You Don’t LOOK Like A Runner…

 

Dear Me,

It’s nearly the end of the year, and while we didn’t do much running at the beginning of the year, we sure kicked some ass on other workouts! You killed 21 Day Fix and hit your weight loss goal in March. You rocked some Les Mills COMBAT and PUMP. I know we said this would be the year we got more muscles, but it didn’t go that way for us. You did, however reignite that love of biking, which pushed you to start running once again. You did 150 miles in a month for Great Cycle Challenge on your bike and you didn’t let two flat tires slow you down! Way to go!

Yea, we’ve crept a little back up in weight lately, but so far this year you have logged 141 miles of running. Yes, it was most likely more than that… but tracking wasn’t really our ‘thing’ until mid-summer. As this year comes to a close, remember how awesome all of those miles were. You really did great! Believe this. Please.

Really I am writing this today because there is this nagging thought we keep having and I want to address it here and now so we can move past it in 2016. Remember that time you enthusiastically talked about running… and someone dropped that horrid comment that wasn’t meant to be critical but you instantly internalized it and let it eat away at you?

“You run? Wow! You don’t LOOK like a runner!”

Instantly you felt hurt, demoralized, fat, sluggish, worthless, like working out was pointless… You felt like all that hard work and effort you’d put into becoming a healthier person was obviously stupid and maybe it was time to go buy a pallet of Cheetos. And this comment just kind of stayed in your brain, festering. I know this, because I AM your brain.

It was kind of like when someone said to you “you don’t LOOK like you lost 30 pounds!” which was really meant to be a compliment on how you didn’t look like you’d needed to lose weight… but it stung. It burned. It made you want to cry, because, let’s face it, your self-image sucks.

You do a lot of hate talk. A lot of personal self-deprecation. You’re not pretty enough. You’re not skinny enough. You’re not great at anything… just kind of good at a lot of unimportant things. People don’t actually like you. You’re boring. Nothing you do is really worthwhile…

STOP IT. KNOCK IT THE FUCK OFF. RIGHT NOW.

I know we’ve had this talk before. You constantly tell yourself you have to apologize for not actually being a runner because you can’t consistently make at 12 minute mile. Hell, a lot of the time 13 minutes is still really hard for us. But remember where we came from? 16 minute miles. 17 minute miles.

So many times I’ve heard you say “I run… but I’m not really, like… a runner.”

Hey, dummy. Are your feet moving as fast as your heart will allow? THEN YOU’RE RUNNING. And on top of that… you’re a runner. You hear that? Quit telling people you’re ‘not really a runner’! That’s that self-hate bullshit. YOU. ARE. A. RUNNER.

In 2016if-you-run I want you to stop apologizing for doing your best. Constantly I keep hearing you apologize for going to your max, just because you aren’t going as fast as someone else, or because you can’t lift as much as someone else, or because you tire out faster than someone else… Stop letting this constantly hold you back!

This running thing? It’s a journey. It’s not an instant pudding mix… Just add water and POOF YOU’RE A KENYAN! You remember when Doc Johnson told you that it would take you twice as long to get half as good because of your heart murmur, but not to give up? REMEMBER that.

Don’t quit because Suzie Q over there just started running and has progressed up to a 10 minute mile in four months. SHE ISN’T YOU. She doesn’t have your past. She doesn’t have your limitations. Don’t beat yourself up over what you THINK you should be.

GO BE IT.

I want you to remember one thing when you hear “you don’t LOOK like a runner!” again. Because it’s happened more than once. No, you DON’T look like a runner. Remember that article we read about fitness body types? There are two main types of fitness frames: athletic, and muscular. People see runners as thin, lean, light looking people. People see weight lifters as muscular, stockier, thicker looking people. That doesn’t mean weight lifters DON’T run. That doesn’t mean runners DON’T lift weights.

Your frame is more prone to that weight lifter look. Always has been, since puberty. Don’t let assumptions like ‘you don’t LOOK like you run’ hold you back because you know what you do. You run. You punch things. You lift. You bike. All of these things are for the health and wellness of one complete you. So stop letting that stupid little comment get to you. You’ve run races… you’ve seen how many different body types are out there running. THEY ARE ALL RUNNERS. And so are you.

In 2016 I want you to set a goal. Your goal is a consistent 12 minute mile. That is YOUR goal. For YOU. For nobody else out there. It’s YOURS and you OWN it. Stop trying to compete with someone when it isn’t a competition. Set your goal for you, and go get it, killer.

So. You’ve got your goals:

  1. Quit apologizing for yourself
  2. 12 minute consistent pace
  3. Like yourself more, damnit

You can do this. Focus on these little things. You’re on the path to being a better you… you just have to believe you’re worth all this work.

And it will be work.

And you ARE worth it.

Trust me.

Love,
You

 

That Dam Run

I wanted to stay in bed Sunday morning. I’d worked a full day on Saturday, stayed up until midnight to watch the Aldo/McGregor fight at night, and the idea of setting my alarm for 6:30am just hurt.

When I woke up, I was somewhat excited to see that it was raining. Mayhap this would mean I could just crawl back under the covers and pretend like I didn’t actively seek out my friends to see if they were going for their weekly run at the Coon Rapids dam and if I could join.

I let out a groan as I realized it was time to stop making excuses and just go to it. It wasn’t raining that much. It wasn’t that cold. It wasn’t that early…

Off I set to meet the group for what I had decided would be a 5 mile run. That sounded okay by me. My friend, Lisa, had even assured me we could turn back whenever I wanted to — the guys would just go their ten miles and meet us up at the end.

We took off (after I realized I parked in the wrong location and they had to come find me), clipping along at a good pace until I realized I was gassing myself out. Remember, self, that you have’t run any quantifiable long distance since October.

Looking at my app timing, sustaining 12:12 wasn’t going to work for me that day. We settled into about a 13:50 pace – good for aerobic work and friendly banter – and we just kinda kept going.

The weather wasn’t terrible. Drizzly and brisk didn’t phase me so much – not after the Halloween 10 miler! We got comfortably warm, never too cold, and time and conversation passed easily between us. Holding a conversation while running is new to me, but it’s enjoyable. I’m normally alone, listening to  Zombies, Run! mission, or silently mouthing along to whatever iTunes is playing for that moment. It’s been nice to have a little challenge of talking while running, and the company has been quite nice, as well.

The guys we ran with are faster runners, and off they went. As we hit a point where I thought I might need a break, we decided it was about time to turn around. Much to my pleasant surprise, it was 4 miles in. Take that, brain. I win again.

4 miles out meant 4 miles back, and 8 miles just made me happy.

It wasn’t until we were sipping coffee to warm up after we all made it back to our cars that I realized I might have a twisted little addiction to inclement weather running.

A friend had texted, inviting me out to the Mall of America for the afternoon. The following thusly occurred:

I smirked to myself. Dedicated? It hadn’t occurred to me until that moment that it might seem odd to someone that another human would actively put themselves outside for an 8 mile run on a 35 degree day with a slight frosty wind and intermittent chilly drizzle on purpose.

Like, because, why wouldn’t you?

I got goals, man. Goals don’t achieve themselves!

It was in that moment that I realized I had finally recommitted to myself and all I want to achieve by April. I’ve been tired, sick, and making excuses… but if these goals didn’t mean something to me, then why was I out on a long run on a day like yesterday when I could have been eating a pint of ice cream in my fluffy purple robe in a cozy, warm house?

Because I have goals.

Quickie!

Just a quick drop in to say two things:

1. New hats are up in the shop! You guys have been so awesome and so supportive! My Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon fund is steadily growing and you all are helping me make this crazy idea/dream/goal come true. Thank you so much!!!

THANK YOU on speech bubble price labels2. Got out for my first real run since coming down with the plague and it felt amazing. Three miles, non-stop, on a gorgeous 43 degree Minnesota night. It was exactly what I needed to lift the spirits.

Allons-y!

Turkey Trot 6k Recap

A belated gobble, gobble, friends. I was struck with the plague Thanksgiving morning and it hit full effect by Thanksgiving night. I’ve been coughing and wheezing and sniffling ever since, but today we’re feeling on the mend. Hopefully this means I can get back to running soon… Since I now am repeating week three from the start for my half marathon training plan.

Life sometimes does what life does – it happens. We can’t avoid that. If I’d have been just sniffling, I’d be out running… but this cough was more than I could take, with painful deep breaths, and lots if other icky things you don’t need to know about. This first month of training has taught me one thing…

PATIENCE.

The plan will work. I just need to be willing to repeat runs or weeks at times, because life will happen. I promise there will be a day when I want to go do an 8 mile run, and it will be a blizzard out. It just happens. We adapt, we re-plan, we move on.

On Thanksgiving morning, I ran a race with two new friends I met through Beer and Bikes – our neighborhood craft beer loving, bike enthusiast crew. It did remind me that morning how thankful I am to have found this group of new friends. I’d been looking for a way to get to know people in the neighborhood, to meet local people who shared common interests, and Beer and Bikes came along. A mixed bag of geeky, funny, friendly, awesome folks all came together and it has been a really great opportunity for me to come out of my shell, try something new, and get to bond with new people in my area. I’ve been incredibly thankful for this group in my head, so now I’ve said it out loud. I am really glad this group exists.

Back to the point – I ran a 6k with two friends from the group, and I left feeling pretty damned proud of myself. Lisa coached me the whole run. She encouraged me, we chatted about life and other things, and she never let me stop. We ran the entire race, which ended up being 3.9 miles, and never once took a recovery walk.

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You guys. I’ve never done that before.

I’ve been running 5ks since 2012, and every time, I walk several times throughout. I ran MORE than a 5k, and for the first time, I RAN the WHOLE THING. I couldn’t have been more happy or more thankful to have had Lisa there encouraging me. She kicked my butt. She pushed me. She was amazing.

Getting to share that experience with new friends just felt awesome. I really couldn’t be happier that I randomly decided to run this race on Thanksgiving morning. Little victories make all the difference.

And now… if I could quit coughing every five seconds… I’d like to get out there and kick some more ass.

Please and thank you 😉

 

PS: New merch up under the Buy Stuff banner!!