Just Run

I've come to the realization that I am no longer going to care what my time is for any given race! That's all I think about - am I on pace, dang it, now I need to catch up, did "she" just pass me up, go faster, & on & on...these internal thoughts are hindering me from enjoying my runs! I kick myself for not doing better (I honestly can't remember a race, I wasn't annoyed with myself).  I hate hearing, "you are behind your goal pace" on my phone app.  Shut up!

I remember in high school hating the timed mile day.  I was so slow.  Four laps around the track seemed horrible.  I couldn't wait for the nightmare to be over!  I believe I did about a 12 minute mile back then.  After graduating, my husband and I thought it would be good exercise to start running with our dogs.  We all needed the exercise.  We would run through the flat orchards by our house.  The dogs always seemed to enjoy running, while I huffed and puffed just to catch up.  Of course, my husband was naturally fit (had played sports most of his life).  All of my insecurities about knowing running did not come easy for me hindered my ability to enjoy running.

We moved from our flat California home to Washington state in 1999.  Soon after arriving, we thought it would be "fun" to run in a race.  I don't know why we thought we could go from running on flat dirt roads to running hilly road races.  We ran a few 5ks and then jumped to a half-marathon within the first year of being in Washington.  My big toe fell off after my first half-marathon.  We were not prepared.  We didn't have the right shoes, nor did we train properly.  The good thing was that we "enjoyed" the race and did a lot of sight-seeing.  I think that first half was over three hours.  But honestly at that time, we didn't know any better and thought three hours was not a long time.

Then our competitive spirit started kicking in.  I wanted to be faster.  I knew that meant putting in the work and actually training.  Every time I ran, it was hard.  Eventually I did get faster.  But honestly not because of training, but rather sheer will power.  I willed myself to run faster, to not give up.  My fastest half marathon (under 2 hours) was on the hilliest course in the area.  I simply willed myself to go faster and make up the time I had lost going UP the hills.

Since then, I've had three daughters and acquired a bad knee.  To date, I lost over 50 pounds and feel lighter when I run.  I've tried to tell my eldest daughter that running can be fun.  I try to encourage her, but apparently I talk too much during our runs.  I don't have the luxury of having time to train because I'm so so busy with our family, and several of our businesses.  I've ran countless 5ks, half-marathons, and one dreaded full marathon.  My full marathon experience was a disaster!  Everything that could go wrong, did.  It took me a few months to WANT to run again.  But I eventually did and felt I was in the best shape of my life.

But EVERY race I did, I ended it exhausted and irritated with myself.  I SHOULD have gone faster, I shouldn't have stopped as often or at all.  I hated that I could not will myself to run faster.  I was mad at myself - every time.  

I have a few races coming up (12ks, half-marathon, and I will sign up for a full marathon again).  I have been doing a lot of soul-searching.  I refuse to let my time DEFINE me.  I need to focus on the fact that I CAN run, that I can run MORE than most people, & that my beautiful family is always waiting for me at the finish line. This doesn't mean I won't try my best (slow is not in my make-up, but I will forgive myself for not getting a PR).  Just like that I will change my mentality and run because I can.  Just like that I will appreciate that GOD has given me this beautiful life, wonderful family, and a capable body.

Grace Martinez
Mother of 3 awesome daughters, running to keep up with my husband who makes physical demands seem effortless, running partner to my dogs, and an example to my community.

Run 2 Be Fit