Apr 2, 2014

March Self Actualization - The Part Where We Ran

We sat in awe, listening to impassioned, humorous speakers wax eloquent on the topics that inspired them at TEDxPhiladelphia.  We cheered as my cousin made his entrance onto the stage of the traveling Broadway tour of Bring it On: The Musical, and then amazed us with the smooth beauty of his voice as we heard him sing for the first time.  We powered our sluggish bodies through sheer force of will over hills and around the winding path of the Back on My Feet 5-Miler.

And that was all in one weekend!

So now I'm going to tell you all about it, and I'm going to do it in reverse order.

Saturday morning... 

We were already sleep deprived from a late night hanging out with some of the cast members from the musical, as well as a long drive back to Philly, and our brains were exhausted from the events the day before.  With this mindset, it was difficult to imagine myself running the entire 5 miles, let alone making a good time (for me - hey now, success is all relative).  The weather had predicted rain, but as we scrambled from our taxi and rushed to check in and get our numbers in place, the sky was barely dripping and the temperature was warm enough to raise our spirits a bit.

Mile 1 went well, and I began to feel myself settling into my comfortable 5mph slogging pace.  Mile 2 had a hill, which almost destroyed everything.  By the time we reached the top, my breathing was no longer under control (I have "exercise induced respiratory ailment" which is basically just a mild level of asthma that only affects me when I run), and I was no longer enjoying this.  Mile 3: a long downhill!  I managed to catch my breath and was able to completely fill my lungs with air again; then we picked up the pace, stretching our legs into lengthy strides and letting the slope carry us down.

Miles 4 and 5 were unremarkable, boring, and hard, as they always are, but at the end, when I saw Sister2 and her fiance (we'll just call him Soon-to-be-Brother) waiting for us at the finish line and cheering, I managed a slightly faster burst to the end and saw, with amazement, that I had finished at almost exactly 55 minutes!!!  Considering my treadmill pace of 12 minute miles, completing something outdoors at 11 minute miles was a pretty hefty accomplishment.  Then, of course, the adrenaline died down and my lungs closed up, and I had to spend the next 10 minutes pacing back and forth, gasping like a fish out of water.  But hey, what doesn't kill you...

While I was immensely proud of myself, I think the best part of ending the race was knowing that it was over (that or the huge brunch we ate afterwards - butterscotch pancakes, mm hmm...).  The weekend, because, although enjoyable, there was a lot of timing issues, and stress, and definitely not enough sleep.  And my training, because while I plan to continue running, I no longer have to stress over whether or not I reached 5 miles each week, and I can just do what's enjoyable at that moment.  Right now, I'm thinking I'll try out intervals.

What's your favorite way to stay in shape?