Rabbit, Run

The first (to be annual) Dennis P. Sampson Community 5k was this past Saturday, June 22nd.  When the flyer made its way to me several weeks ago, I immediately signed up.  In fact, my bib was #16 – I was well within the first batch of registrants.  This 5k was challenging for a variety of reasons, and most trying (for me) was the social aspect of the event.  Perhaps I have alluded to my discomfort in social situations and my overall and constant state of shyness, but I do not remember having detailed the extent to which I experience my introvertedness.

In my newfound resolution to celebrate the modest wins in life and not focus on my perceived losses / failures, I am not ashamed to share that my finish time was 34:34, according to my Fitbit.  Unfortunately, my phone dropped from 100% battery life to 17% in a matter of mere minutes.  Therefore, I did not dare utilize Strava, though I delight in the map the app produces based on my activity.  By the time the opening ceremony was over, I was clinging to hope and praying that I would have just enough battery to allow me music for the run!  Though my overall time was not at its usual, my first mile was 9:36, and therein lies my win!  I have never reached a sub-10:00 mile!  I can partially attribute this feat to chaos, but I bestow some of the credit upon myself.

With any first event, there are likely going to be kinks.  I noticed a few said crimps because they were applicable to the run specifically: a). confusion regarding the location of the starting line, b). the lack of a countdown, and c). no indication that the cue to begin was a siren.  Now, for many, a siren sounding off is likely an obvious segway between sedentariness and  activity.  However, my office is stationed in a police department – sirens are background noise.  I learned years ago to stage in the middle of the pack – not with the rabbits, nor with the turtles.  This weekend, I was with the rabbits due to a, b, and c.  Hence why I wrote, “I have never reached a sub-10:00 mile!  I can partially attribute this feat to chaos [ . . . ].”

*Saturday was the 10th annual Poland Spring Heritage Day, the run component was brandy new this year.*

My unfamiliarity with a new course is detrimental to my overall finish time; any time that I run a new race, my time tends to be slower than my norm.  This course was one of the most unique I have ever run.  I traveled to the Poland Spring Resort expecting a road race, but the terrain was very varied.  Knowing the terrain is essential in a successful run (success being up to interpretation).  Next year, I know just what I am contending with: pavement, mud, loose gravel, packed gravel, grass, woods / trails, and even a few stairs.  I anticipate my time will be less, on this course, this time next year.

Success, by my definition and the expectations I have for myself, are simple: 1). just do it and 2). finish.  In talking with Mum, she commented on how proud she is of me, if for no reason other than simply being present at various events.  Just three or four years ago, I would not stray from her side while shopping in a store, nor would I have ever conceived running publicly by myself.  In fact, when I first began perusing the multitude of 5Ks one may join, I would not register for one if a friend or acquaintance was not also going to be in attendance, even if I really wanted to give it a go.  On Friday night, Mum noticed that I was tense because I was going to be going it alone on Saturday, but I went and I did it and I finished.  Granted, because I was uncomfortable socially, I scampered off and headed home almost immediately after I crossed the finish line, despite how many activities there were to enjoy.

My social discomfort was not so much due to the number of people present that I did not know, but the number of people there that I did know.  As novice as I am in appropriate small talk, I am even poorer at “catching up” small talk.  Observation: strangers respect the RBF and tend to leave me to my stretching and mental preparation; people who previously knew me are seemingly oblivious to my social cues.  I am fortunate in that though I do contend with social anxiety, I am able to confront it.  I will never be mistaken for an extrovert, but I am making strides at being less of a wallflower.  In fact, when I reflect on myself now, it is difficult to remember just how timorous I once was.

I am not quite where I would like to be (goal weight, running ability, social agility, etc.), and I have been so focused on the end goal(s), that I have forgotten to take stock in how far I have come.  The journey seems far longer when we do not look at the route and evaluate how far we have already traveled along it.

 

 

 

 

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No Payne, No Gain

LETR 2.0 – FU

FU in this case can either mean eff you or follow up . . . maybe a bit of both, but more follow up than anything else, I promise.  According to my Fitbit, I ran 5.25 miles of the 6 miles that comprise our leg of the LETR.  I did take a water break, in what I have dubbed the “struggle bus,” but I don’t think I was sitting out for .75 miles.  However, even if it was only the 5.25 out of the 6 that I did run, I am extremely proud.  My main goal was simply to perform better than I did last year, and I certainly accomplished that!

My next endeavor may be the David Payne Memorial Run.

The David Payne Memorial Run is on July 23rd, annually.  The run is 7.2 miles so I figure that with a little more practice, I can do it.  There is also the comfort of the cruiser escort and the “struggle bus,” as outlined above, so, if I need a break, I can take one.  FYI, the “struggle bus” is our critical incident response unit – it’s not an actual bus.

On July 23rd, 1988, Officer David Payne was shot and killed in the line of duty.  The run begins where he died, and it ends at his grave.  I was hired July 22nd, 2013, and I remember observing several of the department’s employees returning from the run.  It was pouring that morning, and everyone came back drenched with sweat and rainwater.  In July of 2013, I was 50lbs. or so overweight and not even in the mindset to change that.  Furthermore, I wasn’t even close to starting up with running, and I could not and did not envision myself as a runner.  However, I knew then that I one day wanted to join that group, albeit  a small one, that I saw on my second day of employment.

I think 2018 is the year!  I have yet another opportunity to continue to push myself to step outside of my comfort zone.  Ironically, the discomfort at the prospect of trying something new has its own uniquely comfortable feel.  Nearly five years ago, I half-heartedly committed to “maybe one day.”  I’ve had quite a few “maybe one day” tasks on my perpetual to-do list, and I seem to have found a fondness for ticking those maybe one day to-dos from the bucket list.

In 2013, I was still two years away from beginning my weight loss journey, from finding my love for gym time and fitness, from becoming a “real” runner.  By Urban Dictionary’s standards, the appropriate ones anyways, I am indeed a real runner:

“A true runner is always in one of four states: 1. thinking about the next run 2. thinking about the last run 3. running 4. talking about running.”

Fast forward to 2018, particularly today.  As of today:

  • I’ve lost 52lbs
  • My goal, as far as my desired / goal weight, is 91% complete
  • I’ve participated in numerous 5Ks and 10Ks, improving my performance dramatically, given my very first 5K was completed in 42-45 minutes.
  • I have a gym schedule that, for the most part, I’m fastidiously abiding by
    • 30 minutes at 0900hrs Monday – Friday
    • 30-60 minutes at 1100hrs Monday – Friday

I think it’s only appropriate that I delve into new territory this upcoming July and try the David Payne Memorial Run.  In addition to honoring Payne’s life and EOW (thirty years ago this year), to tick off another one of those “maybe one day” goals, from so many years ago, feels like I’ve come full circle.  Five years ago, when from my office I saw the runners return, I never dreamed that being part of that group would ever be one of my realities.  I never dreamed the four aforementioned bullet points would be my reality, but here I am.

No Payne, no gain.

 

 

 

LETR 2.0

Despite how many runs I go for or how many races and events I add to that notch on my belt, I may always battle anxiety, jitters, and self-doubt the day prior to an event.  The day before an event is when the Anti-Amy makes an appearance, and AA is currently in mode: full-bore with ill-intentions to wreak absolute havoc in my self-confidence.

Tomorrow is the 2018 Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR), and I am as ready as I possibly can be, yet I am still riddled with self-doubt about my potential performance.  June 2017 was my first LETR, and I did not do as well as I would have liked to, and though I was not alone in that, I have carried the disappointment with me for a year now.

I have a list of reasons I did not do well, and though they have been sufficient for the last year, now that it’s the day before another LETR, I’m wondering if these are solid reasons, or have I been making excuses?

  • Last year’s LETR was on a freakishly hot day, with equally as freakish humidity; I do not cope well with heat and humidity on any level, let alone of aberrant proportions.
  • I did not carry water with me, and there are no water pit stops along the way, but the evidence van (which I have dubbed “the struggle bus”) that escorts runners is loaded with water; I chose not to drink it, however, because it’s kept very cold, and cold water, while immersed in heavy activity, gives me intolerable stomach pains.
  • I did not have my iPod with me.  Though this is seemingly so very minor in the grand scheme of things, the BPMs included in my workout playlist help me with finding a comfortable pace.  Finally, and almost certainly, listening to music must be significantly better than listening to all of my thoughts of, “I can’t do this,” “quit,” or “this sucks.”
  • I succumbed to Anti-Amy, and therefore, my self-doubt and negative thinking overshadowed and eventually overtook the version of myself that is typically dripping with positivity and affirmations.

So, in order to counteract last year’s follies, I have used the afore outlined reasons (or excuses) to devise a plan for a successful LETR 2.0, my second attempt at the Torch Run.  I have a bottle of perfectly room temperature water, in my office, just waiting to quench my thirst.  I have upgraded to AirPods, and I have groomed and perfected my running playlist.  I will not be without water or music.  The weather is entirely out of my control, but I’ve been checking up on it, and as of right now, it’s looking to be about 65 degrees Fahrenheit with a side of cloudy.

Finally, and probably what needs the most work: how to stuff Anti-Amy back down into the recesses of my brain.  AA made a brief appearance this past weekend, as I was at the midway point (1.5 miles in) during the Safe Voices 5K, a fundraiser event for victims of domestic violence.  However, amidst all of my self-deprecating thoughts, I still found a small opening for Amy to glimmer through.  AA was hard on me because I had not run for 9 consecutive days prior to the 5K, and I left the gate already discouraged, thinking I would not improve on my 5K time from my first race of the year (Dash for Dogs, April 29th).  Luckily, Amy stood her ground when faced with Anti-Amy and finished the 5K with a time improved by 1 minute and 15 seconds.  It was again a freakishly hot and humid day, for June in Maine, but I survived the heat though I was quite uncomfortable, to say the least.  So, I CAN do it.

Granted, the distance of our leg of the Torch Run is about six miles, double that of a 5K, but I’m going to keep it simple and focus on putting one foot in front of the other.  If I have to climb into the struggle bus again this year, then so be it.  My goal for this year is simply to do better than I did last year.  Perhaps there truly are a plethora of reasons as to why I didn’t perform well last year, or maybe there is only one: I just didn’t have the will.  If the latter is the truth, I have plenty of will this year.  Underlying it all, the Law Enforcement Torch Run is for a good cause, and you can read about the LETR Maine here.

Wish me luck!