Monday, November 15, 2010

One girl running her heart out

Mile 6.75 the cramp started.  Slowly, it progressed up my ribcage.  I fought it.  Breathing deeper, I hoped it would just disappear, but I knew the pain all too well: hunger.  I didn't want to eat too much, as runner's diarrhea is one of the main causes people have to stop racing.  No way in hell was the cramp gonna win... I'd come too far.
Eight weeks before, my training for a half marathon began.  Legs to concrete, feet into my new orange kicks, brain clocked into power mode; all to run 13.1 miles on Oct. 3, 2010.  I trained alone.  I ran anywhere from 35-50 miles a week, with cross-training on the bike and elliptical.  I trained until my body could not train anymore.  It was game time.
At 4:07 a.m., my body got out of bed.  I had programed myself to run this race, and my body took over. The race started at 7 a.m.  I ate at 5 a.m.  Two pieces of bread with peanut butter and one banana.  Water, and Gatorade, all drank on a schedule of 15-minute, sip increments.   Again, runner's diarrhea happens when too much water is consumed before the race.  The body loses control of well, certain bodily functions when running this much.   
I remember nothing until mile 6.75.  I know that my body was moving, carrying me across land.  Gliding me down the road, up and down steep hills, turns and bends.  It was the perfect day at 50 degrees, sunshine and a little breeze.  The perfect morning until 6.75 turned into 6.89, and the cramp progressed to both sides.  I needed food, energy.  I needed some power.

Every mile there was water and Gatorade.  Mile 7 saved my life-- "Hammertime."  Literally, the honey-like, gel energy substance named "Hammertime," that I squeezed out of a green packet saved me.  Instantly, the pain turned into "hammertime."

Mile 8 to 10 blurred in my legs and knees.  I never thought I would see the sign for mile 10.  The most I had trained for at one time was 10 miles.  The miles after 10 were a mystery.

At the mile 10 sign, my body knew what it saw.  Ten miles down with only three to go.  Again, literally-- hammertime.  I heard from another runner that we were at a 8:57 mile pace.

I almost fainted.  I didn't know I could really run that fast.  My goal for the half marathon was 1:57:00.  I had no clue if I could actually make this time.  I had no clue if I could actually run that fast, without stopping, without injury and without stopping from being too afraid of running my little heart out.

But I did just that-- I ran my heart out.  And quickly.

For 13.1 miles, I ran up and down hills, all while carrying the solid pace of 8:57, finishing with a time of 1:56:59.  The last mile was a complete uphill incline.  I sprinted to the finish line.  I groaned and screamed till the very end.
I showed that last, one mile incline who was boss  

and more importantly,

I showed myself on that Sunday morning, that I could do anything I put my mind to.  
I ran and ran and I ran.  Out of 402 people overall, I finished 192nd.  Out of 180 women, I finished 58th. Somehow, I wasn't even sore.  Running has now taken me places I never knew I could go... and to answer the question you're all asking:  "I don't know if I'm running a full marathon anytime soon." ha :-)

Friday, November 12, 2010

one girl back in wine country

The world we live in is an interesting place.  It's full of people we may not really know or understand; trains crowded with strangers that we run into, but never notice-- it is a field of eyeballs and no one can see.

The life that I live for, is made out of people who get the path I want to travel down, and who comprehend the person that I want to become.  Opening up to another person is one of the toughest things to do in life.  It's hard to put your precious thoughts in the trust of someone else.  Or, the thought that another person might know you better than you know yourself.

So then what do you do with the people that you have decided to let in?

Do you tell them stories and thoughts in hope that they might think you are funny, kind or interesting?  Do you smile uncontrollably in want of being accepted for something that you aren't?  Or do you do the unthinkable and pour your heart and soul into another human being, whom may not give two shits about what you say?

The world we live in is a peculiar place-- full of people we cross and dine with that we may never see again; let alone actually remember how their face looked in the glowing shadows of the red candle, the color of their teeth after too much red wine or how they leaned toward you in compassion because they wanted you to know that they cared.

Does letting people in mean you are becoming attached? Perhaps.  But an attachment for the sake of sanity and enlightenment of a good time means I'm making the friends that I've been longing for in DC.

People thrive on other people, the one element that I've been missing here.  Without people's passion and that connection, people are dead.  I've been dead to many aspects of DC:  I've never been so homesick, distraught, overwhelmed, confused... but the flip side: It's been a long time since I've been this happy, over joyed and determined to make the life that I have now work for me.

At the end of the day, in this outrageously, awesome world that I live in, no matter how afraid I am, things in DC are opening up doors and relationships that I never saw coming-- the true tell sign that life is treating me just fine.