Pull It, Push It, Drag It: A Running Update (with a whisper of writing)

Living in a small town has a sweet advantage: others are interested in your activities and talk with you about them when they encounter you. I like that. So here are the running questions I’ve received lately and my answers. In case you’ve been wondering. Or not.

(By the way, the title references those horrible car dealership commercials. While I half regret objectifying myself in that way, come on, it’s funny. Right?)

Also, I am determined that come what may I WILL finish this half, even though, truth be told, I don’t feel as prepared as I would like to. So in all likelihood I will be pulling, pushing, and dragging myself across that finish line. But barring injury, it will happen.

Now the questions:

Q: Are you still running? I’ve seen you walking some days.

A: Yes, I am still running, but due to two knee injuries (one just last month!) I am having to follow the beginning runner’s half marathon plan. That means cross training or rest days. Since I can’t bear to rest more than one day a week, for me that means walking.

Or perhaps you’ve seen me before or after a run. After I try to walk a ways to cool down. Some days I do intervals, alternating running and walking.

Q: Are you going to participate in the Fort4Fitness Half again?

A: Yes indeed! That is the very half I am training for. It’s a fun half with beer shots near the end — not that that’s why I chose that one or anything. 😉 It’s two weeks away and I can’t wait!

Here’s a question in response to a statement I made recently. I told someone that my running plan said I should not lose weight toward the end of my training plan. With shock on her face (I assume she believes, as do I, that I could stand to take a few pounds back off) she asked “Why not?”

A: I don’t know. I am just following the plan, Ma’am.

For the record I have taken a few pounds back off (about 15) and I’m eager to finish my training so I can kick the weight loss back into high gear. But right now my priority is this half. And I have learned my lesson after two knee injuries: slow and steady in both running and weight loss. What’s my hurry?

(Wait, did what I say a couple of lines up contradict that last sentence? I am not totally immune to society’s expectations, though I am usually successful in calling them what they are: mechanisms to try to control me. I’ve got to be happy with me. But I’ve also got to not be defiant in a way that harms my body. It’s a fine balance. I’m working on it. Maybe I should stick to wearing whatever I want. That seems to stick in plenty of people’s craws. Though I was pretty tickled when some women at church told me that I inspired them to wear pop color pants a few years ago. Yay!)

Another aside: I truly don’t like my body when I get too thin — I feel as if I don’t know that person in the mirror. Not a good feeling. Still figuring out where that comfortable size is.

Q: Did you change the time you run?

A. Not exactly. I don’t have a schedule, which is a safety precaution as well as the result of my body not always getting up and around as quickly as I would like. Yeah, let’s just call it a safety precaution.

One early morning I was running and realized I was being followed by a rusty red pickup. Thankfully I wasn’t too far from home. Our street is a sleepy one and when the truck followed me down it I became even more concerned. After I got into the house it moved on. I was thankful that my husband was still home! (Is that a antifeminist statement? I was glad ANYONE was home.)

Recently I had the police’s number at the ready when a vehicle started behaving erratically near me, doing donuts, ducking in and out of driveways. I have no idea what that was about, but as it was dark I didn’t feel exactly safe. When they parked in the cemetery I figured they were better parked than not so I didn’t call in on them. I did increase my pace, just in case.

Q: Did you change your route?

A: See above answer. But a partial answer is that when you train for a half, boredom can set in. Big time. You’re running for over an hour most days. So I need long, quiet stretches to run on. Alas, my favorite stretch is about to be turned into a housing development! No!!

I have been finding some relatively new quiet areas that are nice. But if I share those, they might end up not so quiet, so…

Q: Will you continue running after the half? (No one asked, but I want to answer it.)

A: Yes. Not as far, not as regularly, and I will intersperse it with other activities, but definitely. There’s nothing like pushing yourself that (literally) extra mile. There’s nothing like reminding yourself that once upon a time you thought you would never, ever be able to run, and now you can run a half. Not just a 5K (though I have), not just a 10K (though I have), but 13.1 miles.

Oh, and writing: so after my bad writing day I went for a run the next day. While running I figured out exactly what I need to do to become reenergized and focused: put the handwritten words from my tablet into my computer. Go back to the first section that was so fun. I did and I am roaring on.

Do I credit the run with my breakthrough. Yes. All I do is ask the question and wait for the answer. And it comes. Always. Not all at once sometimes, but it comes.

Tomorrow is my longest run before the half. Think of me. Gotta say, I’m feeling a bit intimidated. I’ll just load up on podcasts, take a couple of aspirin, and head out.

Pull (self), push (self), drag (self). Stay tuned for a half update in a couple of weeks…

This is photo of me two years ago after the race. Boy was I bushed!

drema after race 2013

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