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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thank God for penguins

Guess what. I didn't run today. I didn't even WALK today.

And it feels good.

My mood is CONSIDERABLY better than yesterday (found my anti-bit*h...i mean...Midol...pills) for many reasons.

It all started when I got home and I saw my secret santa gift from the Runners World forum. My amazing secret Santa knew (via my wishlist) that I was interested in the whole Penguin story and that I am a (very) new runner. So I opened the box from and saw not one but TWO awesome books (both by John Bingham): The Courage to Start and Accidental Athlete. I was so excited that I curled right up (after dinner) and have thus far devoured 97 pages of Courage.

Oh my GOSH...amazing book. I see myself in many aspects of Bingham's story. He was someone who was always last to be picked as a kid and could never go as fast as others in gym class. It was easy to be classified as a non-athlete and become content to live life that way ("I'm not athletically gifted so why even bother trying? I think I will sit in my a$$ and be content in my non-athletic prowess"). But a point came where we both had the courage to just get off our comfortable couch and go out and DO IT. For me, it was being a spectator (and cheering section for DH) at the Marine Corps Marathon. More specifically, it was not only seeing my husband finish the race but it was these pictures that made me want to do more with my life than just sit on my butt.

While waiting for DH, I found myself positioned about a football fields length from the finish line, just as the runners crested that SOB of the last .2 miles UPHILL and saw the finish line for the first time. In the first picture, a man is pushing a young man (who i found out later is blind) in a wheelchair. The runner looks tired and exhausted and just ready to collapse. The young man in the wheel chair had heard the crowd roar as he came up the hill and knew the finish line was near. The look of pure joy and triumph on his face is clear and has since become my favorite picture of the entire weekend. (On the side: I was able to track down who the runner was and give him a copy of this picture...he said it was one of the few pictures ever that he has seen where the young man is showing emotion). I thought to myself if they can do it, I can do it. 

The center picture represents everything the MCM is about. Many Marine units (including one from England) ran the marathon as a unit. Their motto was "run no faster than the slowest in the group" If they started together, they finished together. Note that they are wearing full combat gear including boots and bags. 

the last one was of a woman who was trudging up the hill...just willing herself to finish. She made the turn and saw the finish line and her arms raised her country's flag in triumph. She went from a trudging walk to almost a sprint with an exhausted smile on her face as she went by. 

Side note: these people were in the 5:30+ pace group for the marathon...definitely the Penguins of the group. Each one of these people/groups had their reason for running. None of them were going to win or qualify for Boston. But they are marathoners all the same. They may not have won the RACE but they each triumphed in their own way. 

I want to be like that. 

So I laced up my shoes and went. And continually frustrate myself. Tonight I read that Bingham blames the word "should" (as in "you SHOULD be running at this pace, this distance, etc." or "you SHOULD be faster than that," "you SHOULD be running ____ times a day, week, etc.). I find myself in that trap. C25K says I SHOULD be doing these workouts every week and that by THIS date I SHOULD be at THIS place. And I'm not there. and therefore I am pissed and frustrated and mad at myself. 

Thats not what running is about. My favorite quote (paraphrased) so far: Don't run where you SHOULD where you ARE. 

I just thank GOD for my Penguin friends on Daily Mile, my awesome blog readers (all 6 of you!!), and my friends on the Penguin forum at Runners World. When I posted up yesterday that I was pissed and frustrated, I was amazed at the amount of encouragement and support. In my life I have been so used to beating myself up and other people agreeing with my self assessment. This is one of the first times that someone other than my awesome DH has seemed to have my back. I was ready to throw in the towel on the whole running thing. But after a good rest day today, I will go back out there tomorrow. And (try) not (to) worry about speed, pace, distance, or even how long I can run before I stop.

Just getting my behind out there is a victory in and of itself...

....please remind me of that the next time I am ready to kick my own ass....

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