Slow running… it’s the new fast!

Reposted from FitMilwaukee.com:

I’ve never been fast. I don’t even know if I’d ever care to be fast.

A lot of times, you hear about how fast people run races. Don’t get me wrong. I have a time goal. It’s just no where near that of my close friends. When they’re running an “easy” 9 min pace, I’m busting my ass trying to keep a sub 15 pace.

I consider myself a runner. I run/walk and I’m ok with that. Of course, I’d love to get to the point where I’m only running and not walking unless I really need a break. But, I like the freedom that walk/running gives me. If I only ran, my workouts would be less than a mile. But with slowing things down and alternating between running and walking, I’m able to cover many miles.

This weekend, I ran just over 6 miles in about 90 minutes. Am I going to win an award any time soon? No, but I was beaming with pride when I realized this was the FASTEST I’d ever done 6 miles. A year ago, I was run/walking at a much different pace. I would hope to average 16-17 minutes per mile, but be happy with anything less than 18:30. Now, my slowest walking pace is in the 16-16:30 range… but usually falls between 15-16. My previous FAST time is now my SLOW time.

I know that as I lose weight, my pace and endurance will continue to improve, but I don’t expect to be qualifying for Boston ANY time soon.

I’m focusing on creating attainable goals for me and my body. And, if slow running is the key, then I’ll embrace it with a big sloppy kiss.

Last week, I wrote a very cathartic post on my blog about how difficult it is for me to run with anyone else. Go on. Read it. If you’ve ever felt like you’re not good enough to run in a group, read it twice. I’ll wait.

Done?

Ok, good.

The response to this post was overwhelming. Emails, gchats, comments, Facebook messages, etc. I never in a million years expected people to respond as they did. (I’m still surprised anyone reads my blog.)

I realized that I’m not alone in my running insecurity. Then I noticed some talk on Twitter that was all too familiar to me, “Oh, you won’t want to run with me. I’m super slow.” This is my general response when someone asks me to run.

It forced me to swallow my pride and do something I’ve been thinking about doing for a couple of months now. I’m starting a slow running group. All are welcome to join us (there’s a group on Facebook)… and there will be a forum coming soon. You don’t have to be fast or slow or even a runner to join us. Walk/run/crawl/skip whatever the hell you want. The key to this group is acceptance and no judging. Yeah, I said it. Don’t judge. Don’t judge people for being too fast. Don’t judge people for being too slow. We’re all in different places in our fitness journeys. We’re beginners. We’re veterans. We’re runners (or walkers).

We’ll be having a group “run” Monday, March 28th rain or shine. Meet us at Lake Park in Milwaukee at 6pm. We will be near Lake Park Bistro. I’ll probably have a 2-3 mile route planned, but you can feel free to do as much or as little as you like – and, please, please, please go at your own pace. Don’t feel you have to speed up to catch up with someone else… especially if your body isn’t cooperating. Go at your pace. Do your own thing… and I’m sure you’ll find someone who’s at your pace! It sounds like we have people with an average pace (whether running, run/walking or walking) of anywhere from 11-18 minutes per mile. If you’re faster or slower than this – please still come and join us!

I’ll leave you with these words from John Bingham, the father of slow running:

“It was being a runner that mattered, not how fast or how far I could run. The joy was in the act of running and in the journey, not in the destination.”

Help for my friends in Japan

This post is 100% off topic but 100% important.

Can you help me help my friends living in Japan?

All the information is on my website.

If you follow me on Twitter or are a Facebook friend, you might have noticed I recently changed my avatar to the image above. Why?

Well, my dear friend Amanda and her family are in Japan. Her husband is in the Navy and is stationed there right now. They aren’t in a mandatory evacuation area, but that time is likely coming soon. They live in Yokosuka, which is about about 90 minutes south of Tokyo.

Amanda, her husband and the girls are ok. They felt the earthquake and have felt all the aftershocks as well. They’re shaken but physically ok.

It is looking like they will be evacuating soon and may never return. They will be allowed 1 suitcase each on a return flight. They have made Japan their home and have established themselves there. And now, they may be ripped away from it.

I have been wracking my brain for a way to help. Right now, the way to help is with money. Unfortunately, I don’t have an excess of money laying around here.

They can mail things back to the US (for now) but the exchange rate is ridunkulous and there’s a limit of 2 boxes right now. It sounds like our government will get them back to the United States… but once they’re here, they’re on their own as far as lodging, travel, etc.

This is where you come in. Can you help me help my friends?

  • Effective now until 11:59 p.m. CDT Sunday, March 20th, I will personally give my entire NET sales of any product at my shop at Pink Ink Studios to Amanda and her family. This is NOT a tax deductible donation for me or purchase for you. But I can assure you that I will send her 100% of my NET sales. I know this is short notice and it is the weekend, but I want/need to get money to them quickly.
  • The other way you can help is by sending money via Paypal. $5, $10, $25, whatever you can spare… I will send 100% of this money to her as well. Just send the money via PayPal to amykant@gmail.com. Make sure you put in the memo that this is for Amanda’s family. Again, this is NOT a tax deductible donation. It is just a gift of love for my dear friends.
  • If you can’t help out financially, please spread the word and say some prayers for my friends. They need all the love and support we can give them.

In case this helps, here’s a picture of me and Amanda’s sweet daughter Haley in 2009. Cute kids get you every time, right?

Thanks for your consideration.

 

I need to learn how to share

I need to learn how to share.

Yes, I’m an adult and I know how to share just about everything in my life. But there’s something I have a hard time sharing.

Running.

This may sound odd, coming from someone who has a huge group of running friends – many of whom she MET through running. Even stranger to hear from someone who joined Team Challenge to train to run two half marathons… who went to practice every Sunday for months to go running/walking with others.

Yes, I have a REALLY hard time sharing my running time with others… besides Beep of course. She can run with me anytime.

Why do I have such a hard time sharing running with others?

Perhaps it’s that over the course of the last year, I’ve become accustomed to solo running. I’m not fast enough to run with my running besties. Well, I’ll meet for a group run, run with them for a minute and then my huffing and puffing slows my pace down to something more comfortable. Or, I’d join them on my bike on their long marathon-training runs.

I think this all started last summer when I was training for the Napa to Sonoma half marathon with Team Challenge. I was a run/walker. I aligned myself with the walkers, as I mostly walked, especially on the long “run” days. I didn’t really consider myself a runner. I could run for an eighth or quarter mile at a time, followed by quite a bit of walking. My body and my lungs weren’t ready for consistent running.

Now that I finally consider myself a runner, I have a hard time sharing this with anyone else. It’s like my private Amy time. I’m alone with God’s creation (outside) or trying to lose myself in the music on my iPod on the treadmill at the gym. Don’t even think about talking to me when I’m on the treadmill. Yes, guy at Bally’s who is crushing on me, I’m talking to you. There is nothing attractive about a 250-pound woman running on a treadmill. EVERYTHING is bouncing. Well maybe that’s what you’re liking, but I can assure you I do not feel pretty. So quit trying to get my number while I’m running.

I have an anxious nervous feeling in my chest when I think about actually running WITH someone. What if they’re faster than me? What if they get frustrated when I have to stop to walk? What if they don’t consider this a workout? What if I look ridiculous? What if I fail? What if they get frustrated that I don’t talk when I run? That I don’t want to talk because it will take up precious air that I could use to bust through my lungs on this run?

I’m sure my friends wouldn’t feel this way when running with me, but it’s always in the back of my mind.

I’ve gone to the gym for a treadmill running date with Annie… but for some reason that was different. We could each go at our own comfortable pace and it wasn’t a big deal. I think I was more comfortable with this too because she’s seen me at my very worst as my Team Challenge coach.

But then a friend, Katie, asked me to meet her for a run at the gym a couple of weeks ago. She wanted to try out the track at the gym. She’s new to running so I agreed. I warned her repeatedly that I was slow and took regular walking breaks. She didn’t care. She was excited to go with someone else, as she doesn’t have a lot of friends in the running community. We warmed up with a walk and I kept track of laps with my Garmin. I felt the need to apologize whenever I had to stop to walk, but she was amazing and would stop to walk a lap or two with me. One time I told her to continue running if she felt up to it and so she did one extra lap while I walked. Overall, I had my fastest time for a 3mi run on this workout with her. It was fun but I still felt awkward. I don’t know why, I just left feeling like a fool.

You see, when you’re out on your own… no one knows how long you’ve been running when you take a walk break. No one knows how far your run is. No one knows but you. But when you run with someone, there’s this feeling like I need to make sure I keep up so they don’t think I’m a loser. Maybe it’s just me, but this is a huge insecurity for me. I’m slightly tearing up as I write this and the fact that I’m tearing up makes me sad.

Yesterday I met up with one of my best friends, Rachel, who wanted to join me for my walk/run. She was so sweet and said, “Now, we will go at your pace. Whatever you want to do. I’ll go with you.” This was amazing. But, even though I was with someone I’ve known for almost 9 years, who knows more about me than most people, who knows my struggle with weight issues and fitness… Even with her I felt nervous about running. That and the fact that I forgot my inhaler at home had me saying, “You know, we’re walking at a pretty fast clip today. Let’s just keep walking fast and not run.”

Why did I do that?

Why?

Rachel, of all people, wouldn’t have judged me. But in the back of my mind, I was worried that she would. And so I settled for a fast walk instead of my prescribed walk/run.

By about mile 3 (of the 4.65 we did)… I was feeling guilty. But I also didn’t want to be all “hey, lets runnnnn” so I continued on the fast walk til we returned to her house.

I drove home, disappointed in myself for not even trying a run with her.

I picked up some lunch and headed home. I cuddled with Beep and watched some HGTV and fell asleep for a little afternoon nap.

When I woke up the intense guilt was ridiculous. I felt GUILTY for not RUNNING. There was really no physical reason for me not to run- except for the fear that I would have an asthma attack without my inhaler.

So, I got Beep’s leash and went out for a mile. We averaged 14:15 on the run that was just over a mile.
If my earlier morning “run” had been a good workout, I don’t see how I would have been able to so easily run just a few hours later.

I obviously have some issues I need to work out with this whole running solo business. Races are different… people are running with you but they’re really not. I just have never had to rely on anyone but myself on my runs and maybe that’s why I am so possessive of my precious running miles. Maybe I just can’t stand the thought of starting a run with a friend and then having to tell them to run on ahead… Maybe I need to just get over myself. Maybe I need to go back to therapy.

I don’t know the answers. I just know that I need to learn how to share.

Conversations with my trainer

John: You know, you’re totally making me feel like a rockstar
Me: Why? (laughs)
John: Well, you lost 3.5 lbs this week, running has been going well, I’m doing something right.
Me: (laughing) Then I probably shouldn’t tell you I also went down a pants size.

Weigh-in Wednesday: A day late, but better than never

I’ve been pretty quiet around these parts lately. There hasn’t been much to say. Yeah, I’ve been working out, but I haven’t been watching my food intake. Ok, so I’ve been watching it go in my mouth and into my belly but not much as far as self control and moderation.

Something snapped last week and I lost 3.6 lbs! Woohoo! I’m hoping to drop another 10 (preferably 12 or 13) before the half marathon May 7th. I’m 252.6 and it would be AWEEEESOME to be in the 230s by May. We’ll see what happens!

I also officially hit my 5lb weight loss with WW Online! Wooooot!