Tag Archives: running

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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This Year, I’m Not Making Resolutions

2 Jan

Every January, I make a list of the year’s resolutions. You know the type: be kinder, watch less TV, read more books, eat healthy, blog more (Ha!), exercise, be a better person, drink less soda, eat more veggies, blah, blah, blah.

These “resolutions” are well-intentioned, and I’m sure I’ve kept some of them. But there is no tangible way to keep track. Honestly, no matter how significant my desire to “be kinder” is, I’m never going to keep a running tally of every kind thing I do each day and mark it off against all the unkind things. Let’s get real, people, that would be counterproductive.

So this year instead of resolutions, I’m setting goals. Hard and fast, put ’em on a to-to list and check them off goals. Here we go.

11 Goals for 2011 (Catchy, huh?)

  1. Run a 5k in under 30 minutes. I’ve recently started running again, and I’ve found that the only way for me to keep running is to continually set new goals. I recently completed the No Boundaries Beginner 5k training program with Fleet Feet here in Nashville. I finished our graduation race, the Jingle Bell Run in downtown Franklin, in 32 minutes. But I really wanted to break 30 – so I’m setting that as my goal for this year.
  2. Set a new 1/2 marathon PR. This one may be cheating a little since I have already signed up for a 1/2 marathon training program through Fleet Feet, but it’s my list and I can cheat if I want to. Barring injury, this goal shouldn’t be too hard to complete  considering  my last (and only) 1/2 marathon finishing time is around the 3:32 mark. I’m hoping for under 3 hours for this one. I’ll be running the Country Music 1/2 marathon in April. Wish me luck!
  3. Lose 11 lbs. In 2010, I lost 20 lbs. without setting a goal. Let’s see how I’ll do with a goal in 2011.
  4. Read 11 books. I think I’ll stick with the “11” theme for the next few goals. I always resolve to read more each year, but I’ve never kept track. Eleven books seems doable, especially since I used to read twice that many each semester when I was an English major in college. My first pick: The Time Traveler’s Wife.
  5. Write 11 letters/notes to 11 different people. Old-fashioned, handwritten, on stationery, sent in the mail letters. I love stationery, and I love getting real mail – as in, not bills – so maybe other people will like receiving them. It’s so quaint, so days-gone-by. I think it will be fun. I might even turn this into a separate little project.
  6. Meet 11 new people. I love meeting new people and hearing their stories, but I’m not exactly a small-talk person, so this one is often hard for me. Maybe setting this goal will give me the push that I need. And by meeting 11 new people, I don’t mean making 11 new BFFs. It just means that I talk to 11 people whom I have never spoken to before.  Actually talk to them beyond just exchanging names.
  7. Send out 11 writing queries or take on 11 freelance assignments, or a combination of the two. I think I’m finally ready to turn my writing dream into a reality. This one is the most daunting on the list.
  8. Organize my closet. It must be done! And I don’t mean just put things where they go; I do that already. I’m talking about a new organizational system installation complete overhaul.
  9. Finish my Centrifuge scrapbook. It’s been seven years since I worked summer camp. It’s about time I complete those last few pages and close the book on Fuge 2004.
  10. Take on the photo a day challenge. Not because I’m a photographer or anything, but because I like to document stuff. I think it will be neat. And I just got this really cool new Windows 7 phone that takes pretty good photos and lets me easily upload them to wherever.  This place will most likely be Twitpic. I already uploaded the photo for Jan. 1 here. These should also show up on my Twitter feed at the bottom of this blog.
  11. Visit a place I’ve never been to before. This could be a new city or maybe a touristy place in Nashville that I’ve never been to. But it has to be significant, not something like the Kroger on Nolensville. That would be lame.

Okay, so that’s my list. Here’s to an unresolved, but goal-oriented 2011.

Related Posts:

Belmont Boulevard

17 Jun

Belmont Boulevard,

you are not my friend.

Your cracked, concrete sidewalks

are rough

and hard

and cruel.

Related:

Tomorrow, I’m Running for Blood:Water Mission

Today I start this:

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.

New Shoes, Same Problem

3 Oct

Yesterday was day two of The Couch to 5K Running Plan. It started off well — brand new shoes and plenty of enthusiasm. Neither of which held out very long. About half way into the run/walk, my calves were burning and I was finding it hard to breathe. I did, however, persevere and make it through. After the run, my running partner Kim and I even added in a little weight training and ab work. I felt good, not in too much pain, only to later discover that the blisters were back.

This leads me to the conclusion that the problem is most likely not in my shoes, but in my feet, or maybe in my form (I am an overpronator, after all). Or, I could just have really bad luck in picking out running shoes. Either way, I’m going to stick with the new shoes and try and tough it out. Maybe it won’t be too bad, and I’ll be running 5K’s in two months. That’s what the plan promises, anyway.

If any runners out there (or non-runners who just happen to know a bit about the subject) have any suggestions for fixing this problem, I would gladly accept them.

Out with the Old, In with the New: I’m Talking about Shoes, of Course

28 Sep

On Wednesday, I started my new 5k running plan, with brand new Nike running shoes, of course. All went well, or as well as can be expected, except for the fact that my wonderful new shoes left blisters on the bottom of my feet after only 30 minutes of running/walking. So I took them back to Academy and got a new pair, New Balance this time. The girl in customer service didn’t ask me if I had worn them, so I didn’t have to lie and say I hadn’t. I have the right to return something if it’s not what I expected, right? I shouldn’t have to waste money on a product that isn’t useful. It’s not so wrong, is it? And I can switch these as well if they don’t work out either, can’t I?

Today I start this:

26 Sep

The Couch-to-5K Running Plan
Our beginner’s running schedule has helped thousands of new runners get off the couch and onto the roads, running 3 miles in just two months.
http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml

I hope it works. I’ll keep you posted.