A few months ago, I decided I was going to challenge myself and do something I was horrible at. Running. While I have always been a pretty active person, running was never my thing. In fact, I considered myself to be in decent physical shape. I would be at 24 hour fitness religiously. Once, twice, sometimes 3 times a day if time allowed it. I was never good at running, so I avoided it like the plague. My cardio used to consist of interval sprints, stair steppers, spin bikes and elliptical machines. If I hoped on a treadmill, it would be for intervals of sprints, uphill walks and short jogs. I always thought those marathon runners were from a different planet. How on earth could one person run 26.2 miles? How? I can barely mustard up the energy to run 1 mile without stopping, so a whopping 26.2 just seemed impossible.
This is a year of personal transformation. Lots of changes. This is the year I open up new chapters in my life and step beyond my boundaries I’ve been accustomed to. Pushing myself to be a better person, giving more to those that I can, tackling my fears and obstacles AND most importantly; living a life filled with gratitude & doing things that I was afraid of doing. No fears and living in the NOW. So, my first big challenge this year. Learn how to run. And, to make sure I had something to shoot for, I decided I was going to run the Honolulu Marathon in December 2012. Ha. Just the thought of running 26.2 miles sounded insanely crazy, I never mentioned it out loud to a soul. I would just have these mental conversations with myself. Should I? Could I? Would I? The answer to all three. YES.
Now that I told myself I would do it, I just didn’t know how I would go about training. Which book should I buy? When should I start training? So many questions. Remember, I could barely run 1 mile without a short break. Then, my baby cousin and I were chatting one day and she mentioned that we should start running with a group that helps train marathon runners. Say what??? It was so ironic since I was toying with those thoughts for a while. I never had the time to train for a marathon. Never. Working 16+ hours a day made it tough to get to the gym at 1:00am. So, this was a message from the universe. I took the message and said “let’s do it”. We agreed to join the group that upcoming weekend at 7:30am since they were just starting to meet for training. Really? That just seems too weird. But, I had to go with it. I was afraid, but I committed and that was it. I was in. I got up that Sunday anxiously awaiting my little cousin to join me, only to find out she had to cancel. Work called her in late the night before. What? How could she? I mean, it was her suggestion and where the heck is she? She texted me in the morning saying she would meet me the following week. Oh well, I had to forge ahead solo.
I psyched myself out all week about it, so I was gonna do it and I wasn’t gonna let my cousin’s absence stop me. I joined the group for beginners. This goal was to run for 3 miles. Oh boy. I was anxious. How am I gonna do this? I think I joined the 15:00 min / mile group. We started running and it was a very, very, very, slow jog. I thought, wow, this isn’t as bad as I thought, actually it’s pretty easy. I guess I was running too fast before! It was actually too easy and just felt like I could walk faster than that. I continued to run with them for about 1.5 miles. I wanted to go faster, so I hopped out of that group and jumped in the next group 13:00 min/mile at the next water stop. Ha. About 5 minutes in, I thought I was going to die. Literally. OMG, how did I get here? How do I get out? I felt like a brick wall was on top of my chest and I couldn’t breathe. I fell to the back of the group and was barely hanging on. This is for beginners? What the heck. I almost stopped and started walking, but I couldn’t quit. I just couldn’t. I kept on going and forged ahead. I thought about all the things that I need to do. Things that will make this seem like nothing. We turned the corner for the last mile and it seemed like an eternity. Eventually I finished. What a relief. I wasn’t sure if I was sold on this marathon thing, but I couldn’t quit. I just couldn’t.
My running coach told us to run 3x a week. Every week I waited for my baby cousin to show up. Every week, something came up. Eventually she told me she would not be able to train this year because of her new job and late hours. I reached out to my other cousins. They wouldn’t really officially commit but entertained the idea. Within a month, they were both out. So, that meant it was just gonna be me. The first couple weeks were the hardest. But, after a few weeks of running, it actually started to become easy. Three miles turned into four, then five, then six, then eight and before I knew it, I was running 10 miles. Whoa! I couldn’t believe I ran 10 miles. I started feeling pretty darn good. One morning I was on a nice long run and at mile 4, a pothole met my left foot and rolled my ankle pretty darn good. I could barely stand on it. But, I couldn’t stop. I needed to finish this run with my group. I gingerly ran putting very little weight on my left leg and eventually ate the pain and continued running full speed for another 5 miles. I felt great to finish that run. I was pleasantly surprised that the ankle pain went away. Temporarily. A few hours later, the left ankle ballooned up, turned purple and I couldn’t even stand on it. It was pretty painful. I iced it, elevated it and stayed off of it and it actually felt okay the next afternoon. I let it rest for 4 days and ran 8 miles on it. HUGE MISTAKE! That put my ankle out of commission.
I had to tell my running coach what I did and he told me to keep icing it and let it rest for a couple weeks and I should be fine. A couple weeks out wouldn’t hurt me. Well, it took about 8 weeks for it to start feeling better. That’s 2 months of no running! Then I got hit with asthmatic bronchitis. Physically out of commission for another few weeks. Now, here we are towards the end of September with 77 days left until marathon day. A little over 2 months left to train and I have to start from square one because I haven’t been running for the last few months. I did my first run last week of 3 miles and it felt like a marathon. Ugh. My family and friends tell me it’s too late to train for this year. They suggest to skip 2012 and do it next year. I can’t. I committed to running this marathon and I’m going to do it. It’s going to be hard, but I have to. A few months ago, I told myself that I am going to run for those that can not walk. And that is a commitment I can NOT break. I know my niece Maile would do anything to walk if she could use her legs, so I think about that when I want to give up. This one is for you Mai and for everyone that is wheelchair bound.
I just got a new pair of new mizuno running shoes and I’m gonna hit it as hard as I can. I got 2 months to do this and I’m doing it! My original goal was to finish under 5hr 30min. But, given the circumstances, the time goal is out the window and I just want to finish. No matter how long it takes. If I’m the last girl crossing the finish line, at least I can say I ran, walked or crawled for my baby niece. Love you Mai.