Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Confessions of a Runner

As you know, 2011 was my Year of Running. The motto I picked for 2011 was Leap Fearlessly. My goal was to take a leap of faith any time I wasn't sure if I could do something. Run back to back half marathons? Leap! Run a back-to-back marathon/half? Leap! Run 12 Hours? Leap! No Fear!

But the truth is I was/am a little afraid.

You see, 2011 didn't exactly start off all rosy. Back in January I ran the Buffalo Half Marathon on Catalina Island. It was all climbing for the first half which was a little intimidating. I ended up having a really good, strong run that day. I think I was just a minute or so off my half marathon PR but was really happy considering it had the most climbing I'd ever done.
What I didn't tell anyone is that when I was waiting for the ferry to go home a couple of hours after the race, I passed out. Just a few seconds and I was more embarrassed than anything. Especially because someone called 911 and I had some very cute firefighters giving me lots of unwanted attention on the ferry. Seriously, if you only knew how much I hate being the center of attention! And I was holding up the ferry too, no less. Sigh. But they were cute. ;)

Anyway, they took all my vitals, blood sugar, etc. and everything was fine so they let me go ahead and take the ferry home. I think they thought it was running the half marathon that caused me to pass out but I didn't believe that. I'd had Fish & Chips for lunch after wandering around town for a while. I love Fish & Chips but never have it because I always seem to get sick after. But I was on Catalina and I was craving them so I went for it. Well, I ended up getting sick. Psychological? I don’t know. Anyway, I pretty much lost my lunch before getting in line to get on the ferry. Then, we were standing in the sun and it started to get really warm and I just kept feeling worse. The last thing I remember thinking was “oh god, if they don't hurry up, I'm going to lose it again” and the next thing you know, I'm on the ground and people are helping me up and asking me if I'm okay. Weirdly, after that, I wasn't nauseous anymore.

So I knew it was my lunch that caused me to pass out. But still a part of me wondered if I had pushed too hard on the run. I've thought about that day every time I sign up for a race, especially when I know I'll be traveling alone. I think that's why I was so happy my family came to my races this year. It was a little comforting to know that if anything happened, I wouldn't be alone.

Of course, nothing like that has happened at any of my other races. I've run good and hard since then…harder even…and been fine. Still, the Death Valley/Vegas weekend…worried. And the 12 Hour race…worried. But I'm not letting that worry keep me from taking the leap! I am going after what I want and I'm not letting fear hold me back.

I think the one good thing that came out of that day is that I do pay much more attention to my body and how I'm feeling while I'm running. I think I've raced and run smart this year because of that. I KNOW what I’m capable of. I KNOW what my body can do and how it reacts and what it likes/doesn't like. So maybe passing out that day was a good thing.

I read an awesome blog yesterday by Ashley (@UltraChixUnite). She is an amazing ultrarunner and she’s had some challenges this year, dealt with a lot of really bad stuff. But in her post she said:
Running Ancient Oaks 100 taught me a couple things. One is that I should always trust my gut. As long as I am in line with my thinking, I should never listen to anyone else’s negative opinion about my running. I spent far too much time in my young life worrying about what other people think of me. This year taught me that nobody else’s opinion really matters but my own. I knew I could run 100 miles, and despite what anyone else thought: I was right. When people say that I’m obsessive, crazy, and stupid for running so much, I just laugh it off. Running is a huge part of who I am, and I will own that from here on out.
And that really resonated with me. I am lucky that I haven't had too many doubters in my life when it comes to my running but there have been some. I've been called crazy and obsessive. But I KNOW what I can do so don't tell me I can't do it. I know because I'm listening and I'm running smart. I know I can do this 12 Hour run. Oh sure, it's gonna hurt. But in a good way.

New Years One Day…I'm coming for you. Watch out!


  1. LOVE IT!!! Thanks so much for the s/o! You're going to love the 12 hour and do great! Congrats on living life to the fullest!! -Ashley

  2. Great post, Lisa!! You are going to do GREAT at that 12 hour run! Have we mentioned we can't wait to hear about it?? Because we can't! You are a smarter runner and have accomplished so much! So glad the world wide web connected us! =)

  3. I love the idea of having a motto for the year, Lisa...I'll have to think of something for 2012!

    The confidence you have about your running is amazing, and I can't wait to hear all about the 12Hr run.

  4. I too have to give a thought to the motto - maybe thinking along the lines of "2011 - just base building". Anyhow, thanks for sharing the story, a lot of lessons to be learned on the value of knowing ourselves - and a reminder that we know ourselves better than anyone else, but can still sometimes get it wrong.

  5. Good luck to you in your 12 hour. I've been hearing I'm crazy and nuts for years. LOL. Usually the people who are nasty about my running will settle for mediocrity in their life. There is nothing wrong with that but as long as I remember that is where they are coming from, the comments don't bother me.