Sunday, January 22, 2012

Running, Eating and Joe Paterno

Today has been a struggle.  My preference would have been to curl up with a bowl of Captain Crunch and a side of hot cocoa.  I needed a long run, but the rain and wind made me contemplate the treadmill.  But the thought of more than 2 hours of hamster running made me cringe.  Truly, if I didn’t have a marathon planned, I would have bagged the whole thing.  My inner child just wanted to eat candy, curl up in a fetal position and let the world pass by for a while.

With plenty of encouragement I headed out for 14 miles.  I told the hubs how long I would be gone and that my planned route was up on the computer monitor.  (For safety, I always give him an idea of where I go on long runs.)  Three miles in, I made a pit stop and texted the hubs that I was changing my route to something I could cut short if needed.  My right Achilles was really bothering me and I felt completely defeated.  I even turned on my mp3 player to see if music would help kick my attitude.

The music began to help and I turned a corner which would lead me farter from home instead of closer.  I walked a lot.  I moaned and complained to myself.  I couldn’t understand the extent of the pure defeat I felt.  I hated running and began to think it wasn’t worth it.  Maybe I should quit and take up walking.  Then To Fly by Day of Fire played. 

I can see it in your eyes
You were made to overcome
I can see it in your eyes
You were made to rise above
I can see it in your eyes
So take these wings and fly

Something clicked in my psyche.  I was angry.  I was sad.  I had seen the news earlier in the morning…just before the urge to eat comfort foods and curl up in a ball.  Joe Paterno was dead.  I was not grieving his death.  I was grieving for the unnecessary victims.  I was sad that they would not have the answers they needed.  I was angry that Joe Paterno would not answer to all the children that were violated due to his inaction. 

In my years of counseling, I had been warned that there would be things that would trigger memories and anger and grief.  Things that would have no connection to me and my experiences.  You see, I am an unnecessary victim.  My violation may not have happened if an adult had taken action.   Words were said and adults were aware, but nothing was done.  I wonder how many other victims there are that have said nothing.  I wonder how many were molested after me.  I wonder if I had said something years earlier could I have saved another victim.  I was a child.  I was afraid.  Others were adults.  They were in a place to protect children.  Yet their inaction caused great hurt and damage.

I believe in Heaven.  I believe in Hell.  I don’t know where Joe Paterno went.  I don’t know where the man that molested me went.  Only God knows.  And that is His responsibility.  My responsibility is to speak up against wrong.  It is my responsibility to feel the anger and sadness and respond to it appropriately.  The rest is up to God.  I am happy to let Him be the final judge.

Once I realize the cause of my attitude, I can accept it.  I railed at God for a bit and my eyes brimmed with tears.  Then I let Him have all.  My anger, my grief was gone.  They will return from time to time.  They are a part of me.  I am who I am because of all of my experiences. 

The remainder of the run was not suddenly wonderful and amazing.  I could only wish.  It was painful and tedious.  Yet, it wasn’t so bad anymore.  I can deal with the aching muscles.  I can deal with the fatigue.  When my mind is clear, I can take these wings and fly!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

It's a first so have FUN!

The last couple of days I have been asked about running a first half marathon.  I started to write back and thought, "Hey, just blog about it!"  So here is my advice...take it or leave it!

THe half marathon is long enough to be a good challenge, but sort enough to really have some fun.  And your first half should be all bout finishing with a smile on your face.  If you are crazy dedicated enough to run more, then look at other goals.

1. Unless you have been running a while and have some speedwork under your belt, don't start while you are increasing mileage!  You may throw in a few fartleks here and there, but nothing serious.

2. Increase the distance of one run each week slowly.  Try adding a mile a week for a couple of weeks, then do a shorter run the third week.  Bring up the miles the next week and continue the pattern.  Many plans call to do at least one long run of 10 miles before the half. 

3. Listen to your body!  This is a MUST!  If you are tired or hurt, REST!  Rest is a very improtant part of training.  Your muscles cannot adapt to the greater strain, if they are not allowed to recover.  Learn your own signals and pay attention.  For me:  When my knees hurt, I probably need new shoes.  If my hips hurt, I need some extra stretching.  If I dont' feel like running--because I LOVE to run--I need a day off to rest. 

4. Reward yourself.  When you get out there and train when life gets tough, give yourself a pat on the back!  When you reach a goal, enjoy a new toy--maybe running gear or new music to listen to while you run.  Others are going to tell you that you are going to hurt yourself or running is bad for you, let them talk and move on.  Running is healthy and when listening to your body, you can run for years to come.  Studies show runners have decreased incidence of arthritis in the knees than non-runners. 

5. Those long runs, run slow.  If you think you are running too slow, you aren't!  Running slow allows your body to get used to spending time on your feet.  Running the long runs too fast will increase recovery time and increase the chance of injury. 

6. If you are feeling ambitious and you have no signs of injury or over-training, throw in a few fartleks on your easy run.  Runner's World has an article here that discusses a couple of ways to incorporate speedplay.  Keep it faster, but don't go all out. 

7. Ahhh, training diet...  This is a do what I say, not what I do item.  Running uses carbohydrates stored in the muscles.  You will need to eat carbs, but try to make sure they are healthy carbs--fruits, veggies, whole grains.  (This becomes a different story a few days before your race!)  I confess that I am as addicted to sugar as I am to running.  I have to remind myself that quick carbs do not provide the long term energy I need to run or give my body the proper fuel to recover.  I am a work in progress on this one.

There are so many things that can change as you train for your first half marathon.  That is part of the fun!  Learning to adapt and get to the start line trained and healthy is a balancing act.  Yet it can be done.  Just remember, you would rather be a little undertrained than overtrained.