Monday, March 12, 2012


I did it! I ran my first 5k Sunday! No walking, no swearing under my breath -- and no tripping anyone else! It feels really good to have that first one under my belt and to have reached some of my personal goals. I guess it's official: I've traded in my cowboy boots for running shoes. 

Despite the weather forecast threatening a high potential for rain for race day, Sunday dawned clear and gorgeous. And early -- Daylight Savings Time meant my body was not only confused about the time, but also by the fact that I was running in the morning. With about 450 or so other people at the starting line, I decided to keep it low-key and start near the back of the pack. I'm not a fast runner (yet). My goal was to run the entire 5k in 42 minutes or maybe a little better (I told you I'm slow!). 

I was surprised when I saw the timer showing 12:22 at Mile 1. That's fast for me! Mile 2 rolled around, and the clock said 25 and change. Not bad! But then the question became: can I hold on to that pace? Nope. I got pretty tired (and dehydrated) around mile 2.5, but still finished just over 40 minutes. Humbling perspective: There was also a 10k going on at the same time, and several of those runners lapped me. The 10k winner posted a time just over 33 minutes. Do the math: that's less than six minutes per mile!

The best part of coming up to the finish line was seeing Brenda and Small there to cheer me on! Small was pretty excited, and it put a smile on my face and a little more bounce in my last steps. 

I'm definitely going to do another 5k. Gotta improve upon that time. I can only get stronger and faster. But first?  I have a 10k coming up in April that I have to train for. Now that I finished an actual 5k, I'm a bit intimidated by the idea of running TWICE as far in 6 weeks. Lots of work to do between now and then. The long-run mileage will be slowly creeping up toward that 6-mile mark. 

Hopefully, my pink feet won't fail me. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hazards of Deafness

Most of the time, deafness is an invisible handicap. I usually like it that way -- I don't like being judged or pigeonholed. Would you? A lifetime of watching people's reactions when they find out I'm deaf has made me a little sensitive. You'd think that after more than three decades, I'd be over it. But while I'm at peace with my deafness, there are still times when one little thing will throw me off track.

But there are times when I almost wish I had a sign on my back that identifies me as deaf, especially when the alternative is to come across as a self-absorbed snob or clueless. I'd rather that people know the reason for my "odd behavior." And perhaps think about their reaction next time. Not every disability is immediately identifiable.

Case in point: Standing in a store aisle and inadvertently blocking someone behind me. If I have my back to them, they can stand behind me, asking me to move -- for who knows how long. (Think along the lines of "What's the matter with you, can't you hear?" Really.)

Politeness often turns to impatience; I can't tell you how many times I've moved and caught a glimpse of someone out of the corner of my eye and realized I was accidentally blocking their way. It's not fun. People are usually annoyed or at the edge of their patience, and they rarely realize why I don't move at the first "excuse me." I can count on one hand the times people have actually reached out and tapped me on the shoulder to get me to move.

When I finally notice them, they usually just give me a funny look or roll their eyes and move on; once in a while I'll get someone who is rather put out with me. Regardless of their reaction, I feel awkward, sigh, and move on. There's really no good comeback that will make people think. We live in a world for hearing, able-bodied people, and most of them have never really thought about what their life would be like with a disability.

In the big scheme of things, this is a minor thing. Sure, the little things do add up over time, but I've learned to get over it and keep moving forward. It's the only way to go.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Miles to Go

I've been running for almost 9 months now -- with a month or so off because of an injury. While I can't say I've fallen in love with it, I am embracing it (begrudgingly at times). I'm running my first 5k later this month and have committed to a 10k in April.

I'm looking forward to the 5k -- it's a 3.1 mile run through a community park that is part of my regular route. The 10k? Not so much. 6.2 miles seems like an incredible distance at this point. I'm following an 8-week training program and this week is the last week of "easy" distances, with a 3-miler being the longest of the 3 scheduled runs.

But I've set the goal. I've paid up the entry fee. I've publicized it on (gasp) Facebook. So I'll be damned if I don't JUST DO IT. With the help of the chiropractor, new shoes that actually fit, positive thinking, and a few swear words (sorry, mom!) muttered under my panting breath, I'm gonna do it.

Baxter is a faithful, motivated running partner. That dog just knows when it's run time. Take out the running clothes or pick up the running shoes, and he starts bouncing around. Get his leash and collar out and he can barely contain his excitement. I never worry when I'm out running with him. For some reason, people often give me a wide berth. I'm not sure if it's because he's a rather unfamiliar-looking breed (you don't see a lot of Australian cattle dogs in the city) or if I look that crazy when I run, but whatever.

Or maybe it's the PINK shoes?

Chronic heel issues led me to check out the Naperville Running Company, where a great sales clerk measured my feet, watched me run on the treadmill, and brought out about 8 pairs of shoes for me to try on. It turned out that my running shoes needed to be a whole size larger. Sigh. After a process of elimination, it came down to two pairs. I picked the Nikes out not for their color, but because they were indeed the most comfortable. I love them & really don't have any buyer's remorse.
Thanks to a personal recommendation, I've switched from iMapMyRun to Strava to track my runs. the iMap GPS was unreliable, and the app crashed several times. So far, I love the Strava and am Tweeting my runs. I decided not to Facebook them -- until I get faster. If that ever happens!

The best part of running, so far? The occasional rewards I can enjoy guilt-free!