Saturday, July 09, 2011

Encouragement and Goals

Over the past few months I have been running again, and I have found new friends with whom to enjoy this pastime.  When I began running a year and a half ago the solitude was priceless to me, I had a friend in FL who was encouraging my progress, and I had a goal for which I was reaching, so that was enough to get me outdoors on a regular schedule.  Since this spring though, I have found that I needed more reasons to get out, in part because my need for encouragement was changing and I hadn't set any clear goals.

At a St. Patty's Day party given by a friend I met another runner who just happens to live right around the corner- so to speak- from me.  Janet was training up for a half-marathon, which in itself is an amazing accomplishment, but for her it was even more astounding.  Seven years ago she was in a life-threatening accident which, once her life was saved, almost cost her a leg.  Once the leg was saved her doctors doubted whether she would ever walk, much less run, again.  Having been a runner for ten years already, she refused to give in to such a bleak prognosis and set out to get back to running.  To make her long story short, Janet ran the half-marathon, inspiring many along the way.

Including me.

I've been going out with Janet and some of her friends for runs, occasionally at first, and now weekly.  Janet uses the Jeff Galloway method, which means running for four minutes and walking for one, whatever the distance.  I've found that running with her and using this formula has allowed me to go for longer distances faster than I expected.  We accomplished 7 1/2 miles last Wednesday, 8 if you count the warm-up walk.

Janet has been my encouragement, but I still needed a goal.

So, in a fit of optimistic insanity I registered for a half-marathon in September.

That's 13.1 miles.  Thirteen point one.  Miles.

The timing is perfect for a few reasons.  It's right after Nathaniel's visit home, right before we pick Bekah up from her summer in Williamsburg, and only shortly into the school year- which I expect may slow my training down somewhat once we really get into it.  It's also before my next birthday, which was also a goal- run a Half before my 45th birthday.  My gift to myself.

The race is in upper Lancaster County, Bird-in-Hand, PA, to be exact, and is part of a weekend of festivities.  The course is supposed to be very scenic and the water stations are all manned by Amish kids- how cute is that?  When I went in to my running store, (I walk in and they all know my name, I love the place), A Running Start, to invest in my next pair of shoes and socks, I told them that I'd registered for this race and Joel's first comment was, "Great!", followed closely by, "that's a tough course"!

Not what I wanted to hear!

Evidently there are some hills.  I was expecting it to be nice, gently flat farmland.  Well, okay.  I know now to include some hills in my training, which isn't difficult around here.  And I have Janet to push encourage me.

And now that I've mentioned it here, it's official- accountability beyond my immediate circle!

1 comment:

Tricia Sharp said...

This is inspiring. I appreciate the info on 4 min run, 1 min walk. I have no real personal goals. Lots of ideas, but nothing declared. Although, I did say something to my family about creating the Victory Garden and maintaining it some day. Currently my garden is a shameful mess!! Maybe I'll apply your running method to the parts I hate, hand weeding for 4 min. and Hoeing for 1. Hmm. Thanks Barbaranne!!