Wednesday, February 23, 2011

In Training

I am nothing if not goal-oriented.  In the past, this has been both a blessing and a curse.

I can focus quite intently for short periods of time.  When something gets tough or unpleasant I don't give up until the task is complete.  I've often berated and bullied myself when I needed a break (or a nap or a meal) in order to complete a task in a given timeframe, only to lose all self-control once the task was reached.  I can't tell you how many times I've repeated this pattern: when I finished my master's thesis, I totally flaked on doing some final housekeeping and my grade suffered because of it; when I ran my first marathon, I stopped all exercise completely for about 5 years and managed to gain more than 50 pounds; when I starved myself for a month to lose 20 pounds I promptly gained back 30 in a matter of weeks.

The theme seems pretty obvious to me now.  I set very high (sometimes unhealthy) goals, torture myself into reaching them, then regress.  I have been working on setting more realistic goals and it is a real challenge for me because goal-setting is how I've always accomplished things.  I need that rigor.

That's one reason I've been hesitant to mention something I've been working toward for a while.  I signed up for a couple of long runs: one here in Oakland and one in Washington, DC, where I have several close friends.  I love having the goal to work toward but this time I've decided to train over a matter of months, not weeks, and I haven't talked about it here because I wanted to make sure I was being realistic.

Here's the point of this post: I had an amazing breakthrough on Sunday -- one that makes me certain my goals are realistic, attainable and not total ass-kickers that I will need 6 years at Taco Bell to recover from.  Friends, I ran 12 miles Sunday.  By myself.  No coach.  No mean thoughts going through my head.  No organized running group that pressures you to raise a bunch of money.  Just me and the sunshine and the sidewalks and the miracle that is the Nike+ sensor that talks to my iPod and tracks everything.  See?

And my time was pretty decent!  I finished in about 2 hours, which means I was running a little over 10 minutes per mile.  Thanks, Nike+!  

And in the spirit of Bitch Cakes, the blogger who inspired me to begin blogging, I took a photo of myself before and after the run.


... And after.  

The coolest thing is, I don't look like I was about to die in photo 2... and I didn't feel like I was, either.  

Rock. On.

To celebrate, I bought a new running top on sale at Gap Body for $10 and I wore it today to run 5 miles.  Ain't it cute?
So, the running cat is out of the bag.  I have a lot of thoughts about the Oakland run -- and I want to share them all.  This run is really special to me for a lot of reasons and I will tell you all about it later... but for now I gotta run.  But not in the psycho Type-A way.  Just the normal Type-A way.


  1. Heather, you gorgeous creature!!! 12 miles -- I mean, really!! That is AMAZING. Such an accomplishment. I'm extremely impressed and jealous. And I love reading about your progress. It's really inspiring and makes me think about the patterns I'm repeating in my own life. Love, Miss, and in great awe of you!

  2. I love Emily. You always know the right thing to say.
    Don't be jealous! I am still as nutty as ever in my brain.
    I miss you lots... hoping to make a visit your way in June or July... which are somehow just around the corner. Wild.

  3. Congratulations on running 12 miles! It took me a long time to realize that I am capable of doing many things, as long as I can keep the negative voices out of my head.