Running

1 Aug

I’ve NEVER been a runner.  I managed to come up with every excuse in the book of why I didn’t run…It didn’t make sense, it seemed too hard, I’m not a “sporty” person, I’m not good at it so why even try.  In the past, I’ve attempted to run, made it about 2 minutes, and felt like an out of breath, red-faced weirdo.  Because it was hard, and seemed like such a long shot to get any better at it, I just didn’t try.  I realized I needed to overcome my fears of running and just DO IT!  In the summer of 2010, while I was unemployed, I decided to get my butt outdoors and start exercising.  It really helped me to have a fitness goal to accomplish every day to feel like I was being productive every day.  I started out slow…speed-walking, adding in a minute of running, back to speed-walking, etc.  The running part wasn’t lasting too long, but it was still something for me to feel like I was making a difference with.  My running, combined with the Weight Watchers program I was on was making a difference in my weight and body.  I started to feel stronger and much better about myself. 

Fast forward to winter 2011.  I was working at a new job, but realized I need to do something with my exercise routine to up the ante, as they say.  I joined a gym around this same time and started working out.  In March, I decided to sign up for the Ravenswood 5K Run scheduled for May 1st.  This was HUGE for me!  To be a girl who could barely run for ONE minute at a time, to running a 5K…it seemed like an almost impossible goal to set.  But I put my fear and insecurities aside and clicked on that sign-up button.  I realized I did best with my training before heading to work in the morning.  I set my alarm for 4:45am, got all my work clothes, toiletries, and lunch packed up while Michael was still fast asleep and headed to the gym. Many times I awoke to snow covered ground, freezing temperatures, and a million excuses in my head of why I should stay in bed.  But I got my booty over to that gym and ran on the treadmill as often as I could make myself get there.  I started to get faster and faster as I watched my time on the treadmill for my 5K.  I was gettin’ pretty darn impressed with myself!  I clearly remember the day I sent a text to my friend Hilary, telling her how great I felt after a particular day of training and how I had cut my time again.  She’s my running inspiration, running half-marathons, training in the nasty hot heat in summer time Austin, TX and sticking screws on the bottom of her shoes to train in winter time in northern Michigan!  She told me how proud of me she was, and how she knew I could do anything if I set my mind to it.  She then went on to ask me, “When’s the half-marathon we’ll train together for?”  Excuse me?!?! Ummm, what??  It was at that very moment, I had a  instance of clarity.  I realized right in that moment, I no longer had to be the girl who wasn’t an athlete, who wasn’t a runner because she didn’t “feel” like it, the girl who was just “average”.  I could make my body healthy, strong, lean and beautiful if I put my mind to it.  I remember tears welling up in my eyes, because it suddenly all became real.  It was an attainable goal and I could do it!  I will forever appreciate and thank Hilary for making me realize this could be possible.  I have the best friends a girl could ask for. 

May 1st arrived.  Race day.  I felt so pumped and nervous and excited all at once.  It was a beautiful spring day, even pleasantly warm for the first day of May.  I got all suited up, put on my bright yellow mesh (oooooh mesh! hot!) shirt.  This was over my longsleeve running shirt mind you.  No nudity involved here.  Got my bib number attached to said mesh shirt, ipod charged and ready to go!

 

We made our way to the starting point of the race.  There were THOUSANDS of people running in it!  I had no idea there would be so many!  I scoped out the situation for my starting point.  Five minute mile, 6 minute mile, 7 minute mile…wait a second. Where do I end up??  Ohhhhh, I see.  At the end, where it says “12 minute mile”. heehee.  I think they meant to put “12 minute mile ++” since that’s the category I fell into.  It was so exciting to be in that crowd of people getting ready for the race to start.  Music was playing loud on speakers all around, people came with their families, their babies in strollers, their dogs.  Everyone was in such a great mood.  I actually got goose bumps and got a bit misty eyed when the race started.  All that adrenaline flowing and emotions coming thru.  I’m running my first race! How can it be??   I made it thru the race at my own pace, not terribly fast, but not the slowest person out there.  I only had to walk just a teensy bit, because I had so much energy pushing me forward to get to the finish line.  People were cheering and clapping on the sidewalks watching the racers, adorable handmade signs helped us stay motivated, whole families got into the festivities.  I remember getting into the home stretch.  I was pretty much near the end of the pack, so it had cleared out in the runners area.  I could see Michael off on the right side cheering and waving to me near the finish line and I was able to give a huge smile and wave back.  I crossed that finish line and it felt amazing.  It was one of the best feelings I’ve had in a long time and it felt so good to be able to run over to Michael and share my happiness with him, sweaty, red-faced and all.  He was so supportive of me throughout my training and on race day.  He was beaming with pride for me.  I should have taken a picture of him too!

 

“Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it’s all about.”
-PattiSue Plumer, U.S. Olympian

“In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.”
-Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder

I think this quote pretty much sums it up:

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”
-John Bingham

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One Response to “Running”

  1. Hilary August 2, 2011 at 5:37 am #

    Carisa, this is AWEsome!! I love this, it’s such a perfect description of what that first super exciting race feels like! Now you’re the one inspiring me to get back at it! 🙂

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