Tag Archives: Country Music marathon

I Am a Runner (But I Sometimes Take Walk Breaks)

8 Mar

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been training for the Country Music 1/2 Marathon with a group of about 500 runners and walkers since early January. On the first day of training, we all met up at Fleet Feet Sports in Brentwood at 7:00 on a Saturday morning – nearly 500 of us crammed into that small space in our running tights and pullovers, still groggy from the adjustment to our new pre-dawn wake-up time.

Our designated pace leaders held up neon poster-board signs with training pace times scrawled across them in black Sharpie marker, making it easier for us to spot and join a group that ran at our pace. The groups ranged from 7-minute mile runners, to various run-walk-run interval groups, to race-walkers.

Naturally, I scanned the room to find the slowest pace group for runners. I had been running consistently for a few months building up to a 5k, but I was not (and probably never will be) a thin-limbed gazelle.

So on that first day, anxious and excited about this new challenge, I bounded off for our first 4-mile run in below-freezing temperatures with a group of about 20 others who were running at a 11-minute, 30-second/mile pace. It went well. I was feeling great. I couldn’t believe that in just a few months I’d be running 13.1 miles.

But after only a couple of weeks, once we started adding more mileage, I realized there was no way I would be able to keep up with my 11:30 pace group – the slowest runner pace group in the program – for more than a few miles. The longer we ran, the farther I was being left behind. I was discouraged. I felt like a failure. I wanted to quit.

I had a decision to make. I could keep trudging along slowly and singularly and hope I didn’t get lost once my pace group was no longer in my sight. Or I could drop back to a run-walk-run interval group, alternating periods of running with shorter periods of recovery walks.

Neither of these options appealed to me. I didn’t want to run alone; I joined this training group because I wanted to train with a group. Plus, I am hugely directionally challenged, so the chances of me getting lost during a 10-mile run through suburban Brentwood were quite high. And I didn’t want to drop back to a run-walk-run interval group because that just felt like failure. After all, I  had signed up for this program to run a half marathon, not walk one.

However, my fear of being left behind and getting lost outweighed my fear of failure, and about 4 weeks into the program, I reluctantly joined the 10:1 interval group. We ran for 10 minutes, averaging 11 minutes per mile, followed by a short 1-minute recovery walk, and continued repeating the cycle until we covered our total distance.

That first interval run wasn’t so bad. I was able to easily keep up with the group, and I enjoyed the camaraderie and encouragement of my fellow runners. But I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that I had somehow failed. That I wasn’t actually “running” a half marathon.

However, despite my viewing it as a setback, I stuck with my interval group. Everyone was friendly and encouraging, and our pace leader, Erin, was great. Then slowly, week by week, as we continued adding miles and I realized that my finish time was actually faster when I ran intervals than when I didn’t, my mindset began to change.

Instead of viewing my interval running as a failure, I decided to accept myself for the runner that I was, walk breaks and all.

13.1 miles is 13.1 miles. It doesn’t matter if 1 mile of that total distance is walked instead of run. That’s still an accomplishment, and I should be proud of that. I am proud of that.

We’re a little over halfway through the training program; we’ll be running 10 miles this weekend. And sometimes the feelings of failure and inadequacy creep back in. But I have to remind myself that if run-walk-run intervals are good enough for Olympic athletes, they should be good enough for me.

I am a runner. I will no longer qualify that statement with “but I sometimes take walk breaks.” No, I am a runner (period).

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Tomorrow, I’m Running for Blood:Water Mission

25 Apr

I’m running in the Country Music 1/2 marathon tomorrow. I’m not a runner. Wish me luck. I’ll need it.

Click this link: www.runforbloodwater.com. Check it out. Donate. Pray about it if you need to. It’s for a good cause.

About Run for Blood:Water Mission – We’re a team of Country Music Marathon runners combining our efforts in order to raise awareness and funds for Blood:Water Mission’s 1000 Wells Project.

Blood:Water Mission exists to tangibly reduce the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, to promote clean blood and clean water in Africa, and to build equitable, sustainable and personal community links.

Blood: Water Mission is currently managing the 1000 Wells Project. They are raising funds and awareness to build 1000 Wells in 1000 communities across Africa. So far over 300 projects have been funded, changing over 250,000 lives. The cost for one well averages $3000 and Blood:Water Mission has a goal of completing another 300 wells this year. With your donations, we can help make that happen.

God Bless.

Click here for pictures.