Mission 1 complete….the last blog entry

10 01 2010

After years of being an exercise video devotee, I started running in the fall of 2008 in order to expand my exercise horizons and take advantage of the open terrain in my new town after moving out of inner-city Chicago.  I hadn’t run a step since I was in my early 20s, and was merely a casual non-competitive runner even then.  I had come across the Couch to 5K program online earlier that year and considered it many times, keeping it mostly at the back of my mind.

Then in late September 2008, I went on vacation to New Orleans with my sister and we stayed in a hotel that didn’t have a fitness center.  I wanted to do something to combat the effects of Hurricanes and beignets on my already-generous figure, so I decided to go out walking around the French Quarter one day when I was the first to awaken.  There was something about the beauty of the sun, the cool air and the architecture that morning that filled me with an unusual energy and I broke out into a run.  It would be nice at this point in the story to say that I somehow miraculously galloped along for miles like a gazelle, but the truth is that I made it to the end of the block and then slowed to a walk because I was gasping for air.  So I walked a block and caught my breath and then did it again–and again–and again–down Esplanade to Rampart to Canal to Decatur and back to the hotel, alternating running a block then walking one.  I felt great, and I loved it.

I started C25K upon my return from New Orleans and ran my first 5-K (a Jingle Bell run) in December 2008.  I would gladly have continued doing 5-Ks here and there as an adjunct to my other fitness efforts but I got an envelope in the mail about 6 weeks later from the race containing a ribbon.  I had placed as one of the top in my age category.   Wow!  It was like getting an A on my first term paper.

I immediately started looking up training plans, online forums, runner’s magazines, and immersed myself in the sport.  I wanted to run farther and farther to see how much I could do.  I enrolled in races that were months away, each one longer than the next, in order to stretch myself to a greater distance because I wanted more.   I did another 5-K, an 8-K and then a 10-K and still I wanted more.    When I found out about Walt Disney World’s Marathon Weekend and noticed that it coincided with my annual trip to Florida, I immediately signed up.

I started this blog because I wanted to commit myself to the training via a public forum as a means of keeping myself accountable.  My focus for 2010 is to work on strength and speed while maintaining distance.  I can’t say I want to move beyond 13.1 miles as a maximum but I d0 plan to shave 10% off my pace andput more focus on trail races (which will necessitate greater physical strength).  My new training schedule starts next week and I’m excited about it already.