At the beginning of April, I entered the random drawing for the Nike Women's Half Marathon on October 17, 2010 in San Francisco. I'm not sure if I was asked to join by Dusty or if I just decided to jump on the band wagon. What I do know for sure is that there was not a reasonable, logical thought jumping around in my head other than, "I probably won't get picked anyway" while I filled out the registration form and entered my credit card number. For the next couple of weeks, I'd occassionally think about it and then quickly put the thought out of my head. Until April 23. That's when I discovered that my name had indeed been selected.
I haven't run a 5k since I got out of the Army. Hell, I've not even WALKED a 5k and I signed up for 13.1 miles? Why? For a Tiffany necklace? For the spotlight pulling conversation? For the chance to use it as an excuse to go to San Francisco? I don't really wear jewelry, so that wasn't the reason. I enjoy the look on people's faces when I tell them I'm going to be doing a half marathon (only because the look on their faces is that of sheer incredulousness) but that wasn't the reason. I've proven to myself over the past few months that I don't need an excuse to travel - if I want to go, I go - so that wasn't the reason. So why, in the name of anything, did I agree to this? I think this will be what I try to figure out over the next 6 months while I attempt to "train" for this event.
I've researched training programs for half marathons over the past few days and the one I liked the most is a 16 week program. Which, if I started on May 3, gave me 8 extra weeks. I told myself I would start on Monday and would be "serious" and "dedicated". For some reason, I started tonight. Maybe because I know myself. Maybe because I know that if I keep putting it off, Monday will never come and it will be Oct 14th before I know it. So I started tonight.
Why do gyms have to have mirrors all over the place? Is it supposed to be motivational? Because for me it's not. It's discouraging, depressing, deflating and all the other "de" words you can think of that express utter dispair. I've become an ace at not looking in mirrors. I can walk in a bathroom and avoid looking at anything other than my eyes in a bathroom mirror. But at a gym, I can't. I take full stock, compare myself to the well-proportioned humans moving purposefully through their exercise routine and I want to turn right around and curl up in a dark corner, in a tight little fluffy ball. I feel like everyone's eyes are on me, summing me up and wondering what in the hell am I doing there. My head knows that, for the majority of patrons, this is not the case but my insecure soul leads the way on this one. I almost left. Almost.
I had an inner-dialogue going on that kept me there. Much like a Drill Sergeant with a new recruit. Only I cussed at myself. Called myself names. Used such things as "wuss" and "fake" and "spineless". I got so mad at my Drill Sergeant! She doesn't know me! She doesn't know what I can do! How dare she call me those things! I'll prove her wrong!!!! With a face of determination and my iPod blasting in my ears to drown out the Drill Sergeant, I stepped up to the treadmill. I had thought I would walk 3 miles tonight at a 15 minute pace. Not so much. 1 mile at a 20+ minute pace and I couldn't feel my feet. This is not the first time this has happened with the numb feet. I've brought my concern to my doctor, only to be told that I just need to exercise more and lose some weight. It's very disconcerting to not be able to feel your feet. Believe it or not, it hurts. I think I need to get fitted for some good shoes. I don't know where to do that here in town other than the shoe stores where some pimply-faced teenager is supposed to be an "expert" but I need to find some shoes. 1 mile killed me. What's 13.1 miles going to do?
The Drill Sergeant was back. Telling me that I should try to find someone else to run in my stead in October cause if I couldn't even do 3 miles on a treadmill set on a flat level, how was I going to do 13.1 miles in San Francisco that is known for its hills? I yelled at the Drill Sergeant. Told her to cut me some slack, I just started for crying out loud! I think this dialogue might've even happened using my outside voice - I got some looks. I can't be sure, tho, Seether was screaming at me the song I love, "Fake It". So I did. I faked it. I moved to the Elliptical.
The Ellip was a little easier on my feet and a little easier on my knees. Good music going and the Drill Sergeant only piped up every now and then. But at a mile, my feet went numb again. At least I had a better pace - closer to the 15 minute pace I wanted while walking. Why can't I do the Half Marathon on an Ellip? I had been moving consistently now for 30 minutes. Not too bad. The wuss in me told me that 30 minutes was all the government recommended for exercise per day so I could stop and come back tomorrow. Then Drill Sergeant Bitch came back. Man, can she be a rude, stubborn, mean little woman. The only way I could shut her up was move on to the stationary bike. And fake it. I think I'm going to be doing a lot of faking it.
But the bike was great. It's one of those "expresso" bikes - that has routes and scenery and everything. You have to steer and you have to switch gears. I rode that bike around the Lost City for 2 whole miles and completed the first, beginner, race. Sweat streamed down my face, my back was soaked and my legs were shaking. But I finished it.
All told, I walked, elliped and biked for 4 miles. 1 mile more than my original intent.
Day 1 of training down. 111 left to go. I do hope the Drill Sergeant comes back. As much as I despised her tonight, she sure did kick my ass in to gear.