Last year, my fitness resolution was to complete 108 consecutive sun salutations. I did it. Twice. I'll do it again at some point. I found it to be very empowering.
This year, one of my fitness resolutions was to run 5 miles at a sub-10 minute pace. While this is clearly not a record breaking speed (the fastest runner in my race ran a 4:57 mile) it's lightning fast for me. You see, I run a 10 minute mile. I did that in 2004 when I completed a triathlon and I did it again over Thanksgiving when I completed a Turkey Trot. Those are the only timed running events I have ever participated in. In short, I am not a runner.
But I long to be a runner - to have one of those sleek runner bodies that just says "healthy" when it walks into a room. Not small. Not weak. But here to stand its ground.
So at the start of the year, I started running. I ran in the neighborhood when it wasn't too cold. I ran in the basement on a treadmill Ed and I purchased back in our Crystal City days which no longer keeps track of pace. I even ran in the gym in my office (shudder!). I also had a personal trainer visit me at home which I highly recommend to anyone who wants to change the shape of their body. I am stronger, today, than I was at the start of the year. My softer parts are turning to muscle.
Last Sunday, I made my first attempt at completing my running resolution. I participated in the St. Patrick's Day 8K - which is a super flat course, so probably one of the better chances I had at meeting my goal. My plan was to keep up with Ed for as long as I could. Then, I would attempt to keep running (no walking - except through water stations if desperate).
I kept up with Ed for most of the race. And when he left me, I sensed I had a legitimate shot at meeting my goal. I was passing as many people as I was being passed by - and except for a surprise turn in the course which lengthened it by a couple of blocks - I could see the finish line. I remembered the words my friend Billy had told me "You just have to want to finish it more than you want to quit" and I kept going, at the fastest pace I could manage. And in the end?
I ran for 46 minutes and 29 seconds - which is good enough for a 9:21 mile. I was / am exceedingly proud of myself. When I got home, Connor asked me how I did. I told him I wanted to finish in 50 minutes, but I finished in just under 47 minutes. Even he could tell how proud I was and he extended his congratulations.
I wouldn't yet say I'm a runner - but I will tell you I'm treating myself to a new pair of shoes and look forward to pounding the pavement more in the near future.
Also, yesterday morning Helen looked at my belly and rather than asking hopefully whether there was a baby inside, she said excitedly "Mom, your belly is really flat. Mine is bigger than yours now!".
40 - I'm coming for you in May. I'll be stronger, leaner, and faster than I've been since 2004 when I completed that triathlon. More important? I'll stand my ground.