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What’s your biggest remaining challenge?

I met my end of year goal to run 5K! Plus, new books (no reviews yet).

Well, Saturday I ran 5K for the first time! No walking, no stopping. With hills, even!

I started fairly fast (for me) and made myself slow down just a bit and I was glad I did because I had the energy to run up a endless long mountain goat grade fairly steep incline (for me) at the end.

I ran with a lot less stuff — no iPod, no jacket, no fanny pack, etc. Shorts, shirt, cell phone stuck in my bra (insta-pockets!), keys hooked on my waistband. That was it. It was freakishly warm for December and I felt light and free. (I think it will seem like a breeze to run with 100 pounds less one day!)

I really enjoyed being by myself and being outside. It’s not something I experience often these days!

I am starting to see a pattern in my running now, regardless of distance:

  1. I start enthusiastically, for the first ten steps or so.
  2. For the rest of the first quarter, I’m a hypochondriac whiner. (What’s that pull in my knee? What’s that pain in my shin? Why does my foot hurt? Why am I going so slow! Why is this so hard!? How am I going to do [whatever distance]???? ACK!!!)
  3. Suddenly, I realize I feel good and it’s easier. For the second and third quarters, I shut up and stop thinking so much and enjoy the run. Sometimes I listen to music. Today, I didn’t, after having read Running the Spiritual Path: A Runner’s Guide to Breathing, Meditating, and Exploring the Prayerful Dimension of the Sport last night. (Review to come later next week.) Instead, I experimented with different contemplative prayers from my religious tradition and found one that really worked well for my running rhythm (In English phonetics, “Doxa si, Kyrie, doxa si”.)
  4. For the last quarter, I just want it to be over. I am not tired or out of breath. Am I bored? I have to be aware so I don’t just start walking out of habit. I have to stop myself from negotiating myself into stopping early. (I don’t really need to go around this block again to make the 3.2 miles, 3 miles is close enough, I can always try again next time, blah blah blah.) Now that I’m aware what I’m doing, I can tell myself to quit it and get back to business.
  5. On finish, I feel great and think, gosh, I just feel warmed up, I could go forever!

I did laugh today when I took off my sneakers and socks because what I thought was a pebble in my shoe turned out to be one of my daughters’ stick-on princess jewels. How did I not feel that until the last 1/2 mile of the run? I felt every facet at the end, trust me.

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Maybe it didn’t seem too bad because I just watched this the other day (DON’T WATCH IF YOU HAVE A WEAK STOMACH! Be sure to have the volume up to catch the commentary. Hilarious!):

That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

So, now, I need to commit to a half-marathon and full-marathon and maybe a sprint triathlon by year end. I’m so excited — there are a TON of races. I’m going to peruse and choose later. Of course, most are in Spring and Fall/Winter, given this is a generally warm area and summer would be an AWFUL time to run. I think a shorter race (5-10k) is doable by March, but a half or full marathon will definitely be on my list post-summer.

(There’s even a 100-miler less than 15 miles from my house — who knew!? I had no idea! Maybe I’ll be running that in a couple years! Maybe I’ll volunteer this year!)

Sun, December 28 2008 » Motivation, Persistence, Progress, Training journal

4 Responses

  1. Just Kelly December 28 2008 @ 8:07 pm

    Congrats! That’s awesome you finished your first 5k! Good for you!

  2. Crabby McSlacker December 29 2008 @ 11:27 am

    Interesting what you found when you left the music at home!

    Though for me, part of the reason I have to have music is I don’t really WANT to be all that present and aware when I exercise. If it’s just me and the beat it seems to work better than when it’s me and my thoughts, which tend to be of the “is it over yet?” variety.

    Congrats on the 5k, and it sounds like you’re only just getting started!

  3. Alexia December 29 2008 @ 11:37 am

    Thanks, Kelly and Crabby!

    You know, Crabby, I haven’t figured out yet if music is a good thing for me yet or not. I do get bored and I know I can go forever listening to the Grateful Dead (anyone who’s experienced space/drums at a Dead show knows about endurance ;-)) At the same time, I’m intrigued by the meditative qualities of running. I’ll probably be the kind of runner who starts off with no music, but has an emergency iPod in the ol’ fanny pack for those moments of wanting to quit. Before I dared start to run, I’d get myself out and walking by only allowing myself to listen to my favorite music when I was actually out and walking. What a treat!

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