Saturday, September 18, 2010

That Grind Don't Stop

I get really emotional. I can grit though the toughest stuff but when it comes to things like change, and accomplishing things: I get wicked emotional. The last few days I have been completely wrought with anxiety....and overwhelmed with feelings. I just have a lot of feelings. A few months ago, I signed up for the Kansas City Runner's Edge group training run for the KC Marathon. It's not a big training group, it's just a run they organize for anyone training to help them with the longest run during training.

Knowing me, and my flakiness-I signed up so I would have no excuses to not get 20 miles under my belt. Little did I know, that this farting run would cause me more anxiety than the actual race. For SOME reason, I couldn't help but freak out that maybe my training wasn't where it needed to be do this distance and that I was going to totally embarrass myself. My training style for this marathon has been pretty unorthodox, and honestly I haven't stuck much to a rigid plans as I have just gotten out there and followed a 10% build up each week. Every run for me is a fartlek, and every run I struggle to figure out what I need to do albeit hydrating, fueling, and gear. So for someone who still is trying to figure out their rhythm, showing up to a group run with other runners who've been training (and probably more consistently) was a little intimidating.

Admittedly, my nerves got the best of me before I even walked in the door. My drive there I turned up my 5k play list CD, and tried to just relax. Then that stupid Inida Arie song lyrics hit me like a ton of bricks, and I felt like I had to cry-but I couldn't cry because I was so nervous-but I was so nervous I wanted to cry-and then I got angry. KNOCK IT OFF. I don't know why I allow myself to be consumed with self doubt, and wrapped up in minutia like what people might think. God forbid, someone laughs at my gait. I quickly changed the song, to "Let's Go" and tried to get amped. As I pulled into my parking spot, I saw other runners all geared up walking into the shopping center to get their wrist bands.

Sure enough, the demographics were exactly what I feared. Guess what my first thought was? Dannnngggit, you're the fattest person here. ACK, everyone was super lean and super toned and looked super fast. I took a deep breath, and got out of my car. I felt like everyone was staring at me, haha look at the noob, as I walked in and got my wrist band. Thankfully, I planned on meeting up with two guys from the marathon's facebook. They both found me, and distracted me from being a big ball of nerves. One of which, Scott, talked me into this didn't run because of an injury-but just came for moral support, he knew a bunch of people there and introduced me to a few. Then Eric, who I talked into running this. Eric and I had decided to stick together, thick and thin-running and walking.

At 6:30 everyone lined up with a pace group, much like a race. My group kinda huddled around our pacer, Lynette. We shot the poop while we waited for a time to be called. Since this wasn't a race, they were really strict about not wearing ipods. Ya'll know me and my obsession with my ipod, so here I am: longest run of my life, with essentially strangers, and no ipod. I was seriously struggling to not shut down from nerves, so I pushed myself to talk to people. Once I got to talking and introducing myself, I kinda started feeling more like myself. It didn't even take me a mile to realize, everyone there was just as unsure, if not terrified as I was.
The organizers did a wonderful job, and the pacers were amazing. There were water and fuel stations every 2 miles, the pacer answered all your questions and everyone was just rocking and rolling. Our whole group was really chatty, and I hate chatting-but there I was just kinda running my mouth about anything and everything to whoever would listen. We talked about how we got into running, our jobs, our family, TV and movies, stuff in Kansas City, other races we've ran, fueling and nutrition-basically everything. Other than the fact that I had to pee wicked bad, I didn't realize I was even running. Before I knew it, we were at the 10 mile mark. Say what? I didn't even feel like I had ran ten miles.
Everyone had the option of turning back, and running the route for the desired distance-with the maximum distance option being 22 miles. I had talked Eric into pushing 20 miles, even though he only intended on running 18 per his schedule. Selfishly, I begged him to go 20 and I am ever so thankful he agreed. At mile 10, we found out our pacer wouldn't be splitting back to complete the back mileage. Most of our group went on to run another mile before turning around, but Eric and I split of at 10.
Without a gaggle of runners, we just kinda paced our way back and took it really easy. The front ten miles were pretty thick with runners and other groups, but the back ten we'd go for a mile without seeing fellow trainees. As the mileage increased on our garmins, it got progressively harder to put one foot in front of the other. By mile 16 we were both ready to call it and Eric said he was considering walking the final two miles. I didn't mean to get all cliche and motivationally hackneyed on him, but I was like "Buddy, you don't want to regret this later. You know later this afternoon you're gonna kick yourself in the butt for not pushing those last two miles!" He agreed and we kept trucking.
My mom drove by and honked us a serenade of encouragement. We ran through our last aid station, and then it clicked that we were almost done. HOLY CRAP....eighteen miles are finished, two more to go. My legs felt like bricks, but I was on top of the world. Those last two miles, were sooo smooth. Dare I say, smoother than the first anxiety-ful firs two??! With a half a mile left, we ran into this guy...

This is Moose, and 11 Month Boxer.
We both HAD to stop and pet him, being that we a) both love dogs and b) really love Boxers. Eric has a boxer name Daly, who also is tattooed on his arm-that's love. And well, you all know the boxer in my life. Moose had enough energy for the both of us, he showed us how he can sit and shake-and we could tell just from a distance he was a fun dog.
Moose shook us on our way, and before we knew it the shopping center from where we started was in view. It was surreal, had we really just logged 20 miles? Like TWO-ZERO. It felt like TWO. We finished really strong, and even felt like we could do more. Walking into the shopping area, the air conditioning was shocking. We high fived and were just generally elated. Walking to the area where we checked in, we strolled by a huge wall of mirrors. I glanced over my shoulder and said "Yeah,we looked like we just ran 20 miles!" and snapped this...

we killed it.
That's right. I ran 20 miles, and it felt second nature. No one made fun of me. I enjoyed myself. I will be back next year, and I guess this means I'm officially trained to run the KC Marathon. Oh and this is how I recover:
Total Mileage: 20
pssssttttt...12DoGA: GU Winner is Kate Smith! Kate email me your address, and the GU is yours! Thanks for your support! Part Two of 12DoGA coming to a blogpost near you soon.

7 comments:

Diana said...

Congrats Julia! You're amazing! I'm so glad it went well!!

KT Bee said...

you rock my socks!!! and I love that your mom showed up. that is awesome. ♥ moms!!

The Wench said...

Awesome job on the 20!!! What a great feeling to knock out that kind of mileage. Not many people can do what you did! I'm proud of you for going to the training group. I said I'd go to one, I gave it a drive by, looked at the women there and kept on going. How sad is that!

ashley & sundance said...

Glad your 20 miler went well! I couldn't run without my iPod... so more power to you! Your're gonna rock your marathon! keep up the hard work girl!

Michelle said...

That's amazing! Yay!

Jillian said...

Julia, Thank you for sharing your story with us!

You have achieved so much!

Becky said...

GREAT job Julia! I am so proud of you and knew you could do it! ☺