Run Away With Me

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of my free time (i.e. baby napping time) training for my upcoming half-marathon. Now that a majority of my waking hours are spent taking care of the wee ones, I really look forward to the hour or so I spend per day adding miles to my legs and catching up on my tv viewing. A few months ago, you may even remember a post that included my half-marathon training plan. I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to stick to my plan almost to the letter — with just one minor adjustment to my long-run schedule at the beginning of March. Otherwise, I’ve been fortunate enough to stay injury- and illness-free for almost all of my training thus far (must find wood to knock on right this instant…).

I even survived my first half-marathon distance test run (13.1 miles) on Easter weekend. I figured that I could benefit from the extra calorie burn the day before one of the biggest candy holidays of the year (ah, I just love those Cadbury Mini Eggs, which I did help myself to freely on Easter Sunday). The test run also happened to fall on a beautiful, spring day, so I couldn’t help but feel happy and carefree as I made my through the surrounding neighborhoods testing out my legs, new GPS running watch and mp3 player. My goal was to finish the run in under two hours. And thanks to a brief break for some fuel (my first time experimenting with Clif Shot Bloks  – they weren’t too bad) about half-way through and the adrenaline pumping through my veins, I was able to finish my test run in a respectable 1 hour and 51 minutes. I was pumped. Considering that I threw some big hills into the mix, I was more than happy with my time. And barring any major incidents on race day, I am hoping to keep up with my 8:34 pace. Fingers crossed!

I started running about 20 years ago when I was a teenager. At the time, I was overweight and just wanted to look like all of the other thin girls in their two-piece bathing suits. After I lost the weight, I continued to run to stay in shape. Over the years, running has fit into my life in several different ways. In my 20s, running helped me keep my focus as I battled stressors such as college, graduate school and work. In my 30s, running has gotten me back into my skinny jeans after two pregnancies and allows me some Mommy-free time. I’ve run through cancer, pregnancy-loss, pregnancy-found and the host of ups and downs that life has granted me. Running has kept me in shape mentally and physically and is the one thing in my life that has always been there. I’ve laced up my sneakers overseas, in the pursuit of completing a personal best and even when I didn’t think I had the mental or physical strength to go that extra mile. Running has opened up my mind, brought me to the brink of tears and left me in so much physical pain that I’ve had trouble sitting in a chair or even walking down the stairs. But, like all runners, I am addicted to the high that I get after a sweaty seven-miler and wouldn’t trade the shin splints, runner’s knee or aches and pains for anything.

About a month ago, I signed up for a virtual 5K — the Happy (Have A Purpose Push Yourself) 5K. Basically, you pay the registration fee, which benefits the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, run anywhere and anytime you want and post your results on Facebook. Then, about a week or so later, you receive a shiny medal in the mail.

A happy 5ker!

A happy 5ker!

Since I had never run a virtual 5K before, I signed up. It felt great running for a worthy cause in my basement while the girls napped and I caught up on my reality tv viewing. I actually completed two 5Ks that day, but who’s really counting? :0)

Just over seven miles in just over 65 minutes -- not too shabby for a Friday afternoon!

Just over seven miles in just over 65 minutes — not too shabby for a Friday afternoon!

Besides benefitting a worthwhile cause, the Happy 5K exists to motivate people to take chances and strive for personal bests – two purposes I can most certainly relate to. So, I’ve tackled the 5k, 10K, 15k, and even a virtual 5K. In less than five weeks, on Mother’s Day, I’ll don a new pair of freshly broken-in running shoes for my biggest running challenge yet. I can’t wait to cross the finish line, see Clara’s and Elyse’s smiling faces and check another item off of my bucket list — my own personal Happy Half-Marathon.

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