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.”

3 dogs, 3 miles, 1 wedding, 5 burrs, 1 NEHOD, a little dog conference and countless bathroom breaks

Try taking three little dogs for a walk. I dare you.

I’m watching Gizmo and Bandit this weekend because my parents are in Minnesota visiting family. I knew I would have to get a 3-4 miler in with them and Beep sometime this weekend, so we went Saturday afternoon. What a beautiful day.

We started on Wahl near Lake Park and continued alone Lake Drive through Lake Park and then down the hill at Lincoln Memorial Drive. We did a few running intervals (never more than about .2 miles because the dogs would get tangled in their leashes). We had countless potty/poop breaks but overall it was good. Well, until we found the burrs. ugh. that was a mess.

We continued down Lincoln Memorial Drive to Bradford Beach and took the trail/bridge across LMD and up to Wahl or whatever that street is near the water tower. Along this path, which was paved but covered in leaves, so it was a bit slippery. It is also a pretty steep trek up the hill. Half way up, we ran into a couple walking a pug and a mini dauschund and it was a mess/tangle of little dogs on leashes. We all couldn’t stop laughing and the guy said, “It’s a little dog conference!”

We got to the top and continued north toward Lake Park. When we hit the car, we were at about 2.5 mi and since I really wanted to hit at least 3, we continued on the path toward the lighthouse… and encountered a HUGE wedding party taking pictures. So if you know someone who got married and took pictures at the lighthouse, please give them my best and my apologies for having 3 dogs walk through the scene. We continued to the parking lot by the golfing/lawn bowling and headed back to Lake Drive and south to the car.

By the end, Gizmo and Bandit were spent, but Beep looked like she could have gone another mile or two. That dog never ceases to amaze me. She’s 7.8 lbs! My goodness.

I thought I would have 3 tired-ass dogs when I got home but now there’s wrestling and taunting going on.

As for me, I felt great most of the run/walk. I never stopped my Garmin, so this pace isn’t really accurate when you take into account the bathroom stops, burrs and encounters with other dogs. My foot started to ache a bit around 2.8ish so I’m doing a lot of stretching and icing tonight… I have 6 miles on the schedule for tomorrow. I’ll be taking it slow tomorrow. The plan is just to cover the miles, not to worry about pace. I hope my foot holds up! Luckily, my cardio fitness has drastically improved this year and its so much easier for my body to get oxygen on these run/walks. I am much less reliant on my inhaler, which is AWESOME. In fact, today I didn’t take it before I went out and didn’t need it at all during the walk. 😉

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

First it was good. Then it was really good. Then it was ok. Then it was meh. Then it was bad. Then it was really bad. Then it was oh-my-god-I’m-going-to-die. Then it was over.

My left foot/ankle bothered me quite a bit yesterday. I’m not sure what happened. I iced it on and off all afternoon and evening, hoping it would feel better.

When I woke up today it was a little bit better, but not great. I did not have high expectations for today’s run/walk. I was completely prepared to do a couple of miles and go home.

Around the first half mile mark, Coach Anne asked if I was going to run down the hill (I like to run down the hill at Lincoln Memorial Drive cuz it makes me feel fast). I told her that I would probably run down the hill and how I felt at the end would determine if I’d run any more today.

Well I started running. And I kept running. Before I knew it, I was by the Northpoint custard stand which is the 2mi mark of the route. And I was running. woah. I walked for the next 3/4 of a mile. Then I started running again. And I kept running. My pace was slowing considerably but I just kept going because I was afraid of what would happen when I stopped. I continued running til I got to Lake Shore State Park and then walked the first half to 3/4 mi of the loop. Then I started running again. I continued running (ok at this point it was more like a shuffle) to Discovery World. Then I realized that the route I thought was 10 miles was actually going to be more like 9 and I got mad and I went up Michigan past Discovery World out onto the pier to add some mileage. It was about half a mile but whatever. It was some additional mileage.

By this point my foot was starting to hurt more, but I kept alternating between walking and running for a bit longer. As I passed the lagoon the pain started getting worse. My pace was slowing. And slowing. And slowing. I ran out of water and bought a bottle from a vendor at the entrance to Veterans Park. I kept going even though the pain was getting worse. I was determined to show the lakefront who’s boss. As I reached McKinley Marina, I knew there was no way I would be running any more. The pain was getting worse. I was glad I had sunglasses on because I’m pretty sure I was crying a bit.

I’ll be honest. There were times during the last couple of miles that all I wanted to do was sit down and cry and call someone to come pick me up. But I didn’t. I kept going, despite the pain.

When I got to the Lake Park Bistro stairs and stared up Lincoln Memorial I knew there was no way I was going to make the last mile of our normal loop. So I cut it short and practically crawled up the stairs. No joke. It was so painful going up those stairs. My knees were aching. My ankle/foot was throbbing. I made it to the top and collapsed near the picnic bench Becky was sitting at. I almost lost it then but managed to keep my shiz together as I talked about what happened.

The rest of the day I was really depressed about what happened today. I focused on the bad so much I forgot that I RAN 1.5 miles today. And then another mile. And then a half mile. And then another mile or so.

I’m going to spend the next couple of days resting my foot and hoping that some RICE action will get it better so I don’t throw off my training. Here’s hoping my workouts at the beginning of the week are more strength-focused than cardio. Cuz the treadmill and eliptical aren’t happening.

SPLITS: 15:51, 15:13, 18:08, 16:17, 18:03, 17:33, 18:10, 19:39

My first 5k!

Today I completed my very first 5k race! It was not without some hiccups along the way, but I feel such a sense of accomplishment! Here’s how it all went down.

Last night, I went to the Brewers game and tailgated heavily prior to the game. Got to bed super late, woke up with gutrot. Tried to eat some oatmeal but I was all sorts of nervous so it didn’t go over well. Got to the race in Brown Deer and received my race bib, timing chip and tshirt. Look!!! My first race bib!

I met up with some DailyMile and FitMilwaukee peeps before the race, but to be honest with you I don’t know what we talked about. I was so freaking nervous. My stomach was all over the place. I was praying I wouldn’t fall down, pass out or throw up. And you know what? I didn’t!

My goal was to finish in less than 55 min, with the super goal being to do it in 50 minutes or less (based on my current pace). And I DID IT!!! Of course, my knees hate me and my lungs were burning by the end, but I’m so happy with how this turned out. I was lucky enough to have the help of Rachel M as my “running” buddy. We’re both in a similar place weight and fitness-wise so we hoped our paces would mesh, which they did. It was nice to have the extra push. We ran the first 4 or 5 blocks then walked, ran a bit in the middle, and the ran the last 3 blocks or so. If you were only at the start/finish line, you would have thought we ran the whole thing, which was part of my secret plan. 😉 I was also happy to see more people behind us (even if they were doing the 10k)… because being the last person to finish would have been a bit difficult for me.

As it were, I was the second-to-last woman to finish the race. And you know what? I don’t care. I finished. I didn’t give up when it was tough. I didn’t say “oh this is too tough, I’m gonna sneak into this person’s house and hide til the race is over.” I finished with a consistent pace and couldn’t be more proud.

Here’s my official stats from the race results site:

I am so blessed to have you twitter/dailymile/facebook peeps. Anne and Rochelle came out along with Mike (who I just met today) to cheer us on. I held back tears as I was hitting the finish line because there were people CHEERING for ME! It’s so amazing to experience that. Thank you guys. Seriously, that meant the WORLD to me. #lovefest The only thing missing was my family and I know they’ll be there to cheer me on at many races to come. And, well, I may or may not have forgotten to ask them to come. LOL.

Stats according to my Garmin: 15:40, 16:54, 15:46 and the last .14 miles – 14:11.

Here are a few photos, courtesy Michael, Anne and Meghan:

PS – if you have a chance, congratulate my friend Tracey. She finished 2nd female overall and won her age bracket with a time of 22:52 finish. That means Tracey did the 5k in 27:08 minutes faster than me! Of course, to be fair, she’s been running for awhile and she’s the cutest li’l thing.

Race Report: Blarney 5k Run/Walk, a PR

(The FitMilwaukee gang-notice the beers we’re not-so-slyly hiding. Photo by Anne Munkwitz)

Saturday was my first official “race” – the 19th Annual Blarney 5k run/walk in Wauwatosa. I was a little disappointed that the walkers didn’t get race bibs. I was really looking forward to getting my first race number! Oh well, next time I hope!

The walk portion of this race was 2 miles… but I logged a total of 4.5 miles yesterday because of how far I parked from the start/finish line. I mapped it out and it was about .6 mi away. I had the pleasure of walking that route twice (once to take my race packet/shirt back to the car).

While most of the FitMilwaukee.com people were running this one, Kay and Anne joined me for the walk portion. Anne, Kay and I kept a pretty good pace (I’m guessing approx. 16-16:30 min miles) but “officially” my race time was close to 55 minutes. Why? Well we kept stopping to take pictures of our running friends, we stopped to talk with Mike and Marty who just ran about 18 miles each, and then when we neared the finish line, Kay grabbed a twelve-pack of beer from the car.

We met up with the other FitMilwaukee peeps and stood around drinking beer, taking pictures, etc. As we were walking back to the clubhouse someone said, “Hey, did you guys ever cross the finish line officially?” We hadn’t. So my official time today was 2 miles in 55 min, including lots of stops, photos and a can of beer. There’s nothing quite like crossing the finish line with a beer in hand. 🙂

I rock.

I know you’re all jealous of my PR.

This, my friends is how you race:

(Me, Lindsey, Sarah, Cheryl & Kay. Photo by Anne Munkwitz)

Someday, I’m gonna be hot enough to wear running tights like Sarah.

Action shot. We’re taking this seriously, can you tell? Photo by Anne Munkwitz