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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dialing It In

I like that phrase for some reason. I got it as a response to something I said last night while wrapping up the final quarter of my 6-miler with my running group (Chicago Beer Runners). Something like, "up until that point, you're just dialing it in." Or roundabouts that. We were talking about how, for new runners, getting over the 5-mile mark is a huge hurdle. For some reason, when you're just starting out, five miles may as well be 10, 15, 20 miles! Gary and I were discussing one of my goals for the year (to turn a non-runner into a runner), and that's how we came to this section of the conversation. Once you've done the 5-miler, it's all pretty much the same until you start getting into the double digits, then you have whole new hurdles to climb over.

**Sidenote: the run last night was amazing! We have a three-mile loop everyone runs together, more or less, and then a two-mile loop for us over-achievers to add on for five. Gary was the only other hearty soul in the group last night, so we just ran the three-mile loop once more for six. The first three were at a great clip...easily nearing sub-8's...and I felt incredible. I took two days off after my double this past weekend, and it paid off. The weather was perfect, in the upper 40's, and hardly any wind to speak of.**

I can distinctly recall my very first 5-miler. It was the Nike Run Hit Wonder 5-miler downtown, in August 2006. Up until that point, I had never ventured beyond the 5k. My friend Dave (a seasoned marathoner), his girlfriend and I ventured down to Grant Park on a super-hot and glorious summer evening for the run. I remember not being entirely intimidated by it, but I also remember feeling like five miles was an almost unthinkable distance for one to run. It wound up being the single most exciting short distance race I've run (even though it was sponsored by Nike...). Strobe lights, bands every mile, disco lights and a smoke machine in the McCormick Place tunnel. Plus I got my first ever finisher's medal. I felt great afterwards, but the next day, I was a useless piece of motionless flesh. I could barely move. Ha! However, in the aftermath, I had this feeling of having overcome this insurmountable obstacle...I was now a 5-mile runner!

In retrospect, I find it pretty amusing, but totally rewarding. It was the beginning of a trend of breaking through barriers and just going for it. Oddly enough, when I was at the Nike Human Race 10k this past August, 2008, doing a marketing stunt for Atayne, I was standing at the back of the pack trying to get to the other side of the street and I ran into Dave. I hadn't seen him since a little after that first 5-miler when life just got in the way. Funny that we ran into each other at the "sister" version of that one race. But, I digress.

I have a friend from high school who has asked me about helping her get into a running 'routine', so perhaps she will be my non-runner-turned-runner for the year :)

It's so strange looking back at my running "career". I just kind of jumped in head first in the last 10 months or so. I was going to hang out in the 10k for a while, and then had hopes to finish a half marthon before 2008 was up. A marathon, however, was completely out of the question. Oh, if I only knew! Of course, then I met Mike and we just kind of fed off each other with distance and now I'm just stuck; I love long distance. It doesn't feel like I'm just 'dialing it in' when I run long. I feel accomplished, and tired (and generally bruised because I kind of have a thing for falling when I run).

Dialing it in...

That brings me to another slightly less related thought. As in, not running-related. Ever feel like you're just kinda dialing it in day-to-day? I know I'm not alone :) In an effort to step gingerly out of the vicious cycle, I sold my condo and moved out to the suburbs, GASP! I know, I know. I only owned it for a year, so I'm sure I'll take some sort of slap on the wrist in the form of taxes next year, but at least now I'm free. I'm just glad I am concious enough to see things for what they are and to not be one of those people who sits back and just waits for stuff to happen. I like to make it happen. So I'm living for much cheaper now so that I can save up for phase two. Haha, that sounds so corny, "phase"... In any event, I do have a purpose for making such a drastic decision and essentially committing social suicide. It's been a week since I moved, and so far so good. However, that will have to wait for explaining :)

Prior to the discussion about getting over the 5-mile hurdle, I voiced my worry about taking this leap as I'm not getting the kind of support I need right now. I am, typically, an eternal optimist, but it's hard when everyone around you is a friggin' negative nelly! Hello, shit happens, we'll get through all this economy/unemployment/mortgage mess. Everything can't be perfect all the time; we have to go through these tough times every so often. It's a part of the cycle of being a member of a high-consumption/greedy society. But, again, I digress. I need some positive reinforcement! And, thank goodness, I got it last night. The speech I got was basically that if I wait another 3, 4, 5 years to do what I want to do, perhaps I won't have time anymore and then I'll look back and think, "why didn't I do it back in my 20's when I had nothing holding me back?" Who knows where I'll be in 3-5 years and who knows if I'll ever have another chance. It's scary though, really scary, but in a good way. Good talk, good talk :)

The winds of change these days are more like hurricane force winds, rather than a leisurely breeze on a tropical beach. And nothing changes one at a time, it's always in big clumps. I hate clumps. But, I am dealing with the clumps because I have to.

Today, I plan to do another six miles, outside hopefully since it's already in the mid-50's! It's T minus 9 days until LBL 60k and I am so ready to get out of town.

Paige, out.

"Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the world together." ~Unknown

1 comment:

David Ray said...

Paige, I like your attitude. Congrats on the move. And the red shirt story was great! You make an excellent part-time model. :)

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