Getting in the groove

It is no secret that I’ve struggled over the past couple of months.  I stopped running, I stopped exercising, and I gave into a heavy addiction of food.  But, as most of y’all know, I’ve been working hard to take baby steps to progress.  And I’ve been doing good.  In the past, I wanted to change everything at once.  Go all out, go hard or go home.  But through intensive therapy sessions, we have slowly focused on making minor changes and getting used to them and then adding in other changes and repeating the process.  Self improvement takes lots of time and learning to do things slowly and not get burnt out has been a tough pill to swallow.

Two finals stand between me and my college graduation and I’m finally in a place where I am confident and feel good.   Sure, I do look in the mirror sometimes and am not completely satisfied with the way my body looks, but I keep my head tall and am proud of where I’m at.  Since school is winding down and I have time to breathe, I’ve been focused on finding my groove again.  I made mention in an earlier post that I am looking to back off the half distance and focus more on 5ks.  But starting over is no fun.  I’ve spent a lot of time outside this week working on getting my legs and heart stronger.

Monday I did a three mile walk with running intervals mixed in.  I recorded the time that I actually spent running and unbelievably was able to hit 22 minutes of running.  Mind you, it was not a consecutive 22 minutes and 6 minutes was the longest I ran without stopping but 22 minutes is a start. After running I went to the gym and spent about 20 minutes doing dumbbell and bar bell exercises.  When I got home, Momma came outside and we did a few tire drills.  We took turns flipping the tire across the yard and then got a sledgehammer and beat that tire hard.  Needless to say I was sore the next morning.  Tuesday was the same thing: a 3 mile walk with bouts of running.  I was only able to run for 15 minutes on Tuesday but was still stoked.  When Momma got off work that day we went for another 3 mile walk.   tire

Wednesday was a fairly busy day for me but I was able to go on an evening walk of three miles.  Can you tell that I love walking three miles?  Thursday morning, I met Momma after my final for yet another three mile walk.  It was ridiculously muggy outside but at least it wasn’t terribly hot.  After our walk, I had to make a cake for a local bake sale and ended up licking the spoon and bowl.  I ended up feeling guilty about this so I hit the greenway for one more three mile walk to sort of offset the dang cake batter and I sure did feel better.   hey i ran

Tomorrow I have a 5k.  I haven’t signed up yet because there are two I have my eye on and can’t quite decide which one to actually do.  It won’t be a PR by any means, but I’m hoping to at least set a PR since I’ve been “back”.  My goal is to walk down my time from New Year’s Day (37:24) and consistently get faster each race I do.  By December I would like to be back in PR shape.  I had only been consistently training for four months when I took my 5k time from 39:53 to 28:36.  We’ll see if I can at least get a 35:48 which would beat my time from January’s Race Against Racism.  If I don’t hit it, I won’t be mad.  I’m just getting back into adding running into my walking.  This stuff takes time, don’t it?

Hope everyone has a good weekend and thanks for being so kind as I work to find my groove!

What is a runner?

This topic has been long up for debate.  What is a runner?  Is it someone that finishes marathons?  Is it someone who has never completed a race?  Is it someone who can maintain a certain pace?  Can a runner take walk breaks?  What are the qualifications of a runner?

Questions like these can cause a lot of debate and bring up some answers that are constantly changing and most people can’t exactly put a label on what a runner really is.

I shudder when someone dares to describe my activity as “jogging”.  A lot of people would be insulted by the term.  So what is the difference between a jogger and a runner?  If you ask me, there isn’t any.  Anytime your feet are moving forward and you are exerting more energy than you would if you were walking then you are running.  Period.  Go to a local race and you will see people from all walks of life at the race start.  People with singlets and racing flats on, people with a t-shirt and shoes they bought from WalMart, skinny people, large people, short people, tall people, young people, old people, walkers, Mommas, grandparents, disabled folks, people who have trained for months, people who don’t even know the mileage of a 10k, people who sacrificed something just to afford to enter the race, and people who are sponsored.  Yet they are all at a race.  They all have one goal in mind.  To run.

bad form running category

bad form running category

It is embarrassing to see some people of the running community be elitist and look down on those who can’t run sub 9 minute miles.  I’ve seen it myself.  It is extremely intimidating to attend group runs and there isn’t even a pace offered to those who run above a 10 minute mile.  That type of shunning is worse than the Amish and can leave a lot of slower runners or newbie runners feeling bad about themselves and most of all make them not feel welcome in the running world.  There is absolutely no reason to discredit someone for running a slower pace than you.  I’ve seen it done, and it is a disgrace to the running community as a whole.

it is okay to celebrate running slower than everybody else

it is okay to celebrate running slower than everybody else

It is no secret that I’m not a natural born runner.  These days I’m almost embarrassed to whisper that I’m a runner since I can’t even run a whole mile without stopping.  But I’m a runner.  Why?  Because I run.  A runner can be anybody.  There are no resumes, interviews, or applications for runners.  You just run.

Most races always have a front, middle, and back of the pack.

The front are the elites.  Those that can complete the race, do their cool down, and change clothes before the mid pack even thinks about getting to the finish line.  The ones that usually take home the awards.  The ones that get credited for being a “real runner”.

The middle of the packers are still fast (by my standards) and can usually pull out some age group wins.  These people work hard putting in mileage during the week even if running doesn’t come naturally to them.  Middle packers are often more easy to relate to since they probably haven’t spent their whole lives running.

Then there is the back of the pack. That is where you can find me.  Those who work very hard at something that doesn’t come easy.  Those who are out there on the race course the longest, working just as hard as those who finished first.  These are the inspiring ones.  The people who took every ounce of confidence they had just to register for the race.  These are the people I like.

not in the back of the back on that day.

not in the back of the back on that day.

Don’t get me wrong…no matter if you are a front, middle or back pack person, you are still a boss and still out there getting it.  You are still a runner.  Anyone that runs, no matter how far or fast, is a runner.

Runners come from all walks of life and everyone runs for different reasons.  Some run as therapy, some to lose weight, others just because they are good at it.  No matter the reason, they still run.

I am just as impressed with someone able to complete a marathon in 8 hours as I am with someone who wins it in 2:30.  They both had courage to cross that start line and they both stayed out there until the job was done.  No matter the pace, age, looks, or mileage…a runner is a runner.  Point blank.

So…you tell me.  What is a runner?

ever just feel like running?

ever just feel like running?  Old photo from when I lost weight.