Sunday, December 8, 2013

My evolution as a runner

As soon as I woke up this morning, I started reading my Gone Girl again--I really wanted to finish it! I read as I ate breakfast, and finally finished it in the late morning. I was SO disappointed in the ending. It was well-written, but it wasn't at all what I'd hoped would happen. I won't spoil it, but it was a great book, and I'm glad I read it. Today, I borrowed the book The Innocent by Harlan Coben, which is another book that a reader (or two or three) recommended.

After I finished Gone Girl, I got dressed for my run. It was another very cold one today, a "feels like" temp of 10 degrees, like yesterday. I was only scheduled for three miles at an easy pace, but since I took the trouble to get bundled up for a run, I figured I might as well do four. I feel like I should at least run for 30 minutes.

I ran my usual out-and-back route, and on the way back, I noticed a skinned (dead) animal in the ditch. Not to get too gruesome, but I thought it was a cat, and it was heart-breaking. I couldn't keep running without knowing for sure if someone was actually that cruel, so I stopped and turned to look. Thankfully, it wasn't a cat... but someone had skinned probably five or six possums, and then left the carcasses in the ditch. I have no idea why anyone would do that!

When I'd stopped my Garmin to look in the ditch, I accidentally pressed the lap button, so the distances of my splits are screwed up.


It started snowing around lunchtime, and it collected outside pretty quickly. Not a whole lot, but it was enough to cover the ground lightly. I was feeling snacky, so I decided to take my mind off of food and go for a walk in the snow. Surprisingly, Eli asked to go with me, so of course I said sure!

It was fun to go with just Eli. We walked very slowly, and it probably took us 20 minutes to circle the block one time (0.4 miles), but I loved it. He drew a person in the snow:


And we took a picture of us, all bundled up:


When we got back to the house, Eli went inside with Jerry and Noah to drink some hot chocolate while I kept walking. I grabbed the Kindle to start reading The Innocent while I walked. I only did the short loop of our neighborhood, because my hands were frozen, even with gloves. But it was nice to get in some extra activity.


After this morning's run, I was thinking about the ways I've evolved as a runner. Today, I stopped to check out what was in the ditch, and when I first started running in 2010, I wouldn't stop for anything! I used to think that it "didn't count" if I stopped at all during my run. Even if I came across a friend or neighbor, I felt like I had to keep running rather than chat for a moment.

Now, I don't even think twice about it; I just pause my Garmin and do whatever I need to do: adjust my clothing, chat with a friend, see what's in the ditch, wait for a stoplight, or whatever else. Then I keep running and restart my Garmin. The world doesn't end ;)

I also used to be very particular about stopping my Garmin as soon as I hit an even number. I couldn't finish a run at 3.03, or 2.97... I would run a little farther, or stop a little sooner to hit that even number. Now, it doesn't bother me at all to go over the number I was aiming for, but I still like to at least hit that number (so if I saw 2.97, I'd just run a little farther to get to 3.00).

I used to get offended by the word "jog" or "jogger". This doesn't bother me at all anymore. I use the word "jog" when I'm talking about running without purpose, or running much slower than I'm used to (like in-between intervals, I'll "jog" a short distance to recover my heart rate). Usually, people who use the word "jog" are people who are non-runners, and they ask me (to be polite), "Did you have a nice jog?" Nothing wrong with that!

There are still some things that I should probably work on, however: I wish I could run without my Garmin, just "for fun", but I am too numbers-dependant; I have a hard time running without a purpose--I always feel like I need to be training for something; and I'm still too hard on myself when I don't hit a goal.

Anyway, I just thought it was interesting to see how much has changed since I first started running in spring 2010!


Just a reminder, tomorrow is Motivational Monday! If you have a photo of a health/fitness accomplishment that you'd like to share, you can e-mail it to me at SlimKatie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com, subject "Motivational Monday", along with a short description. I may share it on tomorrow's post!

32 comments:

  1. I'm still at the point where I feel like I can't stop. Yesterday I ran 4 miles for the first time every (yay!) and towards the end I ran by a neighbor I didn't know who was setting up a crazy holiday lights display in his yard (think Clark Griswold style). I asked him if it was going to be lit up that night, and would have liked to have a conversation, but I felt like I had to keep running. Hopefully that will pass.

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    1. Just keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with stopping for a minute, especially if you're out for an easy run. I've found running to be much more enjoyable since I became more relaxed about it (I just wish I could relax even more, and try running without a Garmin! haha)

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    2. Yesterday I tried the treadmill for the first time (no way am I running when it's zero outside), and I totally wasn't used to it. I had to stop multiple times, but just focused on getting to my total mileage, and not how long it took me to get there.

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  2. That's funny! I do all the things you don't do anymore. But I just started running this year so maybe I need a few more years before I stop doing them. I can't run a ten minute mile yet and I'm afraid that starting and stopping will keep me from getting to my goal. I also don't run out in the cold yet. But I'm hoping to work up the nerve to get there. :)

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    1. Changing my view was a long process, but I find it more enjoyable since I stopped being so rigid! You should give running in the cold a try--you won't know if you like it until you try it :)

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  3. It's just starting to get cold here. I ran 13 miles last Saturday in a t shirt! Guess we're having a late winter. I definitely prefer running in the cold as well, but those first couple minutes til I get warmed up are tough! you're about to hit your 4th anniversary as a runner! Woop woop!

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    1. Wow, I hadn't thought about coming up on four years... it seems like it was just last year I started running! But at other times, I wonder what I used to do/think about before I started running, because I spend a lot of time on it now ;)

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  4. I would love you to read memories of running and tell me what you think of it. I will tell you its not a running book, but the character in it goes thru a huge transformation! I ve read it over and over for some reason. Never do I ever do that normally with any book. Your local library will have it, its written by Ron McLarty oh and the correct title is the memory of running have a great day, Robin




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    1. I just read a few reviews on Amazon, and it looks great! My library has it, so I'll add it to my queue :) Thanks!

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  5. Katie, one of the things I'm dying to know is, how long did it take you to be able to run without stopping? I've asked several runners and they tell me that it took some time and they just pushed themselves more each day. The difference between these runners and myself is that they have always been fit and I'm 10 months into a journey to drop 100lbs AND start an exercise routine. I'm going on 30 and I haven't been active in YEARS. I rode a bike to get around up until age 15 and after that, pfftt, I hated to move around, hence the weight gain. I want to train for a 5K color run in June, but when I try to do intervals it has to be broken up. After a 15 min interval (top speed I can maintain for 5 mins is 5mph at best) I have to take a 5 min - 10 min break. I feel like I'll never get there. Do you have any ideas that could help me? It has taken me months just to be able to do 3 - 3.5 mph on my treadmill for a 30 min stretch, but I dream of running that 5K.

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    1. When I first started running, I found run/walk intervals too difficult, and I always dreaded the next run interval. So I just started running as far as I could, and then I'd stop and walk the rest of the 30 minute workout. Each day, I'd try to go a little farther than before. So I was able to run without stopping from the very beginning, I just wasn't able to run FAR ;) Here is a post I wrote about it: http://www.runsforcookies.com/2012/11/on-starting-to-run-and-running-faster.html
      I always recommend working on distance before speed. So you may want to try slowing your speed, and see how much farther you can run. I was surprised what a difference that made when I first started!

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    2. I like that idea! :) I find intervals too hard as well and I started doing the running as far as I can thing when I first started and I did start going farther, but since everyone recommends the couch to 5k so much I was disappointed I found it so hard :( But this makes me feel better and I will start doing it again :)

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  6. Oh my god, that is horrifying...about the possums, I mean, not your running! Your running is inspiring. But the skinned possums *shudder.* I like cats way more, but I think skinning either is equally cruel. And now I think I am going to lose my oatmeal. Gah.

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    1. I know! I have no idea why anyone would do that.

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  7. One more thing--I am still at the "don't stop for anything" running phase. That is because if I stop I don't start again. I found your blog when looking for a way to up my running distance without C25K, because I just couldn't with all the stopping and starting.

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    1. That's how I feel toward the end of a long run... it's so much harder to start running if I walk or stop, so I avoid stopping at that point ;)

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  8. I have some of the same running hang-ups (I HATE to stop but I'm a little better about it now, especially since I have zero coordination so if I try to adjust anything - clothing, volume, etc. - and continue to run, well, it doesn't end well).

    I wanted to comment on the strength-training that you mentioned recently. Here are my thoughts: Don't make it too complicated. I hate, hate, HATE when folks think it has to be perfect or not at all. Success lies in the in-between. Try this: Push-ups, flip-flop sit-ups (you can google this), and maybe some curls (bicep or tricep) (you don't need weights - use water bottles or soup cans)(I also like resistance bands which are cheap and effective). Doing something is ALWAYS better than doing nothing so even if you just do 5 reps each that equals success!

    Since your family is such a motivation, make it a family challenge. See how many push-ups you can each do without stopping. Then set realistic goals to meet and a reward for the whole family once you meet them (like a new board game or matching t-shirts - whatever. You're creative, you'll think of something!). Then start a new challenge but add it TO the push-ups, not instead of. Just my two cents.

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    1. I totally agree about not making it too complicated! I give the same advice about weight loss. I always used to think I had to do it all perfectly or not at all, but I learned that making a few easy changes is much better than making no changes at all. I like the idea of doing the strength training as a family, and make it into a game of sorts :)

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  9. I can't run without my Garmin because I HAVE to know the distance I ran. I keep a running log book - the old fashioned kind that I write in - and each week has a weekly total and a year to date total. Seeing the year to date total add up each week is what keeps me going! I don't always have a goal for every run, especially this time of year, but I still have to know the distance I went. It is possible to run just for fun and still wear the Garmin. Also, all of my runs are stored on the Garmin so if I get behind in writing in my log book, which does happen, it's all there. Since the Chicago marathon, I've been really lazy about writing down my runs and I need to get a few weeks caught up but it's all there.

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    1. I ran one race without my Garmin (just a 5K) and it still bugs me that I don't know what my splits were! I love looking at the numbers... I don't think I could ever give up my Garmin!

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  10. Hated the ending of Gone Girl... It was such a good book otherwise. Reading "Constellation of Vital Phenomena" It was a top book of 2013 / NYT Book Review... Not really your genre, but the writing is excellent - about an orphan in Chechnya... I really want a fire, a cup of tea and 4 hours of uninterrupted time to sit with it.
    Is it ever TOO cold for you to run outside? I found 10 to be my limit - just could never get beyond chilled?! Layers, wind pants, hat, gator... oh, and I hate the treadmill!

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    1. I think the coldest temp I've ever run in was 8 degrees... there isn't a particular temp where I say "no way" as far as cold goes. But the heat is a different story! I'll likely be on the treadmill if it's over 75.

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  11. I feel the same way about stopping. It used to be the worst thing in the world and could ruin an entire run. If I had to pause five seconds to let a car pass before I crossed a road I'd be pissed off the whole run. I think running longer distances helped with this because your routes have more lights, stops for fuel, to tie a shoe, etc. Eventually I learned it's okay to stop! So now I could care less, which is nice, because it really used to stress me out!

    Odd numbers still don't agree with me but normally I'm not too picky about it. If I am finishing and I see "6.16" on the watch though you better believe I am slamming that stop button as quickly as possible!

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    1. Yes, it's so much nicer to run without stressing out about something like that!

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  12. Hi Katie! I am a relatively new reader and am really enjoying your blog (especially the plentiful archives!)
    I am hoping you can help me out - I need a head warmer and am having a really hard time finding one that is wide. All the ones i am finding in local sports stores are pretty narrow (and tight). I'm in TN, so do not have the extreme cold you do, but 30 degrees is enough to make this native Californian convulse from shivers. ;) Can you please direct me to some recommended head warmers? I've looked in your "favorite things" tab and can't find a compilation/comparison of the ones you use. I do think that new furry one you got is adorable (I think it is new…possible I read that post in your archives and is actually really old. lol) - but I am looking for something a little more utilitarian/practical for my first one. Thanks so much!!

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    1. It sounds like a Bondiband would work perfectly for you! (The furry one that I just posted about is a Bondiband). They have different ones, but these are the ones I like best: http://www.bondiband.com/searchresults.asp?cat=1820
      They're a sweat wicking fabric, very wide, stretchy, perfect for mild temps!

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  13. Great, I'm checking those out right now. I'm laughing that you refer to my winter as "mild temps". I'm miserable and freezing my ass off. ;)

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    1. I'm a total baby in the heat! I think 70 degrees feels too hot, and people think that's funny ;)

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  14. Hi, Katie - since you love charts, you and your kids and Jerry could do the 7 week challenge on hundredpushups.com. I printed out the 7 week chart - you use the left column and do push ups from the wall or counter if you are new, or middle or right column if you are a push up pro. It's 3 days a week ONLY and takes about 1 - 5 minutes a day. I used it to get my arms/back stronger and fit for a strapless dress for my daughter's wedding :) it worked!

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    1. My kids would love that idea! I'm terrible at push-ups, so I'd definitely have to do them on the counter or wall, but I'd be up for it!

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  15. How do you borrow books on a Kindle?

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    1. This was my first time doing it, so I had to figure it out; but my library has an app, which I downloaded to the Kindle. On the app, you can search the available titles for ebooks. To borrow one, you just click to borrow and download it; then, after two weeks, it is automatically "returned" (no longer available on the Kindle). I'm not sure how that works! But I think it's pretty cool to be able to borrow ebooks from the library :)

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I'd love to hear from you! I read all of my comments, and if you have a question, I do my best to respond; sometimes, however, I get busy and forget to go back to reply, so if it's important, just email me! :)