"Getting fit is done by gradually and progressively increasing training because while the heart and lungs respond quickly to exercise, muscles and joints take longer. That is why those who go too far and too fast end up injured and unable to run at all." Greta Waitz, 9 time winner of NYC Marathon.
I came across this quote today while reading an article about Greta Waitz and her ordeal with cancer. It struck me as particularly appropriate today because of my earlier post about increasing my running time only 5 min. at a time per week (LSD runs). Its also a little ironic coming from a woman who had only run 13 miles at one time before entering the NYC Marathon for the first time. But if you knew her previous history, you would realize she had actually trained for shorter, faster track events for years before her marathon debut, so it seems to have transferred over into her first marathon experience.
Greta was still setting records when I first started running in 1988. I didn't know of her at the time, nor of any of the other women greats up to that time until about a year later. It was an exciting time for women to be finally coming into their own in the running world, so maybe it was an appropriate time for me to have started too.
Whatever the reason behind my starting to run and eventually turning to triathlons, it was as if I too had evolved. I had been very active for all of my life, first as a kid (and we did not have organized sports for girls at the time) and later as an adult and young mom (after getting over the rebellious years where underage smoking and drinking were in). I had walked about everywhere there was to walk in the city I lived in (we didn't know about running then), rode bikes as far as the boundaries we knew at the time, and swam every day in the summer, regardless of the weather, in an outdoor, unheated pool. It was probably more than most girls did. When the babies started arriving, I feld I had to do something to keep in shape. So I walked and/or biked, and took kids with me whenever possible. When the final baby arrived, that probably was the winter when I really first started running--around my dining room table, much to the amusement of the baby. It was one way to get some fitness, watch him, and amuse him apparently at the same time. I had no fancy running gear. Sweats and worn out aerobic shoes worked just fine.
By spring I was ready to get outside, but running didn't occur to me at first. I thought I would just walk the dog, briskly, as often as possible. Or the baby. It was getting too difficult to drag 4 kids along at a time, and listen to them either complain or drag along. After a while, it was taking too long to even walk the dog, so I figured I might run, just to "save time." By summer, I ran my first 5k, and the rest was history.
So it might seem surprising that I am in this build-up phase again. I got depressed. I got lazy. I let other people control my schedule and my life for too long, until I finally broke away earlier this year and decided to take back my life.
Its not all easy to say that and then follow through. There still are a lot of days it would be easier to skip a workout, but I have finally reached the point of no return, and every day something will get done, because that's the way I was before all the changes, and I can't see any reason why it can't be that way again.
So I will train slowly and carefully. I will not be rushed, even though it goes through my mind every day. I don't want to be injured again and let the doubt creep in. I will conquer this beast because it is the way I am, and I will solve my problems along the way. Women like Greta did not give up, and she is still fighting a battle to survive and get strong again, so for me it should be easy compared to that.