It felt great.
I don't know if I mentioned this last fall, but after running a 5k race (3.1 miles) with a friend of mine in early November, we decided to start training for a half marathon.
We ran a 15k race (9.3 miles) in the middle of December, and we both qualified for the NYC Half Marathon on March 18 (20k, or 13.1 miles).
I've never been an athlete. I did crew for most of high school and I was the coxswain. I essentially spent three years exercising my voice rather than my body.
God knows how much money I wasted on my little-used gym membership in college, and how many times I've floundered when trying to integrate running into my daily schedule.
Then this summer I was in Mali. It was so hot. And humid. I would drag myself to and from work every day and by 1pm I was exhausted. I was hardly moving and I started to notice it. Not physically--it was so hot I could barely eat so I actually lost weight--but mentally.
I was going stir crazy.
Unfortunately, it was far too hot for me to run outside. I suffer from low blood pressure and heat exhaustion so if I exert myself too much in hot weather I'll just pass out.
Luckily my very nice Canadian Diplomat neighbor had an airconditioned house and a treadmill, which he offered to let me use whenever I wanted. So I started running every day, working up to 8-10k runs within just a few days. I had so much pent-up unusable energy and I just pounded it all onto that treadmill.
By the time I got back to NY I'd gotten over the hump--the feeling you get, like you want to die, when you start building up your endurance past two or three miles--and running wasn't a chore or even an obligation; it was a pleasure.
I almost don't recognize myself now. I've spent a lot of money on races and running gear--money I could be spending on sparkly girly things and wine--and I'm actually considering signing up for the New York City Marathon this November. 26.2 miles, when just a couple of years ago I would have been winded after running 3.
I really enjoyed my arctic run today.
And I'm looking forward to the rest I'll be running the this winter.