Running Though the Bad

I’m in a bit of a snit with running lately.

Truly, I have no idea why. My guess is that as I’ve become more aware to the running community, I’m feeling intimidated.

I joined a bunch of running groups on facebook and added several members of the two local running clubs of which I’m now a member. At first seeing everyone post their daily miles and races was exciting, but being inundated with paces in the 6-8 minute range has caused me to compare myself.

There’s that envy again! Now Lent is over, but I still struggle with it.

Suddenly, the activity that inspired me and was starting to feel natural got harder. I’ve fallen back with my pace– my confidence took a major dive with it. I’m feeling stuck.

However, there are also awesome benefits. For the first time ever, I (kinda!) knew some people running the Boston Marathon. Seeing their bib numbers and progress posted was exciting. And if these are the individuals in my running clubs, aren’t I lucky? I’m bound to learn and absorb SOME of their skill and running mojo.

If you want to be great, surround yourself with greatness. These people genuinely LOVE running– they run early, in all kinds of weather. Some race nearly every week. They look fit– like runners. They know their pace and seem RELAXED while running– they are able to go on long group runs and even have conversations while running. They travel to Boston just to support other club members– that kind of devotion is impressive. They know who they are — runners– and they’ve built a comfortable life and group of friends around it.

I want that!

I’m in the process of doing the same. I just have remind myself that I can’t compare my beginning to the established routines and athletic excellence that took years to develop.

And I have to be more forgiving of myself and the humility of my body’s limits.

As much as I aspire to it– I’m not Haruki Murakami. I can’t magically up my mileage whenever I feel like it and run endlessly, without walk breaks. He was born with some genetic predisposition to running that is truly a gift.

The rest of us have to earn all those skills and miles under duress.

But I know that I have the heart of a runner, even if my legs and my lungs fight me.

Because I’m reading books about it, signing up for races months in advance, and making major lifestyle changes to better enable myself to perform at a higher level. I’m foregoing other purchases, thinking, “I could put that toward a race fee.” The next thing I fantasize about buying is a new pair of running shoes– mine are starting to feel flat.

Because although right now trying to improve and acclimate myself to this sport honestly sucks, I’m thinking long-term.

Growing pains are awkward, but that’s all these are. Pains of transition.

I can’t wait till my next race– this weekend. It’ll be my first 10k– in an arboretum.

No one I know is doing this race, and I love that. I’ll be free.

No pressure. I’m just going to enjoy myself, push my pace, and look at the trees.



I Did Run (5.37) Miles!

This afternoon I ran in a t-shirt and shorts!! Circa 65 degrees.

I’m not going to beat myself up for not running earlier like I planned. I still ran!

I decided I would run five miles today and set that as my goal on my running app.

And I did it! In 1:36:42. My pace is still slow, but I hit my “long-run” goal!!

I can tell I’m changing, because my attitude about goals has changed. I used to set them about half a mile under what I wanted, in case I didn’t make it. Now I’ve raced enough that I know I can finish three miles.

So I upped the ante! I expected that I would make it happen. My confidence is growing.

I haven’t made it to five miles since 5/27/16, the Cinco de Miler race in Chicago. I remember I seriously considered quitting three times. I could barely run to the finish line.

I only did it because my friend Lisa asked me and encouraged me to run it with her.

Benny & Joon have nothing to do with this, I just like the song and video. ๐Ÿ™‚

Today I just decided to go for it! I ran in a totally new direction, though I generally knew where I was and felt safe. I had time allotted, I was in no hurry.

I really enjoyed just seeing the trees and the paths. I made sure my phone was charged. I ended up exceeding my goal! And even with no bathroom breaks or water.

Then I went home, changed, and went to a party. My legs were sore, but I was happy.

It was so awesome to get there and mention, “I ran five miles earlier.”

Maybe a TAD obnoxious, but I earned it!


My Father’s Smile

My father has a wonderful quality: faith.

Recently I received an unexpected bill and was feeling frustrated. Just when I thought I was getting ahead! I aired my frustrations to him, and he quietly smiled.

Just seeing that relaxed me.

He reminded me that there will always be unexpected expenses in adulthood. It’s not something to despair over– just a part of life to accept and tackle. He’s confident that I will manage and overcome these situations as they arise, so I’m beginning to believe it.

It used to be that I wanted a partner who would embody those qualities in him.

But now, I am delightfully surprised to see them appearing in myself.

I rarely panic these days– even when I have just reason to be overly emotional. When I do, I get over it much quicker.

His gentle strength emanates. I’ve become a calmer woman.

Someone my friends rely on.

And today I’m relying on myself, more and more.

Yet I always know his advice is a phone call or a hug away– if I do need him.

He’s taught me that though I may fall, he’s not far away. He will always encourage me to get up and keep going. He will always smile at me.

When my belief falters, his bolsters.

My First 5K!! No Looking Back

I ran a 5k this morning. The 4th Annual Theresa Lang 5K, in my hometown of Joliet, IL.

I got to say that today! My first ever. I chose this one because I was friends with the woman honored in this race– it only makes sense that her event be my first.

I felt her spirit with us when I saw a young girl in the parking lot, a volunteer, totally jazzed with energy. She was yelling and dancing and positively HOPPING with joy. She just exuded fun. That’s how Theresa was, and why she is still mourned deeply by myriad people. That jubilant spirit is why she is worthy of this event.

FIrst, it is so wonderful to wake up early, run, and then go on with my day. Like it’s just part of my routine!!

My biggest fear had been that I would tragically sleep through the race entirely. But I made it!! I started with everyone.

Second, my experience was made so much better because my close friend Jennifer signed up to support me– so I wouldn’t have to run my first race alone. She’s invited me to other 5k’s this year, coming up soon. I think it’s so cool that this is a part of our friendship– something we have in common and can do together! Plus, it’s healthy.

This was only her third 5k, so we’re both beginners. And though she can run faster than me, she never left me behind. She stayed within 5 feet and slowed down if I was really struggling. She’d ask me if I wanted to walk or run. She was very accepting of my ability, which was such a gift. My original goal had been to run the whole thing, but I didn’t. However, I’m still proud!! I finished. And I wasn’t last!

Just having someone there with me made the race so much more meaningful.

I heard there were 140 runners signed up– online, it says that I finished in 42:18, 96th place. I’ll take that!!! And though a 5K is supposed to be 3.1 miles, somehow my Nike Running app calculated us at 3.42 miles? I’m not complaining!

When it started I was pretty intimidated– it seemed like most of the runners passed me up right away. But I took the advice of Jen, who told me to just run steady, that we’d end up passing a good amount of them who would be walking and etc. ย And she was never annoyed when I had to slow down. But she would also encourage me to go faster.

When I had to walk or was losing motivation, I told myself I wasn’t allowed to look behind me. It didnt’ matter who was back there– it only mattered that I keep going!!

She also tried something out of her comfort zone– for the first time, she ran without music. She wanted to get the full experience of the other runners. I didn’t have music either.

And considering that I ran late last night and didnt’ get enough sleep, I think I performed extremely well. Lesson learned for the future: NO RUNNING the night before a race!!

I’ll continue running 5K’s, and I will continue to grow in ability and endurance.

Running is a skill and a passion for me.

Today is such a milestone!!

Probably the best was taking a few pictures after the race, with Jen and I, one of me alone with my arms in the air– holding that gloriously cold bottle of ice water. And one of me near the “Start” sign.

Theresa Lang’s 5K today marked the beginning of my official running life.

I’ve already got my eye on another next month!!

Goodbye, Excuses!!

Just got back from my first synced-up run with Eleise, week 2!!

We are getting better.

Tonight I really felt like I was on my game, because I downloaded a Nike app to sync up with Eleise, who also has it. We mostly figured it out, and I loved that it tracked our progress and even motivates us!

Tonight it was hot but I just spritzed ample OFF! And we ran as scheduled. And for the first time, I really broke a sweat! And we changed up our route– thus far, we make small changes each time.

Tonight we ran on concrete, asphalt, grass, a trail– and it just got easier.

She’s the music supply on her phone, always ’80s. We were both cracking up when “Thriller,” came on just as we were about hit a trail through some woods.

I’ve come so far since I first tried running, two years ago this spring. The main problems I had were that I had no place to store my keys and phone whilst running, and thus used a purse I could sling over my shoulder. It was light so it worked fine but it was still kind of annoying and bulky.

Now I have this neato stretchy zippered belt contraption, which houses my keys, phone, and cash or ID if I need. It’s adjustable and once I close it up, I forget about it. It doesn’t get in my way, I can’t even feel it! Amazing.

Also, last time I had no way to track my progress. Without some type of app or device measuring my results, I quickly lost motivation.

Now I have both an accountability partner in Eleise AND and new app to coordinate!!

We’re also catching up and just plain having FUN! We’re motivated, but not competitive.

YET. I’m sure that day will arrive!

She’s talking about doing a 5k. I threw up an automatic wall at first because it just seemed like too much– but I like that she’s always thinking ahead and looking to set goals. I’m considering it!

Tonight we ran 3.14 miles, though did walk a bit of it. But baby steps, right?!

We had a blast tagging each other on Facebook in our runs and even took a post-run selfie— mind you, in the the pitch dark! I turned the flashlight on my phone, and she took it with hers.

THIS IS SO FUN. I know I’m going to sleep great tonight!

Also, I noticed I wasn’t getting winded tonight. Already, my breathing is getting better.

I walked 4.1 miles yesterday and my legs weren’t even sore!

I’m going to learn all about this sport and how to get in the best shape and health of my life.

Hold the Cheese, Please. It’s Working!

I’m feeling more confident in my cheeseless vow (yes, I just made cheeseless a word!) for Lent.

Last night at Toxic Hell I ordered my usual– a #9, soft tacos– no cheese. It was easy to remember. I should have also asked for more meat, there was barely anything in there besides lettuce!

And today for lunch, I ate at a local cafe. I got a really good spinach salad to balance out my fast-food snack last night. However when it arrived, I was dismayed to find shredded cheese everywhere! It was just spinach with egg– they probably wanted to dress it up a little since I asked they hold the onions and mushrooms. At first I thought about trying to pick the cheese pieces out individually, but my salad was permeated with cheese.

I gathered my ovaries and called the server over– I sent it back, kindly explaining my dilemma. She returned in a jiffy with a new salad, not once shred of cheese. I felt slightly guilty for asking her to make another, but placated myself by thinking, “Hey! Someone in the kitchen is getting a free salad right now, thanks to me!”

And it tasted just divine. It was so simple I thought even I couldn’t screw this up at home. Spinach, tomatoes, egg, ranch dressing.

So quickly, I’m training myself to immediately specify to NOT include cheese- and when surprised, I have the gumption to stick to my plan. I never could have anticipated how great that would make me feel!!

Years ago when I worked as a weight loss counselor, I was pretty disciplined about eating. I followed our program and kept a food diary– measuring out so many servings of each food group and 8 glasses of water a day. It worked! I felt better, I had more energy, my skin looked better. But I didn’t stick with it after leaving.

If it’s this easy to stick to eliminating cheese, that gives confidence to continue eating healthier!

This is the best Lent ever, thus far. ๐Ÿ™‚ Who thought I’d be happy to give up something I loved so much??

However I must admit, later on I tried the Orange Crush cake from Jewel that someone offered– and I didn’t feel a smidgen of hesitation about enjoying every bite!

For The Honor of Grayskull! I am Enough.

I feel like I’m getting back into my joy groove.

I’m feeling a bit like Princess Adora, transmogrifying into She-Ra.

Shedding that tentative, innately female need to be pleasing. Opening my eyes, getting stronger.

I’m standing proud and speaking up in my life.

In 1985, I worshipped She-Ra! And Swift Wind, her airborne steed with the macho voice.

“He Man and She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword,” is still one of my favorite movies. Princess Adora wakes up and sees that she can rebel against what’s she’s been taught to believe. She realizes she can defend Etheria, without anyone’s help. She learns to fight, to lead, to claim her identity.

She gains confidence that she can make it on her own. I’m getting there!

The cold air is making me smile, I chopped my hair recently, and I’m rockin’ my flannel!

I trust my gut. I’m feeling decisive and powerful. Moving forward and making small but important changes.

Fall is here and I had a wonderfully wholesome girls’ night in last weekend with three friends. We drank apple cider and got to know each other. I’m the neweset one to the group. Our friend Sharon invited us to her home and the plan was to watch “Frozen,” but we had so much fun with girltalk we never even watched it! It was just background music.

We took pictures and told stories. The cider was perfect and it was just what we all needed! We made plans for next time.

The best thing about being single is spending more time with your female friends.

And I’ve got some really great ones! Can’t complain.