Other than my husband and two daughters (when they are home), I don’t have much immediate family locally. My in-laws are all here, but I really miss my own brothers and sisters, especially since my parents died relatively young and I lost one of my sisters who also was my best friend to breast cancer when she was 35 and I was 32. I especially want to stay close to my older sisters; Robin who lives in Virginia and Laura who lives in Oklahoma. Robin has been my adventure partner for many years, we even walked 60 miles over 3 days for charity one year. I figured who better to visit to to experience my first half marathon? As luck would have it, the Rock ‘n Roll Virginia Beach half marathon was September 1. Perfect timing, as both of my kids would be gone, and Robin and I could begin our year-long celebration of our birthdays (I am turning 50 in September, and she is turning 60 in November).
Since Robin is not a runner, I thought maybe she would like to do the 5k race or just party at the finish line while I ran the race. She threw herself right in and signed up for the half marathon, but decided due to some nagging physical problems that she would walk it. We both started training like crazy; she following http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51131/Half-Marathon-Novice-1-Training-Program and me following a modified http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/half_marathon.html since I knew I would be run/walking my first half (I didn’t want to risk injury).
As careful as I was to follow the program, about one month ago I noticed a strange pain in the ball of my foot. Now I always have aches and pains, so I figured this too will pass. But when the pain because so severe that it was waking me up at night, I knew it was time to go to the doctor. Since I was training for the half marathon, my doctor ordered an MRI which showed stress fractures in my second and middle toes, and bursitis. Needless to say, I felt sick to my stomach and when my doctor said, “I don’t think that half marathon is feasible” the tears just came. Well that threw my young doctor off guard, and as he was jerkily tossing tissues at me he said “okay okay you can do it but you might have to walk.” Being a crier does have its advantages sometimes!
He also told me that if I felt better in two weeks, to come back, but we would set a follow up for three and a half weeks. Let’s say I had my hopes up for two weeks, but here I am at two and a half weeks and still wearing the damn CAM boot, still in pain, and wearing the boot is causing back pain and knee pain in my other leg. I am still going to the gym 5 or 6 days a week, but stuck with the elliptical, bike, and pool, and strength training. I’m following my training schedule but instead of running, I do the elliptical with no incline and hands free, to try to mimic running as best as I can. I also water jog. It sucks.
One week until my doctor appointment. I am signed up for a 5K on August 17. Stress fractures have added a lot of stress to an already stressful summer.
“Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.” – Marilyn vos Savant
By this time I had lost some weight and gained some confidence. Once I decided to start looking for races outside the Buffalo area, I also thought it would be fun to recruit loved ones to accompany me. Whether they ran, walked, or spectated, how great to have family to celebrate with at the finish line!
My first subject was my youngest daughter Morgan, who does run for exercise and who happened to be on spring break from college in New York City at the time of the Around the Bay 5k race in Burlington, Ontario. We drove up the night before and took in the expo. That’s where I saw for the first time one of my favorite running apparel stores:
Love their slogans and styles!
It was a chilly, hilly race, but we made it!
After all those 5k’s, I was ready to move on to a longer distance. At the expo in Burlington, I found out about the Chocolate Race in St. Catharine’s, Ontario. I figured I was ready for a 10k, but my running daughter Morgan would still be in school. I knew my oldest daughter, Ashley, would be home, having graduated from college, but she had not run in quite a while due to injuries. The word chocolate does have magical power over her, though, so she agreed to the race. Again, it was a cold, windy day running along the lake, but we both made it and enjoyed all the chocolate treats at the end! It was a great way to spend Mother’s Day.
It was great running with my girls, but I knew their schedules would not permit them to travel to races with me. Time to contemplate my next move!
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
― Lao Tzu
I still have trouble calling myself a “runner.” I’m slow, I have bad form, I breathe like I’m about to collapse. But a few months after I completed C25K, I ran my first 5k. It was a blustery, rainy day in Buffalo NY, and the wind was coming right at us for the first half. My goal was to finish under 36 minutes, and I did it, coming in just over 35.
The following weekend I ran another 5k (in the rain and wind again!), and this time I ran under 33 minutes.
A few weeks later, with my daughter visiting home from college over the Veteran’s Day weekend, she and my husband (a UAW worker) joined me for an UAW race in honor of veterans. It was really, really cold, and someone snuck a big hill in at the end, but Morgan even got a medal (and it was her first ever race)!
Needless to say I had the race bug! I began researching various races in the Buffalo area when it hit me — why not find races outside of Buffalo and do some traveling as well?
“If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.”
― John Bingham
In fact, I have only been running a little over a year. It all started after a yearly physical where the scales were tipped at a weight I never in my life thought I would see. Then, as luck would have it, I overheard two of my sisters-in-law talking about the C25K program, and I was intrigued. I did the research, loaded my Ipod, and out the door I went. Lo and behold, I jogged according to the program and made it! Nine weeks (or so) later, with my clothes fitting a little loosely, I had graduated from the program, and was on my own.
This is me before I started C25K, after running up Rocky’s stairs in Philadelphia.