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Monday, March 28, 2011

Are you better today than you were at 13?

Sunday my friend Steph and I ran in the Capitol 10K. I was 13 when I ran it the first time with my best friend Bobbie. We ran again in 1981 and then feeling fit after years off I ran it again in 2003, and finished those times as well. I remember being completely exhausted after each of those races.  The first time we ran and walked in alternating cycles we did it in 1:11:46 (I wrote it down in my diary which I found in my attic Saturday).  Could Steph and I possibly beat the time of a 13 year old?  

I've struggled with hip pain, then foot pain off and on over the last three or four years and while I've powered through and continued to exercise during that time; well it hasn't been pleasant.

When I set my goals for this year, one of them was to exercise 2-3 times a week in the first half of the year, with more as the year progressed. I was doing pretty well, but not really keeping up with the goal the way I wanted. Then I read this post on a blog I follow regularly, The Simple Dollar.

In 2011 Trent started sharing 10 pieces of inspirational things he found during the course of his week. #8 in that post was a link to a .pdf document titled Running Fast and Injury Free by Gordon Pirie that was out in the public domain. I was intrigued and started reading.

Mr. Pirie described a new way to run that focused landing on the balls of the feet first instead of the heel. Then the thighs did all of the absorption and not the hip and heel (Brilliant!). He described exactly how it could be done and without finishing the book I was in the gym trying an actual run for the max 15 minutes recommended, carefully practicing the technique. I waited. Getting up from my desk was pain free, unusual, but would it last? Yes, it did.

Then Steph and I had lunch and she asked if I had ever considered running in the Captiol 10K. Oh sure. Well how about this year? So I stepped it up a little at the gym and pain free workouts were starting to be the norm. When it was 7 weeks until race time, we signed up. Then I made this handy chart in Excel.   

It listed mileage distances and then some cross training, plus it included a day of rest!  Always one who is looking for her gold star for the day, if I did the workout I would color in the day's box, if I didn't then I would leave a big white spot.  You can see on Wednesday's I was more consistently missing the workout than going, but by the Wednesday in week 6 I was getting so close and I had a real string of days going that I didn't want to leave a white spot there.  Other weeks work got in the way of my lunch time routine.  

I completed 77% of the prep workouts, yes I'm a nerd like that, but just because I didn't do 100% I didn't let that stop me from continuing to reach for the goal.  

Here we are in the free parking garage (yes, I did some research to find the free place) before the race and since we wouldn't be able to have our phones with us, this was the only shot we got before or after.  (Sorry I can't figure out how to rotate the picture.  Ugh.)  

We lined up... you can see us right?  
I'm in green just above the overhead banner and Steph is to my left.
Then we started running.  I love the Texas capitol bldg... we're a little further back in this picture.  In fact it took us 25 minutes to cross the starting line.  The winner finished the whole thing 4 minutes later.  I bet we hadn't even made it across the river at that point.  

Steph was worried that she wouldn't be able to finish, I was never worried for her, and though I thought I would end up walking at some point I'm truly amazed that I never did.  Oh don't get me wrong I WANTED to walk, but Steph totally encouraged me to go just a little bit further up Enfield, and I was able to make it then and we just kept going.  Don't look up, just look at the guy in front of you.  It worked.  

The Aggie Corps guys that started at the back, eventually caught up to us at mile 5 and passed us at mile 5.5,  were a good bit of encouragement to me too.  Then at mile 5.75 when I was done, there was a very boisterous lady who was cheering for everyone.  I caught her eye and stuck out my hand and she gave me five and honestly that helped me get to the top of that hill and back over the bridge for mile 6.  

Then last two tenths I saw a 13-ish year old girl sprint toward the finish line passing LOTS of people and well I took off too and gave every last ounce of what I had, at least for the last 100yds.  Steph was right there with me and as soon as we crossed the finish line she said, "We did it, you did it, we beat your time.  1:08:36!"

So just because you did something as a kid, don't think you are too old to do it now, unless it's getting into a movie with the youth discount because that's just not honest.  

What sort of thing can you completely redo in your life to be able to accomplish a goal or change your life?  

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