Monday, April 8, 2013

i run because i eat

Last winter, between bites of cheeseburgers or hot dogs or donuts, my friend Lindsay and I were talking about working out, and she informed me that she signed up to run in a race.  She invited me to join her and I took her up on the offer because really, how bad could 5 kilometres be to someone who has never run before, and then she said she's actually running 10 kilometres.



Unfortunately, I usually can't resist a challenge, so, with sweaty, trembling cheeseburger hands, I registered too.  As I entered my information, I briefly thought back on the one time I decided to go running, ran for 3 minutes straight on the treadmill, and called it a day because it was the worst pain I had ever been in. Having let that memory materialize, I accepted the fact that training for a 10K run would be a challenge.

I started outside, first pushing myself for those familiar three minutes, then later pushing for five minutes, then eventually ten, thirty...and finally sixty minutes of running with breaks in between.  I made running playlists and made sure to always have my headphones in so as to never have to hear my feet hitting the pavement or even my breathing, because truthfully, I still don't know how I do it.  My body must sound like a steampunk furnace, heaving and gasping and raging as I pound out kilometre after kilometre.  I ran nearly every day for weeks, my endurance fueled by my fear of finishing last. I had nightmares of being carried to the finish line on a stretcher, or finishing four hours after everyone else, covered in my own...well it could be anything at that point. I ran further and further every day until one day someone told me I had been running nearly 9 kilometres without realizing it.  Back then I didn't have any running tools and measured my progress by how far I could go before I got exhausted.  Training for the race was a huge challenge, but in the process, I learned a lot about my body which was much cooler than any Degrassi special I've seen.  As it turns out, my legs become strong really, really quickly and I gain resilience to running basically on a daily basis. That is, I can run longer and longer distances with every run.  It's also pretty awesome how far my body can go before I get sick or something stupid like that. Kinda makes you feel like a team (take that, dodgeball jerks)
where you feel like your body wants to see you succeed and wants to help you any way it can. So cute.

Race Day was spectacular. There were more people than I thought inhabitated Ottawa, and there was a buzzing sort of energy amidst the runners- maybe nerves, or just the thrill of the crowds...a bit like boxing day, but less scary.  As we started running, I realized we were all being cheered on by the people on the sidelines.  I thought they were only cheering for their families, but then someone high fived me. And then someone else. And then someone gave me a thumbs up. And another person waved a poster at me that seemed to assume that "[I] can do it!". And then I saw about a thousand smiles. And then applause. I couldn't believe that all these people had sacrificed their time to make people like me feel special, to encourage us, to just be there to give us the strength to keep going. And then I felt tears forming in my eyes, and I fell in love with everyone, and just kept running, running, running. I finished the race in 0:58:23 and realized that then and there, I was addicted to running. 

A week later, I signed up for another race: the half-marathon.  I felt ready to try something bigger. I had three months to train for it, which was great. I ran in the rain, before sunrise, at sunset, in the heat, hungover, sick, you name it. The half-marathon was an even more terrifying endeavour, for obvious reasons involving oh I don't know TWENTY ONE KILOMETRES MAYBE.  So I took that pretty seriously, and the training beat the crap out of me, but I loved every minute of it.  I love the sight of the path behind me when I'm running, I love passing the morning trees, I love watching the sunrise as I take a walking break, I love that all the things I spend all day freaking out and stressing about are literally shaken out of my skull with every step.  I love running alone, and I love running with friends (Anais is an amazing runner!!).  The only thing I won't do is run without music. Eww.

So anyway, with a fantastic running plan, a ridiculous amount of drive (again, fueled by fear so I can't act all hardcore about that...I'm just very afraid of finishing last), and a few knee injuries in the process (you just can't train hard without hurting your knee, it seems), I.....*drumroll please*  *I said drumroll*  *okay do we not have a drumset here?* *Manny, you're on drums* *Manny* *Manny, drumroll* *Anyone got a couple of plates or something?* *Alright here we go...Manny you're fired..* *drumroll* 

I ran the half-marathon in 1:54:44!!! (!!!) 

And you know what, I hate to brag, but that's a damn good time.  The run was extremely long, despite my previous runs leading up to it being manageable, and I look really scary in my finish line pictures, but I did it!  As I was finishing that last kilometre (which I think was actually 15 kilometres bundled together) I told myself I would never run again, but I've already signed up for the next 10k coming up this May, and the half-marathon coming up at the end of September.  Kway kway.

The runners at the finish line. Someone yelled: "Do you guys realize we just ran the half marathon?!!" and everyone laughed and cheered.

So there you have it. I like to run. I never thought I'd get into it but somehow I can't stop. It might be just sheer luck, or maybe it's the fun Nikes I get to buy at every milestone, or maybe I just love it because that means I can eat all the cheeseburgers/hot dogs/donuts I want.  Whatever it is, I hope it never ends.

1 comment:

  1. I love reading race reports, it always gives me the chills! It's so easy to forget how amazing it is to complete a 5k, 10k, half marathon! And not only did you complete these races but you aced them! I think you should try doing a 5k, you could probably get a really good time!