My Super Sweet 13(.1)

A 1st Half Marathon

83 Days Until… (Motivated to Move)

My rain-soaked bib from February 4th's Snowman Shuffle 4 Miler - I have officially completed the 2011-2012 Polar Bear Grand Prix!

What a week. And to end it with a four mile run in 40 degree weather? Why not? I ran with my boyfriend and got a wave in to a fellow Blue Mile trainee! (yay for Twitter connections!) – and we made decent time. I walked a little before the big hill; I do most of my training on Cherokee Park‘s scenic loop, and I have mental issues with the two big hills. But I have run up both of them, consecutively, and I run up at least one of them on my runs, which are getting more frequent as the Derby Mini gets closer. I’m still feeling butterflies about it, but I went ahead and signed up for the Papa John’s 10 Miler today (I already signed up for the Rhodes 10k, but I can’t make the 5k due to a wedding, which is irking me ’cause I really wanted to complete another “trio” of races); it’s the day after my birthday, so that’s kind of a cool way to start off a new “year,” don’t you think?

This was a productive running week. I didn’t go to Iroquois Hill Park to run like I mentioned on Twitter, but I did go on a great hour run on Tuesday – the weather here was surprisingly awesome for the majority of the week – and I didn’t chicken out of the group run on Monday like I did last week. I took Wednesday off, walked and yoga’d Thursday then gym’d and yoga’d Friday so I wouldn’t mess myself up for the Snowman Shuffle 4 miler today; I have officially finished my first Polar Bear Grand Prix! I ran outside in the crappiest months of the year! Well done, self!

I’m being congratulatory because it’s been hard to get motivated this week. I’ve got all sorts of aches and pains (mainly my hips) and I’ve been hydrating and stretching and all that, but running longer – and running three times a week – is still something my body’s getting used to. Luckily, Blue Mile’s been good about talking about soreness issues, and regular yoga – I do at least 20 minutes every day – helps. I’ve been trying to motivate myself with future goals – I’ve decided to try a marathon next year, or maybe at the end or middle of this one, and I’ve decided that when I’m 33 (I’ve got a few years to prepare and 3 is my favorite number) I will run the “original” marathon in Greece, from (appropriately) Marathon to Athens. It’s a very tough, hilly run, but I like how you can travel with running – I loved combining physical exertion with seeing another country when I hiked in Peru, and I’ve got all sorts of ideas on how to do that again. Also, my boyfriend, who isn’t as into running as me, and I have discussed future participation in triathlons (though I don’t think I could do an Ironman – ones with 10ks and a mile swim is what I’m thinking), which gets me excited for our active future. Finally, and what has probably helped me lace up this week the most, is that I also read Haruki Murakami‘s fabulous book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (2008), which has made me even more ambitious and determined with my running practice. Here’s a snippet:

“Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive than in a fog, and I believe running helps you do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits; that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life – and for me, for writing as well. I believe most runners would agree.”

As you might glean from the quote, Murakami has a near Zen approach to running, self-discipline, and is the sort to make (and achieve) big goals (I think he’s run 24 marathons, and he started at age 33). But I don’t run because I want to live forever, though I do want that distance-runner resting heart beat, as genetics on both sides of my family point to a nearly unavoidable relationship with high blood pressure (I will fight it! Healthy diet included!). I don’t run because I want to loose weight anymore either, because I just don’t care about that part of it – I’d like to be leaner and stronger so I can go faster, which takes care of itself the more you practice and eat properly when training, but it’s not why I run. I run because it is a challenge, and I am working through it with determination and curiosity, and I, like Murakami (and apparently many others) enjoy “exerting [myself] to the fullest within [my] individual limits” and I strive to live my years “fully alive”; I just have to keep at myself to do it. And I really think that’s half the victory of any run – the race, the long one, the speed one, the slow one, the hilly one – the fact that you, well, just do it.

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