“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

2 Apr

Day 1 – 3.5 miles – walking/running

Its been a long time since I’ve decided to call myself a runner. A couple summers ago I got it in my head that I would run a marathon with a friend from work. It was going to be this huge event where we road tripped to Tennessee, ran the marathon and road tripped back. We gave ourselves over 6 months to train and make plans.

Lets put this into perspective. I had never run any significant distance outside of necessity, ever. Also, despite, a recent drastic adjustment in body type (yes, I was the chubby kid growing up), I was still not in ideal shape for intensive training. Add into the mix that I have a tendency to think I can handle more than my body can take and I often push way past my limits, I was shooting for the moon and then some with this plan.

I did, in fact, have a plan and it went pretty well for a while. Then a couple months in, the excitement of a new endeavor faded a bit and some days motivation was hard to come by. Soon after, my morning (and by mornings I mean I was working second shift and my morning started at 9 or 10) runs became more of a chore than an adventure. I could run 5 miles straight after 3ish months, but I resented the trees I passed everyday. I had hit my brick wall, as I so often do.

I was still determined, however, so I decided maybe I’d just run the half marathon. I could do a half marathon (said the girl who had never run even a measly 5K). It wasn’t long after that the whole thing fell apart. Mostly, I blamed moving to a new area, adjusting to a new job, being unsure of the new area, the need to get settled before I could reclaim any routine…but secretly I was happy for the excuse. Then came winter and all hope was lost.

The happy ending is that I have grown since then, and I have set my sights a tad lower. I have been exercising fairly consistently for over a year now and I have some better tools to aid me. I have chosen, not a marathon, but a 5K to work towards over the next 6 months approximately. Granted I set my sights on the Rugged Maniac, an obstacle adventure 5K developed by Navy Seals…but nothing can ever just be simple right?

It is now the first week in April, perfect timing to start a training regiment. The weather is beautiful and only bound to get better while easing me into the hot months of summer, and I doubt there will be snow to deter me from my course. Granted the hype is still in overdrive, and in a couple months I am bound to hit the slump that always comes, but I have spent a good amount of time planning a schedule and plotting courses that ensure to challenge, but are realistic.

Tonight was my first official training run and it felt amazing to be out again working towards a goal. I had intended to get up and go before work, but lets be realistic here. I’d rather run at 10:00 at night then get out of bed earlier than I need to. Unrealistic goal number 1 resolved.

I’m not pushing myself to run straight through right off the bat, that would be irresponsible. Instead I walked for half a mile then alternated running for 2 minutes and walking every half a mile until the last half at which point I walked the rest of the way home. That was the plan at least, I ran more than I intended because I got bored, and let my pride get the best of me. I used to run 5 miles right, I could totally do more than that!

Even this minor deference from the plan simply added to the exhilaration for the first 2.5 miles. Then I pushed past the line I needed to not cross. I convinced myself for another half mile it was simply the natural result of my exertion that made my muscles ache and my chest hurt. Then came the searing side cramp and the realization that maybe the lunch I ate at 2:00 that afternoon, 6 hours earlier, wasn’t enough to satiate my nutritional requirements. Walking back to my apartment, staring at the sidewalk, trying my hardest not to hurl, I realized unrealistic goal number 2.

My body has since recovered, and I have adjusted my mindset. After all that is what it is all about right? Making mistakes and learning better approaches for the next time.

The one thing I need more than anything is accountability and that is where writing comes in. Writing about it, feeling some responsibility to not let my future self down, and possibly a reader or two, makes it somehow feel real. Its not my little secret hiding in the corner where it won’t matter if I fail because no one knows about it. Its in the world. Its not just my journey, its not just the voice in my head with an expectation. Someone in the world will call me out when all I want to do is give up. I vow at the start, here and now to stick to the plan, to recognize my shortcomings, to not push harder than I can reasonably expect myself to endure, but to be adamant about pushing as far as I realistically can go. Go big or go home right? But try not to die in the process.

PrettyReckless out, stay tuned.

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