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Running Shoes: BEFORE

So here’s the thing. 

I had this whole post planned with the title:  You Don’t Expect Me to Run Up THAT, Do You?  And the post was about the Wild Wild Wilderness Run hosted by the Kennekuk Road (and must.not.forget.the.TRAIL) Runners a couple months ago. 

That trail featured 7.55 miles of pure running torture.  (So terrible that I plan on running it again in the arctic weather we surely can expect during the Sibearn Express on January 2, 2010.)  Seriously, though.  It was terrible.  There was a nearly vertical hill that only mountain goats or really nimble deer should ever be expected to climb, one that hugged an earth wall and where a single step to the left would leave a person pummeling hundreds of yards to their demise in a thornbush-infested ravine.  There were three or four miles of challenging, but bearable terrain that initiated the uninitiated WWW trail runner.  Then (surprise, newbie!) the turn-off to the hill-from-hell.  Only to be followed by three or four miles more  of Really. Hard. Trail Running. 

Now, I love running hills.  But these weren’t people-hills.  They were animal-only hills.  And those super-runners who could just prance up them with ease–well, I’m astounded by those people.  They need a special category of fitness just for them.

As for me, I was so proud of Finishing Without Dying that I floated along on that experience for quite some time.  It mattered very little to me that I was near the Very End of the pack.  I was thrilled beyond words to have finished on my feet instead of a stretcher.

So that was the essence of the post I was going to write.  Because that was the craziest trail I’d run so far.  Until today.

Today I was introduced, quite accidentally, to the Backpack Trail at Forest Glen.  I personally believe they call this the Backpack Trail because most normal humans would need to bring camping supplies (or at least a meal!) in order to traverse the sucker, because it takes SO LONG and is SO HARD to finish this monster of a trail.

Now the introduction to the trail was only partially accidental, I confess.  Because I planned to do the 4.5 mile trail.  You know, the “this-11-mile-trail-intimidates-me-so-I-want-a-shorter-version-of-the-Backpack-Trail” trail.  What I did NOT plan to do was the 11 mile version of the Backpack Trail. 

Had I completed the 4.5 mile version, I’d still have had plenty of material to share with you, believe-you-me.  But the fact that just one teensy-weensy turn to the left rather than the right had us move our bodies over 11 miles of terrain instead of 4.5 miles is just plain wicked.  Indeed, we made the left vs. right decision because some Very Helpful (sadistic) Campers advised us that everyone had headed toward the left.  Thank you campers. 

What followed was an adventure that my two running buddies and I certainly had not anticipated.  We were told that we’d be heading over a creek.  Indeed, we headed over multiple creeks.  “Creek” is a highly subjective term, apparently.  I’m thinking, it’s a little thing you can hop over.  Nope.  It’s several big things that, even if you don’t fall off the slippery rocks that pose as steps across the current, you’re going to be wading in the water at least up to your ankles.  (Before you Florida readers think me a wimp, now, please remember that it was 33 degress when I got in the car to drive to this adventure!). 

And there were hills.  So many hills.  This trail wasn’t playing.  And let’s not forget that it’s been raining for, like, 952 days straight here in Central Illinois, so it was Mud City everywhere we went.  Read that:  No Traction.  Slip-N-Slides are fun when you’re eight and in your front yard with your neighbor buddies.  When you’re 43 years-old and trying to find footing climbing up a Monster Mud Hill, there are few humans that would call the exercise fun. 

Indeed, as we got to the bottom of our 382nd hill (perhaps a bit of an exaggeration, but not much) we stopped thinking, “surely this is the last big hill we have to deal with” and started thinking, “surely this stinking trail has to end at some point.” 

Who knew that any trail, anywhere in the known universe could have So Many Gigantic Up’s and Gigantic Downs?  One after the other.  (Of course, happily interspersed with flowing creeks throughout.)

And the downhills.  I believe they were even worse than the uphills.  I’d always had the strategy of running on the downhills whenever possible.  It’s just that it was Very Rarely possible on this Sadist Trail.  The first bad boy that we faced, I remember clearly thinking that we’d taken a wrong turn.  People aren’t supposed to go straight down hills that steep with NO earth on either side.  Just a little mountain goat path straight down with an occasional tree mercifully situated for holding-on-for-dear-life on the downward descent.  I remember thinking after that first hill that the worst was behind us.  HA HA HA HA HA.  No.

All three of us in our brave little what-in-the-blazes-are-we-doing-out-here-without-a-GPS-or-a-cell-phone party fell nicely on our touckases at least once during the adventure.  We kept a good eye-out for each other and never got too far apart while out there.   We learned the difference between a shriek of  “Woo Hoo!” (“We’re awesome!  Look what we’re doing!”) and a shriek of “Woo Hoo!” (“Heaven help me, I’ve just fallen into the biggest mud pit in a five state region!”).  We learned the difference between this-hurts and this-sucks-but-let’s-keep-going-because-we-still-have-daylight.  And we most certainly learned to love the signs with the little red arrows and how to look for the red splotches on lots of trees. 

Most of all, we learned that there was more within us than any of us bargained for when we set out to Forest Glen for a little run one cold Saturday morning in November.  We learned we could do it.  At least for me, I surprised myself that I could do it.  And any one of us could have gone the 13.1 half marathon distance–so we learned that we were able to do that too!  I had another chance to give one something that had intimidated me a beat-down.  And we were blessed with the commraderie, the friendship, that comes from battling those stinking hills and creeks and elements together. 

Overall, it certainly was a day worth having.  Maybe even a day worth repeating.  A great adventure by some unlikely adventurerers.  And a great achievement by some tough-as-nails women who, though total newbies, were ready and willing to give it our all.  And we did. 

Three other Very Important Points: 

1.  Hats off to the Kennekuk Road (and Trail) Runners who gave every one of us a round of applause as we staggered off the trail.  These Super Runners had been done for well over an hour, but were still glad to cheer on the lost-little-newbies that somehow finished that 11 mile beast without dying! 

2.  My trail shoes are now officially trail shoes.  Here’s the after picture: 

Shoes: AFTER

3.  WW Activity Points mean I can EAT after today.  Yes!

4.  I’m certain I’ve forgot to mention much more than what’s been said here already.  I’m sure you’ll get more tidbits as the days and weeks move on…

For now, here’s proof of the mud: 

Muddy!

And proof of the buds:

We Made It!

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Last May when I started “running” I truly did not know what I was getting myself into.  I had zero gear, except for one pair of fairly old running shoes that I believed to be the right size (I later found that belief was completely false).  I walked my first 5K in an old-ish pair of Nike sweatpants, a comfy cotton tee-shirt, my old shoes and a 8 year-old running bra.  Thankfully, the weather was fairly forgiving and since my pace was mega-slow, I didn’t experience any of the grave issues that can come from having inadequate gear.  

Now, you don’t have to take out a second mortgage to participate in this sport, but there are some essential items.  But how do you know what’s essential and what’s a scam?  Thanks to my friend Shelly, and her awesome coaches at Team In Training, I learned quickly what was important.  (Check out the post about Chub Rub, for one example of these timely truths.)

Shelly gave me hints about the right kind of shoes, how I’d have to actually eat and drink during long runs, the importance of a good running bra, which socks rocked and why, and the difference between cotton (bad) and wicking fabrics (good) in running gear.  These are things that were completely off my radar.  Completely.  If I hadn’t had her advice, I surely would have quit this exercise experiment early in a blithering, whining mass of blisters and chaffed skin and dehydration. 

So, in the interest of good sportsmanship, I’ll share the tips and tidbits about gear here for anyone else who might be wanting to get started and wondering what they’re going to need. 

Please note that the information certainly will NOT be given in order of importance.  Rather, it will be given in the order that it happens to randomly cross my mind when I sit down to the computer.  That’s just how I roll.  The Chub Rub post started us off and this Mystery Gear Item will be just as random.

Cotton is evil in running-land, because although it washes up easily, it holds moisture and encourages chaffing.  Even if you’re a skinny-minny, you still will have body parts that touch when you run (assuming you have toes), so this does apply to you.  For those of you who are not skinny-minny, well, this becomes even more important. 

With cotton, sweat=wet+rubbing=ouch!  So, some incredibly smart entreprenural-type person decided to create a textile that would actually wick moisture away from the athlete’s body and hold that moisture away from the person, on the outside of the clothing.  This is my best way of describing what happens with these fabrics. 

Wicking fabrics or technical fabrics, as they’re called, are common for athletes today.  But when I decided to engage midlife as an adult-onset athlete (credit: John Bingham for this incredibly descriptive term), I’d never heard of the stuff.  Truly, my running days of old had been pre-technical fabric. 

I asked my friend Shelly if the stuff really worked or if it was just some stupid marketing scam, fully expecting to get the all-clear to continue to wear my 15 year-old tee-shirts.  To my surprise, she related that the stuff really did work and made a huge difference.

I was glad to discover that the technical fabric gear wasn’t hard to find, but not enthusiastic that it took some extra effort in the “care” department.  Apparently, these fabrics can’t be laundered with fabric softener, which means (in my world):  Separate Loads of Laundry For All Running Gear.  I indulged in a few pieces, figuring that if the stuff worked, it would be worth the hassle. 

And amazingly, it DID work.  Not just somewhat, but Amazingly.  Shelly was right and I was glad I’d listened to her. 

And who knew that so many things could come in technical fabrics:  everything from outerwear to underwear.  (No, I most certainly do not own every permutation of the stuff…I’m a rookie, remember!) 

When I was at the VA Beach Half Marathon, I discovered a great store at the expo.  Lots of Experienced Runners will be familiar with this company, but I wasn’t and spent a lot of time laughing at the things I saw there.  I’ve included some of my favorite slogans that were on their technical shirts, for your amusement.  (Too bad I don’t get a referral for sending you to them!  😉  )

The company:  One More Mile Running Apparel

What I bought/spent:  More Than I’m Willing to Admit (My husband reads this blog, for heaven’s sake!)

Some of my favorites, complete with links to the site:

motherrunnerLS[1]

Mine is in light purple.  I LOVE it.  I’m even sweating in it in my Facebook profile!  Here’s the link to the site so you can get your own: http://www.onemoremilerunning.com/long-sleeve/one-bad-mother-runner-long-sleeve/prod_665.html

 

seemed_ls[1]

Okay, so the back of this shirt reads:  RACE OFFICIAL.  DO NOT PASS.  I thought this was downright hilarious.  The link:  http://www.onemoremilerunning.com/long-sleeve/seemed-like-a-good-idea-long-sleeve/prod_336.html

 

foundongroundLS[1]

If Found On Ground, Please Drag Across Finish Line.  I was so tempted to buy this, but didn’t want it to be some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, so I just giggle at it online now and then.http://www.onemoremilerunning.com/long-sleeve/if-found-on-ground-long-sleeve/prod_636.html

 

Oh, there are so many more, but the point, of course, is that fun and functional can intersect into some pretty incredible gear that does some pretty incredible things for you.  Having the right shirts has helped me to stay cool when it’s warm and stay warm when it’s cold.  And it’s helped me keep a positive attitude, a useful perspective, and a good sense of humor, which can’t be bought online or off the shelf, but, I’ve learned, is some of the most important stuff to take on a run. 

Thanks Shelly.  😀

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This quote is on my bathroom mirror.  I heard it playing over and over again at mile 12 in Virginia Beach when my legs screamed at me to walk and I willed them to run.  I hear it when I want to quit, when I refuse to quit, when I WILL NOT QUIT.

Nobody is hurt.  Hurt is in the mind.  If you can walk, you can run.”

Thank you Coach Lombardi.

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As promised from yesterday, Part Two.  If you didn’t read about all the challenges our Happy Family had in adjusting to having Mom Who Runs in the mix, click back to yesterday and get back on the same page with the rest of us before reading on.  No, really.  Click back.  Sigh.  I’ll make it easy for you.  Click here!  We’ll wait for you.

Before going any further, I just wanted to say that this post is written from and for the perspective of The Mom.  This doesn’t mean it’s useless for The Dad, The Kid, or The Candlestick-Maker.  It just happens to be written from the perspective of Mom, since that’s, well, my perspective.  Dads, kids, candlestick-makers, please feel included and loved.

Okay, now that you’re up to speed:  I think there are a lot of Very Busy Moms (who may just be accustomed to putting themselves last–it’s a mom thing) who, like me have struggled to keep fit, because the wants, needs and demands of Happy Family, came first.  In defense of Happy Family, it was usually our decision to put them first, but our last-placeness still is a major hurdle to our ability to keep up with an exercise program of any kind. 

In fact, I’m sure of it, because that’s one of the major things I hear from my mom-buds out there.  It’s also true of my workaholic-buds out there.  I can’t even get into the ever-stressed, mega-multitasking-workaholic-mom-buds.  Even when these gals have the time, they’re so exhausted at the end of the day that the last thing they can think of is running.   And the thought of doing something consistently?  Ha!  I don’t think so.

Enter, the “Why.”  You may have heard it before, but it bears repeating:  If you don’t have a good enough “why,” then “when” or “how” or “with whom” really won’t matter anyway.  There needs to be a reason that you’re doing what you’re doing that draws you forward even when things are difficult or awkward or frustrating (because you can be assured they will be).  

What’s your “Why” for running?  You might have more than one “Why.”  That’s great.  But it will have to be something that’s important enough to YOU (not your husband or your mother or your pastor or your best friend) to make yourself get your tired fanny out of your warm bed at 6:00 a.m. to brave the 45 degree weather, pounding the pavement with nothing but your Under Armour, your shoes, and your pepper spray for an hour. 

I’m one of those over-achievers who has several “Why’s.”  Yes, I’ll share them all with you at some point, but the one you already know about (remember that link you just clicked) had to do with being able to race in VA Beach with my baby brother. 

If this had just been about the race, it never would have been a big enough reason for me.  But this was about seeing my brother.  It was about spending time with him when I hadn’t seen him in many years.  It was about being so honored and humbled that he asked me to come visit and was willing, given his abilities as a serious endurance athlete, to extend his patience and stick with me at my pace and have his first half-marathon be so much slower than he was capable of running.  It was about wanting to be able to finish so that we could finish together more than finishing the race at all.  It was about growing-up:  realizing that he was no longer the ornery 10 year-old kid who would run backwards (yes, backwards) in front of me, teasing me as I moved with great effort at (my) top speed, spurred forward mostly by the thought of throttling him if I ever caught him (I didn’t).   In a big way, it was also about healing:  we’re really different people and have had our issues with each other, some big, and the fact that he asked me to come and spend time with him was a tremendously Big Deal to me.   I simply HAD to do this.

That, my friends, was a “Why” worth dedicating weeks of my life to a training program for. 

And I promise you, without that “Why” (and the others to be shared later!), Happy Family NEVER would have been willing to consider A New Way of Doing Things Around Here. 

Here’s how it went down:  I was able to share with my Happy Family how important this adventure was to me and how much I wanted to be able to do it.  Different women will find success in different means of communicating their “Why.”  Some may employ the “It would greatly support me in being more of a Proverbs 31 wife and mother around here.”  Others may find the June Cleaver approach useful:  “Surely you would want to support me in something so wonderful.  In the meantime, would you like a cookie?”  And still others will find success with the tried and true:  “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” 

In truth, I used a combination of these communication styles, but to my Happy Family’s credit it really was not a difficult “sell” and they were and are very supportive of this (and my other) running adventure(s). 

Once Happy Family has enthusiastically pledged their support of you in your Great Adventure, this is the time to mention that if you are going to be able to do this (and remain healthy, for heaven sakes) then there will need to be A New Way of Doing Things Around Here.  As for me, I let me family know that I would be following a training program and scheduling my runs/workouts in the way that (hopefully) would least upset their world, but that at least one day per week, I would need extra support while they were On Their Own during my long runs and recoveries. 

After this, it was VERY important for me to put each of my runs on our family calendar.  Don’t have a family calendar, Busy Mom?  Get one.  If you are going to train for an endurance race (my highly recommended manner of helping Happy Family adjust to the transition of having Mom Who Runs as their new mama), then you’ll need to start placing your workouts on the schedule right next to the piano lessons, soccer practice, kindermusik, and hubby’s bowling night.  Every bit of it’s important, Mama, including YOUR bit.  Putting on a calendar and putting it somewhere for everyone to see not only helps you stay organized, but also helps your Happy Family adjust to the fact that your bits are every bit as important as their bits.  Plus which, they get to see, literally, exactly how they are supporting you. 

Don’t overlook this step–if you’ve got Happy Family’s buy-in, it’s a home run.  For me it’s been a wonderful way of expressing expectations and sharing celebrations.  It’s helped me express to my family that I need their support as much as they need mine, and it also reminds me to express my appreciation for the sacrifices they make for me to have these running adventures. 

clock

The scheduling is important.  Critical even.  Because nobody has “spare time.”  LOL for real.  What is that, even?  For me, the key to having a consistent exercise program was to schedule my runs in first–before everything else.  How come?  Because it was the thing my family and I were least used to doing.  So I knew it would be the hardest thing to do and the easiest thing to blow off. 

An Example Problem:  In my case, I was unwilling to miss my daughters’ softball games in order to go on a run.  It was summer and we spent a lot of time on those stinking bleachers watching two different diamonds worth of softball.  Solution:  I figured out the distance from my front door to the bleachers and the amount of time it would take me to run/walk/crawl that distance.  Then I would leave my house 15-20 minutes before Happy Family on foot and they would at some point pass me in the car on the way to the game.  I timed it so I arrived about 10 minutes before the games.  I still owe a debt of gratitude to the other parents who endured me on the bleachers during those games while I was so stinky and sweaty.   The key for me, was I didn’t miss my runs and I didn’t miss my kids’ games.

You’ll have to be creative and you’ll have to schedule your runs.  For me, each and every time my kids are in a supervised activity that doesn’t require my participation or observation (P.E., art class, dance), I’m running on a planned run.  When they’re at the ice rink, I’m often running the stairs at the arena.  It may sound wacky, but if the alternative is not running on a scheduled day, then I’m potentially setting myself up for injury or failure at my next event. 

As a homeschool mom, this kind of creativity has been critical, because my kids don’t attend a traditional classroom, where I have the benefit of the free time when they’re not with me.  Mom’s who work outside the home, as I did for many years, would have a similar challenge:  not wanting to miss your kids’ events and at the same time, not short-changing our training.   Single moms, this is the time to call in your favors and ask for scheduled, consistent support from friends, family, neighbors and sitters.  Some moms may need to work with their bosses to have a day shortened in order to get those long runs in.

(Listen, this really is not extreme.  It does happen.  It can happen.  And it must happen, especially for you to get the long runs in.  You know what else–you’re worth it.  Your “Why” is worth it.  And when you cross that finish line, everyone who sacrificed a minute for your success will have earned the right to celebrate the success.  Moms Who Run love to share their success.  Another great thing about us!)

 Here’s what it took for my Happy Family to celebrate these victories and embark on this New Way of Doing Things Around Here:

  • Discovering my “Why’s”
  • Communicating those “Why’s”
  • Assuring my Family’s Support for My Training for an Endurance Event
  • Scheduling my Workouts (weeks and sometimes months in advance), According to the Training Program for the Race
  • Trusting my Family to Handle Everything Just Fine While I’m Running (sometimes the hardest part for control-freaks like me)
  • Appreciating my Family for Their Sacrifice and Support
  • And Doing the Doing:  Getting Out There, Regardless of Whether It Was Easy or Convenient or Felt Good That Day, and Running!

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“Body Glide.   You’ll also need Body Glide.” 

Shelly was speaking a foreign language.  What on earth was she talking about? 

Well, evidently most of us “endurance athletes” (I still chuckle at myself when I think of myself in those terms) experience pain over the long haul where our sweaty skin rubs against, well, anything else on those long runs. 

I hadn’t even thought about this, much less conceived that there might be a product to deal with the issue.  But since I was fast approaching the day for my 5-hour run and the weather was expected to be in the 80’s with a heat index in the 90’s, I figured I’d best listen to whatever wisdom Shelly was willing to impart. 

The running community even had its own nickname for the outcome of this unfortunate experience:  Chub Rub.  Now being an ample person, I had plenty of opportunity for said chub rub, I’m sad to admit, so I was glad to hear there was a remedy! BodyGlide

Since that conversation, I’ve been astounded to witness during the preparation phases of many races the many creative places where runners have used Body Glide (and other similar products) to prevent the chub rub.  Some exceedingly un-chubby people have been spotted slathering it everywhere.  One friend of mine even has it in a mini-size to keep it with her when she runs long races!

And it works.  This is not a product endorsement, because I haven’t been paid to endorse them, but I can tell you that the stuff works.  And it’s one of the wierd little quirks of this running culture I’m glad to have picked up along the way, before having to face the dreaded chub rub personally.

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When starting something new, I tend to be kind of quiet about it, waiting to make Grand Announcements about my conquests until there seems like there might be some kind of potential for success.  Chris, on the the other hand, is a different kind of gal.  While I would have preferred to start my running program under cover of darkness, hiding my outta-shape self from the perceived criticisms of others, my buddy Chris was one bold cookie.  She posted and chatted and talked about our adventures until now, quite unexpectedly, I was publicly committed to this journey as well.  Back doors were quickly being closed, boats were being burned behind me.  Quitting was quickly becoming a non-option.  So we set out on a course for success.

Now, whether Chris actually knew at the time that by virtue of being her wonderful self, she was shutting down my every excuse to bail out of our running gig, I really don’t know.  But I’m really glad that she is who she is, because I wouldn’t have made it through the early stages of runningville without her.

It was through Chris that I was (re)connected with my friend Shelly and connected with my new friend Jamie.  Shelly had run a half marathon earlier in the year and was training to run a full marathon later in the year.  She was a Serious Athlete who was training for her marathon with Team in Training.  And she saved my bacon many times, with her timely advice and words of wisdom.

Without someone who already knows what they’re doing, how do you know what equipment is important and what is a waste?  How do you know which training programs work and which ones are worthless?  Shelly is one example, but I’m amazed how people in the running world share their information and their tricks of the trade so liberally, how encouraging everyone is.  (Of course, I’m no threat to anybody’s records and I have a looonnnggg way to go, so I may just be really easy to encourage, too!)

So it was that when Shelly suggested we all run a half marathon together in 2010, I said, Sure, without really thinking about it.  We are now the Capital City Half Marathon Babes and will be burning up the course on May 1, 2010! 

Since I’d barely been able to crawl 7.3 miles, I knew I’d need a training program.  Enter Dotty, another new friend and adult-onset endurance athlete.  She was full of great advice regarding midlife training and coaching.  She recommended the book that helped me figure this whole running thing out  (at least so far).  And she talked about a very cool half-marathon in Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach?  Hmmm.  My brother had just moved to Virginia.   Thoughts of visiting with him and trying my first half marathon swarmed through my delusional head.  I mentioned to my brother that I was “just thinking” about coming out and running the race and he surprised me with his response: “as long as you’re just thinking about it, why don’t we run it together?” 

That’s all it took.  The matter was settled.  I was going to see my brother and run in my first Big Race with him.  Never mind that he was already an endurance athlete.  Never mind that his legs are so long that his inseam reaches up to my armpits.  Never mind that I was still hobbling from my first 5K walking and 7.3 mile trail experience.  Never mind that the race was the first Sunday in September, less than four months away.  Never mind that it was absolutely impossible. 

Somehow, after more than a decade of neglect, within weeks of getting my feet back into my running shoes, having never in my life moved my body more than ten miles in a given effort, I had committed myself to TWO half-marathons.

It was official.  I had lost it for real.  And my craziness was evidence that I was truly on my way to becoming an actual Runner.

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Who’s to blame for this running thing ?  I can think of lots of people, lots of circumstances.  (Me?  I might be to blame for it?  Nah, what fun would that be?!)  Many seemingly unrelated events and coincidences spiraled together to push me over the edge into this adventure, but I’ll have to blame give the credit to my friend, Chris. 

See, Chris found me on Facebook and we decided we’d be workout partners.  Frankly, it was a pretty weak agreement on my part because at the time I was talking about working out without any intention of actually moving anywhere but to the refrigerator. 

This was in early May.

A few days later, Chris suggests, “Let’s run in the Mahomet 5k together in August.”  Sure, I think.  August is far enough away for my superior procrastination skills to be well-utlilized.  No problem.  Registered for wish-race.  Check.  (Still no movement, however.)

A few days later, Chris suggests, “I know it’s only 11 days away, but let’s do the Memorial Day 5k together.  We can walk it.”  At this point, I know that walking it is the ONLY way I’m getting across the finish line in 11 days, since I haven’t run a step in about a decade.  (Nearly falling off the elliptical machine does not count.)  So I commit to running walking the race in 11 days.  (Still no movement, but trepidation has begun to set in.)

I decide to see if my body can even move for 3.1 miles at any pace on its own power without the need for medical attention.  About one hour and one gallon of sweat later, I discover that I have lived to tell the tale, but am confident only in the fact that I have my work cut out for me. 

We survive the 5k walk (daughter, N, has run it and finished LONG before me, and daughter, M, is still waiting at the finish line, jumping up and down and holding a pink parasol, shouting, YAY MOMMY, very cute, but leaving me nowhere to hide) and I discover that my muscles and bones have a unique way of protesting this new thing called exercise:  they stop working.  Knees locked up, I hobbled to the bathroom after crossing the finish line.  How in the world had I let myself get in this terrible shape?!

Hobbling back to the crowd and watching the svelte lionesses get their lightning speed awards, I notice that Crazy Chris now has flyers for MORE RACES in her hand.  The next one is a FIVE HOUR see-how-far-you-can-go race put on by our local running club.  Yes, heaven help me, I’ll do it with you, Chris. 

Knowing at this point, it’s train or die racing, the movement begins.  Slowly.  But it begins. 

And over 400 miles later, I’m still running.  (Thanks Chris.)

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