Sunday, May 26, 2013

Marathon Runners Come In All Shapes And Sizes

As a task for a beginning running class, the instructor Pam suggested volunteering at a marathon. See my post Eating An Elephant. I decided to do just that for the Whiskey Row Marathon on Saturday, May 4th. As a volunteer my job was to stand near the finish line and direct runners into the final turn just before the finish. 

It was amazing to see all the different people with different goals doing that race. The Whiskey Row Marathon also has 5K, 10K and half-marathon components. I saw friends: moms with kids; moms and grandmothers alone running the 5K. I saw two friends running the half-marathon. I also saw a co-worker of my husband's who ran the half-marathon. Kids from my daughter's school ran the 10K. It was so exciting to see so many different ages, running levels and body types running the race. Not everyone had a rock hard skinny body. YEAH!!

Near the end, I got to see women, who were probably my age or so finishing the marathon. Some who did the early start time (two hours before the race began). I felt so encouraged and motivated. From my spot I could see the racers in the final stretch, who did not realize that they were almost done, then they turned the corner and seeing the FINISH sign, would do a final push to the end. Wow, it was inspiring. I am so glad I volunteered. 

It was wonderful to hear the announcer calling out names and what race the runner had competed in as they came across the finish line. I would like to hear my name. I want to run a marathon now more than ever. Pam's suggestion was true. Volunteering at a marathon really does spark one's inner runner.

Who Needs A Coach? I Do...

I am still wanting to catch up on April happenings. The most significant thing that happened in April beyond my marathon training involved getting a coach. No, I don't have personal trainer for my running, though I would like to find one. 

The coach I found was a personal "transformational life" coach. Fancy title, but a coach is a coach. By definition a coach, the noun: is a person who trains an athelte. Or the verb, to coach: to give instruction or advice in the capacity of a coach; to instruct. Thank you

As I was languishing in my beautiful office trying to actually complete just one idea and bring it to completion, I realized I needed a coach. I went for a couple of free visits to see a therapist (through a program from my husband's work), but in the end did not find what I was looking for. I really wanted cheerleading, handholding and accountability. 

At the NVC (Nonviolent Communication) group I attend once a week, the organizer happen to mention that she was working on her certificate to be a life coach. I asked if she needed any practice hours because I would love to be that person for her. She agreed to work with me (at no charge). Wow, was that the single most important thing that has happened in this crazy process of becoming a writer and running a marathon.

At the first visit, I knew I had found what I was looking for. Near the end of the session, she asked me what my goal was. I explained that I wanted to complete a treatment (an idea for a TV show) over the next two weeks and get it out into the world. She asked how much time would that take and I committed to three writing hours per day for two weeks. She said text me everyday at the end of the day with your status. ACCOUNTABILITY, thank you, thank you—now I had a deadline and a boss.

It took a little closer to three weeks, but I did finish the treatment and sent it to my scriptwriting mentor. The sessions with this amazing coach were so helpful in guiding me to see my writing blocks. Frankly, I didn't know how much I needed her till I started working with her. A person who trains someone is a coach. She trained me to move forward and step over my fear of being a writer. What was great, was that we didn't talk too much about "the why" of my fear, instead we just met it head on and pushed through it. 

The act of coaching involves instruction and this coach's instruction was the accountability factor. She was watching me and encouraging me. There were a number of tearful moments when I texted her and she texted me back with great quotes to motivate me, which propelled me forward. 

This process of becoming a writer is so parallel to becoming a runner and running a marathon. Slowly building stamina; gaining confidence that the task is even possible; embracing fear, but pushing through it; developing momentum that propels one forward—all of these things apply to both running and writing. 

I am at a point where my own momentum and accomplishment are starting to show results. Maybe I am not crazy after all. Maybe I just might be able to live my dreams. Maybe...I can run a marathon and support myself as a screenwriter.

Poof: Where Did April Go?

Well, I don't always make my goals, but I do keep trudging forward. 

April was a big month. First, I was sick for almost half of it. It has been very windy in Prescott and the wind really gets to me. When I got sick the first time I mostly ignored it and continued my training. In fact during the middle of the month I increased my running split ratios and felt like I might be able to run...whoa, hold on: yes, for the first time I thought maybe I could successfully complete a 5K race. No it's not a marathon, but I have got to start somewhere. 

Then, in the wind (with a hat) I did a great training day. I was so proud of myself that I mentally recorded the day—Tuesday, April 23rd. Basically, I did 21 minutes of running (some could say shuffling) and 24 minutes of walking—splits of 3 minute run / 3 minute walk—plus a one mile walking warm up and a one mile walking warm down. The total workout was about an hour and half. The total mileage just over four miles. That is some progress from where I started and it fired me up. My lungs were still struggling, but I was very happy with the day. 

Fast forward...that night my throat was a bit scratchy and I woke up on Wednesday with a full blown head cold. This time I made myself stay in bed and did nothing (hard to do as a wife and mother) and it took a week and a half to finally feel like I was normal again. 

Also in April, the marathon class I have been taking at the YMCA—that was connected to the Whiskey Row Marathon event—wrapped up. I have learned a great deal from the two instructors and have finally organized their handouts into a binder for myself. The instructors shared so many little tips and advice like: clip your toenails a few days before the marathon race so you don't get a rub burn from a too long toenail and so your feet can get used to the new toenail length. It seems silly, but for a 26 mile race, something small can turn out big. It was those kind of tidbits—from their personal experience and dare I say personal mistakes—that I recorded in my marathon journal, which will become so valuable as my marathon race day approaches.

Finally, in April I invested in some shoes. A small investment, but not what you might think. One of the women in the Y marathon class told me that Goodwill often had sports gear. I must get a good running bra, which start at $50 and running shoes, which start at $100. Needless to say, that is so beyond my budget right now. My little $214 is just covering my bills and a little gas. No room for extras. So I thought I would see what I could find at Goodwill. My guardian angel must have been looking out for me because I found a brand new pair of New Balance Walkers, sized 8.5 for $5. I tried them on and nearly started crying. I also found a fleece pull over that had a great pocket for my iPhone, which I use in my training. Did I mention that it was also half off day when I went in. I felt very loved indeed.

I am making the progress of a tortoise, but in the fable the tortoise does win the race against the jack rabbit. There is hope for me yet.