Monday, November 16, 2009

What do I have to prove?

Upon hearing that I signed up for another marathon, one of my friends asked another friend, "what does she have to prove?"*  Hmmm.... what DO I have to prove?  Honestly, I don't know.  Once I have done one marathon, why do I need to do more and more?

Well, let's look at that question.  I find that I need a training plan to help motivate me to get out there and run.  Running makes me feel good.  Healthy.  Alive.  It is too easy to sleep in every day and say I'll exercise tomorrow.  When I have a race on the horizon, I have a schedule and I have a plan on what I should be running.  It works for me.

So why not a half marathon or 10K?  Well, I guess I am a bit of an overachiever.  I like to push myself.  It gives me a certain pleasure to accomplish something that not too many people can do (or would even attempt).  I'm too cautious to climb Mt. Everest--besides... who has that kind of extra money, time and craziness lying around?  I'm not saying that a half marathon isn't pushing myself.  It is.  But there is something about the marathon that draws me.

Being a runner has become as much a part of my identity as being a mom.  I used to be an executive.  I had a powerful job in a pretty tough industry and I was proud of my position.  I traded all that to be a full-time mom (a decision I have never regretted).  As wonderful as it is to have that as an identity, I didn't really feel completely satisfied in this new role until I also became a runner.  A running mom.  And I am in very good company.  There are a lot of running moms out there and every time I meet one, we automatically seem to connect.  We have so much in common and have other things to talk about besides diapers, preschools and timeouts. Now, not only am I a runner, but I am a marathoner.  A year or so ago, my sister introduced me to someone by saying, "this is my sister... she runs marathons."  At the time, I had only run one marathon.  But I liked the sound of someone who "runs marathons."  It made me feel pretty  proud.  Now I really am someone who runs marathons.  Go me.

And honestly... I do need to prove something to myself.  I know what my body can do and it hasn't done it in either marathon I have run.  I ran a twenty-two mile training run averaging around 9-minute miles, but was wiped out by mile 13 on race day after running the same pace.  This is not as much a physical test any more.  It is a mental one.  I need to run smart and stick to my race plan.  I am looking at Surf City as redemption for me.  My first two marathons had my number; they owned me.  I am hoping that this next one I can run on my terms.  I am going to be more conservative with my expectations and goals.  I also think I have a better training plan.  My mileage per week is significantly higher than it was before the Rock-n-Roll.  I hope that this does a lot to improve my ability get to the finish line stronger and faster than before.  What I really want is to have FUN.

What?  Fun in a marathon?  Never.  But I know it is possible.  I have had fun on twenty mile runs, why can't I at least have fun for twenty miles of a marathon?  I recently started following a blogger, Danica,  who lives in this area.  Ironically, she had a miserable time in the Rock-n-Roll as well.  She had her redemption last month in Long Beach and her race report is my inspiration for Surf City.   I WILL smile throughout the race, just like I did during the Carlsbad Half Marathon last year.

So what do I have to prove?  I'm pretty sure that I have proven that I am a runner.  I've proven that I am a marathoner.  By continuing to run marathons, I continually prove to myself that I CAN.

On the running front, I ran 36 miles last week.  I ended my week with not one, but two long runs.  On Saturday, I ran ten miles with my new running friends.  I had originally scheduled eight miles on Saturdays in order to run with them.  Then, I talked them into running a half marathon in January and wrote them a training plan to get them there.  What that means is that they are going to be running a lot more than eight miles, but not enough to keep up with my long runs, which means two long runs.  Too bad there is not a Goofy challenge** around here, because I am training for one!  Our ten mile run had quite a few hills, so we kept the pace pretty easy.  That was good, since I had an even longer run on the schedule for Sunday.

I had originally had fourteen miles on my schedule, but I thought that might be too aggressive in my second week of high mileage running.  I decided to run twelve.  The first nine miles were pretty flat (with some easy inclines/declines along the way).  I kept my pace at a nice easy pace.  I have been listening to books on tape on my long runs, which keeps me nice and slow.  The last few miles were pretty steep.  I found a nice shady horse trail that cut up through a neighborhood.  I am really starting to enjoy running around here.  When living in San Diego, I had to drive to many of the cool running places.  Here, I can get to cool routes right out my front door.  I think next week I might run with a camera to prove that inland Orange County is a pretty place to run! 

I ran twenty-two miles over two days and I was ready to rest today and sleep in past 5:30 a.m.  Back to the dawn patrol tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to a nice easy recovery run to start out another week of running.

* After reading some of the comments, I wanted to clarify that this particular friend said this in jest and with plenty of love and respect.  I'm pretty sure she does get it, but the comment did spark a thought process in me... hence this post.

**running a half marathon on one day and then a full marathon the next.


Aka Alice said...

You've got nothin' to prove to nobody (she said in her oh-so-articulate-English-teacher-way). You run because it is part of what you do, sorta like breathing, or sleeping (or, unfortunately, laundry).

People who don't run don't really get it. I know I didn't for most of my life.

It's just what we have to do

Kim said...

Shoot, sounds just like my life but I'm still at the goal of a half marathon...but I also had worked in the Casino business for 18 years and then became a Stay at Home Mom (my choice) I'll not copy paste what you have written but I totally totally get it, and I cannot wait for the day when Jason (my 5 year old) says this is my Mom she runs Marathons :))

LOVE IT!!...and I secretly hope one day you'll fly over to Stockholm and run the Stockholm Marathon with me!

4 Fortunes said...

Nicely written Lisa. Continued success with your training on your road to redemption! :-)

Irene said...

Most non-running people will never get it, why you run, why you want/need to do another marathon, or another, or another. That part really doesn't matter. There's something to be said about a sense of self accomplishment. You're not doing it for them, you're doing it for you. :)

Maryland Girl aka Michelle said...

Like the other said, those that don't run or cyle or do tris don't get it. Perhaps we start with the first endurance event as a lets see if I can do this...then we get the bug and we just keep on doing. We do it for us and having the events to run makes it FUN!

Chic Runner said...

Ah I love it! :) You CAN have fun!!! seriously, I didn't know it was possible. and though this past weekend wasn't fun it wasn't anywhere near SD rnr or crapfestival I like to call it. You will have fun in Surf City! :) enjoy the race! :) And of course I must meet up with you now since you are in the area!!!!! okay, i love exclamation points. sorry.

Marathon Maritza said...

You only have yourself to challenge and to prove stuff to, so keep doing it if it's fun!! I am sad I can't run Surf City this year, so go out there and kick butt on my behalf too!

Great job on your runs last week...maybe you SHOULD go to Goofy! Hahaha!

Jill Will Run said...

Danica's tweets while running Carlsbad were fun, there's another reason for you to get into Twitter. ;-) (I totally understand not wanting to have too many THINGS though!)

I feel like I have something to prove in the marathon, since my last one didn't end the way I wanted and I haven't been able to revisit it since. But I have to admit, you are inspiration for me... your passion and strength in training makes me realize that when my time for the full comes back around, I can do it too! I know that someday you will have your magic marathon! Whether it is Surf City or another one (or all of them) they'll all be "experiences" for sure!

Go Lisa, my friend the marathoner!

Southbay Girl said...

Hell no you don't have anything to prove to anyone....but maybe you want to prove it to yourself!!

I'll see you in Surf City!! Well, hopefully before that! But i'll be running the Half! Because I sure as hell have nothing to prove anymore, until I feel like I need to prove it to myself (and have the time :-)) I've run 3 marathons....there might be one more in my legs....if I'm unemployed!

Angela said...

I just read this outloud to Matthew, and he "yes!" and "uh-huh"ed the whole time!!!!! LMBO!!!

He has had the same experience w/his mental state during a marathon--his first, to be exact. That was last November. He ran his second marathon two months later despite a recurring knee injury.

He just ran his first half-marathon last weekend and did really well! A time of 1:43, which was a 7:50 pace. He's in hardcore training for his third marathon, the Disney one, which is in just over seven weeks.

Wanna fly across the country and do the Goofy Challenge? LOL

Anonymous said...


RunnerMom said...

I love how you said "and I wrote them the plan to get them there"! Isn't it cool to be able to do that?

:-) I understand how you feel about being a marathoner. I have mixed emotions though. We'll see how Saturday goes.


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