My Transformation

Thursday, July 28, 2011



Today, I changed the title of my blog site from "Eaglesgirl's Nest" to "I can..." Why? Because I think it is a more accurate description of what I'm setting out to accomplish. The other day, my friend Julie posted a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, "You MUST do the thing you THINK you cannot do!" How appropriate. I'm embarking on an adventure that few will ever finish (0.1% and 2% of the world’s population). I'm talking about running a full marathon which is slightly over 26 miles. To me, it's a matter of your thought process. As a mom and as a teacher, I don't like to hear the word can't, and one of MY favorite quotes is, "If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, think again." Do I think I can run a marathon?

Before I answer this, let's take a journey back in time for a bit. As a child, I was very active. We didn't have video games or computers keeping us indoors for hours at a time. Our parents encouraged us to "go play" outside with our friends. Whenever we did something athletic (kickball, etc.), I loved it. As I approached junior high school, I was able to show how athletic (and competitive) I was by participating in different sport. You could see me playing on the tennis, basketball, and volleyball teams, but my heart belonged to track/field. I'll never forget the day I jumped HIGHER than my height. However, it was running that I adored most. No, this wasn't cross-country where you run miles and miles...these were sprints. When the gun shot, you were off, and you didn't let up until you crossed that finish line. There was no pacing yourself...just run...FAST!!!

As with most, years pass, and life gets in the way. For me, it was in March 2007, when I finally realized how MUCH life got in the way. At only 5'2" tall, 162 lbs stared up at me from the scale, and all I could do was stare back. Sure, I realized that I was wearing a size 14, but I guess I was in denial with what was going on. At that point, I didn't know what I was going to do, but I though "I CAN" do it. Many of you know my story, but some of you may not. My video shows it better than I can explain it.

During my transformation, I found myself being asked to "run" some 5K races. I've raised money/participated in events for organizations like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Race for the Cure (Susan G. Komen), Relay for Life (American Cancer Society), Girl on the Run, and the Kendrick Fincher Hydration Foundation (to name a few). The reason I say "run" is because I never fully RAN them. It was more of a run/jog/walk so to speak. You see, I believe that because I was trained as a sprinter, I didn't know HOW to run. So, my feet would shout "GOOOO!!!" and I'd take off, but my head would scream, "NOOOO!!!" and the battle would ensue. Because they never learned how to work together, I never learned how to pace myself.

After my transformation, people would come to me asking what I did...looking for advice...motivation, etc. My best advice is to say to yourself "I CAN..." and finish with whatever you think you CAN'T do. It's a mindset. So, to answer the question from earlier, do I think I can run a marathon, my head is telling me, "NOOO!!!" and my feet disagreeing with, "GOOO!!!" Because of this, instead of setting a New Year's resolution, I set a goal. When I was younger, I had admired a medal up on the wall of the family I babysat. I said, "I'd love to have one of those," and was told the only way to get it was by doing the marathon. All of these years later, I haven't forgotten. The one and ONLY marathon I've ever wanted to do is in Walt Disney World.

Well, for someone who doesn't do distance running, what do you do? You start researching. Most of what you find talks about marathon runners being crazy, nuts, or insane. Yep, I guess that's me. I knew of a local store here in NW Arkansas called Rush Running and from my VERY first experience with them, I *KNEW* they were in my corner. They're there to share information first and foremost...they'll also hook you up with the right kind of shoes (they analyze your gait) and will answer any questions (no matter how many times they've heard them). The thing that SHOWED me I was in the right place though was the owner, Mike Rush, who told me "You CAN do it!" Oh yes, he said it...and I believe it!! Mike shared his training schedule with me (which I've posted in my Facebook notes). DEFINITELY shop with them...they KNOW what they're talking about.

Then, I began doing MORE research.

I figured, I needed to find others who would MOTIVATE me to get it done instead of bringing me down with negative thoughts/beliefs. Instead of saying it was an IMPOSSIBLE MISSION, I found a group of the most encouraging individuals who will ALSO be running the Disney marathon. Right now, they have almost 4,000 members on the Disney Marathon Weekend- 5K, Half Marathon, Full, and Goofy Challenge page. Again, any question asked is answered. People are genuinely there with the "I CAN..." attitude. Most of them are GOOFY runners. No, I'm not insulting them. The Goofy Challenge is a special event where you run both the 1/2 marathon (on Saturday) and the full marathon (on Sunday). You get 3 medals for this one. They keep telling me I'll be doing it next year!! I guess we'll see.

Using the schedule Mike shared, I carefully figured out my starting date with the program. It was this week, Monday, July 25th, and my FIRST ever workout for training for a FULL marathon in January the suspense...add a drum roll...a rest day! HAH! Got that one sweat (figuratively AND literally).

My second workout was quite different. Not being a morning person, I chose to wait until the evening. I'm also pretty good at procrastinating (I could probably turn it into a career if only I could figure out how to get paid for it). However, we've had one of the hottest summers...record breaking in fact...most days over 100 degrees, etc. I think you get the picture. Tuesday was no exception. A quote I made on a local weather station's Facebook page even made the news that night..."It's so hot, the devil didn't go down to Georgia, he came to Arkansas instead." Even though I planned my run at 7:00 p.m., the temperature on different weather websites claimed that it was STILL over 100 degrees. However, I had never run 4 I needed to, as the NIKE commercials say, "Just Do It" and get it over with. I made sure to have cold water available to keep myself hydrated too. I let my friends know on Facebook that I was heading out and asked them to finish this sentence: Cheryl, you are _______. Two of my friends named Michele called me insane (one added "KUDOS FOR DOING IT..JUST PLEASE DONT PASS OUT"), Deeana, Rocky, & Wanda called me CRAZY (which is why I titled this Operation "You're Crazy"), my friend Mary said I was "asking for it" because it truly was hot (she reminded me to stay hydrated), my sweet friend Ellen called me "mishugina" which goes along with Kelly calling me NUTS, and I got some positives too, like Adam, telling me "AWESOME", Brock calling me a "true runner" (which he knows I'm not, but it made me smile anyway), Laurie called me "DEDICATED" because she knows how it feels to be out exercising in this heat, and my friend Dave who said I was better than him because he did his workout in the air conditioning.

This run was a beast!! During my first mile, the sweat was pouring off my forehead, down my back, my legs, I was shirt/shorts soaked. Every time I drank, I figured I must be breathing in dust/dirt because I taste it with every drink. In the middle of mile number two, I began dry heaving...wasn't sure if I would puke but sure felt like I might. I *KNEW* I was hydrated, so I didn't let myself quit...told myself "You CAN" and kept right on with it. There was definitely a lot more walking than jogging/running. I was thinking "Man, you're out of shape Cheryl!" Then, at the end of mile number three, Greenday's "Good Riddance" came on. As the words, "I hope you had the time of your life..." were coming through my earbuds, I stopped and took the picture of the sunset below.

I had NEVER run more than a 5K, and here I was ready for mile number 4. I felt like my music was talking to me. I wasn't thinking about how much I disliked it. Instead, I kept thinking, "You MUST do the thing you THINK you cannot do!" Near the end of mile 4, "I Will Survive" came on, and again, I appropriate! It took me a LONG time. My pace was SLOWWWWW!!! Tracking myself with Run Keeper, my time was 58:27 with an average pace of 14:28 in 4.04 miles. I was proud of myself for getting it done, and I figured, things can only get better. I CAN DO IT!!!

The next day, yesterday, I was scheduled to run 3 miles. Prior to running, I checked in with Rush Running. I let them know, "I've NEVER done more than a 5K and am training solely for a full in January. NUTS?!? Maybe...especially since I don't consider myself a runner, but it is my goal, so I will reach it. Yesterday, I ran at 7 and it was still 100° you suggest a certain time or sticking with a treadmill with this heat?" Within minutes, I had a response, "Running early in the morning or later in the afternoon is probably the best way to go. Treadmills are fine, but only if it's one run ever[y] week or two. The marathon training your doing should be done on roads 100% if possible. Just drink lots before, take water with you on the run, and rehydrate when you're done!" Yet again, I put off my running until the evening, and waited even LONGER because of the heat from the day before. It was dark (REALLY DARK...not my brightest idea) when I was ready to head out. Before I went, I posted, "Getting ready to do 3 miles, I'm tired, sore, don't want to..seriously, I need your encouragement, so finish this please: Suck it up buttercup, ____________." Sometimes you just need a kick in the booty. My friend Deanna told me to not "give up" and that she looks to me for motivation. She said, "Please don't give me an excuse to give up. Because if you can't do it, I feel like I REALLY can't. Push onward!" There was that word again...can't! Deanna, I will NOT give you an excuse because like *I* CAN, *YOU* CAN too!! It was my friend Scott who reminded me, "Suck it up buttercup; if you won't run for you, run for your son!" My son has always been my motivation for moving forward...he is the reason WHY I push myself as hard as I do. I want to grow old and watch him and his kids grow. So, THANKS Scott, I was thinking of him too while running last night (before I got to see your post). And then Julie reminded me yet again, "YOU MUST DO THE THING YOU THINK YOU CANNOT DO!" She said it's like her mantra now...I think it has become mine too.

Here I am on day 3 of my training. I'm supposed to do 3 miles again. I've got an event to attend in 3 hours, and it's cloudy. I think I'm going to go for a run...because I CAN!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment