Growing up, the first weekend in October was always reserved for one of my favorite things: watching my mom and her siblings run the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon. My mom, 1 of 14 brothers and sisters, comes from a strong gene pool of excellent legs. My grandpa, Jerome Hady, played Minor League baseball when he wasn’t raising his gaggle of kids. Legend has it that he once raced Jesse Owens around the bases and BEAT HIM! My mom used to tell me that my Grandpa had “egg beater legs” and it seemed to be the dominant trait in that Bohemian family.
Genetics aside, the first weekend in October was marked off on the family calendar. My dad, mom, and I would drive 5 hours down to Milwaukee, carbo-load on homemade spaghetti and meatballs at my Italian-via-marriage Aunt Ellen’s, and wake up at the crack of dawn to watch Team Egg Beater run through my favorite city. My mom’s maiden name is Hady (pronounced exactly like the mythological term for ‘the underworld’), and as a team, they all sported neon yellow family t-shirts that said “Hady’s, we run like hell!!”
When the race was done, we’d pile in the car and drive back up to Hudson while my 10 year old mind day-dreamed of wearing my own neon yellow t-shirt and crossing the finish line. When I grew up, I wanted to be a runner.
My typical weekend attire = sweat pants & one of my mom's marathon t-shirts
My dreams of being a runner never really materialized aside from when I spent the ENTIRE summer before 6th grade practicing the mile run for the Presidential Physical Fitness Test in hopes of running a 6.5 minute mile and becoming the fastest girl in 6th grade. Little did I know that my poor performance on the v-sit-and-reach would crush any possible medal-wearing dreams. (Side note: the 6th grade class at my small Catholic Elementary/Middle school had a total of 28 kids in it, so the competition out of the remaining 13 girls wasn’t that steep). In hindsight, I really needed to get a hobby that summer. Fun fact: Matt is ridiculously good at the v-sit-and-reach.
After 6th grade my running motivation died and I joined the softball team so the farthest I was going to be running was a mere 60 feet to first base. Slowly but surely running anything over .62 miles became a huge chore. My extent of running in college was home from the bar in the subzero weather. My Marquette friends were runners, but instead of joining them in their races for various cure/causes, I chose to throw the carbo load party, where I didn’t have to sweat profusely or really exert myself. Grad. School = same story.
I like him for his legs.
And then I met Matt.
Matt also appears to have egg beater legs. At a party shortly after we started dating, my friend, Michelle, told me, “You should marry Matt, because your kids will have really great calves.” Point taken.
And so the girl with wannabe egg beater legs and the boy with egg beater legs have joined forces, created a bucket list, and are on the slow path to becoming “runners.” I am officially registered to run The Race for the Cure Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon November 14th in San Antonio! (Should I be totally Texas and run in cowboy boots?)
I started taking running seriously again when we were living in SoBo after my friend, Laura (non-runner turned runner), recommended I pick up The Non-Runners Marathon Trainer. This book was written by two professors at the University of Northern Iowa that in 1985 conducted a seminar called Fitness and Mental Health, thoughtfully referred to by the students as “the marathon class.” Most of the students that were registered for the class hadn’t ever run more than three miles (insert me raising my hand here). The authors have since taught the course 5+ times, and each time all of the students have finished the final exam- the marathon. This book was just the motivational fodder I needed to hit the road!
The authors recommend the following training guide but because I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my running skillz, I backed
Recommended Training Program (Copyright Whitsett, Dolgener & Kole, 1998)
it up to the pre-running guide. Instead of focusing on mileage, I focused on minutes and slowly ramped up from there. Initially, I slowly ran for 5 minutes and then walked for 5 minutes ( repeat 3 times). Then I ramped it up to run 10 minutes, walk 5 minutes (repeat 2 times), this turned into run 15 minutes, walk 5…until I could run a straight 30 minutes. After that, I was ready to start the legit training program.
I now can run 9.3 miles without stopping and I actually really like it! I get a pretty serious dosage of accomplishment whenever I finish! It’s a long ways from 26.2, but it’s also a long ways from the 5 minutes of running I started with!
I definitely recommend buying this book if you think you’d like to start training. I haven’t crossed a finish line, so I can’t say I’m one of their success stories yet, but this book has gotten me over my .62 mile slump! If anyone is interested in running a marathon, let me know and I will be the first to sign up with you or cheer you on!
Now, if only I could find my mom’s neon yellow running shirt…
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