Learning to run because I can walk – on the Wild side

Perhaps by now I’d come far enough that I had enough guts to be afraid.

~ Cheryl Strayed

I just finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed. That girl now as it figured it out. Mo does too. Intellectually I do too.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed

I have been at this journey for well over a year. Last year it was about setting goals that were insane for me, achieving them and celebrating them. I then fell into a goal setter let down…

I couldn’t find my focus. I was tired. Not so much physically, but mentally. I let go of some serious things, serious people, toxic things and toxic people. Where does that leave me to date?

I smiled spontaneously this week for the first time in I have no idea how long. I smile a lot. I have the wrinkles and laugh lines to prove it. Smiling because you feel JOY is a whole other smile. It comes from a place of peace.

I found it. I have no idea how long it will last but I am enjoying the ride while I am on it.

Because I felt JOY, I was able to sit down and make some goals that had to do with wants. This is different than last year. Last years goals were about proving myself to people. I finally figured out that I don’t need to prove myself to others, I really needed to prove myself to me.

Things I have learned;

I am smart.

I am strong physically and mentally. I am almost strong emotionally. Baby steps.

I like me. I like spending time alone with me.

I have skills that can save my life in the wilderness, in an urban environment and in a recreation environment. How many people can say that?In an effort to find myself I tried a billion different activities and have weeded out the ones that I do not enjoy. If it is for pleasure, then do pleasurable things.

The quote at the top has deep meaning for me. I now have a healthy fear of life. I respect it. I know how to proceed with caution and not reckless abandon. This is a huge growth for me. I walked a half marathon thinking, pfffff I can do that easy. It was not easy. It was 99% mental and 1% physical. I could have and likely SHOULD have done things differently. Being the smart girl I am, I have taken what I have learned, and am applying it to my next set of goals.

In October 2010, I was in Germany. I was walking back from the camp showers late at night to the caravan. It was dark and damp. I slipped on some muddy grass and tore my MCL on my left leg. I saw stars, I howled, I cried and I needed help getting into the caravan. I hit rock bottom physically. Mentally that was about to happen much later…

My Doctor encouraged me to walk and he is the type of guy who doesn’t want to tell someone not to exercise. I was just suppose to listen to my knee and not push it. What the hell does that mean? I walked the Half a year later, I swam 1.5 hours 4 times a week and walked 40k a week….that was a lot. My knee hated me but I told it to feck off.

I started training for the Calgary half in January. my knee hated me more than anyone could possibly appreciate. I was stronger than ever. My heart and lungs could take me to new heights and I could walk fast enough to pass runners on the track. Once I hit 45 minutes, my knee said…that is IT, I HATE you and I quit.

And it did.

I had to stop walking, swimming and strenuous yoga. I felt soft and gooey. Gross…

When I went back to my Doc and walked up 3 flights of stairs without my knee weeping, I figured I could swim again. So I did. This time I took it easy. I swam 30 minutes for my short swims and 45 for my long. I was faster than before. I couldn’t belive it. I felt strong, healthy and focused.

I still felt squishy. I knew I needed weight baring exercise. I want to run like a gazelle. I see and hear stories of men who were fat and chunky running and then they became these fit Adonis’. Why can’t I do that? Truthfully, there is no reason why I cannot.

I started reading John Stanton. He is a local hero who was a chubby guy, started running then became the go to guy in Edmonton for all things running. He branched out. He is now the go to guy in Canada and owns a string of Running Room stores. I figured this guy knew what he was talking about.

This is what I know. I HATE LEARN TO RUN CLASSES. When I have a goal I turn inward. I prefer the silence and solitude to pull me through. I have an inner drive and focus that will amaze the strongest man. I get this from my dad. When I swim I use this focus. This is why I can swim for 1 1/2 hours. I only stop because I am hungry and have no energy left. Mentally I could go for days.

I did some research and discovered that I should start my learn to run classes at a 3Km. Running for 20 minutes non stop. I don’t want to be surrounded by people when I do this. Perhaps it is because I talk for a living – but I don’t want to chit chat when I run, walk or swim. I just want to go. It feels like flying when I am alone in my head.

Saturday I did my first session alone at Wildrose Park. I ran 1 minute and walked 2 minutes x6. This took me 19 minutes. I went a distance of 2.07km. My heart and lungs laughed their heads off. It was easy for me. It was EASY for me. The fat girl RAN and it was EASY. I can walk 26km.

When I got home what struck me as I walked in the house was, wow it feels good to not be so tired I want to sleep. I felt energized.

I need to repeat 1 and 2s for the rest of the week. Stanton says to do it every other day. Awesome, that is easy enough to do. I did yoga today. Tomorrow I will run 1 and 2 for a total of 19 minutes. I will then swim after work for 30 minutes. I swim to de-stress and to change eating habits of eating while stressed out. Here is my challenge for the week…

It is no secret that I am a night owl. Mornings are for the birds and the sunrise. To get my runs in this week, I will need to run in the morning before work. Holy Hell that sucks the big one.

That will be the challenge. Not the running, not the swimming – but running in the MORNING for crying out loud. I will do it. Laying out my clothes tonight will help motivate me. I can do this because this is the MENTAL challenge. I kick-ass at mental challenges. Morning run? I accept that challenge!

Besides it has me excited. I am anxious to run 3k without stopping.

I plan on doing that for my birthday. Happy birthday to me on Dead Elvis Day! August 16 incase you want to come cheer me on at Wild Rose park.

Goal #2 5k in the same fashion. I will start at the beginning and work every week until I can run 5km with out stopping. I plan to have that goal achieved by October. Then I will be a 5 k runner and do the Santa shuffle in December, run at the indoor track and perhaps outside if I can figure out the not falling on ice part.

Goal #3 will be to run the Canada Day 10Km.

Goal #4 will be the Donald Half in WDW. I want that medal so bad I can taste it. I will run the 5 k fun the day before.

Doing this slow to re-build the muscles around my knee will be the key. It is hard not to skip to the end. But that is the goal – slow and steady.

I completely get Cheryl Strayed. Her journey made perfect sense to me because in many ways it is my journey. One step in front of the other. I can’t jump ahead to the end and neither did she.

Wake up call at 6:00AM – good grief… I’ve got this.

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