Forty (miles) in February

I know there’s been a lull lately in my posts on here, and one reason (excuse?) is better than any others: I’ve started running again, and I have a new goal for this month. Please excuse me as I interrupt the regularly scheduled cooking posts for some background about the runner in me… (And stay tuned for some tasty pasta dish posts coming up very soon!)

I’ve always been an athlete (my favorite sports to play were soccer and ice hockey), but I always hated running. Well, in 2008 my sister Tonia inspired me to try running out, after she began her amazing running journey (read all about it in her wonderful running blog:  Life in the Outside Lane!). She still is my biggest running inspiration, what keeps me getting out there. :) My cousins Susanna and Jane have run the Beach to Beacon 10K race in Cape Elizabeth here in Maine for many years, and for several years now we’ve had a “team” of runners who support each other through weekly emails, including other family (like another of my sisters, Beth!) and friends. I’ve run the Beach to Beacon 3 times now (2010-2012) and although it’s the only race I’ve really ever run (other than a free 5K once), I love the energy of it and the opportunity to run with my sisters, cousins, aunt, sometimes uncles……. etc. But now I’m getting ahead of myself. I ran a little bit in 2008 but I had foot issues and I never really got into it, so I didn’t run the race that year, and I’m assuming laziness prevented me in 2009 as well (I’ve blocked it from my memory).

It was 2010, the Year of the Concussion, that changed it all. And don’t be fooled by the singular used in that title – it’s just for dramatic effect (and is misleading because 2010 wasn’t the only year, just the most… impressive year). I had 3 concussions in 2010: 1 in January, 1 in May, and 1 in October. Add that to the two I sustained in high school, and a minor one in the summer of 2009 (and the most recent was November 2011 – #7 and hopefully the last one ever). January 2010 and May 2010 were both from playing soccer, which I had been playing in some really fun adult leagues. After the May concussion (#5, if you’re keeping track), my doctor and my neurologist (yes, I have one of those at 26, it’s sad) told me that if I didn’t want to have serious brain damage that could affect me the rest of my life, or even shorten it, I would have to give up contact sports. This was absolutely devastating news to me. I LOVED playing soccer – like, it was true love. When I was playing soccer, it was like an out-of-body experience, and I lived for the moments when I would rise up out of myself and be one with the game. Hockey gave me a similar rush, as well as more casual sports I dabbled in from time to time. It sounds super cheesy, but those of you out there who have serious passions might recognize the feeling.  (And being around my true * human * love gives me the same feelings.)  :)

Anywho, although I’m still mourning the loss of sports in my life (I still often have dreams of playing soccer and hockey – including just this morning!), I’ve turned to running to help me grieve and bring me some of the joy I’m missing. This fall and winter I’ve been dealing with respiratory issues (started with pneumonia right after Halloween, then bronchitis, and now I’m on a daily inhaler for asthma, which apparently just developed – lovely), so I haven’t been out running. But I just started these past few weeks again, and it’s feeling great! Just this week I ran 2 miles after work on Tuesday and Thursday, yesterday I ran here at home, and I’m currently dressed and ready to go out again today. It helps me to have a goal to motivate me, so this is my plan:  run 40 miles in February. I’ve had issues in the past with starting a season off too fast, too often, and too long, so I’m easing into it. At this rate, I could probably hit 50, so that’s a secondary goal. Keep in mind that I refuse to run inside, so these are all outside miles… in Maine… like, it’s currently snowing lightly. But don’t worry, I actually really enjoy winter running, like the freak that I am. Heh.

Thanks for listening, even though I didn’t cook for you today… wish me luck in my goal this month!

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