Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Training Day: Breathlessly Running

As I mentioned before, I've taken up running the last few years.  This is mostly inspired by Greg, who actually enjoys running on a regular basis.  From the start has encouraged me in a genuine, non-patronizing sort of way.  We often run together, and though he can easily go twice as far and as fast as I can, he happily runs alongside me, letting me set my own pace.  This, in fact, makes a pretty good metaphor for our relationship overall, now that I think of it.

In Iowa a couple weeks back, we stayed with Teresa and Todd, Greg's sister and her husband.  These fine people are the parents of three highly energetic youngins, yet they still find the time and motivation to run or bike most days.  This is more than I can say for myself.  Last fall Teresa and Todd decided to run the Kansas City half marathon and invited us to join them.  In a frenzy of excitement, we booked plane tickets and hauled ourselves to KC.  Greg ran the half marathon, and I ran my very first race: the 5K.  My only goal was to finish the race without walking.  What a goal, eh?  Nonetheless, I met my goal and was absolutely thrilled with myself.

So I find myself a couple weeks ago looking through Todd's copy of Runner's World and reading this article about training for shorter races.  And since it is summer and I sit around a lot on my arse in the summer, I am inspired to train for another 5K--not just run one, train for one.  And while sitting on one's arse, training sounds like a fabulous idea!

Fast forward one week to me--mid work out--lying lost, in some cemetery, crying, complaining, and generally feeling dejected and sorry for myself.  Yup, that's me.  You see, I was visiting friends in Syracuse, and decided to do my daily run outside--not realizing that Syracuse is hilly.  Very hilly.  Hills on par with Seattle and San Francisco.  Add to that my miserable sense of direction, and that leaves me running nowhere close to the route I had intended, and going up one hill after another.  Logic would suggest that with that many hills I would eventually have to go down one or two of them, but logic was not my companion last Friday.  And so, I finally gave up and flung myself into a shady patch of grass bordering a somewhat overly cheerful cemetery.  (You know you're in a bad mood when even a cemetery seems too sunny and pleasant.)

But last night--last night I was an awesome runner.  I ran a 2.5 mile loop in the park faster than I've ever run it--faster by nearly a minute per mile.  And the huge hill?  I kicked its ass.  That hill was so surprised, it didn't know what hit it.  Greg had a look of honest shock on his face as we finished our run, jaw slightly dropped in disbelief.  Because you know what?  I have improved!  Can you tell I'm excited?

Okay, so just under four more weeks to train.  The big race date is Sunday, August 29.  A race for Kiva in Prospect Park.  Here I go.


  1. wow, that's amazing! you really must be improving to shave off so much time so fast. That's something to be happy about. And you know what? In a little while, as you keep training at your own pace, those nasty Syracuse hills won't be so hard either. I'm looking forward to reading your upcoming blog post - "Syracuse hills: Revenge of the Sarah!" :-)