Monday, May 3, 2010

I do it because it feels so good when I stop.

And we're off!

Yesterday was Day One of my 16 week training program to prepare me for the triathlon. The plan called for an "easy, nothing strenuous" 30 minute run. I chose to interpret this to mean "Sure, you can run a 10 mile race in record-breaking heat and humidity, go for it!". I think, at 45, I will just resign myself to Tina Turner's adage "We never, ever, do anything nice and easy".

What a thrill! The Broad Street Run had 30,000 runners. Along the route we were treated to gospel choirs, bands and open fire hydrants to run through to keep us cool. Here's what I didn't know about races until I started running them:

  • Many people don't actually run the entire course, many employ the "run and recover" method of running for a certain amount of time and then walking to recover before running again. This is how I made it through 10 miles and I was in very good company all along the way.

  • People of every size, shape, age and ability make up the racing community and what most of us share is a love for being active and getting others active. I was encouraged all through the race and cheered others along as I went. All around me were people coaching each other, offering phrases like "only 3 more to go" and "keep going, people are watching!" and "You're stronger than you think!" Truth be told, second to how good it feels when I stop, the second reason I have for loving this sport is the amazing and supportive community.

If you've been following along on this journey, you'll remember when a 5K seemed impossible, the thought that I entered into a 10-mile run without any real training beyond my normal fitness routine is still a little amazing for me. And if you're wondering, yes, I picked up some paperwork for a half-marathon in the fall after the triathlon. I think I might be experiencing my midlife crisis. This looks so much better than the combovers and little red sports cars the men of my age are sporting though.

Today was a bit humbling after the high of finishing yesterday's race. W2D2 of the plan called for swimming and I confess, I've been completely neglecting my swimming for the past month. I went to the gym and found there was only one swim lane open as the senior water aerobics class was meeting in the rest of the pool. I blame them for how out of shape I felt in the water. When 20 senior adults start running in a circle in the pool, it actually creates a whirlpool. I had to swim against the current every other lap! I figure it was good practice for open water swim. Hopefully my next swim will be a little easier. I'm always amazed at how quickly your fitness level can drop and how quickly you can regain it.

That's my message for today: Get moving. You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish and at how quickly you will feel that you've changed your life. And it's so much easier than changing all the chuckle-heads around you!

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