Members of Team SJS just minutes before the start of the 2010 Fox Cities Half Marathon!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!!

Last weekend, Mike and I were asked to speak at our local running store, Fleet Feet,  to a group of runners about midpack running as well as my experience with SJS.  Mike was great!  He talked about his own marathon and half marathon experiences, what he has learned over the past ten years that he has been doing it as well as tips for how to dress, not trying GU for the first time during a race, keeping track of miles on your shoes and running your own race.  He made us laugh, made us think and honestly made me proud!  That there was my "coach" telling everyone all of the things he had shared with me, the things that have gotten me to where I am today.

And where am I today, you ask?  Well, I'm sitting on my back deck, watching our son play in the pool, hydrating with my very favorite, Rain Berry Gatorade, freaking the heck out about tomorrow!!!  All because Mike and I are sitting at Fleet Feet last Sunday listening to the owner of the store talk about this half marathon training team that has just started.  There are beginners and intermediate runners in the group and it's led by a coach.  My ears perked up a little, since I have thought time and time again about how nice it would be to just have someone tell me what to run and I would do it!  How it would be great to get to run with other people on those long runs to help keep me motivated. So Leah asks us if there is anyone in the group that would be interested?  Mike gives me a jab in the ribs and mumbles to me to raise my hand.  Ok, so I had thought about how nice it would be to just do the workouts, have someone to run with, blah, blah, blah, but I had gotten myself a really good system down!  I was staying motivated all on my own, although somedays were a little tougher than others, getting my runs in, watching my nutrition and hydration and keeping track of my miles, times and training schedule.  So I really wasn't in need of a new coach, I had me!  Well, that's when I felt my dang hand shoot right up into the air!  What the heck??

Hoping that no one had seen it was useless, Leah had and said as much.  She then announced that she was going to raffle off one free entrance fee for the training program.  Holy cow!!!  For another brief minute, I thought how awesome that would be.  Having a coach, other than your husband who has been running longer than you, is expensive!  Really?  Who gets to do that?  Not this girl!!!  Heck, I cringe every time I get close to 300 miles on my shoes and I have to break down and buy new ones. With the medical bills we see come through our mailbox, luxuries like that just aren't a possibility. 

The group was told to think about it throughout the seminar and she would ask again at the end.  And at the end, Leah, did ask if anyone else was interested.  I scanned the room, noticing that there were quite a few women there and that some of them were already in the program.  They had just done their first long run the morning before.  As I waited for someone, anyone, to raise their hand to get a chance to win this incredible prize, no one did!  What??  Are you people crazy?  This is big time stuff, people!  Someone to help push you when you need it, someone to see your potential when you can't, a person you can ask any running or injury related question to!  What is wrong with you?  Raise your I'm not the only one!  Because then I would have to run whatever he told me to run and that includes some big hill they have named after my Lord and Savior, Jesus!  And honestly, that scares the hell out of me! 

And wouldn't you know  it, I was the lucky winner!!!  Again, I never win anything.  Not even BINGO in French class!  Not once!  But it was my lucky day to get to be able to join a really great group of people in this journey to the finish line.  I really am very excited about it and I have done all of the runs Jim has scheduled for us this week.  Even my very first hill workout.  I had never done hill repeats, and honestly, I now know why!  They are hard work!!!

And that is why I am freaking out, sitting here the night before our 6 mile run early tomorrow morning.  Jim's gonna push me.  He's going to make me work harder than I have made myself thus far.  I have challenged myself and asked myself to do things I never thought I would be able to do, but we all get to that place where we think we can't go any farther when in actuality we can.  Whether it be about the simplicity of running or the complexity of every day life, we stop and teeter on that little line we have drawn in the sand for ourselves wanting to step over it, but allowing the fear of the unknown to hold us back. 

This is my chance to get to see what I am really made of.  Yeah, I ran 13.1 miles last year and I am proud of that!  Will always be proud of that accomplishment.  But now, I am ready to go further.  I am ready to be stronger. I am ready to be pushed.  Let's just hope it's not off a cliff!!

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