January 30, 2014

Kaiser Half Preview: May I Run With a Grateful Heart

A good friend of mine had open heart surgery today.  It was a shock when she found out she had a heart tumor earlier this week, but it went well and she's recuperating in the cardiac ICU now.   I am grateful.

I plan to visit her on Sunday in SF after the race.  So that's my goal -- I want to finish, and I want to visit my friend in the hospital and confirm with my very own eyes that she's on the road to her recovery.

Everything else is pure gravy.

I think everyone has areas of their life where they focus and stress.  I probably have more of these areas than most people, but, running just isn't one of 'em.  A while back, it may have been, but at some point I realized that in order for running to function as a stress relieving hobby for me, I just had to let go and let it be whatever I needed it to be for me at the time.  I couldn't let my hobby be a source of stress for me.

And it hasn't been.  Not for years.

The downside to this is that thanks to this lack of commitment and discipline in my hobby and the fact that it's been the only major source of exercise/calorie management in my life for the last decade, I'm currently working my way out of the worst shape I've ever been in as a runner  (I have to add this caveat, because I was once in worse shape when I was "not a runner" but I was much younger and bounced back much faster as soon as I *became* a runner).

Anyways, it's slow going.  I just checked -- All of the average paces for my runs in 2014 are in the double digits per mile.  Yes, I've done the occasional faster mile and several speed segments that dipped into the 7s and even the 6s/mile for the short stuff.  But there's no evidence of any long efforts that average sub 10/mile in my log for this year.

A younger me might find this depressing. 

I find it to be oddly liberating.  Slightly more than 12 months ago, I was approximately 10 pounds lighter and ran the fastest half marathon I've run in 2+ years.  But I'm obviously nowhere near that situation right now.  I'm so far from it, actually, that it's quite easy to set goals that have never looked like goals in the past and yet know I will feel proud if I meet them.  So, in the bloggy interests of oversharing the mundane, here you go (each additional goal assumes the accomplishment of the goal prior to it):

Perfectly Satisfied Goal:   Finish 13.1 miles and get to the hospital to visit with newly stitched up open heart surgery patient friend.  I will be grateful and happy if I am lucky enough to meet this goal.

Better Than Satisfied Goal:   Finish in sub 2:30 (11:27/mile pace).  I feel pretty good about the possibility of achieving this one and it will be a step in the right direction, fitness-wise to complete the whole distance without walking as I haven't run 13.1 miles straight since September of 2013.  (Bonus, this one means I'll have enough time to join some law school ladies for brunch after cleaning up.)

Obviously Proud of Myself Goal:   Finish in sub 2:27 (11:13/mile pace).  This is slightly faster than what I managed for the 10 miler.  I'm hopeful this is doable because I'm not planning to gorge my gullet with party food and drinks the night before the race and perhaps I won't have gastrointestinal side effects as a result.  One can dream, right?

Impressed With My Dedication Goal:   Finish in sub 2:23 (10:55/mile pace).  Sub 11 pace overall would feel just great (see what I mean about liberating?)

I Am a Sucker For Round Numbers Goal:   Finish in sub 2:20 (10:41/mile pace).  Based on my speedwork, this one should be doable.  But, my mileage has been low...

Stupid Grinning Happy Best Case Scenario Goal:   Finish in sub 2:15 (10:18/mile pace).  I don't think this is entirely impossible, so I'm putting it here to give myself something to strive for if all goes perfectly on race day.

Wish me luck.  But more importantly, take a moment to be grateful for your life, health, friends, and family.  Life is precious and fleeting and we are all so very lucky.


Jen said...

Sorry to hear about your friend and her surgery! You're right - it's a good reminder to be grateful.

Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday! I'll try to stick around to see you at the finish, but if it's cold, I might have to run back to my car -- I'll be wearing a tank top and I'm not doing the sweat drop, and I tend to get very chilled after races. If I don't see you before, have a great race!

bt said...

@Jen - I hope I do see it. I'll be thinking of you when I hit mile 11 or so, knowing that you are nearing the finish and mentally cheering you on.