Uncategorized
93 Comments

I Am A Runner

There.  I said it out loud.  Then it has to be true, right?

See, I am the girl who hated gym.  I am the girl who is allergic to exercise. (I even have exercise-induced-asthma to prove it.)  I’m the one who would always tire first when working out with a friend.  I’m the one who caused the whole camping trip to come home early in college because my legs gave out on me (another story for another day — and it’s a DOOZIE.)

I’ve always said I’d rather diet than exercise.  And I love food, people.

But running has always held a bit of a fascination for me.  I guess you could say I’ve dabbled in running, but I always found it horribly monotonous.

Then back last summer I was doing the 30-Day Shred regularly until I pulled an abdominal muscle.  It was severe enough that I couldn’t do the Shred for a few days.  Wanting to keep up my exercise momentum, I decided to go out for a walk.  I was alone so I took my iPod with me. You know where this is going, right?

Walking with friends is one thing, but walking alone feels like watching paint dry, even with music to distract me.  Plus I was used to the vigorous workout of the Shred and I felt the need to up the ante, so I started running.  I thought I’d just run till I felt like walking again, no pressure.  Then a really upbeat song came on and I kept going.  I started to feel somewhat exhilarated.  I stopped and walked a bit to catch my breath, but once again, progress seemed slow and I found myself running again.  I was hooked.  I made 3 laps around my neighborhood loop, doing my run/walk cycle.

With the music, it didn’t seem to tedious, and every time I thought I wanted to stop, the music kept me going.  So I did it again the next day.  I pushed myself a little bit further each time — each time around the loop I tried to run to one more mailbox.

I worked up to doing 4 laps, running probably 3/4 of each before the busy holiday season got the best of me.

The first few times I exercised after the holidays, it was too cold to go outside so I went to the gym and ran/walked on the treadmill.  I didn’t push myself, and I admit my heart really wasn’t into it.  But the first mild day in January, I set out to run the neighborhood loop.

I didn’t know what I’d be able to do, but I managed all 4 laps, running as much of it as I had the last time I’d run it, months before.  I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t lost any momentum.  Since then, I’ve gone back and forth between the Shred and running, depending on the weather.

Yesterday, I decided it wasn’t too awfully cold, so I set out to run for the first time in a week.  I ended up adding a 5th loop for a grand total of 3 miles, and I ran more of the course than ever before.  I even ran up the huge hill twice.

By the end my legs were burning, but my favorite song was cheering me on, and I wanted to see what I could do if I really pushed myself.  I hadn’t worked that hard since last fall.  I felt victorious.  I have never in my life run 3 miles.  (Okay, I probably walked about a half mile of it, but still.  YAY ME!)

When I got home, my legs were killing me, and not just from the workout, although that was part of it.  But also because my running shoes are at least three years old, plus they were cheap and never fit that great.  I knew that it was time to put them to bed or risk injury.

Still pumped from my 3-mile accomplishment, I drove right over the Chester County Running Store, prepared to gear up for my newest hobby.  The gentleman that works there was wonderful.  He asked what he could do for me, and I found myself saying, “I am a beginner runner.”  I stopped short and kind of laughed.

It sounded funny to my ears.  But you know what?  There is no reason why I CAN’T be a runner. Turns out, all I needed was an iPod loaded with energizing music and a little bit of self discipline.  I used to feel like every step was a struggle, but now the hardest part is putting on the clothes and choosing to hit the pavement.  Once I’m out the door, I’m golden.

To tell the truth, this post from Stephanie has been a huge motivation.  I’d seen her talk about running over the years, and I’d wrongly assumed that she’s one of those people naturally inclined to exercising and running.  Hearing her admit that she took up the sport just a few short years ago and that she doesn’t believe that she’s “meant to be” a runner was incredibly encouraging.

Back at the running store, a knowledgeable member of the sales staff helped me find a brand new pair of Brooks running shoes that feel tailor-made for my feet.

I took a look at the soles of my old shoes when I got home, and the tread is almost worn clean off.  YIKES!  It’s a wonder I haven’t injured myself already.  I gleefully dropped them in the trash and replaced them with these beauties.

brooks-gts-10

AND.  That’s not all.

I am going to run a 5K.

I can honestly say those are 7 words I never expected to hear coming out of my mouth.  Feeling high on life and perhaps a little bit cocky as I watched purchased my new running gear, I impulsively asked where I could find a 5K.  Eager to initiate a new runner into the community, they showed me a shelf full of stacks of pamphlets advertising 5K races in the area.  He picked up one that he recommends for newbies, explaining that it is a flat trail and there will be lots of beginners so I won’t feel intimidated, and added it to my bag.

Just so I won’t chicken out, I brought the pamphlet home and laid it on the kitchen counter, and last night at dinner I proudly showed my family my new shoes AND the application for the race.  It’s not until May so I have plenty of time to train.  I’m already doing 3 miles, so now I just have to get to the point that I’m running all of it, and I’d like to get my time to something respectable.

What IS respectable for a 5K?  I don’t expect to win anything; I just don’t want to be dragging up the rear.  I’ve spent too much of my life dragging up the rear, but not this time.

How about you?  Is there something you’re doing that you NEVER thought you’d do?  I’d love to hear about it.

Join the Conversation

93 thoughts on “I Am A Runner

  1. Good for you! I was a runner back in my younger days, but now a nasty achilles tendon injury has me walking more than running! A 7 minute mile was always my goal, but the best time I ever had in a 5k was 26:31. Good luck and have fun!

    1. I was thinking I’d do a post on that. I’d love some new suggestions too.

      My Life Would Suck Without You by Kelly Clarkson is my fave. And Martina’s Ride.

  2. I was a runner until I got pregnant. 😉 Very surprising to say that (the runner part, and okay, the pregnant part too), but it is true. I don’t really love the actual running. I do most of it on the treadmill at the gym because I am not going to get up at 0’dark:30 to exercise when I could be sleeping. The treadmill is tedious and boring, and my music is only marginally helpful. Still, I love the feeling I have when I am done. Nothing has made me feel more powerful than running. So much so that I did a half-marathon last spring and plan to do another next spring.

    You will do great preparing for the 5K. A respectable time is such an individual thing, based on where you are now and where you can get. My goal in the half was 2 hrs, 30 minutes, and I finished in 2:21, which mean my average mile was 10:45. For a 5K, I think a 9 minute mile is good.

    Good luck! I can’t wait to hear more about your training. Oh, and I have Brooks running shoes and I love them. I also need to replace them once I get back to working out regularly.

  3. That’s awesome Jo-Lynne! I started running last spring and loved it! The winter weather (and all the holiday food) has been my excuse for not running for the last few months, but I’m pumped to get back into it next week! Now I just need to sign up for a 5k this spring/summer so that I will keep with it. Great job girl!

  4. OK, my friend. I am also a converted, asthmatic runner. How have we not compared notes before?
    For my first 5K, I just wanted to run the whole thing. Period. And I did and it’s MUCH more fun with a ton of people all doing the same thing. Adrenylin (I know that is horribly misspelled; please forgive me) galore.
    (Side note: I know how to spell “galore” just fine. So sad.)
    Back to the point: My goal now is under 30 minutes. I’m still no Kenyan runner, but I seem to make it under 30 in smaller races (larger ones where you start in the back seem to be hard to get started with time, etc).
    SO proud of you and your new kicks! Those are going to make a HUGE difference in how you feel. I’m surprised and glad you haven’t had any shin splints! YAY for you!!!

  5. I want to be a runner. I just have no self-discipline to get out and do it. I used to run (in high school) to stay in shape for soccer (running with a purpose). I did XC my sophomore year, and managed to finish one 5K around 25mins. (Yup – I only finished one race the whole season! I was pathetic!) I need to find a running buddy (and someone to watch my kids while I run) to run with me and to keep me accountable so I’ll start running regularly again – I love the way I feel when I run regularly!

  6. You know how I feel about running. I’m soooooooo happy to hear you have crossed over to the Dark Side (Ha!) Running is my Prozac.

    Good for you for getting new shoes, they are your most important piece of equipment. The right ones for your feet and gait will make all the difference.

    I am addicted to my iPod. I don’t think I could run without it.

    Don’t think too much about your pace for the 5K, I mean have a goal, but don’t stress yourself out about pack placement. Focus on the overall experience.

    YES!! You CAN do a half (or even full) marathon if you decide to do it!! Sooooo much of running is mental.

  7. I am in the exact same boat. I just graduated from Couch to 5K two weeks ago and hope to do a 5K in May. Can’t believe it!

    Congrats on your accomplishment!

  8. yay! good for you. 😀

    I’ve always wanted to be “a runner.” I have bad knees and so I’ve never gotten very far with it. I’m a huge fan of walking though and I hope to start incorporating some jogging into my walks. I usually feel pretty stupid when I run out in public- I enjoy jogging on the treadmill though.

    BUT once I become a SAHM, I’m going to get a jogging stroller and make a concerted effort to become a runner.

  9. Please do post your playlist. I usually watch TV when I’m at the gym on the elliptical/treadmill and can’t imagine a song making me push through. But, I will admit that when the Today Show played their summary of the WInter Olympics this morning, the song/video clips did keep me on the machine for an extra 4 minutes.

  10. Congratulations! I used to say I only ran when chased but now I am an addict. It helps relieve stress and keeps me even.

    I think running time is a personal thing and it’s hard to compare to other people. When I do 5K’s and 10K’s I compete against myself. I consider how I have been doing leading up to the race and my time from the previous year, then I set a goal.

    Try downloading some audio books to your iPod. They may not pump you up as much but it sure passes the time!
    Amy

  11. Wow! I so needed to read something like this. I have been toying with the idea of running for quite a while now, but I’ve always been afraid that I just look like the fat girl trying to run. But, one day I just decided to jog my neighborhood and, like you said, it was an amazing feeling. I’ve been scared to really give it my all, but your post might just be inspiration enough to get me going.

    Keep it up, Jo-Lynne! Maybe you and I will both be running the 5K Blogher race this summer in NYC!

  12. Yay for you! I am checking out those shoes. It’s my goal to run a 1/2 this year…we’ll see! I am hoping to finish it and not walk during the race. Aim high, right?? LOL

  13. Good for you! I’m not a person that loves to run. But, it becomes addicting! I love how I feel after I run. I’ve ran my fair share of 5ks. I’m by far not the fastest person out there, but I’ve never come close to coming in last 🙂 I run about a 9.5 minute mile. But, my first 5k was just over a 10 minute mile. I totally agree with Amy – compete against yourself! After I ran my first 5k, my goal was do better the next race. Sometimes that better was literally 5 seconds better, but it feels so good! Good luck and I can’t wait to keep hearing about your running!

  14. I am impressed for sure. No impressed is an understatement. As a fellow asthmatic, with severe exercise induced asthma (that got me written out of gym for all of high school) I have developed, I have decided, a real fear and aversion of working out. Topping that list is running. So I will sit here impressed and try to exercise vicariously through you 🙂

    1. Oh trust me. My asthma’s not bad. I just take my inhaler before I leave the house and I’m fine. And I don’t need it indoors or when it’s warm out. Only in the cold. So don’t be TOO impressed.

  15. That’s awesome, Jo-Lynne! Good for you!

    I’m not much of a runner, but I can do it if I have my iPod going. Shoes are so important. I just got a new pair of running shoes a few weeks ago — with orthotics in them. They’ve been so helpful in relieving the bunion pain I was having because I tend to turn in on my foot.

    Let’s see — something I never thought I’d do? I’m doing a karate tournament in March. I’m. Scared. Out. Of. My. Mind. But, I’m going to do it. It’ll be scary, but like your 5K, it will probably be exhilarating at the same time. 🙂

  16. Congrats on becoming a runner!

    As a long-time runner, I suggest you don’t worry about your time at least for your first race. Just go have fun.

  17. If you think you are a runner you are a runner. A short question and answer section in Runner’s World was something along the lines of what is the difference between a runner and a jogger. The guy answered that a jogger is someone who does not take the sport seriously. A runner loves to get out and go for a run, they run regularly and the enjoy it. A jogger goes once in a while. I always thought of myself of a jogger because I do not run very fast at all but after reading that I am a runner.

    Good 5K time – depending on how fast you are now – 10 to 12 minute miles – is that doable for you?

  18. Congrats on being a runner and your first 5k! I think you need to set a time that you’re comfortable with. I have been running since middle school. I was 12 when I started running, and I’m now 31. I took a break at the end of college, but picked it back up about a year later. I’m comfortable with a 30 minute 5k. I have friends who are new to running (I hate using the term “beginner runner”) and they’re comfortable with 5k times closer to 40 minutes, and have been working their way down from there.

    I noticed you threw away your old shoes…check out local running stores (please!) because a lot of stores will take old shoes and fix them up for people who can’t afford running shoes. We have a couple of running stores in my area, so maybe they’re a little different than other areas…but it’s worth a check. (I’m also about reusing and recycling. And if it helps a financially strapped runner, than I’m even more for it!)

      1. I go through 2 or 3 pairs of running shoes a year (I run marathons and half marathons, though I’m not training for one right now.) I hate waste and I’m really glad that I found the program in my area. Good luck 🙂

  19. That’s really great! I actually hate running but want to lose weight and figured that was the quickest way to slimdom. Running outside is a thousand times more interesting than on the treadmill. I set a goal to run a 5k just to keep myself motivated and I did it! I wanted to finish in 30 minutes or less, and did. I thought for a beginning runner that was pretty respectable. Good luck!

  20. Jo-Lynne is this is so awesome!! I am an intermittent lifelong runner, and only recently (in the last 4 months) have I made any progress in my times. But it is because of persistence and enjoying seeing the benefits. I am hooked. Even on the days when I don’t want to run, I do it because I know afterwards I will be happy with myself. I am running my second half-marathon this June as part of Team In Training. Throwing the charitable aspect into has added to my excitement. And a big YAY!! for getting good running shoes. Totally worth the money.

  21. Thank you for posting this — it is PERFECT timing for me. Just last night, I decided to do sit-ups and push-ups while watching my DVR’d shows. Today I went into the basement and brought my 5 lb weights up. On my drive home from carloop (literally minutes before I read your post), I was telling myself that I should run on nice days – especially since my husband is laid-off and can stay home with the kids while I get out! I used to be a runner. And an avid aerobics girl. But – I exercised abusively to escape some unresolved issues… This – what started last night – is my first step towards using exercise in a healthy way. After nearly NINE YEARS of absolutely no exercise (for fear of relapsing into abusive exercise), I think I’m ready to give it another go. Phew… Thanks for the encouragement. The last time I said these words out loud, I bawled. It’s not so scary today. Maybe I should go over to my own blog and commit to this…. Hmmmm.

  22. Congrats! You are me a year ago! That is when I started and then did a 5k, then a 10k, and now I am training for a half-marathon in May. I am a woman who hated exercising all my life, in sports, I would make any excuse to get out of pre-season running, and thought runners were nuts! But I fell in love with it, it is my church, my peace of mind, my challenge, and my way to be healthy. It fits into my schedule, which is the best part about it! Try the Nike-plus for your ipod- you can track your runs- it is addictive! Good luck with the 5k!

  23. I am laughing!! I recently wrote 2 posts about this same thing! One stating how much I don’t like exercise but am doing it anyway (http://stephaniesmommybrain.blogspot.com/2010/01/habit-1-exercise.html). And the other sharing that I’m running a 5K in May and raising money with CompassionRun.com (http://stephaniesmommybrain.blogspot.com/2010/02/my-crazy-5k-goal.html). I NEVER thought I would one day run a 5K!!! Voluntarily!! 🙂

  24. Congratulations! I remember running with you in college and a few other fun college memories come to mind,too. I know you can do whatever you put your mind to.
    I’ve been trying to convince C to set a goal for a 5K with me before we turn 40. Since he turns 40 a lot sooner than me, we’ll have to get to work on it as soon as this baby is born.
    You’ve always been an inspiration to me!

  25. Yay you!!! Great job and you will do amazing at the 5K! Now that you have some; don’t you love the feeling of a new pair of running shoes?? One of my favorite things in life. I was always a walker – did the breast Cancer 3-day (60 miles in 3 days) and the 2 day (39 miles in 2 days) until I found Team In Training and wanted to train to run a marathon to honor my son who has Leukemia.

    I did a full 26.2 miles in Oct 2008 and then again in 2009. It was great but my knees are not that happy about it so I am backing off to 1/2 marathons for a bit.
    I never thought I was a runner but 2 marathons and a few other races later I guess I am. Welcome to the club!

  26. AWESOME! AWESOME! I have been a runner all of my life. Not a fast runner, a bringing up the rear runner. Even in high school. My dad (who did not pass on the fast genes to me) was my coach and his motto is however slow you have to go then go that slow, but no walking. It’s true I go out slow and steady and I do. not. walk. I believe that anybody can do it if the pace is right. No matter how slow you are, think of all of the people out there that can’t even run a mile. I just finished my first half marathon since having my three boys (this one was 3 months post partum) It took me three hours and six minutes. I was slow. I brought up the rear. I did NOT care because dangit I ran 13. 1 miles and did not walk. SOOO much of running is mental, so remember slow and steady wins the race in the begining. It’s better to go out slow and not walk than to go out fast and walk. As your endurance builds you will get faster. All advice from my Dad not me. I am so proud of you. Love the shoes, I have the same ones! Running is SOOO good for us women, mentally and physically! Keep up the good work girl and def do an i pod post! = )

    1. Interesting. I never thought of it that way. I am not sure how fast I am, but I do like the relief of stopping to walk, although I’m getting to the point where I am only walking up that ding-dang hill. I’m going to see if I can run the whole thing tomorrow.

  27. I started running just over a year ago when I decided to shake off some baby weight. I signed up for an awesome class that focused on running at a management pace and slowly increasing your effort. Before I knew it I was running a 5K, then a 10K and then finally a half-marathon. I NEVER thought I would run that far and in a few weeks I will do my second one. Running is amazing and I think the best part is that you can measure your progress in something besides weight loss.

  28. Wow! You are sharing my story from 3 years ago! I have been struggling with wanting to say “I am a runner”…. but just get intimidated by those who really are. I am short and stocky….10-15 lbs overweight and yet I ran 6 miles at the gym on the treadmill yesterday without walking a step. And did it in 68 minutes! Yeah me! I will warn you that the 5K’s can get addictive. I started those 2 summers ago and did 5 5K’s my first summer. My first one was 34 minutes and my last one of the summer was 30 minutes…. so I was pleased with that. Running is very personal for me. I am always playing mind games with myself about how far I can go. Can I make it to that next mailbox? Can I run this mile faster than the last, etc? I think it’s because I am almost 40 and more concerned than ever about my health and about knowing I am still in good physical shape. I hope you get hooked. I am training for my first half marathon. It’s in 7 weeks. My goal is to finish without walking. Wish me luck! Bless you!

  29. I just have to say that I am overwhelmed with the outpouring of heartfelt encouragement to this post. To me, it was huge. I was shaky typing it. But I thought I was being melodramatic and silly. Your response has made me realize that I am not alone, and your stories are making me think that the 5K could just be the beginning. Thanks everyone!!

  30. If you want to figure out exactly how far you are running there is a website that utilizes Google maps (www.mapmyrun.com) and you can keep track of your progress. 🙂

  31. Congrats! I remember my first 5K – I love the feeling of crossing the finish line. Now my goal is one 5K a year just to keep things interesting. 🙂

    If you’re interested in cutting down on your mile time (and burning more calories), I’ve found interval training works wonders. I sprint for 40 seconds (have now worked up to sprinting for 60 seconds) and then run at an easy pace for 2 minutes – do this combo 6 times. I’ve knocked a minute off my time and am working my way to an 8 minute mile. I can’t believe I ever ran faster than a 7 in high school cross country! Omg. It works though!

  32. Oh, good for you! I was easing myself into a similar routine before I got pregnant, and after the baby is born I hope to get back into it. My hubby recently (less than a year ago) started running, and is planning on running the Broad Street Run in May. I don’t think you have met him, but he is a big guy, so if he can do it anyone can! What a great way to complement your healthy eating!

  33. Hey Jo-lynne,
    I’ve been reading your blog for so long now, but this post grabbed me by the horns. I have been trying to “become a runner” for the last year. I always seem to find an excuse…too cold, too hot, too tired. You get the picture? Will you give me an idea of some of your best motivating music to keep me energized???

  34. I’m definitely not a real runner, so a respectable time for a 5K in my mind is anything in the 30 minute range. You can do it! I ran my first ever 5K last year, then did about 4 more in consecutive weekends. Go big or go home, right? I was THRILLED when I got below the 30 minute mark and hope to do it again this spring!

  35. I just wrote about this the other day (http://lifewithcourt.wordpress.com/2010/02/10/wednesday-weigh-in-running-a-5k-race/) … I felt the same way about myself! I can’t tell you how wonderful running in that first race was! I never thought I would be able to do that! My goal for the race was to be able to run the whole thing… now my goal for my next 5K this spring is to do it in 30min…my first time was around 33min I think. Good luck with your training!

  36. I could have written this exact same post! I bought running shoes on my 40th birthday and vowed to lose weight and get fitter. I would get my ipod going and walk/run around the neighborhood while my teenager babysat her siblings. It was fabulous “me” time & I was seeing results (slowly). That was last spring and, unfortunately, I have gotten out of the habit over the colder months…until yesterday, when I did 3 miles! Some friends and I are trying to find a 5K to run in the spring and I think we’ll have a great time training together and racing together.
    Good luck reaching your goals!

  37. I am a newbie “runner” too. I used to say that the only running I would do was to run errands but I came across an article in Weight Watchers magazine about “walk to run in 6 weeks”. So I gave it a try. I am about 10 weeks in and run 20-25 minutes at a time. I have no idea how far I am running, just want to clock in the time. I am a treadmill runner because I don’t really need the neighbors watching my fat fly :} I watch tv while I run and on Saturdays my DH joins me while he does his workout. I am surprised to say that I do enjoy it and it is a quick way to burn extra calories :}

  38. I haven’t read all the comments yet but if any has said its worth repeating! Running is highly addictive. I started my couch to 5k program a few weeks ago, before the snow hit. I plan on starting again on Monday. I love it. It is so thrilling. And very nice shoes!!

    Good luck on getting ready for your 5k.

  39. I am so proud of you my friend. This is so cool! I can’t wait to hear about this journey even more. You’ve inspired me to do something. Not sure what! LOL! But something. I love to go to the gym and exercise so I don’t have a problem with that. I’ve tried to run but it hurts my knees so, but I haven’t tried in a long time so maybe I’ll give it a go! I need some new tunes on my MP3 though first so I can keep the music pumping!
    Way to go girlfriend.
    Hugs
    Kim

  40. Wow, it’s so cool that you’ve discovered something new about yourself (and especially amazing that it involves enjoying some form of exercise! LOL). I’ve always entertained the idea of running, but when I try it, it just doesn’t live up to my expectations. I’m still on the search for that one exercise that I just love…

    I’ll tell ya one thing that surprised me a couple years ago though, I can sew! I never thought I’d be a sewing girl, and I’m still not insanely into it. But I have actually made some acceptable items and enjoyed doing it. I was a little shocked LOL

  41. Wow, Jo-Lynne! Your story sounds exactly like mine. I used to run before I got pregnant with Dacey (years ago) but had stopped. last year, I tried to do the Shred, too, but I HATED IT and couldn’t stay with it. I did the Couch to 5K program last fall and ran my first 5K on December 5th. I LOVE RUNNING. But i have to run outside – can’t bear the treadmill. So I have slacked off big time this winter. BUT I am going to get back into training because there is a 5K in my hometown that I really want to run at the end of March.

    Anyway, in my training, I was running about 30 minutes give or take for the 5K distance, but my actual 5K time ended up being 37 minutes. I think because in the beginning, it’s hard to set your pace when you are running in a pack. Plus a LOT of the course ended up with me running with a strong Oklahoma wind in my face.

    Best wishes! Always fun to see others who have converted to running. 🙂

  42. Being a runner is like being a recovering alcoholic…it’s ONE DAY AT A TIME. Every day is a new day to run…or not. A choice to be made every day. I think that is why runners get so fanatical about their pursuit because they are always one day away from NOT being a runner.
    Maybe all things requiring discipline are daily choices.
    I think speaking it out loud, “I am a runner” is a big step toward being held accountable.
    Good for you!!!!

Want More?