Monday, December 5, 2011


Day 5 -- Prompt: What is the one thing you finally did this year that you always wanted or said you were going to do, but in your heart of hearts never thought you would actually do? Amy,

Though it doesn't necessary fall into the category of "things I always wanted to do," it does fall into the category of "things I would never, ever, EVER have thought I would want to do." This year, I trained for and ran the San Diego Rock N Roll Half Marathon.

I am not a runner. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I weigh more than 2oo pounds right now and heft about my person a set of DD breasts. And yet, I completed a half marathon in a little over three hours this past June.

I've always been heavier than average and have always hated running. Middle school PE was a hellish nightmare of torture and humiliation because we ran twice a week, every week, unless it was raining. And I grew up in San Diego: rain is a rarity. I remember the ONE SINGLE TIME in my life I ran a mile is less than 10 minutes. I was in eighth grade and my time was 9:59. Most of the time, I averaged between 12 and 15 minutes (and not much has changed).

Then, in high school, I was in marching band and as my school had a huge and intense marching band program, that was our PE, so enforced and graded running became a thing of the past. And stayed that way for a long time.

Then, about five years ago, I started working out with a personal trainer and lost over 80 pounds. It was then that I realized I could probably run. I could do an hour on the elliptical no problem and started casually running occasionally just because I could. I didn't like it; at least, I didn't like the running part, but I did like the part where I wasn't dying while I did it and where I was doing something I never really thought I would do.

Two years ago, my best friend Bri asked if I wanted to run the Rock N Roll Half Marathon. This would have been the 2010 one. I agreed, grudgingly, but then within a week or so of that decision (which has been either January or February before the race) I got really, really sick with strep throat and it lasted forever -- I was sick for almost a month. By the time I was better, I fell and hurt my ankle, and so between the sick and the broken, I lost training time and ended up not being able to train for or run the race. But my parents and I went to cheer her on at the finish line ad after the three hours or so that we stood there and spectated, I realized how stupid it was that I didn't just run the damn race. Or at least walk it. I was angry and mad at myself for not taking the risk, even with the problems I had encountered.

So as soon as it was possible to sign up, I signed up for the 2011 Rock N Roll Half Marathon. I started training really early -- December or January, I think -- and just plodded along on my training. Soon, I was running five and six miles at a time, shocked at myself and my ability to persevere through a run. It wasn't fun -- my body hurt for weeks leading up to the race because, as I said before, I'm on the heavy side. I'm not super muscular, though I am freakishly strong and have been told by my trainer that I routinely lift (with his help) heavier weight than many of the men he trains. But heaving that weight for miles at a time takes a toll. My feet always hurt in the morning and often my back and hips hurt, too.

I remember the first ten miler I did. It was the worst run of my entire training adventure because I wasn't fully aware of the absolute necessity of food in a run that long. My body completely locked up around mile seven and I could barely force it to plod through the last three miles (but I had to; I was on a circular route around a lake...). The second ten miler was a litter better, but not much. And I only did two before race day.

Race day was terrifying but exhilirating. I made it nearly eight miles before really starting to feel like it was a really stupid idea... and then around mile ten, I just sorta lost my willpower. The last three miles were agony because I hurt everywhere. Plus, unlike MOST June days in San Diego, where the fog never, ever goes away and it's in the 60s all day, this year, there was not a cloud in the sky even at 6 am when we were lining up before the race. It was in the upper 70s and lower 80s and heat is my kryptonite.

But I freaking finished. I crossed the finish line running -- er, jogging. Pretty slowly. But finish I did. And I burst into tears as soon as I crossed the finish line because I couldn't believe I had just carried my body 13.1 miles. Running. On purpose. I was so proud of myself.

But then, immediately, I was pissed as hell at myself because my time was over three hours. My goal had been three hours or less. I was frustrated with my time, and of all the people I knew running the race -- my boyfriend, Bri again, and my brother's girlfriend -- I was last. It was annoying and saddening to me that for as far as I'd come, I didn't achieve the goal I'd set for myself. And I know that's stupid.

But regardless of that stupid, crippling hate of failure, I'm incredibly proud of myself that I did it. I pulled it off and I've even signed up for another half marathon this coming January. And I'll certainly be signing up for the Rock N Roll again. And I certainly never EVER thought I'd run a half marathon. If I went back in time and told 22 year old me or 24 year old me or even 26 year old me, "Hey! You're gonna run a half marathon in your future!" I would have laughed SO hard because it wasn't anything I'd ever considered doing before 2010.


  1. Your post cracked me up because I totally recognized myself in it. I was always heavy and never thought of myself as a runner, but finished my first marathon when I weighed over 200 lbs. This year I ran again, and despite cutting 40 minutes off my time, didn't hit my goal and had the same reaction as you. We both need to RELAX. You know who we are faster than? Everyone who DIDN'T run.

  2. Congrats!! I think running is SO HARD!! I did a 5K once...and I am good with that! :)

  3. Congrats. I'm not sure I've ever beaten a 10 minute mile. And of all the exercises in the world, I just can't run. Congrats for pushing through and giving the rest of us hope that we can do it it.