I am not a person who loves running. In fact, I would say my relationship with running is tumultuous at best. A few years ago I went a wee bit nuts losing weight and working out like a maniac. There were a lot of feelings buried under all that flesh, and as my body lightened bit by bit, my soul would get heavier in equal proportion. All those feelings came to a head late last summer and, as I’m known to do, instead of pushing through the discomfort those feelings gave me I just gave up. I stopped running, I stopped working out, and I stopped paying attention to myself. Basically, I fell into the trap that a lot of moms seem to fall into – I will just take care of everything else and put everyone else first instead of taking care of me and dealing with my shit. Thus began a long, cold, depressing winter.
In December, right in the thick of all my sadness and the exhausting effort of ignoring that sadness, Jill and I signed up for the Shamrockin’ Half Marathon and started Team CCM (#teamccm). I knew I needed something (anything) to train for in order to get off my butt and out of my head. We did the training through the cold winter months. I had the wrong shoes and hurt my foot badly. The weight I had put on over those sad months kept me tethered to the ground in a way that hurt not just physically, but emotionally. Again and again I thought of the glorious moment Jill and I had crossed the Tinkerbell Half Marathon finish line the year before. I was the fittest I’d ever been as an adult, I had sailed through those 13.1 miles on sheer adrenaline and joy. With every painful training run for Shamrockin’, I knew those emotions would not resurface at this race. This was hard! MUCH harder than the work I had put in before. Each day became a battle to get out and get my miles in. Often I allowed my work and family to take precedence over the need for logging my miles. I let the pain in my feet and legs wear my nerves to tatters and took solace in books instead of the road. With each choice to not truly commit to my training, I gave up on me a little bit more.
Running Shamrockin’ was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I was heavy that day – my soul, my spirit, my body all weighed down. The only pleasure came from donning my Cap City Moms running shirt for the first time and FINALLY getting the right pair of shoes so I could actually finish. The course was long, it was abnormally warm for March and as we powered through the miles the crowd thinned and thinned. Jill’s phone battery died, and in a way my own battery died around mile 10. Never in my life have I wanted to just stop doing something more than I wanted to stop that race. Even seeing my awesome family at mile 9 hadn’t improved my mood. I had hugged my kids, kisses my husband and thanked them for making a sign and waiting so patiently for us to stumble along. Even all that love couldn’t spur me on. My pace was miserable – a crawl at best. I kept telling Jill to leave me and make a better time, she kept telling me to shut up. The deep conversations Jill and I usually have on long runs were lost to the repetitive thoughts I had “I want to give up!” followed more and more slowly by, “You can’t! You must finish!” until sometimes it would take several minutes for the voice of reason to overpower that voice of doubt.
Somehow, we crossed this finish line. The stadium was mostly empty at that point. My husband and kids were playing on the grass, so I didn’t see if they saw us or not. They had been waiting for a really long time. After we got our medals I stood at the bottom of the stadium steps for a second wondering how in the hell I was going to climb them – I had nothing left. Jill and I managed to make our way to the grass where my family was. We took a few pictures and then sat down for an ice cold hard cider. That was the best damn drink I’ve had in a long time. After we finished at the stadium we made our way back to our car, about the longest half mile away ever. We went to Jill’s and stuck our feet in her cold pool while we tried to eat something, but pretty much failed at that. I went home, took a long shower (sorry drought!) and then laid in bed for the rest of the day while my whole body ached and pounded in pain. What a stark contrast that was to my first half where after we finished 13.1 miles I spent the rest of the day running around Disneyland with my husband, kids and best friend! Jill and I closed the park that night! But that was not to be this time around. I hadn’t done the work so the work had done me in.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about that race since then. I have spent a lot of time feeling disappointed in myself. Finally, something dawned on me – that race, that really terrible race didn’t make me a terrible runner or, more importantly, a terrible person. Yes, I had given myself a winter to mourn some things that really NEEDED to be mourned. I had given myself a season of sadness and pain so I could rise out of it and move forward. Despite the slowness of my pace, the aching of my body and agony in my mind I had moved forward step by freaking step to the end of that race. The finish of that race would be the finish for this season of sadness too. It was time to get up, and move on.
So I did what any crazed person would do – I signed up for another half marathon! Because, OF COURSE I DID! In July I, and all you Cap City Moms who would like to join me, will run the MOOnlight Half Marathon in Davis, California. I will be doing the work this time around – logging the miles, keeping my training schedule and not beating myself up the way I did before. I am excited about the prospect of the CCM team having one hell of a great run. I will be putting together long runs for some of the weekends heading into the race so we can get together and get some miles in. Keep an eye on the CCM Facebook page for details.
I encourage you to join us for this race. If you consider yourself a runner or not it doesn’t matter. The thing I have learned about races is this – they change you. Sometimes they make you feel like a rock star and sometimes they are the kick in the pants you need to move forward with change. I’ve put together two training calendars for you who are going to join the TeamCCM runners for MOOnlight. I have a Novice 1 training calendar for those first time half marathon runners and a Novice 2 training calendar for those who have been around the half marathon block before. These are modified Hal Higdon training schedules. If you want some great tips on running and training his website is a good place to start. You don’t have to use my training schedule, of course, but we will be doing the long runs based on these calendars if you plan on joining us.
I am excited for this race, and for the changes I am making in myself. I am shrugging this winter off with each step. I hope you will join me and TeamCCM as we move forward together.
Are you following us on Pinterest? We’ll be adding to all the CCM fun over there and you won’t want to miss it!