Yesterday was a first for me…
It was the first time ever that I ran with a group. You see, I prefer to run alone. I always have. Minus the occasional buddy you pick up along a race, I enjoy pounding the pavement with me, myself and my thoughts.
But I have been telling myself that I would get out and run with the Lake Effect Run Club sometime. Especially since I’m signed up for their half marathon (which I blogged about here). I’ve known some of the people in the club from when I was still running regularly and doing local races. and a lot of them I met when I put together the #SyracuseStrong run in support of the tragic events that happened at the Boston Marathon earlier this year. But like I said…I’ve never ran with a group that didn’t guarantee some kind of medal or t-shirt.
This weeks meet up was right down the street from me at Cafe at 407 and it would head right into Onondaga Lake Parkway (my home turf). Since they meet up at 8 am…on a Saturday….and since I am NOT a morning person (especially since I get up early 5 days a week for work) I prefer to go when it’s close by so I don’t have to get up SUPER early. I’m not an early morning runner…no matter how hard I have tried in the past.
I set my alarm for about 6:45 and by some kind of miracle I was up at 6. I can’t even get out of bed at 7:40 during the work week (and I have to be to work at 8…thankfully we live close by). I had some coffee, took care of what coffee does and got dressed. It was much warmer this weekend than it has been which was a relief because all of my running clothes, especially my cold weather gear, are in sizes that I was wearing about a year and a half ago. But I found some pants and a long sleeve shirt.
I wasn’t nervous which was surprising to me. When I got there I saw some of the people I knew and exchanged hugs. I met some people I didn’t and it grew into a really nice group. They were nice enough to take a picture so I could post it on here…you know…photographic proof that I actually went…
Then there was a little introduction and we were about ready to take off..
So yeah…here’s the thing…
I’ve made it no secret that I haven’t ran much (if really at all) in the past year and a 1/2. But I have been slowly (and trying to be safe) getting back into running regularly. I’ve been using this app called ‘Running for Weight Loss’
Now, I follow the Weight Watchers program so I’m not using this app to lose weight. But I like the intervals it uses. I feel like even though I’m starting from scratch I’m not starting from scratch…does that make any sense?? Well anyways, I find that the 5K training app’s are too easy and the 10K or 1/2 training app’s are too hard right now. So this one has been working.
I forgot my headphones this morning and decided to just “wing it” and not use this app. I knew I wanted to get 3 miles in (the rest of the group runs around 6 or so but I’m not back there yet). Well…this was kind of a BIG mistake.
As soon as people started taking off, the runner inside me went “ok, let’s start running!” and it took me almost a 1/4 mile to realize that I wasn’t too far behind some of the group. What alerted me you ask?? First my shins, then my heel, then the numbness in my feet. I literally lost my footing and could barely walk. This was a stupid, stupid mistake on my part. BUT…I kept going. I walked more than I ran, but I threw in running spurts when I could feel my feet enough to know that I wouldn’t fall down once I started, LOL.
The group at this point was long gone and I was once again just out there by myself…it was a beautiful morning to be out.
I was never really alone though. Many of the members would pass me and say “great job” or “keep it up”. It felt great to know that I had support out there. That there were people who would call 911 if I keeled over and couldn’t move anymore.
I ended up going 3.25 miles. The longest distance I have done in a long, long time. This “run” was an ENORMOUS mental battle for me. I would see people heavier than me just running a long, making it look so easy and think “wtf, why am I struggling so hard?!” and then there were the people in the group…I was one of those people not so long ago…healthy and fit and could very easily run 6 miles in the morning. I was envious, angry and irritated. I had to constantly remind myself that I was there. I was not at home, asleep in my bed. I was not at home, with my ass on the couch. I was out and I was moving and I was getting exercise!!
I think it was that mental reminder that kept me going…because I wanted to quit, many times. I told myself “maybe you are just not ready yet, Suzi. Maybe you just need to focus on eating healthy right now.” But I banished those thoughts because I know how running makes me *feel*, not just how it can help to make me look.
Afterwards I got to meet some really nice people and it was really nice to feel like part of something. Things felt even cozier when my friend pulled out the beer he promised me for the end of the run.
See, I went 11 days without a beer or any alcohol what so ever. It wasn’t intentional. It just kind of happened and I never set a goal or anything for myself. I think it was just what I needed though because I felt great and it put a lot of things into perspective for me as well. And I’ll tell you what…I’m glad I had waited to have a beer until then because it was a delicious reward…even at 9 o’clock in the morning . And to my surprise many other runners came up and asked if my friend brought extra beers, so standing there in the street with a handful of runners, drinking a beer at 9am…it was pretty fucking awesome for many different reasons.
Thank you to everyone at the Lake Effect Run Club for coming out on Saturday and for king me feel welcomed and accepted.
So…will I ever run with them again?? You betcha!! Do I prefer to run alone or with a group?? Well, that’s kind of hard to answer since I didn’t really “run” with anyone and I was still by myself during the time I was working out, but I enjoyed knowing that the group was out there and having some of them encourage me as I went on.
It was another lesson of letting go of the past…of trying not to think about where I was but to think about where I am going. If you follow this blogs FB page you saw that I had a post about letting go and moving forward. It took a lot of courage for me to post this, especially the pictures since I am the heaviest I have ever been (even though I did lose 4.4 lbs this past week so HOLLA!!!!)…
Whether I run by myself, with a friend, or a group of friends, I am running FOR myself. I’m not going to push myself to do anything I’m not comfortable doing and I will continue to keep learning from my past, the good and the bad, and keep focusing on the future and where I want to be.
My name is Suzi Fucking Storm…I am a marathoner…I am a woman who had lost 101 lbs…I am a woman who loves beer…I am a woman who took some wrong steps and landed down the wrong path…I am a woman who refuses to give up finding and staying on the right path. I believe in myself.