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Archive for March, 2014

First Day Back

I’m about to admit something that’s really quite embarrassing.

Before our training run with last week’s Learn to Run class, I hadn’t run in over three weeks.  

You all know how it goes: the weather doesn’t cooperate, it’s too dark outside, you don’t want to make the trek to the gym, and besides you’ve got a lot of other things you have to get done… and running takes a backseat.

It’s unfortunate because, just like my dog, if I don’t go for a run fairly frequently, my mood goes downhill.

So after last week’s run in the refreshing spring air under a full moon, I decided it was time to get back into the swing of things.  While it’s still the dead of winter around here, spring and summer racing season will be here before we know it and I have plans to PR in the 5K and run a 10K this summer.  

So last night I decided to join in the other runners at the store at our Tuesday night $5 5K.  I started at the back of the pack with my dog and although I would like to blame the dog for the fact that I was the last runner to return, that’s totally not the case. I was tired. And sore.  I had to stop and take a walk break a few times.  My knee started to hurt every time I started to run.  I could barely lift my legs off the ground by the time we got back to the start/finish line. It was the longest distance I had run in months.

It was a very stark reminder of what it was like when I first started running.  It doesn’t feel all that good, and you’re left wondering why anyone would want to do this to themselves 5 times a week! 

This is what happens when you take a long break.  You end up having to start back at square one.  I have an advantage over those actually starting at square one though — I’ve done it before.  Regardless of how tiring and painful it is, I know (because I’ve experienced it) that things will get easier, that I won’t be as sore, and pretty soon I’ll start enjoying it again.  It’s hard to tell people who haven’t experienced these things that you ‘promise’ they will get there.  It’s like trying to tell a child not to do something: you can tell them what to do until you’re blue in the face, but most of the time, they have to learn the lesson by themselves.  

Now that I’m a day removed though, I feel better about myself and I’m looking forward to training this spring/summer.  But boy, that last place finish at a “fun run” really reminded me of what it’s like to be a newbie. 

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If you’ve been anywhere near Reddit, Facebook, Jezebel, or the Huffington Post recently, you’ve probably seen this letter making the rounds.  It’s supposedly an “inspirational” letter to a “fatty” running on a track.  I’ll submit this without comment, but if you’ve read any of my blog, you’ll know exactly where I stand on this.

This, my friends, is why people new to the running community are so afraid to run.  (okay, not without comment, I can’t help it)

Fear holds us back from doing the things that we so wish to achieve.  And people like this letter writer only add to the fear that builds up inside of us, keeping us from achieving our dreams and goals.  

My Learn to Run spring session started last week.  As part of the class, I asked them to complete a pre-class survey.  One of the questions was “What is your biggest fear about learning to run?”  Out of the 22 responses I received to this question, 11 of them were some form of “I’m afraid I’m going to be the slowest one out there.”  Some were worried about being embarrassed.  Some were worried about looking silly.  Two ladies said, “I’m worried everyone is going to be waiting on the chubby girl.”  

I get that.  Fear is so powerful.  And it’s people like this letter writer who my new runners think of every time they decide to go for a run.  No matter how many times I tell them that no one cares, that the running community is supportive, that everyone has to start somewhere, they will still hear this person in the back of their head, telling them that they are fat, that they are “less than”, that they are too gross and too slow to run.  I don’t swear often, but F*** off, letter writer.  

End of comment.

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