Friday, May 13, 2011

Run Like a Girl

I recently started reading the book Run Like a Girl right before running the half marathon. I picked the book up when I was looking for some back ground on women's health issues for my thesis. I think what I am enjoying most about the book is reading all the stories about women who have been told they shouldn't or couldn't be athletes or just weren't athletic and they've managed to make the naysayers eat their dust. As a non athlete turned weekend warrior it gives me a little rush to read their stories of accomplishment. It's amazing how a weekend activity, such as running a race or finishing a triathlon, can improve your self-esteem and give you a satisfaction that few other things can match.

I ran my second half marathon early this May. Eileen was already registered, as part of a bucket list for her 30th, and I figured this was a great incentive to get back in shape. My goal for my first marathon was just to finish - I remember my friend Katie asking me what time we were aiming for at one point and I looked at my watch and gasped "2:37" mostly because I remembered the words "1:37 pm" from Empire Records to a 37 seemed as good a time as any. We had trained a good deal together, running in Central Park, Hoboken and doing several 10k's that summer before the race in the fall. So despite our initial plan to run at our own pace, we ended up running together and finished at a respectable 2:31. We shared all the "give up" moments. At mile 10 when I felt done, her hatred of hills, our plan for walking the water stations and support when we needed encouragement, jokes about the golden girls and getting a cheesecake at the end. So this race would be very different running on my own. Another friend warned me that I had to beware of my own head getting in my way and fucking me up. In the book, the author shares her own struggles to deal with races that went awry and accepting the failures. In the weeks before the race during training I had screwed up my knees, my hip and developed shin splints. I was not feeling up to snuff in the week of the race. I felt okay that morning but things quickly went downhill.

The mechanical failures were first. As a spin instructor, I always check my equipment pre-race but today I totally failed on that note and ended up listening to the same track for 6.2. (Note to self - learn how to use Ipod before next race). The first thing I did was google "how to take Ipod off repeat." I debated stopping to ask a high school volunteer. By mile 10, I was bored, sore and ready to quit. With 3 miles to go, I could feel every step in my shins and knees and my hip was killing me. I had to walk. I felt like a failure in every regard and when I realized I would in no way finish in 2:30 I was disappointed. I had wanted to put forward a better showing and despite everyone telling me that it was great that I finished I was not happy.

But in the weeks since the race, I have realized that I need to regroup, get back on track, and ready myself for the next obstacle. Sounds like good advice in the workplace as well and in the job search. My parents always said "Life's rough in the big city" and "always try your best" and this could be more true. I had to accept what I considered a failure, find what had been positive, eliminate the negative talk and get in the game for the next run.

1 comment:

  1. yes "life is tough in the big city" BUT you did finish with shin splints (found out after) and you had the best cheering squad in the world!!! from mom