It’s been a fun summer, but it’s been a crazy one too. We’ve been to three weddings, three graduations, countless social gatherings, and much more.
The past few months have flown by and I can’t believe that July is almost half over!
Fortunately, running hasn’t fallen by the wayside. Even though the weather in Cleveland has gone from being extremely hot and humid to cold and rainy in the span of a few hours, we’ve managed to keep up the miles.
You’ll note that I said “we” and not “I”. Why’s that?
Sheila has recently started to pick up the sport of running again!
Last summer, we trained for and ran in the 2012 Lakewood Summer Meltdown. The story’s been well told on this blog many times, so for those of you who are new to the blog, here’s the quick version: I come from a family of runners but I hated running, probably because I was out of shape and horrible at it. My stepmom proposed that we do a 5K together as a family and she offered to cover our race fees and shoes. I still didn’t want to do it and desperately sought a good excuse to get out of it, but Sheila signed us up without my knowledge one evening. Of course, I wound up falling in love with the sport of running and I found myself looking at the information table for a new race almost immediately after I crossed the finish line of the Lakewood Summer Meltdown. One year and hundreds of miles later, I am still in love with the sport of running and I have found that there is nothing that cures a bad mood or bad day more effectively than a good run!
Unfortunately, Sheila’s experience wasn’t so pleasant. Sheila was sick for much of the summer and she found that she would cough horribly after even a short bit of running. She finished the race, but I could tell that she wasn’t feeling too hot afterwards. After speaking to some doctor friends about this, we concluded that this was either a serious heart condition or exercise-induced asthma.
For nostalgia’s sake, I wanted to run the Lakewood Summer Meltdown again this year, and I was glad when my stepmom suggested that we do it again as a family. I was even happier when Sheila was able to get an inhaler and decided that she would try to pick up running again with the goal of completing the Lakewood Summer Meltdown without stopping to walk!
Over the past few weeks, we’ve gone out on short runs together around the neighborhood. It’s been fun running with her and I’m glad that we’ve had the opportunity to spend a few extra hours together in the midst of our busy schedules. I really enjoyed taking her on her first-ever run on the Towpath, and I was thrilled by the fact that she had a great time even though we had a long run in the midst of extraordinarily humid temperatures.
What’s even been more fun, though, is cheering her on and celebrating the progress that she’s made. We haven’t really been using a formal program, but rather simply building up her mileage slowly over time. At first, I was afraid that we had started our training a bit too late, especially given the fact that the race is a week earlier than it was in 2012. Fortunately, Sheila has made great progress over the past month and I know that she’ll rock out on race day!
More than anything else, I’ve been really impressed with the way in which Sheila’s mindset and mental approach to running has changed.
When we first started out, she still wasn’t keen on running and she did it because exercise is something that she knew that she should do because it’s good for her rather than being something that she wanted to do.
Over time, though, she’s turned into someone who is willing to push herself to exceed her distance goals and someone who refuses to allow the busyness of life to keep her from getting in the miles. We have had many runs during which she set out to do a certain distance and she wound up exceeding it because she knew that she could do it even though doing it was difficult.
I knew that her attitude and mindset were changing when she took the time to make this neat little training calendar for our kitchen!
It took me a LONG time to get to that point; I actually don’t think that I got to that point until my training for the Tremont Steeplechase.
Case in point: we had a crazy day at work and both of us had class this evening. On Tuesday, we had a brutal training run that was cut short early because of the high temperatures and humidity and despite my best efforts to reassure her that all was still well I was afraid that she was a bit discouraged. We got home from work with a very short window of time left for our last training run. Making matters worse was the fact that the sun came out right as we were getting ready to go, making the temperature much hotter than it was earlier in the day. I proposed that we skip today’s training run, figuring that a few days of rest might be helpful and trusting that Sheila’s diligent training would carry her to the finish line on race day. Sheila responded by saying, “No. I’m not going to let all of this keep me from getting this done.”
We went out and had a fantastic run. Although the weather was hot, I could tell from the focused look on her fact that she was going to have a solid run. She had planned to do 2.75 miles, but she wound up doing 3.1!
On the day of last year’s Lakewood Summer Meltdown, we were blessed with a reprieve from the brutally hot temperatures that plagued Cleveland for most of the summer. The weather forecast for this year’s race is once again shaping up to be promising, and I can’t wait to run alongside Sheila as she knocks out those 3.1 miles!