Friday, February 6, 2009

Finding My Pace

Someone asked me to write an article for a local women’s journal on how to get started running. Oddly enough, I never considered myself a “runner.” Races for me are pure pleasure for sharing the energy of people you run with… and for hearing the families on the sides encouraging you along. Who wouldn’t want to race? It’s not every day I hear people cheering me on!

But like I said, for years, I never ran, only walked. Running made me feel inadequate, out of shape (and breath), and feeling like garbage at the end.

Many years ago, my then-boyfriend encouraged me to try a run… slowly. Not at the greyhound pace at which I loved to start. I agreed. And started out slowly… still kind of out of breath. But I felt much better. So we did more runs together, until that fateful day when he whistled while I ran. Whistled. The shock.

So we began to run separately. Me at my own pace. And I learned to give myself credit for getting out there. I stopped comparing myself to “where I should be.” My boyfriend became my greatest cheerleader, and still is after 11 years of marriage.

Then came the first 5 mile race! I was so nervous. But I made it. Slow as molasses, but made it! A few years later, I did what I thought was previously impossible – I signed up for the Rock N’Roll Marathon in San Diego. To get there, I teamed up with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and trained with a fabulous group of people. And what I discovered was no matter the mileage, no matter how freezing cold the weather (we lived in Boston), I enjoyed our runs together with the group … because I could talk to people while I ran.

So the mantra for my long runs became this:

Number 1. Find people to run with if I can – who share the same “talking” pace.
Number 2. I don’t beat myself up. When I do, I recognize it as “Let me beat myself up a little more...”
Number 3. When I go on solo runs, keep it slow and steady, and remember how good I will feel when I’m done.

For my article Running: How To Get Started Without Tripping Over Your Laces, see .

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