Yesterday, I talked about my goal weight. Today, I will talk about a new goal I am thinking of setting for myself. Sunday afternoon was a beautiful day…upwards of 80 degrees, partly cloudy, with just a light breeze. Sundays are my long, casual walk days. Normally, I do it around our local downtown while the kids are in Sunday school. This week, there was no Sunday school, and there were hockey games and birthday parties to attend, and at 3pm, I found myself still in need of a walk.
I can’t deny that I have been feeling unchallenged lately when it comes to walking. I’ve been feeling like I need a new goal, but I don’t know what it should be. I mean, do I really want to walk faster than the sub-41 minute 5k I did last month? That seems kind of crazy and perhaps a bit pointless. That was faster than some people ran it!
I’ve been feeling this way for almost a week now. I still did my 3.1 miler on Saturday, but it was a rotten day–cold, rainy, windy–and I was feeling pretty unhappy about. So, when Sunday afternoon turned out to be a beautiful day, I started to think that maybe it was time to try something new. At first, I was thinking I would try for a longer distance. I started looking up 8ks in Michigan that a person could walk, but I couldn’t find any easily. Then I bit the bullet and looked for 10ks that could be walked. I got excited because I found a 10k that was right up my alley…but alas, it said nothing about having a walk option. Even the 5k portion didn’t seem to have a walk option. There was a 1.5 mile walk…bleh. :p
I might have kept searching, but this particular race just spoke to me. You see, it’s a race though a cemetery. And I love cemeteries.
Now, before you go getting all creeped out, let me try to explain my reasoning…I have always loved history. In fact, I have a bachelor’s degree in the subject. My favorite “period” of history, if you can call it that, is local history. Anyone’s local history…wherever I go, I want to learn about the history of that area, be it 50 years ago, 100 years ago, or 1000 years ago. I just love the feeling of “living history” that comes from delving into a tangible past. That is why I love cemeteries…they are the personification of local history. You see the most amazing things in cemeteries, and while some people think of gravestones as cold, unfeeling pieces of marble, stone, etc., I see them as the pages of a story…a long, fascinating story that tells me how the area around me came to be what it is today. When I started my first “real” job after college, one of the exercises in my training class required me to give a 3-minute presentation on “how” to do something. My presentation instructed people on the best methods for getting the most out of a visit to the cemetery. 😉 I have been visiting cemeteries since I was a kid. My favorites are the small, often unnoticeable ones that are tucked in some out of the way place (or sometimes, right in the middle of the suburban sprawl that has built up around them!). Many gravestones have just names and dates, while others have words that give you a glimpse into the person who is being memorialized there. I have even seen pictures on gravestones, which do so much to truly tell me their story.
So that is why I wanted to participate in this race. I just can’t resist the pull of a cemetery, and this race just seemed tailor made for me. They touted it as a sunrise race though the “beautiful cemetery.” How could I resist! Plus, there’s pancakes!! 😉
After about 2 minutes of mulling it over, I went and looked up a 5k training program on Hal Higdon’s website. (I successfully followed his 5k walking program.) I was surprised to see that in the first week, on the second day, you started with a 1.5 mile run! Clearly, Couch to 5k this is not. I mulled for a few more minutes, unsure if I could possibly accomplish this crazy goal, but a voice in my head just kept telling me that I had walked a 5k faster than some people run one! Even if I can’t run the whole time, I can still finish.
Before I knew it, I was strapping on my Garmin and doing intense (for me!) stretches in the yard. I stood up, hit the start button, and then…I started running. Okay, probably more like jogging. :p But still, it was the fastest speed I’d done for any of my workouts thus far. I continued down my normal east-west route, and then, at about 1/3 of a mile, the most amazing thing happened.
I looked to my right, and there, in the yard on the other side of the road, was a fawn–running with me! I swear, it looked JUST like Bambi! He ran with me for almost 1/4 mile, even coming up on the road and keeping pace with me–just 10 feet from me! Sometimes he’d go ahead, then wait for me, and sometimes he’d just trot along with me. He eventually skipped off, going under a white picket fence into a field, but before he did, he kept coming back to me, like he wanted me to go along with him and play!
It was truly one of the most awesome experiences of my life. I wished so bad that I had had my phone with me to take a picture, but it was warm and I had on my workout shorts, which had no room for my phone. The whole thing felt a little familiar, like I’d read about something similar before, and it was my friend Amy who later reminded me it was very reminiscent of the whole “patronus” thing from Harry Potter. I can’t deny that it felt like that deer was sent to me, to encourage me in this new endeavor. He only stuck with me for a little while on the road, but he will forever stick with me in my heart! 🙂
I wanted to try running 1.5 miles that day, and somehow, I did! The last half a mile was hard, but I did it, and I felt really good about myself afterwards. I ran again this morning, one mile before I even left for work. I did it partly because I knew it would go faster than my normal walk, and today was my first day of the new construction project, so I knew I needed to save some time. I finished in less than 11 minutes, whereas my fastest walk in the mall was 22 minutes, so I think it was a success! And it was kind of cool knowing I had actually gone for a run before work this morning. 🙂
I don’t know where my “running career” (if you can call it that) will lead, but I do know that I am going to sign up for the cemetery run. I have two months to train for it, and although I don’t know how I’ll fit in the time to train for a real (running) 5k with all the other things I do, I’m determined that I will run this one, even if I never run another one. Between the cemetery and the deer, I really do think this one was meant to be.