Sunday, January 11, 2009

Once a runner...always a runner...

I know the old saying is that "time flies" and while that is true it also remains true that time flies when one is having fun or when one is too busy to do anything about it. I haven't blogged since June and I have run slightly more than I have blogged. 2008 was not such a good year as far as running any records for me or for any running distances. I only ran three official races last year and not one of those was a marathon. I ran one half marathon and a couple of 10ks and one 5k. Certainly not what I did in '06 or '07 where I ran an average of 10 - 15 races each year. Nonetheless, 2008 proved to be a productive year otherwise. I hiked, biked, bought a house, two dogs and realized just how blessed I really am.

I started this blog as a way of communicating with the running community as well as write about my running "ups and downs." I am not what one would call a "professional runner" but rather I run first and foremost for my physical health. I have run for years but only in the last four years have I begun running long distances. When I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis back in 2004, I researched the auto immune disease with as much intensity as I put into anything else I am passionate about and I found that exercise would only increase my mobility as well as stave off what could potentially become a debilitating disease. There is no way I would allow that to happen. I began then, to run even more than I was running before (5 marathons my first year) and began incorporating more weight training into my routine. I found myself running more than I weight trained but it is still a part of my weekly training. With the running came added relief and more energy overall, not to speak of the physical changes such as weight loss and added muscle mass. But because I am not a professional runner, I run as my schedule allows me to.

As a single mother of two daughters, a full time high school teacher, and a part time college instructor there is not always a lot of time to run and I have to be very structured if I am to find the time to train. My schedule remains the same in that I run five miles a day M - F and then do my long run of between 10 - 20 miles on the weekends. It makes for a nice schedule and allows me to train for my shorter and longer races.

2008 brought about a lot of "distractions" if I can call them that. First it was the foot injury I suffered back in July 2007 at the San Francisco Marathon which took me forever to get healed from and by January (after I ran CIM in December) I was still suffering from it and continued on the treatment my doctor had set me up on. In February I had some further bad news unrelated to the foot injury which led me to have surgery in March and a slow recuperation thereafter. In July I closed on a house and I have spent from August until now remodeling it. It has a been a huge undertaking and I bit more than I had bargained for. In August I was still planning on running CIM and was way ahead of my running schedule. By the end of August I had already done a 23-mile training run and was doing well in my training schedule. By October I was pulling all nighters so that I could move into my new house and my training was beginning to suffer. In the month of October I stopped running for a full month and while by November I was back on my running schedule, it was nowhere where I wanted it to be and by then I knew there was no way I could run CIM and expect to break last year's record so I opted not to run.

Once a runner... always a runner... and because of that I will continue to run no matter what life brings my way. As someone who is not paid to run it is up to me to set my goals and training schedule and to decide what I can and cannot do. Life often brings us situations that effect our training and prevent us from doing what we would normally be doing. Sometimes it is personal, sometimes it is work related and sometimes our health does not allow us to perform. Blessed are those runners who have not suffered any health problems and who do not have outside influences that affect their training however many of us do and despite those influences we seek to train anyway and to perform better than we performed yesterday.

On a last note, I have two new additions to my family: a black Labrador named Ebony and a chocolate Labrador named Tuscany. Ebony is 7 months old and Tuscany is 5 months old and will soon be my new running partners. I have already taken Ebony out on a couple of short runs and will be incorporating longer runs as she gets older. Running, hiking and camping this coming summer are going to be a blast!

Have you run today?