Saturday, October 17, 2009

Eeeek! Running from Zombies!

Let me state from the beginning of this post, that running is for crazy people. And as it turns out, I must be crazy.

I am pretty sure that I never really liked running very much. I have some rather vague memories from grade school gym class that I was never a particularly fast runner either. And in the few sports that I played back then--volleyball and softball--I could pretty much get away without doing much running at all. :) I do know that in gym in high school, we had to run a 12 minute mile, but I'm pretty sure that it was just a one time thing. And with some pretty half-hearted attempts to jog through Fairview Park with my college roomie Jenni, I'm pretty sure that my feeble attempts at any sort of distance running ended at age 18.
Two years ago, I started blogging a little about my forays into the weird world of running. In fact, about this time of year in 2007, I completed my first 5k race. While my plan had been to walk that race, I ended up being shamed into running a portion of it by an adorable little 74 year old lady named Edna, whose slow but steady running pace was kicking my butt! I finished that first race with pace that I was pretty shocked and happy with...37:56...pretty close to a 12 minute mile.

Back then, running as consistent form of exercise seemed like such an insurmountable task for me. I was still really overweight and still recovering from my (3rd) knee surgery. Oh, and I really hated running. It made my knees ache, and my legs hurt, and gave me blisters, and pretty much left me feeling like I wanted to die. And really, running is for crazy people.

But wow, running was SO much better and faster at burning calories than all the other cardio I was doing. And I was feeling so satisfied with the fact that I COULD actually run. And by working at it, I was increasing my mileage and speed. So all through that winter, I worked on adding to my distance, and in April of 2008 I ran a 5 mile trail run. Well, mostly ran. It was crazy hilly, so there was a fair amount of trudging uphills, and running the rest of it.

Today is the two year anniversary of my reintroduction to running. There's been a bunch of races (listed on the left side of the blog) since then. So I celebrated by running the Fort Ben 5k again, that same 5k that started all of this craziness. And since the results just posted, I am pretty
happy about my finish time, 30:54.6. Wahoo! That's a 9:57 pace! And this was despite the change in the 5k route this year, which included a really friggin' evil long uphill. So I'm pretty thrilled all around.
So it seems that I've turned into one of those people. Those people who run. Sigh.

Anyway, let me get to the explanation about the zombies in the title of the post. A few months ago, I decided to try out the Nike+ gizmo--a sensor that goes in your shoe and records your pace & distance on your iPod. I'm all about figuring our ways to motivate myself into exercising, and this seemed like a great tool for that. My friend Jill had used it last year and it intrigued me enough to try it out. And now I'm totally hooked on it. During your runs and after, you get feedback through your iPod about your distance & pace, best run times, and congratulations on finishing your workouts. And all of your run information uploads to the Nike+ site, so you can track your progress, set goals, and join challenges with other Nike+ weirdos.

Doug, as a rule, doesn't really need too much motivation to run. In fact, he's usually been my motivation for running most days, but I've also lured him into the Nike+ fold. And in turn, we've also pulled our great friends Valerie and Darren into our insanity by challenging them to join us-- in running away from zombies! Val had mentioned that she was looking for motivation to add some more exercise into her daily we decided to create a challenge that was fun and silly.

Doug has been coming up with a pretty elaborate story segments about zombie uprisings that force us to run so many miles to escape the zombies--like 20 miles in 2 weeks. When we finish one segment of the challenge, we can see the next zombie story line and start the next mileage challenge. Doug sends us out the stories by email, along with some great zombie photos (a bunch of our other friends are helping out by sending in photos of themselves as zombies).

So far, this has been REALLY motivational. It turns out that we all might be just a wee bit competitive. The first week, my weekly mileage jumped from 10 miles to 20 miles, mostly because Valerie and Doug were catching up with me, and I didn't want to be left behind to be eaten by zombies! turns out that you can become a born-again-runner. But, I will state for the record, that I still hate running. :) I love that I can do it, but it still is totally a crazy activity.

Thanks to everybody, for all the love & encouragement that I keep hearing from you--especially as my annoying shoes keep posting on Facebook. And smooches to Doug for being a fabulous motivator and to Darren and Valerie for joining us in our foolish games!