Monday, July 15, 2013

The Driving Force to Change

As mentioned in my last post, I absolutely HATED running!  That was only 2 months ago too.  So what changed?  ...My understanding of the sport.  I had it in me that you always had to run your hardest and to go as far as possible, because that is what the sport is.  Growing up no one told me any different, including phys. ed. teachers in school.  Also I had no concept of finding the proper pace.

Now I had read some articles online that mentioned "if you can't carry on a conversation while running, you're going too fast", but I started out going solo and there was no way I was going to have a conversation with myself.  But being determined, I went out and bought some Nike AirMax shoes, ordered a 32GB SD card for my phone (I went running with it as it had my coaching apps) so I could download some music on it, and made a promise to my wife that I was going to do this.  I was going to become a runner!

That's was back in the spring of 2012.  The result of that was I went once in May, twice in July, and once in September.  Then I took a break until May of this year...That's how dedicated I was! 

In May (2013) I got stranded at work one day, with no way home.  I had worked late and so the bus I would normally take had come and gone and it was late enough that the next one was a long time off.  I couldn't catch a ride with anyone, so I decided to walk home.  It took about an hour (and it's about 5 km), but after that walk I felt pretty good!  So I started to walk home frequently after that.  It was a couple of weeks later that I decided to lace up my almost mint Nikes again. I went out for a 3.5 km run.  About 1km in I thought I was going to die on the sidewalk in front of everyone.  I could hardly breath, everything burned, I was sweating like mad...I was just having an awful time.  Though I was stubborn enough not to let my body tell me to stop, so I kept going, even though it turned into a nice walk in the end.

That night I sent a text to my sister, who runs half marathons and coaches running classes, showing her the route I went and telling her of my awful time.  She replied asking if I wanted to go running with her and have her train me up.  I agreed and we went out about a week later.  She taught me that the whole "make sure you can talk" idea was true.  Even though I could hardly talk, I would carry on conversations with her when we went out.  Eventually my breathing relaxed and the talking became normal (on my part).  It took a few weeks, but it happened.  She also taught me about pace and is a firm believer in doing running intervals.  She also encouraged me to enter a 5km race on Canada Day as a personal goal for myself.

As the weeks went on, I couldn't believe that I was starting to have a good time when running.  I competed in the Canada Day race (pic), my wife and kids came out, and I had a blast (despite the fact it was blazing hot at 7:30am)!  Since then I have loved the sport!  After the race I did a bit of fundraising (I sold some rare vintage safety razors) and managed to buy some running shorts, proper running shoes (sorry Nike...my Mizuno's are WAY better), and I have the Suunto Quest HRM watch with the compatible GPS pod and foot cadence sensor.

The biggest reason I love it is because of the goals I set for myself, then I achieve them.  It is a big confidence booster, and makes me feel good about myself, because I am accomplishing tangible things, and I am also becoming more healthy.

My biggest accomplishment thus far, happened two days ago on Saturday night.  I went out to do my 3.5 km loop, while running intervals of 5 minutes (with 1 minute walk breaks).  I had hit the 4 minute mark, and normally I would feel pretty tired, but this time I didn't.  I decided to turn off the voice coaching and keep going.  That 4 minutes turned into 12, then 22, and ended with me running for 40+ minutes with no breaks; and hardly breaking a sweat (I think that is due to the cool humid night though).  I did a loop of 6 km, and am very proud of that.  It was a good run and I couldn't stop smiling about it all night and the next day!

In the end, I guess if I were to sum up the cause for the change in my attitude about running, it would have to be that I learned to pace myself, breath right, and also that proper foot wear is essential!  Most importantly though, just go out and have fun! :)