Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More Than I Can Chew?

You never know unless you try right?

My running career started October of 2007.  I had stumbled upon a 5k race while vacationing in Ottawa and immediately fell in love with the idea of running.  I headed home all gung ho and immediately went to buy a new pair of running shoes at Runners' Edge. There were no running clinics starting until the spring because, as the extremely helpful staff said: "nobody is crazy enough to want to learn how to run in the winter!".

So I asked him for a few pointers.  I was told to keep my head up, keep my arms down and start slow. 

No problem!

I began setting my alarm extra early on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  I started by walking for five minutes, running for two, walking for five and going home. I added two minutes per week.

Here is what I learned in the early days. 

1. I could power walk faster than I could run.

2. Two minutes is a really REALLY long time. 

3. Monday runs were awfully hard, Wednesday runs were tolerable and, by Friday, I felt kinda like a runner.

I did this for three months and, in a fit of ambition (or insanity), I signed up for the Robby Burns 8k run at the end of January.  Four months after I started running - I did an 8k run. 

Silly girl. 

I learned that pacing is something I should really start thinking about.  Just because some people can run fast doesn't mean that I can too. I learned that 8k is really far.  And I learned that I can indeed finish something that seems impossible. 

I also decided to sign up for the spring running clinic which was the best thing I could have done and it has, without a shadow of a doubt, changed my life.

I started in April of 2008 and worked my way up to 10k by June.  In another moment of insanity, I figured I might as well sign up for the half marathon clinic that was starting.  I trained all summer and learned several important lessons:

1.Injuries happen - DON'T ignore them (thank you Janice!)
2.Chaffing is the WORST (Glide is my friend).
3.Investing in a good sports bra is absolutely critical (thanks Al for helping me find a good one and sorry for any embarrassment that may have caused)
4.Water belts are REALLY heavy so get the smallest one possible (two years later runners are still talking about my humongous water belt from that summer!)

I ran my first half marathon 11 months after I started running.

Then I plateaued for two years.  Plateau in the sense that 1/2 marathons became my distance of choice and I just kept training for and running them.  Take a few weeks off and start training for the next one.  I did a total of 6 in two years.

Running the 2011 Around the Bay 30k was a big step for me but one that I finally felt ready for.  Obviously I was because I did it and am walking around two days later hardly feeling the effects of running for almost four hours. 

While I certainly survived the distance, I am not comfortable with it the way I am with 21.1k.  The sensible me should stick with 30k for a while.  Train for a few more of those until they go from overwhelming to just plain hard.

But I'm feeling another bout of insanity coming on...

...and I might just try for a fall marathon.

A group of Runners' Edgers are going to train for Chicago in October.  I don't want to do that race but there is one in Niagara Falls two weekends after Chicago.  It's pretty tempting actually.  Do the training all summer with my friends and see if I have what it takes to do 42.2. 

Niagara Falls would a great race to try because it's local and it's an easy course to access on a bike.  Which means I could perhaps convince some of my support team to be there on the route.  Running that distance is a huge challenge for any runner but running that distance with diabetes is downright scary.  Having people out there on bikes with juice and other supplies would make all the difference for my mental health.

So Niagara Falls?  Want to be my first marathon?   Want to be a permanent fixture in my heart, soul and dreams for the next 7 months? 

I will if you will...


  1. Count me in for bike support!

  2. I am filled with so many emotions over this email. Firstly because I ran the NF half last year (and loved it) seondly, because you weren't sure and now you're planning for it (YAY) and thirdly, because I am training for my first marathon in the fall and considered the NF full. I was going to do that one or the Toronto waterfront about the same time in october.

    I'M Happy for you! we could share some good stories this summer and maybe run together occasionally.

  3. Erin and John - I love you both!

    Scully - do Niagara Falls!! I've already got a team forming who probably won't mind carrying another bag of diabetic supplies and cheering for the girl with the dreadlocks. Plus you could join the RE gang for Saturday long runs if you want.

  4. If you need more support staff, you know you have it from myself and Darlene. We may be tired after Chicago, but we will be there if you need us!

  5. Mike, you and Darlene are wonderful! Thanks for the offer and I wish I could offer the same in return for your Chicago adventure!

  6. Perfect race to pick!! RE is doing a water station on the route so we will all be there rockin you through to the end!!!!!!

  7. Ha! I have the same crazy thought. That 30k was tough, and I'm more comfortable with the 1/2 distance. I always thought a full marathon was years away (if ever) and I wanted to get stronger at longer distances first. But we're still standing after 30 and recovered really quickly. 12k more to a full marathon? ...hmm.