I simply can NOT describe the radical difference in motivation and excitement I have for my running ever since getting my boyfriend involved. Simply put, Zack does not, will never understand running. He's a musician. He's a writer. He is NOT a runner. It's just the way it goes, something I absolutely had to get used to. At first, this was a bummer. What runner doesn't dream of a significant other that they can lace up and tacHowk on miles with? However, the simple fact that he supports my running, frequently asks about my training, and buys me books, gear, shoes, ETC without me even mentioning my wanting or needing new gear, WANTS to go to my races, takes me to trails and waits for me at the end (or well.. MY end) is wonderful to me! I'll take that any day of the year.
I've been training for the Baltimore Running Festival and I discovered that they were looking for bands to perform during the race/after 'party'/awards ceremony. They're paying $100 to each band that participates and there will be a grand prize of $500 for the best band to perform (DING DING DING!!!) This was perfect. Without so much as taking a moment to BREATHE I forwarded the link to Zack and his bandmate and they were getting the ball rolling to perform at my first race as a Maryland Resident! (how dang exciting!) I was over the moon. I decided, shooooooot! I need to make Zack look good. I mean, I know for a fact that they are an insanely talented music duo. But, I would about die if he was going around proudly saying "yea my girlfriend is in the race" just for me to finish dead last. (Though, with 25,000 people attending that is most likely not going to be the case no matter what...) Still, this was HUGE motivation for me to get my butt in gear with my training.
Then I found the Run For Your Life "Zombie Apocalypse Obstacle Course" 5k. HELLO! This is like my dream come true. I've been so bummed out that unless I fly out to visit my dad in November I won't be able to participate in a Warrior Dash until NEXT YEAR! (ugh. too long. Istant gratification kind of gal over here y'all) And then WAM. A very similar (potentially even more fun) obstacle course 5k IN THE VERY CITY I'M MOVING TO SEPTEMBER 1st! How perfect is that? & Guess what? They need musicians for the apocalypse party too! (again, DING DING DING!) Once again, without breathing I sent the link to the guys and the ball was rolling from there!
It is such a thrill to be able to actually involve loved ones in my running. To promote my passion with their passion! How awesome. It has turned my training completely around! (& boy did I need something to do that) I was simply dragging there for awhile. Was losing all focus and motivation because of this move that is (oh god!) 10 days away I was missing way too many important training days. (However I have learned that my energy level for packing, preparing, organizing, Being OCD is much higher when I start my mornings with a run)
As beginners, we all get so overwhelmed with the notion that, simply put.... I'LL DIE TO MAKE MYSELF AN EXPERIENCED RUNNER IF I HAVE TO! We get so wound up in our training we tend to forget that, we are just that. Beginners. When learning something new, one must always be patient with themselves. Now, I've been running awhile now. I however recently decided I am still a n00b. I decided, to start my training from scratch and while doing so I've had every beginner thought/mistake in the book. (I probably invented some new ones along the way as well)
1) Dehydration and vomiting in the bushes. Yep, that has sure happened! Dehydration, probably more than I realize; but only once have I been so dehydrated I actually threw up. It was actually, just this past weekend. I was in Maryland and committed to the idea that, just because I was on vacation, did not mean my training was! So, my second day there -- I slept in due to the wine consumed the night before and the snuggles occurring in the wee hours of the morning by a soundly sleeping boyfriend (who can get out of bed at 6am on vacation, when they have a man wrapping them up in a cocoon of snuggles? Not this girl.) I was by no means DRUNK the night before, just warm and bubbly feeling, however, any alcohol is a serious dehydrating substance. Anywho -- This day I was only supposed to run 3 miles, but the trail I found was just GORGEOUS (thank you mapmyrun route search). So, when my phone started alarming me that I had hit my 3 miles, I just laughed (out loud, like a lunatic) and called up Zack and said something along the lines of "don't get too excited for breakfast, this lady is running the last 3 miles of this dang GORGEOUS trail. Meet me where it lets out by the hotel" I started feeling side stitches during the last 3 miles, which is a huge indicator to me that I need water. But, the tiny bottle I took from out hotel mini fridge wasn't cutting it. (Would have for my original 3 miles, I swear!) As I'm pushing through my last 1.5 miles the sun is peeking through the trees that are now further and further apart and since it's creepin' up on the 11oclock hour in sunny Maryland, it's rising in temperature, FAST. I finally make it to the end and jog out of the trail/trees and see Zack. Wide eyed and smiley, waiting to get our grub on... and I just push (literally) him on the shoulder out of my way and just toss every bit of whatever is left in my stomach from the night before. Looking up to say with sobbing breaths (I have a serious vomiting phobia) to apologize to runners/dog walkers passing by as well as Zack for having to witness this.
Bottom line? DEHYDRATION IS DANGEROUS Y'ALL.
2) Comparing yourself to others
This is by far, the most difficult rookie habit for me to kick. I simply may never do it. But, I know how damaging it is to my spirit and my training. I feel realizing it's a bad bad BAD habit, is at least a step in the right direction... right? I mean, the first step to solving anything is admitting there's a problem... Anyways, There are two main people who got me into running. Both of those people are freakin' running gods. I swear by it. The one, picked up running and within such a small time frame was running absurdly fast half marathons. I wanted to cry the first time I saw her post her final half time and mile paces. It took everything I had not to give up then and there (to be honest, I kind of did for awhile. Leading me to where I am now, after having decided to pick it back up last month) But, WE ARE ALL SO DIFFERENT. OUR BODIES ARE MADE DIFFERENTLY. OUR PREVIOUS HISTORY IN RUNNING OR SPORTS OR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IS SO DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT FROM EACH OTHER. My lesson over time has been that, ANYBODY can run. As long as we have the determination ANYONE who has functional legs can run, if they want to, if they dedicate their time and effort into it. The problem is it doesn't happen over night. & as humans, we tend to like immediate gratification.
3) Going out too fast, too soon
This is something I am still working on, however am getting MUCH better at. In high school I was a sprinter. I ran 100m dashes, 75 hurtles, and 200s. So, when it came to transitioning from a speed demon to a distance runner, all hell broke loose. I couldn't help it. When my brain said "run" my body said "FAST". I would barely make it a mile before the side stitches started to occur and I felt like a 5-pack-a-day-since-I-was-7 smoker with my frantic breathing. With time I started doing better and better. finally, I thought I had cured myself of this ailment all together. Wrong-o! Once I got my stride I was ready to take my 5k trainings up a notch. TIME TO GET READY TO BEAT PEOPLE. Why is this my mission? Can't I just be happy finishing? Apparently not. however, as time continues my pace gets more and more reasonable and with it, my breathing feels loads better and my form stays at the top of it's game THE ENTIRE TIME (me? No way!)
4) Lack of support
Until I started dating Zack, I never really discussed my training/running goals with anyone. I just, ran. I made my own training schedule, I ran, I came home, showered, went to work. There was hardly any discussion with anyone about my progress, there was no one to get all excited with when I hit a new personal goal. It really made being excited for myself, that much more difficult. I realized while starting to open up about my goals to Zack when we first began running, it was because I was afraid of disappointing them or looking like a fool when I didn't do as well as I had planned, or if I just quit all together (which isn't going to happen, but at one time I was not of that notion). Which made me realize "wait, that's exactly the reasoning I need TO talk to people. Motivation. If I ever don't feel like doing it for myself, well I just HAVE to prove myself to someone at this point. Because I took the liberty of opening my gosh darn mouth" After all, fear has always been my most powerful motivator. So, I decided it was time to use it for my own benefit. But more than that, knowing you have people supporting you is a great feeling. It's like when I was applying to culinary schools when I had first graduated college. The first question was always "does your family support this decision" that's because..... As much as we love to rebel as a society, we DO want to make the people in our lives proud. But, how can we make them proud if they don't even know we're doing something in the first place?
5) Pushing too hard and tearing every muscle known to man
Well okay, maybe I am pushing the truth a little on that one. You probably wont screw up EVERY muscle... Almost every beginner runner I have ever known has put on too many miles too soon. As a result, we end up hurt. BE WARE OF WARNING SIGNS. ALWAYS LISTEN TO THEM. (Easier said than done, I know) If you are feeling achy, sore, crackly in places you normally aren't... Cool it. Ease yourself. I've once been of the same notion, but I have come to learn that there is NOTHING and I mean nothing wrong with walking during a run if you need to. Walking it out is much better and less damaging to your spirit, training, and body than say....... pushing through and screwing up your knees, or pulling a hamstring. GRADUALLY build your miles (don't do what I did in my #1 story) and when your training calls for a rest day. You shall rest. Or you will be cursing at yourself in 3 different languages later (okay... Maybe that's just me)
There are about 10 million other rookie mistakes out there, but these are the ones that really call to me and just about every runner I've ever met. (Or at least did...when they were n00bz) what were your rookie mistakes? & what ones do you catch yourself still doing (every now and then we are all guilty!)
I was a sprinter in highschool. 100s were my thing. I loved them, and I never ever enjoyed the longer runs during track practice. Infact, I loathed them. I hated Phys Ed. in high school. I was never into any team sports. I was a gymnast and a dancer, exclusively. I never had to worry about working out because I was blessed with a small frame and an oddly high metabolism as a teenager. The only physical activity I did regularly was competitive gymnastics, and heck. I LOVED it.
When I started working and going to college full time I had less time for dancing or any other type of physical activity. My routine became a constant cycle. Wake up, Classes, Work, Homework, movie/bed with boyfriend. I don't watch what I eat. And I tell you what, I eat a heck-of-a-lot for someone my size. So needless to say, no matter how high my metabolism may be (or have been once upon a time...) it has started to catch up with me. I started feel weaker and weaker by the day. I climb up a flight of stairs too fast and catch myself panting. I have ZERO excercise besides the constant circle I do like a maniac as a cocktail waitress 4 shifts a week... Suddenly there is flab and buldge in UNWANTED places. (Heck, it's all unwanted places, isn't it?)
Bottom line? I've been living a drastically unhealthy lifestyle for a few years now.
Now, I have coworkers who have done everything but drag me out on runs with them... They've been encouraging me to join they're weekly group run for months now.. Until, I said no so many times that they just simply stopped asking me, all together. I'd always find an excuse.. I don't have running shoes. I have plans. The runs are too early (I am not a morning person) or I don't want to slow them down with my terrible form or frantic breathing.
Until, one day I had a split second of decisiveness and just headed off to the YMCA. I jumped on the treadmill, and just........RAN. I. Me, Charlotte. I ran. And I just kept running. I ran until I couldn't run any further, and then I ran some more. Not until I literally thought I was going to lose my breakfast did I stop. It was a great feeling. I accomplished something I had secretly been wanting to for so long. Sure, I probably ran the slowest ever, and I probably didn't run far (I refused to look. Prideful creatures, we are) So, I surprised my colleagues two weeks later with my registration form for the "Run for Beer" 5k. (My first and so far only official run!) And as all stories go, the rest is history.
However, I feel I've still been so halfassed about this to date. This is me taking complete control right now. I am revamping my training schedule. I am starting from scratch as if I'm a beginner coach potato. I registered for the Family Fun Run 5k in Baltimore, MD on September 24th and I'm taking the next 6(ish) weeks to polish my running.
I'm a huge fat NEWB and would love any and all advice anyone can give.
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