arts. I've kept running, but never a long distance until recently. My friend D decided to run a half marathon last year and since I'm slightly competitive and her training sounded fun (and she looked *good*), so I decided to join her in a team to enter the raffle for the Nike Women's Half Marathon in DC.
Somehow or other, we made it into the race. My response to the e-mail from Nike saying we were in: Does this mean I have to do this now? Yes, it does. So I started training and somewhere during a 7 mile training run I stepped on something (the Tidal Basin in DC is beautiful but treacherous) and messed up my left hip. It took four weeks to admit I needed to see a Physical Therapist to rule out actual damage and another four to decide maybe I needed to stop running. 14 weeks later, I started running again...but even two miles hurt my hip. So I did what your average nutcase would do - I ran it anyway.
I went in with a plan - run what I could, stop to walk before I felt fatigue, and assess at every mile marker. And I was committed to stopping if the pain was excessive. So I lined up...slightly concerned but excited.
D is a Boston girl, and the race was two weeks after the Boston Marathon Bombings, so she wore her Boston gear. I just went with pink. And I stuck with my plan. D set the pace for the first three miles and I kept up pretty well, especially given that I hadn't run more than two miles in the two months leading up to the race. I stuck with my plan, and at mile 3, walked for about 3 minutes while D continued.
I figure I ran about 10 of the 13.1 miles. Around mile 10, I met up with another runner recovering from an injury and we did the last three miles together, right down to running across the finish line. Sadly, we lost each other after we were separated into size-based lines to get our "Finisher" t-shirts. I did manage to join back up with D, a small miracle given the overloaded cell circuts at the finish line. We don't look too bad after all that running, do we?
The Nike Women's Marathon series is a fund-raising race for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society - and there were plenty of affected people out running or supporting the runners, including this little one and her dad. There were lots of people in purple Team in Training gear, having trained for the event through their fund-raising/training program, and they were out in force as coaches and cheerleaders as well. Which leads me to my next accidental athletic goal: the Marine Corps Marathon.
Really. I should not be allowed to attend informational meetings, because before I knew it, I was thinking "Hey, I ran 13.1 without actually training and the worst discomfort I had was quad tightness for a couple of days. I could totally do a marathon." Before I knew it, I was signed up with Team in Training to train and fundraise - fundraising being the part that worried me more than the distance. So here I am, posting a request and a link to my brand-new fundraising page for Team in Training. I know things are still tough, but if you have a little to spare, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society really do good things.