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Entries in running (11)

Monday
Jun012015

13.1

Two years ago I registered for the Dexter Ann Arbor Half Marathon run. I trained heavily for it and had reached and surpassed my training goal of 12 miles long before the race. Too long before, it turned out. With the race still six weeks away I was side-lined with what was probably a repetitive stress injury. I cried on packet pick-up day and filled race day with other events to keep my mind off my loss; when you've worked so hard for something, it's hard to let it go.

I was forced to take most of that summer off, and only two months after restarting my running schedule in the fall, I slipped on ice and sprained my ankle. I was forced to take most of that winter off, too. I started to believe that I wasn't cut out for running, and since I rely on my fitness schedule to help keep my depression and anxiety at bay, that was a depressing thought. I gave in to my couch potato tendencies, and as I became less active, I struggle with despondency increased, and old injuries started to nag me again. I stopped even thinking about what it felt like to be strong and healthy and to feel deeply content and happy. I had accepted that I was getting older and would probably never have that again, and that I just wasn't able to run a half marathon. I accepted that it just wasn't in me.

Acceptance can be a great ally, but it can also be a hindrance. I had to break through the barrier of my acceptance, and my fear of failure, before I could get out and get moving again. I'm not entirely sure what triggered the move on my part, but I think it began with a cherished memory of early spring mornings spent on running trails, listening to the birds and watching the warm orange sun rise. I missed those moments a lot, so, one morning, last spring, I hit the trail.

It was slow going at first, and I certainly didn't return to running with a half marathon on my mind. Some runs I was barely chugging through two miles, but I was running, and I was running without pain. I changed my routine, running only three days a week and alternating with cross training on another three, a method that is said to help avoid stress injuries. By the end of the summer I was up to four miles, my time down to ten minutes each, and I was still running without pain. I continued through the winter and improved further on my time and distance, plus with all the exercise, the winter blues never visited. Even better, with all the cross and strength training I was doing on the off days, many of my nagging aches and pains, like the pinched nerve pain in my writing arm, had disappeared. I had not just returned to my previous level of fitness, but by safeguarding my injury-prone areas with the new routine I had improved upon it.

I was doing so well, that this spring I signed up for the Dexter Ann Arbor Half Marathon again. This time I "trained" by keeping to my routine and just adding a few miles to my weekend run every few weeks. This spring, this time, I reached race day not only healthy, but in better shape than two years ago, when I had trained so much (too much) harder.

This year I ran that half marathon, in a cold chilly rain. My boys, who always support me in everything, were there at every spectator spot cheering me on from under umbrellas and ponchos. I crossed the finish line, where my boys and my parents were waiting, in just under two hours and eight minutes (2:07:57), averaging about 9:45 per mile. I did it.

Thursday
Mar122015

Week 10, in pictures

March 5: Legacy
by Calvin

by Cortney

 

March 6: Loved
by Calvin

by Cortney

 

March 7: An heirloom
by Calvin

by Cortney

 

March 8: Green
by Calvin

by Jon

by Cortney

 

March 9: Lime
by Calvin

by Cortney

 

March 10: Stems
by Calvin

by Cortney

 

March 11: Turf
by Calvin

by Cortney

Saturday
Nov082014

Turkey Trot

At Calvin's annual physical, his doctor asked him about the amount of exercise he got each day. Now, in the past we've been pretty lazy about this on a regular basis. We go hiking on a lot of our weekends, and some of our weekdays, and we'd go biking every now and again, but on a lot of our school days we didn't have structured exercise mixed in. When he asked us the same question last year, I realized that with homeschooling there was no gym class, and we started training for our local Holiday Hustle run. The first few runs he ran some and walked some, but when the race rolled around, after a month of running about 3 times a week, he finished in about a 10 minute mile.

But when the question about exercise came up this year, we were a little more prepared. Since Calvin learned to ride his bike sans training wheels this year, he would break up almost every fall school day with periodic rides around the neighborhood. And since he met the girl who lives next door and the two became fairly inseparable, he's spent almost every afternoon riding bikes or racing through our yards. His pediatrician listened to his answer this year and replied, "Oh, so you participate in the sport of RALAMM, then," which he explained gleefully to our blank stares meant "Roll Around Like A Mad Man."

And yes, I'd have to say that he does participate in that sport a lot these days. And between that, the regular biking, and the Parkour class he took weekly through our homeschooling group this year, when we started training for the one mile this year, he nailed it. The first time out he finished his mile in 10:30, no walking, and probably would have gone faster, but I was pacing him. We kept to a steady training schedule anyhow—on Sundays he and Jon biked 3 miles around Hudson Mills while I ran, and twice a week Calvin and I would run a mile together.

This year we're busy on Holiday Hustle day, so he signed up for the local Turkey Trot charity race instead—one mile around Hudson Mills trails—and the day for that was today.

Cold and rainy—not a perfect day, but not terrible like running in the Shamrock Shuffle in several inches of wet, wet snow, either. To get my own run in for the day I started out from home intending to meet Jon and Calvin at the starting line, about 6.5 miles from our front door. Unfortunately I underestimated that distance by about a mile, so I missed his take off, but I did get there just in time to see him cross the finish line less than 9 minutes later.

Maybe next year we'll sign him up for the 5k.

Monday
Dec092013

A first race

Last spring it was his first soccer team, and now it's his first race. We've been running together. Our neighborhood has a one mile outer loop that has been perfect for starting out. I found that to be true when I restarted my hobby after Calvin was born, jogging that pushing an increasingly heavy toddler in front of me. The first time I went out without the baby in the stroller I found myself running an unexpected pace and feeling surprising light. And now, here I am taking that same short path with that same toddler running along beside me, not so much a toddler anymore. Strangely, it doesn't feel poignant, only fun.

So we prepared together through the past few months, slowly adding distance and cutting time, until we were ready and the day for his first race was here. I had, foolishly, expected it to be warmer. Last year I was swealtering at the finish and wishing I had worn shorts. This year we were huddled in the warming tent before starting, but the weather failed to deter us or our cheering section. Calvin finished his first 1 mile race in a respectful 10:13, and I finished my first 3K of the year (a little late, I know) in a pleasing ~27:30. 

And then we joined our cheering section at Aubrey's for pizza.

Sunday
Jun022013

The best medal of all

And another good intention bites the dust.

Early this morning runners from all over the area lined up at the school around the corner and took to the streets to run 13.1 miles into Ann Arbor. Running Dexter-Ann Arbor half marathon was a goal I set for myself at the beginning of the year. It was to be my longest run ever, my first half marathon. 

Unfortunately, after months of hard training, I found myself sidelined by a nagging hip injury, and I ended up spending this morning at home with a cup of coffee, being challenged by no more than my own feelings of anger, frustration and defeat. Yesterday, after Calvin's recital, we stopped by the expo to pick up my runner's packet. I'd paid for it, after all, and it came with a t-shirt. Up until that point I'd been feeling disappointed in myself, but seeing my name up on the board and holding my "half marathon" bib number in hand launched me straight into hearbreak. I actually cried on the way home. 

But even though I didn't run the race, my family reminded me that I had won just the same. I had trained, met all my goals leading up to the event, and proved to myself that I could do more than I'd ever thought myself capable of, and for that I earned the best medal of all: I'm proud of myself.