Yesterday I did something crazy. I registered for the National Half Marathon on March 26, 2011. This was crazy but not at all spontaneous. It is something I've been thinking and talking about since October 12 when I was tricked into running almost 6 miles by my friends Nikki and Hadley, both of whom were already registered to run the half at the time. I continued to run with them and decided that I ought to just go ahead and run 13 miles in March if I'm training with two girls who are working up to that. After all, what is an extra 7 miles? HA!
But an extra seven miles is a lot. Six miles, in and of itself, is a lot. I don't know if I had ever just put on running shoes and run six miles before. My relationship with running has been long and unsteady for the past ten or so years. Growing up, I got more exercise than I needed by playing soccer so it wasn't until high school when I kinda cared about weight and "exercise" and crap that I started "running" for exercise. Still, I ran enough in sports that the only time I really ran was over the summer. In college, I thought I was so out of shape because I wasn't playing soccer every day and was, instead, working hard on my freshman 15 (20?!). Despite my physical inactivity and steady weight gain, I found that I could still do the occasional run with friends and do it better than they could. Unless it was on a treadmill, in which case I would lose focus and fall off the back in a University gym in front of hundreds of sweaty and intimidating college boys. I only did that once and I don't think I've been on a treadmill since. I started running again my sophomore year and had a few months of real commitment to it. It died for a year or so until my senior year when I moved in with Nicole who inspired me to start running again. That was a high point in my relationship with running. I did it 3 or 4 times a week, usually for 2-4 miles at a time, and it made me feel happy and strong and skinny. Right at the end of that year, I bought new running shoes and, being in the height of my Gilmore Girls watching days, I was lame enough to name my shoes: Lee for Left, Roy for Right, LeeRoy for the pair. I was a dork but I was healthy. Unfortunately, when I moved to DC and started working full time/living in the cold, I became one of those sedentary old ladies and failed to run more than once every month or three. That is, until I, without knowing it at the time, began training with my committed runner friends.
The problem is that I'm only training with them. I'm only running when we make plans to run together, which is once or twice a week, and I'm not doing anything on my own which they each are. I don't have a gym so I can't run inside. It is dark when I get home at night so I'm uncomfortable running alone outside. And it's cold and windy every morning and I am so not inclined to leave the warmth of my bed an hour early to get out and start my day with a run. So I've been thinking that my after work runs twice a week, that range between 4 and 6 miles, have just served as training for my training. I had plenty of time to start a real training regimen and I would get around to it once I registered for the race. Now I'm registered and the race is only three months and five days away. I am going to make moves and by the end of this weekend, I'll have done research and have a training plan for the next three months, whether I have to buy it online or make it up on my own.
Along with preparing my body for a 13.1 mile run, I'll have other important work to do prior to March 26. I am running the half as a "Sole Mate" through an organization called Girls On the Run which works to reduce the display of at-risk behaviors and encourage the development of self-respect and healthy lifestyles among young girls by providing them with the tools to make healthy decisions and form positive self-images. As a Sole Mate, I had the option to run, walk, or bike in any event of my choice and raise money for girls on the run. Luckily, I work in Fund Development and have at least some experience with fund-raising. I am excited to support the organization and the girls who will hopefully learn to be healthy enough to have a long and steady relationship with running and never gain a freshman 15. Check out my fundraising page to ensure that this can be possible for young and impressionable girls in Washington, DC!