Mind Over Mileage

Few things in this world make me quite as giddy as when someone “hearts” or selects one of my projects on my Ravelry Project Page as a favorite. Those little hearts next to the picture of my project just make me smile. It is why I make sure I “heart” other people’s projects (not just the pattern itself). It feels really good to know that someone randomly came across your project and thought it was nice enough that they favorited it; they put it on a list that they can look back on for inspiration and enjoyment of the art of knitting.

Encouragement is one of the greatest gifts we can give to another individual. When someone favorites my work on Ravelry, leaves a kindhearted comment on my blog, or says something unexpectedly kind and encouraging on Facebook, my mood is instantly lifted and I am reminded that I owe that same kindness to others.

I have received a lot of encouragement this week. A lot. The fire that was lit when I crossed the finish line last weekend is burning away a lot of the fears and insecurities that I have harbored for so long. Conquering the 5k was a big thing, and something I will definitely do again (I have been signed up for the Warrior Dash in October for 3 months already). But now, inspired by the amount of time I have to train for it, the success I had with the 5k, and the very deep seated desire to challenge myself to accomplish something extraordinary, I am planning on registering for the McDonald’s Half Marathon, set for November 12, 2011.

A whole marathon is no joke and hardcore, and also, strangely of interest to me for the future, but just not yet. A half marathon is still serious business without necessarily being the life-consuming business that 26.2 miles can be.

My encouragement came first from my husband, who I had to run this by before anything else. He said of course, he would support me and thought I should do it, recognizing it would be a time commitment and probably an inconvenience. Later, after confiding to one running enthusiast co-worker my thoughts about it, he said “Yeah you should do it. You need to start now, but you can definitely do it.” I appreciated his honesty about needing to start now. He’s right, I do. Another co-worker who I didn’t even know was a runner saw my race number I have proudly posted on the wall of my cube from last week asked me about my race, and then told me he is a regular racer and has signed up for the Chicago Marathon. We talked about the Richmond Half, and he was very encouraging, to the point of offering to train with me, and said if he doesn’t run the 26.2, he will come run the 13.1 with me. Kitty has been thinking of lacing up her trainers again, and has been very encouraging too, and may also sign up to come do it too.

I have a lot of work to put in. Lots of miles ahead of me and below my feet. Lots of questions that need answers; being a unique little snowflake with a surgically “enhanced” gastrointestinal tract, I can’t just pound 120 ounces of water a day or slam back an energy gel every 5 or 6 miles without risking dumping syndrome. I don’t have room to eat 3000 calories or even 2000 calories a day. I have to have a real talk with my surgeon’s office about nutrition and training. She might even refer me to the nutritionist I saw before my surgery; and it might be worth the cost of doing so, given the specific challenges I face.

Beyond that, there is all the training. For every running coach and self-labeled expert, there is a training plan. There are 6 week plans, 6 month plans. More often, 10 week and 14 week plans. Plans for advanced, intermediate, beginning, and recreational (that’s me) runners. Knowing me, I will probably mash a couple of plans together to create something that works best with what I have available to me (I lack access to a treadmill but I have access to lots of hills, etc.) and the time I have to train in. I have access to successful runners in my office and among my friends, all of whom have experience and knowledge to share.

I am looking forward to the challenge. I am even looking forward to the hot sweaty summer runs, the early a.m. runs, the effort of finding ways to squeeze mileage in on weekends spent at SCA events. I would be lying if I said the thought of 13 miles didn’t make me a little nervous, but I will overcome that too.

I am going to do it. I am going to because the Fat Chick (Fat Chick is a state of mind, not a state of being; I know several twiggy thin Fat Chicks) I used to be always wanted to do this, but had one excuse after another, some valid, most were not, as to why I couldn’t do this. I am going to do this because if finishing a 5k inspired this in me, who knows what finishing a half marathon will inspire me to do.

But do you want to know really why I want to do it?
Because of her. Because she inspires me. Because I want to be the right kind of example to her. Because I don’t want her to have to go down the same “surgically enhanced gastrointestinal tract” road that I did. Because I want her to know that while there are a few very real limits in each of our lives, a lot of the limits we think we have exist only in our own minds.


2 responses to this post.

  1. You can totally do it and I look forward to reading about your training progress alongside all your cool knitting projects. :)


  2. Posted by Kitty on April 14, 2011 at 5:39 PM

    I’m with you on the “fat chick” mindset and how it affects how you live. That is the exact same reason why I did it two years ago. I know you can do this! It’s sometimes hard to fit in the long runs and it does take a lot of time near the end, but I know that your family will be just as proud and supportive of you as my family was for me.


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