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Monday: 3 miles
Wednesday: 3 miles
Thursday: 3 miles
Saturday: 7 miles
Weekly Total: 16 miles
Training Total: 31 miles
The frigid temperatures continue around here so my weekday 3-milers were all on the treadmill and unfortunately it was a rough week in the Cardio Cinema. Monday’s movie was way too intense and violent for this sensitive soul, resulting in me turning up the volume on my iPod so I couldn't hear the movie and keeping laser focus on the treadmill display so as not to see the movie screen. Yes, I could have left the cinema and gone upstairs to another treadmill, but it’s way too hot up there and I was already a couple of minutes into the run before I realized what I was watching. Staring at the treadmill display for 3 miles sure made it seem longer than it was, but it finally clicked over to 3.00! Wednesday’s movie was a bit more watchable for me, making the run a bit more pleasant. Then Thursday I walked into Wednesday’s movie again, just 3 minutes earlier. I've had it with the treadmill and the cinema...I need to get outside!
This week’s cardio cinema disappointments and the fact that this week’s long run was 7 miles had Deb and me both dead set on getting outside on Saturday despite the frigid temperature and winds predicted. We pushed our run back a few hours hoping the temperature would eventually at least exceed the number of miles we had to run. It looked like by 11:00 that would happen. Deb had scoped out the bike path that has been our 7 miler in past years and it appeared to have been plowed so we agreed to meet up in the parking lot at 11:00.
We arrived dressed more for a winter mountaineering expedition than for a run and headed off down the hill to the path along the river. Once down the hill, we ran along for a little bit on this:
And then encountered this:
It appeared that the plowing had ended and all that we could see ahead of us was a lone set of cross country ski tracks that were not at all inviting to those of us in running shoes, so we were forced to turn around and head back up the hill to the parking lot. All of this totaled only 1.2 miles--we still had 5.8 to go! We crossed the street and wound our way through a neighborhood for a while before eventually popping out on a main road a couple of miles from the car. We headed back along the road, but ended up back near the car with still another mile to run. We continued past the car for a half mile with a pretty strong tailwind that we didn't even know to appreciate until we turned around for the final half mile back to the car and were forced to battle the headwind!
I have no idea what our time or pace was for that run. All I know is we finally got outside for a run in this relentless winter and we lived to tell about it! With two full weeks of training under our belts, I'm feeling encouraged and am starting to feel like maybe we can actually do this!
Some exciting changes are on the horizon for the Eyes On the Finish Line blog! Stay tuned...
Monday: 3 miles
Wednesday: 3 miles
Thursday: 3 miles
Friday: Pilates (to counteract all this running!)
Saturday: 6 miles
Weekly Total: 15 miles
Training Total to Date: 15 miles
Finally. After all the weeks of waiting, the training finally started! My plan was to run my first 3 miles at 6:00 Monday morning before my husband went to work. Given the arctic temperatures we've been having for weeks now (maybe months!) and the fact that it’s still quite dark at 6:00, I knew that running outside was probably not an option, so I had resolved myself to kicking off my training on the treadmill at the gym. However, I was not prepared for the 12+ inches of new snow that I awoke to on Monday morning! The snow and the fact that I don’t know how to use the snow blower, combined with my husband being in bed with a violent stomach bug, all worked against my getting to the gym for my 6:00 run. School was cancelled, which meant no childcare at the gym, so going later and taking the kids with me was also out. Seriously? I had been planning this run for months! Was I really going to have to miss the first run of my marathon training? Not a good way to start.
Later in the morning the kids and I got all bundled up and went out to play/shovel. I dug and dug and dug and dug and finally got the driveway cleared enough that I thought I could get the car out. And I got the kids tired enough to take a good afternoon nap so my recovering husband would only have to worry about sleeping kids while I was gone. A perfect plan B! Or maybe Plan C, if you count running outside on clear, dry roads in perfect temperatures Plan A. So, off to the gym I finally went!
In recent weeks, as I was “training to train”, I discovered the wonders of the Cardio Cinema at my gym. It’s a small dark room with several tiers of cardio equipment and a big screen on which they play movies. Turns out it’s the coolest place in the gym, temperature-wise, and a movie to distract me from the act of running is quite helpful. I credit my friend, Erin, for introducing me to the joys of running in the Cardio Cinema. You never know what movie will be playing or where in the movie you’ll join in. This week I saw the end of 17 Again one day and then the beginning of it the next time. Still haven’t seen the middle, but I think I get the gist. Another day I saw the last 20 minutes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and then watched the DVD menu for the next 10 minutes because no one ever restarted it.
Then came Saturday and the first long run, which Deb and I planned to do together. I have never run more than 4 miles on a treadmill and have always said I would never run even that far again. As far as I was concerned, three miles was my treadmill limit! Well, as anyone who lives in the Northeast this winter knows, things are pretty brutal around here and not very conducive to outdoor anything. The snowbanks are high and what’s left of the shoulders of the roads are covered in snow and ice, making it pretty dangerous to be a runner. Temperatures with highs in the single digits and wind chills below zero just add to the problem. The weather had us questioning whether or not we would actually run outside or be forced to run 6 miles on treadmills. Then my husband ended up being away for the weekend, leaving me with a childcare conundrum which forced our hand. So, Saturday morning Deb and I took the kids to the gym (so thankful for childcare at the gym!) and prepared to endure over an hour of treadmill running. We trotted along on side-by-side treadmills for over an hour watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and successfully completed our first long run! I hope to never have to run that far on a treadmill again, but with the company of Deb and Ferris, it was tolerable, and maybe almost enjoyable. Almost.
One week down, 17 to go.
In telling people about my marathon plans, the question I have most often gotten is why?, as in, “Why on earth would you want to run a marathon? You don’t even like running!” I've gotten this “why?” question so often that it’s actually gotten me asking myself that very same thing. So I thought I’d take the opportunity in this last week before the training starts, to sit down and see if I can actually convey the answer to those who ask and to myself: Why AM I running a marathon?
January. Fresh starts and clean slates, goals and resolutions, promises and high hopes. January is such a great and natural time to pause in this crazy life we’re all living, take a deep breath, look back and reflect, and then look ahead and move forward.
For me, this January is a little different than Januarys past. I didn’t declare any big resolutions or jump right into something new on January 1. This January there’s a marathon looming and 18 weeks of training about to commence, and I’m just trying to get ready. I’m calling this January my time of ‘Training to Train.’ It’s a time to focus on shedding those holiday pounds by ridding my diet of all the junk and getting back to a cleaner way of eating that I know makes me feel better. (Not to dwell on the number on the scale, but the truth is I’ve gained more pounds than I will actually admit to, and the more I weigh, the harder running is—and believe me, I don’t need running to be any harder!) I’m also easing back into running so that I will be ready for Week 1 of the plan when we will have to do three 3-mile runs and a long run of 6 miles. I’m definitely not there right now. I’ve stayed fairly active and have gotten to the gym consistently, but have gotten out of a regular running routine over the last few months. Now it’s time to start running again!
This feels kind of strange right now. I've registered for a marathon, paid my money, posted my training plan on the fridge, but yet I’m still waiting for it all to start. This is the calm before the storm, I guess. I’m so excited for my marathon journey to start, but also scared of all the unknowns. Can I do this? Can I really run over 450 miles in 18 weeks? Can I run up and down the hills of Lake Placid for 26.2 miles? Can I stay committed to the training plan so that I’m as ready as possible to take on a marathon? Can I drag my tired body out of bed on cold dark mornings to log the required miles? So many unknowns. But if I have anything going for me, it’s a severely stubborn will to finish crazy things that I commit to—and this marathon sure falls into that category!
So for the next few weeks, as I’m training to train, I will eat well, get back to running a few times a week, get my winter running gear ready, embrace the cold (and the dark!), and try desperately to befriend the treadmill for those days when I just can’t embrace the cold. Less than 4 weeks until the real training begins and I want to be ready!
I have the tendency to get obsessed with a certain word or phrase from time to time and find myself saying it over and over in my head, pondering its meaning and origin, and trying to manipulate conversations so that I can use it. It might be because of the way it sounds, the way it rolls off my tongue; or because of its specific meaning; or simply because of its uniqueness and newness to me. All of these are the case with my newest word obsession—tetelestai.
I first encountered this word a week or so ago when I was transcribing a message my pastor had given last year on Good Friday. (Yes, I am a transcriptionist in my spare time.) It means, ‘it is finished’ and it’s what Jesus cried out on the cross, recognizing that his death there on the cross paid the full price for our sins and fully restored us in the eyes of God the Father. Tetelestai—it is finished. It was a common word of the day and it meant that a business transaction that was being conducted had been done satisfactorily or that a bill had been paid in full. If you had a contact and it was fulfilled, someone would write tetelestai on the bottom of that contract. Tetelestai—it is finished. I just love the way that sounds and what it means.
In pondering (obsessing over) that word this week, I found myself relating it to my marathon and getting excited for the moment that I could say ‘tetelestai’ about the marathon—it is finished. I found myself longing for the moment after I had crossed the finish line—not the victorious crossing of the finish line, but the moment after—the moment when it was finished. The moment when it all became past tense. The moment when I had stopped running, had received my medal, and could now add ‘marathon finisher’ to my life’s resume. What a great moment…when I could stamp my marathon journey tetelestai.
But wait! What about the journey itself? What about the 18 weeks of training, preparing my body and my mind for this huge endeavor? What about setting out in the darkness of the predawn hours and ushering in the sunrise as I run? What about the hours of conversations with Deb on our runs together? What about the hours of conversations with God on my solo runs? What about the strength, both physical and mental, that will slowly come from this commitment and discipline? What about the places those training runs will take me and the things I’ll see at 5 or 6 miles per hour that I could never appreciate at 50 or 60 miles per hour? What about the 5 or 6 (or more!) hours spent pushing myself to limits I’ve never known in one of my favorite places on earth on marathon day? What about all of that? If my eyes are so fixed on the moment after all of that just think of what I’ll miss.
So you see, that moment of tetelestai will surely be grand, but I can’t let my anticipation of that moment keep me from enjoying everything that stands between this moment and that one. There’s joy in the journey and I want to experience it!
Hi! I'm Jen and I'm a runner. Wait a minute...did I just say I'm a runner? That may be the first time I've ever said (or typed) that! Yes, I've been running somewhat consistently for quite a while now and yes, I've got a bunch race t-shirts and pint glasses to show for it, and yes, I own more running tights than jeans, but I've never really thought of myself as a runner before. I realize now, as I find race t-shirts in my drawer dating back to 2001, that I probably should have called myself a runner long before now. Somehow I always felt too new or too slow or too out of breath to call myself a runner. I see the error in that now. Everyone who laces up a pair of running shoes and gets out the door (or to the gym, or to their basement treadmill) is a runner...regardless of how many times they've done it, how fast or slow they run, how many races they have or haven't run, or how out of breath they do or do not get. If they run, they are a runner, so I guess that makes me a runner!
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let me say that I'm starting this blog to document my marathon training. My friend, Deb, and I are running the Lake Placid Marathon on June 14, 2015 and I think writing about it will help keep me accountable (and might even be fun!). I know only 3 people in the whole world will read this-- my husband, Deb (my training partner for this race and many of my life's adventures), and my mom--oh, and Deb's mom, so I guess that makes a total of 4 people who will read this. However, I'm going to write this as if hundreds-- no, thousands of people are reading it. I can't let all of my faithful readers down, so I must run!
Deb and I will be following Hal Higdon's Novice Marathon Training Plan (click here if you want to check it out) and will officially begin the 18-week plan on February 8. I plan to update this blog as frequently as I can throughout the next several months leading up to the marathon to document the highs and lows of this journey. Through it all I plan to keep my eyes on the finish line! Check back for updates!
Happy running! Run happy! (I have my husband to thank for that line!)