Thursday, December 22, 2011

Why... running?

50 states (DE, MD, NY -check)... wasn't quite my plan, but to be perfectly honest I still don't really know my plan, apparently a 50 miler, all 50 states and why not a triathlon too??

I was half hearted runner until college when I met "RnR" who despite her back injury at 16, which made her simply an average runner pace wise... she was the first true runner I had ever met. She inspired me, I fell as in love with a friend as you ever could, and in turn fell in love with running. That which I loved was now a complete infatuation. Sadly, running.... is not the only thing I do in life, and since I didn't know how to manage the world outside of my sneakers... my eating disorder helped me cope with the fact that I am: Quirky, strange, sometimes annoying, socially awkward, and truly just sure who the heck I am... (like many ppl)
So between binges/ purges of all shapes and types, my body began to break... season after season a new injury here and another there. By the end of my 4 yr college plan. My mind broke too. I was NO longer ok. I was no longer the average college girl struggling with a phase, I was now playing with fire, risking stomach rupture, electrolyte imbalances, and heart arrhythmias, these things were becoming a nearer and nearer future.  Treatment it was. I needed to something to STOP the addiction cycle that had now quite literally  destroyed my life as I new it, with the exception of some very extraordinarily strong friends who were able to be there for me.

SO... Out of treatment I came.... I gave it time ... I wanted to know for certain before I ever ran again... Why do I run? Did I JUST want to burn calories; was I only compensating? When I could safely say No, and was sure there was another reason, I set out... within 3 min.... ITBS (iliotibial band syndrome) struck me down, inflammation immediately took me to my knees. Apparently, despite my love to run, I was no longer a runner....

Clearly my wonderous abilities to cope were still stronger than any "tools" or treatment option.. So my eating disorder came and went in cycles.  It was almost 6 mo till i ran 1 mi.... I was so excited. I started up slow, and ramped up. My eating disorder was so much less a part of my life, but it still controlled my day, my food, my running. I fought with myself about my thoughts, my actions, my feelings, my body, my wants and my needs. Everything was a fight, but I was starting to win. The fight was exhausting, as was earning my graduate degree.

Well somewhere in here, I trained for the NYRR manhattan half marathon... on a depressive whim... Since I didn't know where my life was going, I was pouting one evening and decided there was nothing more I hated about myself that the "Somedays...." What about NOW... so I started to make things happen... NOW.... I ran my 1st half marathon, 2 weeks later,  in 1:34:??... qualified for NYC marathon!! :). So I took the ball further... I learned to ride a motorcycle and obtained a license and my own bike. I taught myself guitar and lifeguarded for a summer (couple of bucklist things).... Well what about the trip, I'd said for so long I was going to go away on my own, So to break up my running season and my marathon training I went St. Lucia for  10days.... in 10days I changed my life. I learned more about myself in 10days that I had ever realized. I was interested... in myself.... how was I so interesting and I never noticed before? I had a personality, passions, a good heart, I had legitimate fears, likes and dislikes.

But back to running... I ran NYC injured.... I walk/ ran it with loads of NSAIDS in my system, perscription and non, mixed, ace bandages and icy hot. Finishing in 3:54:?? I completed a huge thing on my bucketlist. And at 26.2.. tears came... I was healed, not of my injury (ITBS-again), but of my past... I'd never go back. Crossing that line separated me from the breakable self and brought me forward to the invincible self, the one living with hopes, dreams and love. And if I could have trained the last 4 weeks prior to Nov 7 2010... that 26.2 wouldnt have been so bad-pain wise atleast.

2 mo later, still trying to get back to pace, and failing.... I read "Ultramarathon Man" by Dean Karnazes.... inspired ... I stopped running for 2 months.....I took a break and let myself delve into my yoga practice and workouts..... I never felt so good.  I missed running desperately, but was intent on  giving the routinely impacted body parts a real rest.

And when I started to run again in February, my running had changed. For one thing- I sucked... I couldnt run more than 4 miles at 6mph.... I didn't used to think that counted as a run.... barely a jog (for me personally, i dont mean to sound pretentious :/).  I'd lost the light from the 26.2.... So i'd never be a marathoner.... Thank god I COULD run.... I never want to LOSE that again. I'd rather be average or worse even so long as I can be running.

So there it is: fast= broken or slow= running... So i just kept running. My heart grew and grew. My running and yoga and bodyrock workouts had transformed my mind and body into something I was truly proud of.

Next thing I knew, my running was transformed... although I was training so slowly, when confronted by competition, but remaining detached from winning, I began to race with my heart.. and I began to improve.

My distance grew, my pace leveled off. I trained at 9-10min pace and raced at 7:40 pretty solidly. Felt strange since I never really felt like I was trying much....I was legitamately confused.

So it happened, I was talked into Marathon #2- Baltimore.... it's own tale in another blog....

After this, I did My tough Mudder, and was BEAT... DONE.. taking a REST... and then a friend asked me to pace them for the last half of the philly marathon, so how could I say, NO. I was able... easily to cover 14 miles that day without a thought. I wanted the distance more than ever. I want see what I can do. I know the risks of injury, sickness. And yes, I fear it, but life isn't to be feared but loved... and when we love, we live. I LOVE to run... and I live by running.... so why limit myself to titles, races, paces, courses.... I want FREEDOM from the created boundaries.

Its funny, the safety found in a marathon of thousands of ppl with medical staff and water stops... What about a 28 mile training run.... alone, on the open road... with my cell phone, my camel back, some snacks and a head lamp..... what if i dont plan it exactly... what if?... without the support crew, there is TOO much to question....

Here goes nothing: 28 miles on 12/24/2011 in CT.... open road... HERE I come.. updates to follow.

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