Sunday, August 29, 2010

Run Your A$$ Off

OK, so when I actually came up with the idea for this blog, it was the beginning of 2010. As usual, life got in the way. Deciding you are going to go to medical school at the age of 35 will do that to you (but that's a story for another day).

But here I am. The Monkey looms. I registered for this formidable marathon on August 1st, and I was lucky enough to make it into the 200 person race. The Flying Monkey Marathon in Nashville is subtitled as the "Big Bad Marathon" in the Hills of Percy Warner Park. The race is officially 12 weeks from today, and I fully expect to get my ass kicked from one end of Percy Warner Park to the next. My goals are twofold: (1) Don't die. (2) Don't finish dead last. At this point if I just accomplish #1, I think I will be ok with how this all turns out.

By way of background: I have run a couple of half marathons, including the Nashville Country Music Marathon this year, numerous 5 and 10k's, and 0 full marathons. This is significant for the following reasons (I am a fan of lists, as you can see): (1) I have never tested my ability to run a full marathon distance, and (2) the Flying Monkey's own website pretty much flat-out tells you this shouldn't be your first marathon. Nashville is hilly. Percy Warner Park is quasi-mountainous. This particular marathon is going to take me through 1,500 feet of elevation gain and loss, at some points reaching grades of 10-12% (feed that number into your treadmill incline for 26.2 miles and just watch the tears that get shed).

Further compounding the sheer insanity of this particular marathon, I am way out of shape. I was at peak running weight a year ago, but no more. A year of focusing on a career change instead of running has made my mind sharp, but my body flabby. I've gained over 20 pounds in a relatively short period of time. My weight now isn't all that shocking--I used to weigh over 215 pounds not too long ago and I am far from that number. But gaining that kind of weight back in a year is a reminder that even though I never ran for weight loss to begin with, running has great benefits for my body. It makes me strong and it makes my mind strong.

But let me be clear. I hate running. I absolutely hate it. When I'm suiting up, putting on my running clothes, chucking on my Garmin, all I can think about is "I hate this. Why am I doing this??" These thoughts run through my head over and over...until....runner's euphoria hits. The runner's high exists, people. And it feels amazing. I did a 10k trailrun through Long Hunter State Park last October, and it was nothing short of magical. Running through autumn foliage in utter silence, leaves falling, with only my iPod and some Jakob Dylan going through my earbuds...Nashville and its beautiful state parks are the perfect place to learn to love running.

Sooo, the Monkey was supposed to be my end-point, and it is a big goal point, but I think I'm going to extend this little blog a bit further than I had originally intended. See me suffer!! Cheer along in the hopes that I don't die!! Or end up finishing dead last!!!

12 weeks left, and counting. I will post my daily running/workout schedule as I go along. 3 months from now, we will know if I was able to vanquish this monster, and I will have something to be truly proud of.

For more info on the Monkey, see the following: Share/Bookmark


  1. This flatlander is proud of ya, Kara :-)

    I'm sympathetic-- strapping on my nano and strobe for a run illuminated only by Orion's belt isn't ALWAYS what I want to do at 5:30 in the morning! But once my run is complete, it just feels like I've started my day off on the right foot. And running compares to NOTHING I've ever tried to keeping in shape, so there's my incentive.

    Good luck over the next few weeks. Here's the big question-- you running the marathon with or without music??

    -Larry :-)

  2. Hey Larry! Thanks for the encouragement!! My body wishes I were running this 18 months ago, but I am where I am. A couple of years ago, when I first started running, I lost an additional 25 pounds doing nothing but running. No dieting necessary (which I love), so I relate to you there.

    For me, the hardest part is always getting started. I've watched your run/race progress too--congrats on your recent relay! Nice to see Patrick and Mark's faces too :)

    Opposite to you though, I prefer running at night. The weather in Nashville is very similar to Miami (hot/humid) during the summer. We are just now heading into that click between summer and fall when we move from the only real running options without threat of collapse from heatstroke are before sunrise and way past sunset. Soon, it will be nice to run anytime, but for now I'm sticking with my nights. Thanks for the comment and for following the blog.

  3. P.S. I'm definitely running WITH music!!! I'll need something to keep my mind off the pain.

  4. Ya, except maybe Colorado. You've got that right, sista! Way to go - I'll be cheering you on.

  5. Awesome, Kara! I hate running, but will do it if I am in danger. I cannot imagine running for hours, so I really admire people who can do it. I'll be following your blog! So hopefully knowing that people are "watching" will be motivating. :)