So I realize it's been roughly four months since my last blog post. But before I delve into my long list of excuses and an apologetic explanation detailing how far off the wagon I've fallen, let me start with the good news: I ran my first race on March 11!
OK, I didn't actually run the entire length of the course. I ran, jogged and walked. Several 8-year-old kids, moms with baby carriages and a few senior citizens breezed past me. But while I was far from being the first to complete the race, I wasn't the last either. And I RAN, not walked across the finish line.
But here's the thing: the race was only one mile. Ummm, yeah...longest...mile...ever. It also happened to be the fastest mile I've ever run/walked. You've gotta start somewhere, though, right? The race, by the way, was the Miles for Music 20K & 1 Mile Run/Walk, which took place in Highland Park and raised money to fund music education programs and equipment in classrooms that have been affected by beleaguered budgets and tough economic conditions. My friend Marissa asked me to register for the race, so I did - with lots of initial enthusiasm. I was really getting psyched to run in a race. Until the night before, when the nerves kicked in. I tried really hard to find a reason - any reason - that would keep me from having to run today, especially since I've been battling a stomach virus for the last few days. But I woke up this morning feeling pretty good (excuse fail #1). And when my friend Danielle texted me about getting a ride to the event, I decided it was a "now or never" thing (excuse fail #2). So I went, and I did it.
Now for that long list of excuses I promised to deliver. Since , I can count on one hand the number of times I've run outdoors, which, incidentally is NOTHING like running on a treadmill. I had a lung infection, a sprained ankle, a crazy work schedule and a host of other personal problems that have kept me from sticking to my couch-to-5K routine. I haven't stopped working out - I still hit the gym a few times a week for classes and such. But I've fallen way off track with my running. I think that's about to change, though. Now that I've made it across the finish line, I feel pretty invigorated and have a renewed sense of determination - or insanity - not sure which.
I've also been inspired by a number of people in recent months, including , a Cranford resident who is about to complete his quest to run 50 marathons in 50 states. There's also Merav Fiorella, formerly of Cranford who - on her own - lost more than 100 pounds and made an appearance on The Biggest Loser with her cousin Mark. The members of the Brookstriders who are planning their annual 5K race for April (incidentally, that's my next goal), have also been an inspiration. Then there's my gym family - have I mentioned their awesomeness? Nearly all of them compete in races, triathalons, 5K runs, marathons or teach fitness classes. All of these people and their stories are what run through my head whenever I have an "off" day - or month - and feel like being a lazy slug on my couch.
Now, I realize as far as races go, this was no big shakes. For some seasoned runners, this would barely have been a warm-up (and believe me, I was pretty warm by the end of that mile). But I feel like I accomplished something that I never would've believed I could do 10 years and nearly 70 pounds ago. I still hate running, but I'm gonna keep doing it, at least until I finish my first 5K...or I regain my sanity. Whichever comes first.