Running: How It Changed My Life

midnightsunrun

Today, I found two (nearly) complete strangers to run the Equinox Marathon Relay with me (http://www.equinoxmarathon.org/). Because so many of my friends are running the complete marathon, I was inspired to be part of it. However, I am not ready to run a whole marathon (26.2 miles), especially this one – being notoriously one of the most difficult marathons in the nation. Full of single track trails, tough hills, ruts, roots, perhaps some wildlife and not to mention – it comes at a time of year where it could be pouring down rain and muddy, or freezing cold with snow on the summits.

But moving along, three days ago and less than 2 weeks to go until raceday, I got the bright idea I was going to do the Marathon Relay, which consist of 3 person teams splitting the marathon into 3 legs – roughly 8.7 miles a piece. Leave it to the racing community, I send an email to my Goldstream Girls on the Go Running Group (http://goldstreamsports.com/new/news/goldstream-girls-are-on-the-go/) and in no time, I’ve got 2 other runners as crazy as me to commit, last minute, to run a leg of the relay. We have no goals except to finish. It’ll be a great prep to my (first ever) half marathon in October – the 2013 Zombie Half Marathon  (http://www.anchoragerunningclub.org/zombie.html) which is what I’m currently training for.

So here we are, I’m scrambling to prep for this trail-crazy marathon. I’ll be running my leg of the race this weekend so I can get familiar with it. My last race of the year is a month from today. I’m running 25-30 miles a week in preparation for it. Fairbanks weather is rainy, chilling down, leaves are turning, and summer is gone. We are all finishing up what is left of our outdoor adventures and preparing to train in what many other people would think are crazy temps and conditions. I am reflecting on a most amazing year of accomplishments.

A year ago, I was actually swimming and took up spin class to recover from an ankle injury. Since last Spring, I have lost 30 pounds and have definately toned up. That wasn’t even a goal, but my jeans sure do feel great. When I started this journey, I was running because I had to. I had to be able to run 1.5 miles in under 15:12. But after awhile, after exceeding that goal, I just kept setting new goals. What would it be like to run a 5k? So I did. The Beat Beathoven 5k in April of this year… and I almost beat him (31:11.2) Not bad for my first 5k to celebrate turning 28. I went on to run 3 more 5ks this year (Alaska Run/Walk for Autism 29:04.0; Chena River Run 30:01.7; Mosquito Meander 29:48.3), and the Midnight Sun Run 10k (1:02:24.4. #339/1940 for overall women, #147/580 for my age group). The MSR 10k was a goal of mine last year but injuries prevented training and running. But now, to be running in a marathon relay, possibly one last 5k and a half-marathon to finish this year? I never thought I’d ever be a runner, that I’d ever know the meaning or the feeling of “runner’s high” or be training to run 13.1 miles voluntarily.

Nobody can ever understand the joy and sense of accomplishment running gives me. I feel lost without it. In competition, it fills the void that drag racing last left behind, even though I’m never close to winning, I am always setting out to run a personal best. I can have conversations with runners that sound like a foreign language to others, and it takes me back to my days of drag racing, where people gave me the same funny looks when I talked “race lingo.” My friends and family that don’t run, think I am crazy. They think I’m too skinny and I don’t eat, but on the contrary, I run so I can continue to eat whatever I want – and more of it at that. Sometimes I can run with friends and make the miles fly by while I’m weeks into training that has gotten to the point of exhaustion. Other times I run alone, with me, myself and my thoughts to drown out the noise of the world and rid myself of all the bad that life has tried to build up inside of me.

Thinking ahead after my half marathon next month, I wonder what’s next on the list for training. I wonder if next year will bring the urge to run a marathon, or multiple half marathons. Maybe I’ll get serious about training to ride my bike from Anchorage to Seward. Maybe a triathlon? It’s everyday I feel blessed to have two legs, two knees, two ankles, two feet and ten toes and I can stand up, walk, and run out my door for however many miles I choose – on whatever adventures I want the road to take me.

From one mile to 13.1. What an adventure this year has been.

sunrun2

Midnight Sun Run 10k at the finish – just after 11pm

Some cool running links:
The Oatmeal Long Distance Running Comic: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/running
My new best friend, Garmin Connect: http://connect.garmin.com/
(yes, I love my Garmin watch more than I loved my Polar GPS)
RW Remy’s World (I mean, who doesn’t love the List??): http://www.runnersworld.com/remys-world
Not a runner? You can be!: http://womenshealth.answers.com/fitness/youre-not-a-couch-potato-youre-a-runner
Need some running buddies? Find a club! http://www.rrca.org/find-a-running-club/

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4 thoughts on “Running: How It Changed My Life

  1. Runner1313 – Yes and thank you! It will be my first half. I ran my last LSD on Saturday, and my ankle was acting up 8 miles in – I am afraid I might have reinjured my tendon. SO, right now I am resting, resting, resting. I am less than 2 weeks out (it’s next Saturday), so I am not planning to run anymore before the race, and hoping to rest a couple more days and get some light swimming and biking in for cardio. I’m confident in my training, so I know I will be able to do the miles as long as my ankle recovers. SO, lets hope it does!!

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