Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Let's start at the very beginning (a very good place to start)

"Today I gave my new shoes their first proper outing- a somewhat auspicious occasion to mark the beginning of my running/training blog. The new shoes are Brooks (last pair were asics) and feel quite narrow. This may just be because I haven't quite worn them in properly, but it's something to keep an eye on. Anyway, narrow shoes aside, this morning was one of those mornings when I remember why I run. Yes, I run to keep in shape- but if there were something else out there that would make my butt look better in jeans, I'd still be running. Yes, I run because I enjoy the social aspects of my running and my club- but I could get those same social benefits from any number of different activities. Really, I run because it makes me feel right- with the world, with my body, with myself. And when I'm running through the hills in the suburbs above the harbour, and catching glimpses of the still, glassy sea when the sun's just come up, it's hard not to feel thankful. Then again, that runner's buzz comes just as easily on those freezing cold windy mornings when you're pounded constantly with sharp cold raindrops.
I was NOT a runner as a kid or as a teenager. I was the chubby, clumsy one who hung back during sports and did my best to fake my way out of cross country. During high school, I worked at losing the puppy fat, started walking, swimming and eventually going to the gym, but never running. Eventually, in my first year of university, my best friend persuaded me to give it a go, and despite a humiliating start, I was quickly hooked. Over the next couple of years I jogged sporadically, always looking at "proper" runners with a sort of envious admiration. (I'm not sure what I mean by "proper" runners- I'm certainly not trying to differentiate between fast/slow, or intensity of training programme, or competitive/social/both- I think those who I was looking up to were those who could run up a hill and enjoy it, or those who had that look of elation/determination..) Anyway, after gaining a ton of weight (well, 8 or 9 kgs, so not exactly a "ton") during a long term relationship, I decided it was time to change, went back to the gym, and eventually got the guts to try out the treadmill. I soon realised that cranking the 'mill up to 12 (km/h) gave me a massive buzz, and started to make running part of my routine again. I ran in the mornings (about 5-6km at a time) with a couple of friends, and started to enjoy it more. When I talked about running at work one day (at this stage I was doing my summer clerkship), my supervisor asked if I was planning to do a local half that was coming up. Embarrassed, I said no. That I wasn't a "proper" runner yet, although I did intend to do something about it one day. I cringed inside.
A few months later, I was at the gym when I saw a girl I know grab a race entry form from the pile on the counter. I thought to myself "if she can do it, I can" and decided to pick one up too, only to discover it was a half marathon entry form. But I put my mind to it, and found myself running my first half about 7 weeks later. My time was 1:54- a first I'm still proud of (and one that I hang onto when the going gets tough!). Started running with a Harriers club a few months later. I've now completed 7 halfs (halves?) (pb 1:42:35) and a few shorter races (nothing impressive there, a 5k pb of 22:06) and am training for my first full in a few months."

I wrote this entry in February, so it's not exactly current. But I've been meaning to set this up since then. Reading others' blogs has inspired me since then and I am continually amazed by the wealth of information and support that's out there. Wow! So, this first post is to say "me too."

A lot has happened since February. My training has gone through many challenges and I've had to adjust my goals. My recent half marathons have been 1:49 and 1:47, and training has become less of a joy and more of a challenge- though I still love it, and the way I feel, I am struggling in a way I didn't used to and it's hard. I'm learning to take it easier, and to take careo of myself so we'll see!

In any event, I hope that this will keep me honest and accountable, and I look forward to (hopefully) being able to join the amazing community of running/tri bloggers!