October 22, 2009

Enjoying the hike

I was over at Jeannie's blog this morning and found a quote that caught my eye.

"Its not the mountain we conquer but ourselves." Sir Edmund Hillary

Then there was Christie O.'s blog over at the Sisterhood about the self discovery that happens when you decide that you're going to change your body by changing your life.

It really got me thinking (as you can tell by my extra long comment). 

I started this journey out of vanity.  I was a size 8 pant and weighed 138.

I dabbled in exercise on and off for a couple of years, but it never really took.  I wasn't losing weight so why keep up the effort?

"You're healthy the way you are.  You'll never be a size 4, but your blood work looks good."

The childish part of me wants to schedule an appointment just so I can show her the tag of this size 4 skirt I'm wearing today.  I know she meant well, but she had no clue it was sheer genetics that made my numbers so good.  I was eating fast food almost every day!

Then there are the family members who, like my doctor, mean well.  They just don't understand my passion for running.  "It won't hurt you to take this weekend off."  They'd be right - if I didn't have a race scheduled that counted on every weekend being a mileage increase.

Also, not to be forgotten, are those pesky outside interferences.  This past weekend, Jay's parents came into town and stayed with us in order to do some business down here.  It happened to also be the weekend  my brother-in-law (my sister's husband) turned 40.  Finding time for my 9 mile run wasn't going to be easy.

As badly as I hated to, I set my alarm to get up early Saturday morning to get my run in before we left for my sister's town (about 2 hours away).  About 2 miles into the run, a dog that I'd never seen in the neighborhood before ran up to me.  Normally the neighborhood dogs will leave you alone once you run past their house, but this one just kept running right beside me.

Something that you might not know about me is that I'm terrified of dogs and I don't know much about them.  This one looked like a boxer (my sister and BIL use to have one), so I just kept telling myself that Bubba was a boxer and he was a friendly dog - maybe this one was too.

When it started nipping at my leg I really started freaking out.  I pulled out my pepper spray, but was unsure whether or not I should use it.  Would it just piss the dog off and make it bite, instead of nip?  Thankfully a neighbor was outside and called the dog off of me.

I decided to continue my run, excluding that street. (I have several different streets in my subdivision) Surely I could get the rest of my run in by avoiding the back section.  Only by the time I got back to the loop in front of my house - the dog was now on my street.

And followed me onto my porch. 

Jay had left for work and his parents were still inside asleep.  I called my mom.  "Mamathereisaboxerdogonmyporchanditwontletmeintomyhouseandjaysgoneandidontknowwhattodo."  I cried into the phone.  (Like literally cried.)

Finally I was able to calm myself down enough to dig the key out of my fanny pack and a "get outta here" got him away from my door and I let myself in.  The way he was following me, I figured he didn't belong in my subdivision. 

You dog lovers out there my hate me, but I did call animal control.  When the officer arrived he had two surprising pieces of information - the dog was from a neighborhood several streets down (5 minutes by car) and it wasn't a boxer.

It was a pit bull.

Okay so that story was a little longer than what it was meant to be - but the point?  I didn't give up. 

I still managed to get my 9 miles in, I just had to shift my run to Sunday afternoon.  Sure I was exhausted from the party and from all the traveling (not to mention playing with the two cutest kids on the planet) but I wasn't going to let an irresponsible pet owner keep me from reaching my mountain.

Sure , I could have probably skipped the 9 mile week and went straight from 8 to 10 miles, but I would have missed out. 

My journey to a half marathon isn't just about crossing the finish line.  Its digging deep each week.  Learning I'm capable of more and more.  Its about facing my fears and coming out victorious (or just leaving with the knowledge that pepper spray really would have worked on the dog). 

Its about my brother-in-law, who first thought I was aiming too high when I told him about wanting to do a half. "You should probably get several more 5Ks and some 10Ks under your belt first."  It felt amazing when he called me after my 8K to brag on my time and just how far I'd come on my journey.

(This is the same brother-in-law who raced the Empire State Building earlier this year and plans on competing at the Sears tower next month.)

And like Christie O. said, its about learning that I'm brave.

(Not including dog incidents.)

Its about learning I really am capable of doing what I set out to do.

Its about valuing myself enough to wanna invest in me.

Its only a little about the amazing body I've acquired in the process ;)

In all seriousness - give me those 13 pounds back and it still doesn't take away my success. 

My success isn't the result.  The hard work is actually the success, not merely a tool needed to reach it. 

Because after all, what good is getting to the top of the mountain, if you don't enjoy the hike up?


  1. You go girl! I love dogs, but I think I would have peed my pant if a strange one decided to run with me!

  2. Thank god you trusted your instincts about the dog.

    Great post about your journey - keep going strong.

  3. well you just got me back, i'm sitting here crying into my computer thanksalot!


    i'm just so proud of you for not just gutting through it, but for actually enjoying the trip and watching yourself grow as a person and most of all, not LISTENING TO OTHER PEOPLE! It's so hard having our own life's obstacles in the way (re: to-do lists and parties and time commitments) much less the lack of support -- all of that together can make things nearly impossible! But you're not letting it. You rock.

  4. I totally admire your persistence and devotion to doing something you love. Not a lot of people would've woken up early on a Sat to get a run in before going to a family event!!

    The whole dog thing is scary, isn't it? I remember I took my kids for a walk one day and out of nowhere this dog approached us and we started walking faster. But the faster we walked, the faster he walked. Finally we were all running with the friggin dog chasing after us. It was a big dog too....maybe a pitbull but I'm not sure. I was so sure he was gonna grab one of the kids in his mouth. You should have seen me...I had 2 kids in the double stroller and 2 kids on their scooters and I was trying to push all of them by myself and keep them safe. I was totally in tears by the time we got home. And the dog apparently had given up on us at some point and went away...I never even looked back to see if he was still chasing us.

    All I could think of was that movie with Meryl Streep where she says "The dingo ate my baby". It kept replaying in my head afterwards and it actually made me laugh.

  5. Yeah for you for for your dedication and for just keeping on! The dog would have scared me too.

  6. Keep it up girl!! You are doing a great job!! You should be proud of your self and your accomplishment!!!

  7. Great post, very inspiring. Keep up the good work.

    I have never used pepper spray on a dog but I think it has the same effect on animals as people. In other words, I don't think he would have been able to bite you. I hate it when people just let their dogs roam in town.

  8. What an inspiring post. Wow. I'm amazed by you, you know that, right? I love that you are enjoying the journey and overcoming obstacles that could potentially derail you. You are such an inspiration. Hugs!

  9. I can't believe you were chased by a pit bull. That's crazy!


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