Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Run Mei, Run!

Running is hard. It hurts. It beats me up and reminds me just how weak I am. I am not a fast runner, nor a graceful runner. My man does an unflattering impression of the way I run, and it's more like a scoot than a run. Think more penguin, less gazelle.

On December 26th, 2006, I suddenly decided to register and train for the SLC Half Marathon to be held in April 2007. I made a 4-month training schedule, with my long runs on Saturdays. I would map out my route, beginning and ending at my house. On the way out, I usually ran past a little golf course called Swan Lakes. As spring approached and the weather became warmer, my scheduled runs became longer, and thank goodness the club house was open because it became my emergency pit stop. There is nothing worse than finding oneself miles away from home with an anxious bowel. NOTHING! I would rather have shin splints (which I did). I would rather get a migraine (and I had many). I would rather have my foot gnawed off by the ferocious rabbit from Monty Python and have to limp home, dragging a bloody stub. (This did not happen.) Bad things happen to your body during a long run. I had moments, or entire workouts, when I felt like I was wearing lead platform shoes and my tummy was grumbly and my lungs felt like they were being held in a bear hug, and I struggled through every single step of every mile. There were times that I winced with every step due to those nasty shin splints, and there were times that I would start losing my vision during a run and know that a migraine was on its way.

So why do I put myself through the torture? Why are we psychos compelled to take off running and not stop when we get tired? Isn't that a bit contrary to natural human tendencies? Yes. The answer is yes. It is unnatural. It is masochistic and punishing and glorious.

The first time I made it past 4 miles, I cried. I was so darn proud of myself that I cried. Then later, when I told Tim how I was feeling about my 4-mile accomplishment, I cried again. And then I felt like a complete idiot because who cries for joy after running 4 miles? Crazy people, that's who. Crazy freaks who are training their bodies to run 13.1 miles. For fun!

But I continue to run. Two years ago, I ran 13.1 miles WITH a migraine. Two months after that, I ran the Wasatch Back Relay for the second time, and after my first 3 miles, I looked like this:

And two years, 15 pounds, and a baby later, I ran 3.25 miles today and rejoiced. Running is full of ups and downs.

One thing I loved about my long Saturday runs is the opportunity I had to view the rural community in which I live with new eyes; I saw things that I never would have noticed in a car. I often ran past these trees during my 5th mile, and I fell in love with them. I love that these three trees stand alone in a large field, and I love the way they look during each season. I ran by crowing roosters, red barns, and small farms selling asparagus. I've run in the crisp early morning hours when the sky is pink, the birds are chirping, and my neighbors are still sleeping. I've run under the noon sun when my sweat stung my hot cheeks. I've run alone in the middle of the Wasatch Mountains at 3:00 am, and seen glowing eyes looking at me from the tall grass on the side of the road, with a curious coyote on the road ahead. I have experienced disappointment, like when my teammate Blake had to run a mile for me during my third and last leg of my second Wasatch Back Relay because I was too wussy. Or when I began to lose my vision at the starting line of the SLC Half Marathon, signaling a quickly approaching migraine. But the triumphs have far outweighed the frustrations. Like when, with the support of my man, I decided to run the race I had worked so hard to train for, despite the migraine (with my cell phone in my sweaty hand, just in case). Or when I took over for Blake and finished my last torturous mile of the WBR on my own. Or when I ran two miles for the first time after having the baby.

Running kicks my arse. But when it's good, it's guuuuuuuuuuud.


Heather said...

Man you sure are motivation to get my arse up and running again.

DIANE said...

Running is my one big regret in life. I started running and made it four miles for my longest run. I felt like the best athlete in the world. Especially since when I started I couldn't run a full block. But my hip won't let me run and I have to settle for walking. I loved your descriptive blog. It described running perfectly.

Megan said...

Now that's inspirational! I would say we should run in Vernal but...I'd rather just eat ribs.

Becky Rhead said...

Yep, I feel the same way. I run even though I have bad knees, shin splints, lose my third toe-nail, sweat so badly that my back tends to break out, almost poop my pants, feel sick to my stomach for hours after, etc. But when you run 5 miles without stopping and feel great...so worth it.

Plus, it helps you get skinny and doesn't cost anything (except your yearly shoe purchase).

Meili said...

Heather - you can do it!

Diane - you can always be a runner at heart.

Megan - the 4th of July is for eating, not running.

Becky - exactly! It's the most efficient workout.

Quela said...

That post almost made me decide to pick up running... Almost.

Tami said...

Oh sweety, you could not have put it beter. Thank your for sharing that. I just started my running adventure this past winter and it is a butt-kicker! I have only gotten up to 3 miles, and think I might just faint, but compared to where I was when I started 6 months ago when I could not run for 5 minutes straight, I feel awesome. And don't feel bad for crying...I texted my runner friend after my first 2 miles, and she was like, 'oh, good for you.' (not quite the enthusiam I was hoping to get back!) At least I was proud! Way to go, Mei! You inspire!

Agent Pepper said...

Now you can sprint a full soccer game when the other girls are complaining for no reason and the couch doesn't pay attention to how you're weazing like you were on your death bed.

Dang I miss soccer.

Bretzing Fam said...

you have almost sold me....almost!

Diane D. said...

Hey! It's been a long time since I've checked your blog (like...since before you became a mama). So congrats on the "punk"! He is a cutie! I loved the video of him squealing and spitting. :-) My little girl just squeals and screams...and gives cute little coos every now and then that melt your heart.

So, I'd say this motherhood thing (regardless of whether you're a working mom or not) is the hardest thing a woman could do. Or am I just speaking for myself? After you've had two kids, tell me if you think running is harder and more rewarding. (Not comparing...just curious what you would think) For me, two kids has been extremely trying but I've found so much joy in it too.

Anywho...you're blog makes me laugh and think a lot. Love it!

Brit said...

I cried when I read the part about you crying after running after having a baby....it's like you give birth and then you are this slug, your body is beat up, and out of shape, and you are so tired...and then to have any sort of physical accomplishment is like summitting Mt. Everest! I feel joy at your victory, Mei!!!!

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