Friday, January 12, 2007


Well, I signed up last night. The race isn't until May 12. Early signup. Anything for free pizza and save $3, right?

This is our city's big race of the year, a 25k which is also the National Championship 25k race. There is also a 5k and a 5k walk. I did not run this race last year or the year before, not even the 5k. I haven't run the 25k since maybe 1998. Its been so long, I can't remember. But I really need this to be my focus running race for the year, at least at this point. After that, it will be Steelhead.

To me, running a 25k is as bad as running a marathon. Its not as long, but it is long, mentally and physically. I remember when I first started running and hearing all the hype about the race, and making it a goal to run it the next year. Actually, I remember way back to 1983, before I even thought of running, watching it on TV (since it is local). It was pouring rain, and the big star that year (and many other years) was our local Boston Marathon winner, Greg Meyer. An idea popped into my head that day that I was going to run that race one day.

Fast forward to 1989, and that was my first year. I had been running about a year. I had run numerous 5k, 10k, and other short distance races in that year, but none of them could have prepared me for this length of race. We had a work team, comprised of 2 women and 3 men. One of the guys had been running for a while so found us a training program to follow. It seemed simple on the one hand, and aggressive on the other: two 3 mile runs, one 5+ mile run (and building), and one long run every week. Simple because it really wasn't that many miles until towards the end, but aggressive in that my schedule at the time did not allow for a 5+ mile run in the middle of the week. I don't remember how I handled it, but most likely just did 3 or 4 for that midweek run, and maybe got to 5. I was running mainly on lunch hours then, hardly anything from home, except the long run.

My outdoor running gear at the time consisted of a pair of lycra tights, a sweatshirt, and a nylon jacket and pants I bought from a sporting goods store for $14. I'm sure earmuffs and mittens as well. I didn't have enough money for a water bottle carrier, so found some small baby bottles and put them in my pockets. I froze and my water froze. To this day, I don't know how I got through those grueling runs, other than my personal motivation to accomplish this goal. And I was younger and naive, so I suppose that helped! Week after week, I stuck it out, adding a mile a week to my long run. I suffered through ankle tendinitis from running on the banked roads; an aching left foot due to an earlier stress fracture; blisters as big as my hand (not kidding!) due to wet feet and bad fitting orthotics; wind, rain, blizzards, etc. Sort of like a postal worker, right? Whatever the weather, I was out there. Nothing kept me from getting my runs in. And then I got to come home and be a mom.

I was not only driven, but obviously obsessed. I think that happens when you are new to this stuff. You can tell the difference talking with the "old timers" and the newbies. Sometimes I wish I still had that spark and desire, not letting anything get in the way. Other times,, I am glad I have learned to be more balanced.

A good thing that came out of last night's signup was my daughter and one grandson also signed up for the 5k. I'm sure they will walk, but at least they will be out there with me sharing the moment. This has been something I have dreamed about for as long as I have been running!

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