Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Musings of a...runner?

So, apparently I'm a runner.

Who would have thunk it?!  I'm technically still in disbelief despite the fact that I've got some charts to actually prove it!  ...Although I don't really know why I'd be in any kind of shock considering it took about three and a half years to get here.  Technically, I should be mad it took this long! *LOL*

For some background info, I should mention that three years ago, my friend Tara and I got it into our heads that we would complete the Couch to 5K program over our lunch hours.  I ended up cheating and doing most of the program on the treadmill and I was more focused on just being able to run for half an hour as opposed to actually running 5K, so colour me surprised when I actually hit the pavement and wanted to die before getting even close to running a kilometer, let alone five of them! 

Even after I was able to finish the program and run a continuous 5K, like I mentioned, it wasn't even close to a 5K and it was always a constant STRUGGLE.  I mean, struggle is such a tame word for what I felt when I was running.  Imagine running and looking desperately for a car to jump in front of just for an excuse to lay down and rest.  THIS was my relationship with running.  Tara and I would huff and puff by smiling blonde ladies happily prancing down the sidewalk in their cute little outfits not even breaking a sweat or we'd kind of stumble by that tall, lanky-legged man who effortlessly jaunts around the track like it's no big deal.  This was us as runners.  We would talk to other people who said they never used to be runners and then all of a sudden tried it and just fell in love with it.  We could not relate.  We HATED it.  

Signing up for some runs -

CONFESSION: The only runs we would sign up for involved receiving medals or free running jackets as part of the package, otherwise we wouldn't even consider it

- just to make sure we would stay accountable, we were able to finish them with finishing times that are nothing to write home about.  Basically, before a run would start, I would look for the biggest, slowest person I could find - CONFESSION: okay, okay, sometimes I may have looked for a pregnant person - and I made it my goal that I would at LEAST beat that person.  That was pretty much the extent of my ambition.  Beat the big, pregnant lady.  This was cause for celebration when I actually did it - and yes, there were times that I didn't.  Freakish pregnant runners!

Eventually, even finishers' medals couldn't hold me.  The runs tapered off until I pretty much just stopped running and accepted the fact that I was one of those people who were destined never to be runners.  And I was cool with that.

Instead, I focused my efforts on getting better at ultimate frisbee that my friend Melissa and I signed up for just to give us something else to do besides sit around at home or decorate cakes (we also took that up around the same time). I say that I focused my efforts on this instead because we - or I guess I should speak for myself and say I - was TERRIBLE.  As in, on the very first day, we got yelled at for not running enough (or at all).  So I took my goals a little bit at a time.  First goal, not to get yelled at during a game.  It took a while to fully attain that goal.  Second goal was to catch a frisbee, which involved running around enough to be able to escape my stalker - er, I mean the person who was guarding me.  My next goal was to "D" a frisbee, which means I have to be able to run enough and fast enough to be able to keep up with the person I was guarding and smack the disc away from them if someone were to throw it to them.  Last goal was to score a point.  Which is just like the second last goal, but to actually catch it in the "end zone".  I systematically worked through this and about a year later, I was able to check off all of those goals.  Boom.  All of a sudden I was an ultimate frisbee player - and now...a captain no less.

CONFESSION: Okay, before I let you be all impressed, I should point out that you don't really have to do anything special to be a captain.  You just sign up a team and being captain means you're in charge of entering the scores at the end of the game and sending out E-Mails to people to make sure they actually show up to play on time at the right field.  But whatevs, technicalities!

Somewhere in there, I finally had enough of what my life had become - which was an endless trip to fast food restaurants, drive-thrus and perhaps small stints of crying in changerooms with clothes that were increasing in number.  I definitely enjoyed the poor eating part, but inevitably, there comes a time when you look down at your taco that you've eaten for the third time in a week and you think to yourself...there's got to be more to life than this.  I finally hit this moment and it pretty much started this foray into not losing weight, but changing up our lifestyle.

I finally said to myself that we couldn't keep on going like this and eventually when we had kids, we would want some semblance of health, to be able to teach them to eat well and to actually have money to raise them as opposed to blowing it all on eating out at restaurants.  With that lifestyle change came a bit of longevity.  It's only been six months, so perhaps I'm speaking up too early, but I think because my original goal wasn't just to get skinny however I could doing whatever I could, it's been the difference between sticking it out and quitting and going back to the same ol', same old.

Fast forward to a few months ago and my friend Courtney is raving about these shoes.  For anyone that knows me, I like looking the part and basically just having fitness "stuff".  So I'm looking at those shoes and I'm thinking I want them.  But shoot, they're running shoes and I don't run.  But I want them.  Needless to say, once I got it into my head, I had two pairs pretty much the next day.

Well, what the heck am I supposed to do with these running shoes?  I figured I would try them out and take a picture for posterity.  Then I could be justified in owning them because Instagram saw me use them once for what they're actually made for.

HOLY MOLY, I ran 5K.  Seriously.  I was in shock.  I had originally dragged out the treadmill from underneath a PILE of junk and then spent a LOT of time looking for all the plugs and parts I needed to actually get it to work before I even got on it and then I went and ran 5K?  I only meant to be on it for a few minutes so I could take a picture!  What the heck happened?!

The next couple of days, I got on the treadmill and tried it again to see if the first time wasn't a fluke, and there it was again!  3.2 miles flashing up in little LED lights.

Of course, I attributed a lot of this new mileage I was now logging to my Skora shoes, because there's no denying that my feet have never felt that good while running.  Tara had front row seats to the suffering of my feet when trying to find shoes that would work with my feet.  I'm pretty sure I blew through more than a couple hundred dollars spending money thinking that I get what I pay for and that one of these days, I would find the shoe that would just make all the difference.  It took three years, but here they were now finally on my feet!!!

Of course, I'm not saying that just buying a pair of shoes (however AWESOME they are, and trust me, Skora's are AWESOMESAUCE, my friends) will turn anyone into a runner of any sort.  The second attribute I had to give a nod to was my foray into ultimate frisbee. 

I think because we got yelled at on that first day and I made it my mission for that to never happen again, I got really into ultimate - not to mention the fact that it's super FUN - especially now that we're actually winning games and stuff! 

It's not actually going out and playing frisbee that I think turned me into a runner, but what it entails.  Basically, ultimate is pretty much 55 - 90 minutes of super quick sprints coming to a dead stop, pivots and flat out running and or jogging for long amounts of time or in short bursts.  I think I had read somewhere that sprinting helps long distance running and here I had put it to the test.  It was a very slow, uphill battle, but I knew I had improved quite a bit from that first day on the turf, but I didn't realize that this new skill translated into efficiency elsewhere until I finally got back on that treadmill with the help of some beautiful, bright white, pink, blue and lime green Skoras.

The final test before I finally admitted I was a runner was getting off the treadmill and taking my Skoras outside.  Living in Canada, it was a while before I could actually do this and Mother Nature is actually conveniently forgetting what she's supposed to do once spring hits since it snowed again this morning, but that's beside the point.  I was able to go out and I had some reservations about my 5K abilities since I learned firsthand that treadmill running is nowhere near equivalent to running outside unassisted with a moving belt.

Except, there it was again...5K - and the surprise?  I run faster outside compared to running on a treadmill.  Go figure!

So is this really it?  Me?  Catherine?  A runner?

Sure looks like it, doesn't it?

Going to cut myself off here because it looks like my hiatus from blogging is coming back to create the longest blog post ever!!!  If you've made it this far with me, *HUGS* thank you for your time!

Anytime you ever feel like going out for a run...give me a call...chances are, I might actually say yes and throw on my shoes and join you :)

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