Running Return?

 Around about this time in 2006 (I think) I met one of my very good friends, Suzuko.  We had a physics lab together, and we quickly paired up as we were a good few years older than almost everyone else in there. We also managed to find each other in the massive physics lecture the following Thursday. As we learned about force and momentum and all the wonderfully complicated formulas that make up the world and universe, we grew an amazing friendship. I loved physics that semester because Suz and I were devoted to getting through it together. We studied together, took the instructors extra study sessions together, and even got up at four in the morning to call one another in order to finish our homework before class.

In the middle of that semester, Suz completed a half marathon (Disney) and soon became a mentor runner for Team In Training. Of course, she talked about her marathon and recruited me by February. And that was how I began my own training for a half marathon (13.1 miles).

The event was in June and through the whole process, Suz and I trained together. After the school year was over and her husband left for field work for the summer, I even moved in with her and their daughter, Samantha. Initially, Jack’s (Suz’s hubby) sister was staying with them to help with Sammy, but once school was out, Stacie was back in Colorado. So I moved in and it was just us girls. It was probably the most fun I’d had in years.

Suz and Jack had been trying for kiddo number two before I got there and he left for the summer, and well… lo and behold, a few weeks (maybe 2 or 3) before our event, Suz discovered she was preggers (with baby Jamie). The dilemma then became, for Suz, whether to run her event or not. She decided… YES. I’m not sure if most ladies would elect to run 13.1 miles just a few weeks into their pregnancy, but Suz was determined. I was very proud of her for running it and inspired by her will.

My own progress was slow, I was at the time, and pretty much have always been, overweight. Needless to say, I was a slow runner. Sticking with the back (I was the back) of the pack was how I completed each practice with TNT, but everyone there was supportive, so I didn’t feel too bad.

Even with 6, 8, 10, and up to 14 mile runs, I didn’t lose much weight, which was a bit upsetting, but having the experience under my belt was still worth that minor setback.

Immediately after the Animas half marathon in Colorado, I signed on as a mentor myself. TNT was unfortunately losing one (Suzuko) to a pregnancy. As a mentor, I did get a few perks, like not having to raise money to get the same training… I just had to communicate with my mentees and keep them motivated and check in on their fundraising and mileage progress. This is how I met Deb.

Deb is a super perky and amazing woman. Her superhero job is to help people quit smoking. She’s wonderful. Deb and I were pacing about the same (SLOW). Although she was a bit faster than me, I had another woman nursing a pretty bad injury and the tree of us made up the back for the season.

Unfortunately for both of us, after completing the 12 mile run and then the Duke City 1/2 Marathon the following week, we were both pretty much down for the count. I had serious ITBS and she had major shin splints. Her goal of Rock & Roll in AZ (a half) or Hawaii (a full) was put on hold.

Fast-forward to now. I live in Seoul, S. Korea. In the land of very tiny people, I have found it almost impossible to get out and exercise on my own (all mental really) for the utter hatred of being stared at by wispy thin Koreans. 

On the other side of the world, Suzuko now lives in Huston with Jack, Sammy, and Jamie. She is raising two beautiful daughters. Deb has finally healed enough to train for and complete a half marathon and now she’s got the bug again!

As these inspiring women in my live continue to do great things with their athletic and personal lives, I am stuck. I am having a worthwhile experience here in Seoul. I am learning about myself and if nothing else, striving to be strong. I have the love of an amazing, smart, and talented man. 

As the end of our stay draws near, I am finding more and more reasons to start running again. My feet are itching to run, Jason will tell you. I mock-jog in my flip-flops of the way home from dinner on Date Night, and I have been dreaming about it, too. I have a ton of excuses too: it’s too dark, it’s too cold, I’m too tired, the Koreans will stare. But, those are superficial, I know. I am a little worried about starting to run in my now 3-year-old shoes… But, my feet are pretty wrecked already from wearing flip-flops and flats to walk all over Seoul. I do see many foot massages in my future.

Aside from my desire to run, in general, I do want to lose weight. I’ve gain a lot since moving here (about 20 pounds to be honest) and while I chalk that up to the transition from college life to full-time office work, I do have some pretty bad habits.

So, for myself, before my big THREE OH, I want to work on a few things, the least (but most exciting) of which is the running. I know myself enough to know how I operate. It’s the abundance of junk-food, lack of water, and limited exercise that is the root of my problem. I know and recognize this. I have been trying to curb the eating. Jason and I are working pretty nicely at walking after work and eating healthy or at least LESS. We’re trying this new thing called supporting each other (read sarcasm).

My goal for the month leading up to my thirtieth is to start running. I hope to be able to run with my running buddies (Deb and Jamie [NOT Suzuko’s Jamie]) by the time I get home. Wish me luck!