What are you running from?
That question has always been noticeably absent from the way I approach life.
Instead, it’s always what are you running to?
- A network of friends and family that I love – and bloggies, of course
- A wedding — this one is exciting!
- A new business — this one is exciting and scary and thrilling!
- A blog I enjoy — we’re coming up on the two-year anniversary and I can’t believe it!
- A new blog — set to launch March 1st!
There’s a lot to be grateful for. But I’m not trying to bullet out everything to say “hey, look at me!” — the point I’m trying to make is that whether you are a runner through life or a runner on the pavement, many of us are always striving toward a goal, a passion or the “next big achievement.”
This is why I think Kerry’s story can relate to all of us. There’s one quote in particular from her post below that stood out to me:
“It is one of those memories that you wish you could remember what your reasoning was.”
Has anyone else ever had that experience? I know I have!
I’ll let her tell you the rest
Running on Faith
Hey Eating Bender Readers!
I remember telling my students a few months ago that “I’m a runner.” Now, I did not say, “I enjoy running” or “I’ve ran a race,” but that I consider myself a legitimate runner.
(Photo via mikebaird on Flickr)
When I was in high school, I joined cross country. I did not join because I was recruited by a coach because I was fast as lightning in gym class. Rather, I initially joined because I wanted to stay in shape for softball winter conditioning. That summer between junior and senior year, I ran. A lot. It is a blur to remember how I trained or what I did, but as a teenager, it was quite easy to pick up running and see quick improvement. That is, until the season started and I realized that despite all the effort in the summer, I was never the one at the head of the pack.
I am sure I am not the only one who wishes at times that they stuck with a sport, a musical instrument, or a hobby after all its ups and downs. Being a fairly stubborn teenager, I gave in to the fact that running was hard and that I had to work at it. The minute that my knee started to bother me, I threw in the towel before my second season began. It is one of those memories that you wish you could remember what your reasoning was.
My short-lived, one season, cross country career was quite a learning experience that I never valued as much as I do now, almost 8 years later. And that is what I am going to write about as today’s Guest Bender — how I personally got back into running without a team, coach, or the ease breaking records. In addition, I hope to offer the little advice that I’ve picked up along the way for those, too, who want to improve or begin running.
I’m Kerry from Running on Faith. After occasionally running and training in college for long distance events, I moved to California and started a new job once after graduation. It took me a year and a half before I really fell in love with running and how it has made me a more positive and optimistic person, especially in such a demanding profession like teaching. In the summer after my first year teaching, I joined a running group and went religiously, training for a half and full marathon last fall/winter season.
(Photo via John-Morgan on Flickr)
After seeing success, I took the “necessary” time off after the marathon before returning back to running. I hoped onto the treadmill and cranked up the pace. I thought to myself, “I just ran a marathon. I can pound out a faster pace on the treadmill. No problemo.” Wrong. Fail. One mile into the run and my IT band went crazy.
(Photo via SashaW on Flickr)
Now, eight years ago, this would have been a similar moment where I’d say “screw this” and throw in the towel. I’ll consider myself wiser this time having approached it with a new mentality of working through a setback. In facing this setback and my recovery through this, I created my blog and in writing, I have been much more aware of my actions and the knowledge (or lack thereof) that I have accumulated about the sport of running. The following is a list of what allowed me to develop as a runner.
- Make it personal. Make it about you. What initially discouraged me was that I wasn’t under 8 min/mile pace and that I was not the Boston bound gal at first try (granted, I respect these runners and learn a LOT from them!). After 8 years of working through those insecurities as a teenager and a young 20 something, the beauty of this sport is that it meets you were YOU’RE at. Once I personalized why I run, it made it easier to see the small improvements that are there. Over a year, I’ve been able to improve pace and my endurance and know that with hard work, there’s more to be done.
- Read.Read.Read. I want to know SO much about the sport and what is best for me. Whenever I get my hands on a new book, website, article, training plan, I feel like I am back in school trying to study up on a new subject. In doing so, I am more aware of what is going on in the field, what is going on in my body when I run, and most important, how to prevent injuries. There are links on my blog that I use to gather new information.
- Set a goal. Back to making it personal, make a goal for yourself. Your goal can be to run a certain distance or time, or it may be that you want to train for an upcoming event. In the spring, I started running really short distances after school at the nearby gym. I spent about two months building to 4 miles comfortably before joining the running group.
- Be patient. It is pretty difficult at times to put work into your training without knocking off tons of time or seeing drastic improvement in endurance. The runners I’ve talked to have been running for years. I’m a newbie who is learning, so I must take that into account.
- Find others who run. When I realized I wasn’t in the setting like I was in high school with a team and a coach, I actively went out and found them. The “them” being the running community, whether it be my running group that I meet up with on the weekend (link is actually where I found my group) or the runners I’ve met through conversation on blogs, websites, in person, etc. Although I get amazing ideas for workouts from the books I read, some of the best advice and encouragement comes from others who have personally been in a similar situation and found what worked for them as they developed into a runner.
Thank you, Jenn, for letting me guest post! I love sharing my running story
So what are you running to? Do you run to exercise? Do you run toward your goals?
I like to ask a lot of questions
Tomorrow is my last day at my current job. I have learned so much and have made lasting friendships and connections with people. Now I’m running toward “the dream” and hoping that it will be a slow and steady race. This next adventure is the “grad school of life,” as dubbed by my business partner, Jill. It will be a learning process every step of the way. But we’re going to do all we can to go the distance.
Pretty philosophical for a Thursday I hope that you all have a great weekend! Any big plans?