When I first made my "public declaration" on Twitter, I received a few Direct Messages from concerned people. People who don't know me too well, apparently. The main concerns were that I bit off more than I could chew. And, for a minute, they had me pondering if perhaps they were right. But I know better.
In '00 when I ran the marathon, I was in far worse shape than I am today. I was not taking care of myself, my weight was up, I was drinking quite heavily too. I was basically an irresponsible 20-something-year-old who wanted to start living better. Today, I am not nearly as irresponsible with my health.
I've been a runner since I was a kid. In junior high & high school, I often came in the 2nd or 3rd fastest when running the mile in gym. Even in high school, when I was a rebellious teen who smoked cigarettes and refused to ever change into her gym clothes for gym (I just took the detention instead), I ran the mile faster than every girl in my gym class. My senior year, when we had to run the mile for gym, I ran it on the track, outside in a miniskirt sundress and flats and ran it under 8 minutes. I said, I would refuse to change into my gym clothes, I meant it. All the other girls were in their gym clothes, I had a dress on with flats and I still outran almost every girl in my class.
Then I heard comments like "Leyla, this isn't 10 years ago." Really? No kidding a-hole. Bring it, I'm not scared. Plus, my 20 year high school reunion is this year and I'll be damned if I am not going to look good.
I also heard "But your toenails will fall off." And "Aren't you a princess?" I've been running for more than 20 years and I have yet to lose a toenail. I have great circulation but thanks for the concern dude. And, no, I am not a princess. At times, I may look like a princess. I love manicures and pedicures, sugar and spice and everything nice BUT I also thrive on adrenaline and I have an extremely high threshold for pain. I'd make a great hostage or action hero.
I am the type of person who sticks with things I do well. Running is one of the few things I can do well with very little effort. I ran cross country in High School and my coach would always laugh because I would finish a race without breaking a sweat. I am just not good at pushing myself too hard. I could run two miles in under 14 minutes and still finish a race only slightly flushed.
When I ran the marathon in '00, while people were screaming "Come on, you can do it!" to others, I would hear "Keep smiling!" That was at the 18th mile marker. After I completed the marathon in '00, I went out for beers that night.
So, what's left? I start training on 3/1/10. I will read a little. I will not likely join a running club. I will look for inspiration from my Twitter friends like @chanthana and @runnergirl33.
And, I will likely buy some cool running gear - starting with this awesome watch.