In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned that I have been known to run a few 5Ks. This is a rather new thing for me – my first 5K was in 2009 (relatively speaking, that isn’t very new, but anything after 2005 feels pretty recent to me). Before that I was pretty much resigned to the fact that Helen does NOT exercise. It was earlier in that same year that my sister’s house pretty much became my second home. I was there ALL the time and I started noticing that she was exercising and running. I don’t remember what prompted her to start, but listening to her talk about it and watching her do it brought on one of those moments of pure envy (we have a long history of competition – sometimes friendly, sometimes not – that started in elementary school and is still alive to some degree today). I thought, if she can do it, so can I. She was a huge factor in helping me get started and motivating me to keep at it and I eventually became just as passionate about running as she was. Well, mostly as passionate…. she has since run a half marathon (go Sis!) that I have zero intention of doing.
For me, running is more than just friendly competition with my sister. My top three reasons for running are: 1) It’s energizing – after a run there are times when you feel like your brain has been dipped in warm fuzzies and you get tingly all over. 2) Listening to kick-ass music should be reason enough for anyone. 3) The chance to be outdoors. (Adequately describing my disdain for treadmills would take more time than I’m willing to invest right now)
After my first 5K, I was pumped! Let’s run more. Let’s do a 10K! Why not a half marathon?! But as passionate as I was after that first race, none of those things actually happened. My running has consisted of at least one 5K a year, but that’s about it. Months will go by without a single run and when I finally decide to do it again, I have to start my training all over. Eventually, the realization came to me that as much as I love running, I need an actual goal – something solid to train for. Whenever I signed up for a race my running schedule was consistent but as soon as the race was over, so was my running. If I didn’t have a race planned my training stagnated and eventually stopped.
This year, my determination to run more consistently spurred me to start training in January (running outside in 25 degree weather is ridiculous, by the way) and I was feeling surprisingly good about it; however, about three weeks in, health issues and life happened. By the end of April I was back to square one, thinking of running… planning on running… but not yet running, when my sister-in-law mentioned something entirely crazy. What about the Tough Mudder?! Just take a look at that and see if you don’t run screaming for the hills – unless of course you are one of those super exercise freaks who would have no problem doing something like that in your sleep. If you are, congratulations and I hate your face! (See “the hills” because that’s where Helen ran after looking at the site)
Needless to say, my doubt was a heady blanket wrapped around my extreme certainty that this was not going to happen. But, to my surprise and probably hers, my sister-in-law had ninja’d my brain and there was this stupid seed that started to grow. Maybe it was possible… wouldn’t it be fun… We continued to talk about it and within a few days that pesky seed was a giant growth pushing it’s way through my brain as if I was feeding it daily with water, sunshine and joy. (Maybe I was. I wasn’t! This is crazy to even consider this…)
We started training on Monday – my brother and sister signed up with me for this insanity. We decided to do the Mudderling Training (found on their website) on the even days and running on the odd days with Sunday as our day off. Exercising six days in a row is daunting but I find myself waking up in the morning excited to go home after work so I can get in my daily dose. I never thought that would happen to me, but there you have it. Who knows if it’s something we can keep up; after all, we’re only four days in. The euphoria will most likely wear thin in the months to come.
Right now, the only downside is my sleeping pattern. My nights have gone from “yay sleep” to “sleep, where the hell are you” in just four short days. I’m not getting enough, and even when I go to bed early intending to get a full eight hours, I’m waking up five or six times during the night and having a hard time going back to sleep. Maybe my body is adjusting, or it’s overworked or something, but I’m exhausted, both from the physical demands of the exercise schedule and not sleeping enough. Last night was probably the worst. But somewhere in the dark depths of sleeplessness and the wee hours of morning, I decided that being upset about lack of sleep was useless. Anger at sleeplessness makes for even less sleep. This eye opener didn’t lead to peaceful sleeping the rest of the night, but perhaps it will make the next few days more bearable. (Crossing fingers that sleep will bless me with its presence over the weekend)
The Tough Mudder is ambitious, to say the least, but I am more excited than I have a right be. Whether or not I can actually finish it is not even in my realm of thinking right now. Today, it’s all about consistency, following our training plan and supporting each other (love my team!) and maybe (oh please, oh please, oh please) a night where I sleep without waking up over and over again.