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It's time to get serious.
For those who aren't aware, my husband and I (as well as my brother and sister) have signed up to run the Indianapolis Mini Marathon in May - 13.1 miles of exhileration, music, discipline, feet-thudding, sweating, and, hopefully, after all is said and done, a beautiful cross over the finish line.
This feat was only suggested after we decided (last fall) to start training for a triathlon (thanks to our friends who had recently completed one).
And all of this was decided only after we apparently lost our minds.
Keep in mind - I have never been a runner and, at times, have even sworn it off completely. I've exercised on and off for years but never for a long-term goal. I hadn't been on a bike since probably high school... and as far as swimming? Let's just say I can doggy-paddle with the best of them but once you get me horizontal in the pool it ain't pretty. And my husband? Bless him - physical fitness is not one of his strong points.
So here we are. 5 or so months later, we have completed a 5K and an 8K, purchased bikes and a trainer we can use indoors, and signed up for swimming lessons. We have memberships at our local YMCA which we use religiously now that the weather is nasty.
Myself, our son (who completed a 1 mile fun-run), and hubby after completing our first ever "event" (a very hilly 5K)
Because the mini-marathon is first on the calendar, both biking and swimming have taken back seats to running. However, I still try to do swimming at least once a week and, once I figure out how to get my bike on the trainer, will try to do that once a week as well. Right now it is essential to keep progressing on training for the run - each week is an increase in distance and one or two missed days can easily mean not being prepared when the 13.1 mile run hits.
I am learning so much from this process and that is the primary reason I feel the desire to blog about it. I am blown away by the strength I've found within myself to overcome my fears in the water and to keep on running when my legs feel like jello. I'm also learning from those times that my discipline failed. I'm learning how to distinguish between those mental voices; the ones that are looking out for my momentary happiness (eat the cookie dough! stop running and walk!) versus the ones that are speaking up for my soul.
Case in point:
What I Did: (Today)
Intervals for 1 mile (sprint at effort of 10, slow jog at effort of about 5, repeat), ran 1/2 mile.
What I Learned: (Today)
Running without socks is not a good idea.
I had left the house today with both kids in tow (our son's school was again delayed 2 hours) and was proud of myself for getting out so quickly. You know where this is going.
When I got to the YMCA (20 minutes from our house) I realized I'd forgotten all of my other clothes...which included the socks I was to run in. By this point there was no way I was turning around. I decided I'd just go as long as my feet could hang in there.
Turns out, that's about a mile and a half.
I'm still wearing band-aids and am taking tomorrow off from running but am quite glad I still went. This is one of those cases that the immediate-happiness voices were loudly screaming "Don't run! You'll hurt yourself! You can go tomorrow...just use this time to spend time with your kids...they'll love you for it..." (Yeah, they are tricky voices) However, the soul voices knew better. They knew I needed the discipline to get out on the track even if it meant momentary discomfort. They knew my body would know when it was time to stop.
There are obstacles that are going to pop up all over life - snow days, unexpected calls, spills, forgotten socks. It is up to you to decide whether that particular obstacle is a rock you can climb over or a boulder that is best left alone. There is no right or wrong answer...each will depend on the situation and the exact moment you find yourself in. (If our son was already in school, I probably would have driven home to get the socks.)
Training for this half marathon and traithlon has shown me that so many of the obstacles I saw before that looked like boulders were really small rocks - all I had to do was get up off my bum and look down upon them. After all, when you're lying down, everything looks big and impossible.
I'm still working around my boulders (there will always be some), watching my back, and honoring the messages I hear from my body. But the fire continues to grow within and, wow, is it beautiful. My hope is that you are on the path to finding your own light within.
I still wouldn't recommend running without socks, though.