Thursday, September 26, 2013

Running Judgment

So today, I admit, I am fired up.  I have had two things blog related that have popped up this week, and combined with my new attitude towards running (less focus on time, more focus on enjoying it), they have got me going. 

Let's just admit it, there are a lot of runners out there that are judgmental.  Whether it is judging the outfit the person next to you is wearing, or judging the distance you can run, or the biggest one, the time you can run in, some runners can be pretty mean. 

I have been following a blog for the longest time, with an awesome woman behind the wheel on it, Amanda.  She and I have many similarities: we both are step moms, we both struggle with weight issues, we both have Boston Terriers (well, mine is a cross, but still), and we both would, at some level define ourselves as slow runners.  Amanda posted this great blog post yesterday:

In summary, someone at the Wall Street Journal decided to print an article about how pathetic young runners are, how slow they are, how they aren't taking running seriously.  How we are turning races into "parades."

I read this after I had reviewed my stats for my blog out of curiosity, and found someone had found my blog this month by searching "big girl running" - ouch.  It hit a real spot with me.

I have so many problems with the judgment that the Wall Street Journal, and others have of slow runners, of runners who are starting out, of runners who are doing this for fun.  It's our LIFE.  Leave us alone!!!!   As Amanda pointed out, some people are running despite great odds.  For her, it is 5 knee surgeries.  For people I ran with this weekend (at the Army Run 5k), it was this kind of obstacle:

Statistically, there are more women running these days than any other time in history.  Women cannot run at the same speed as men.  This does NOT mean we are lazy or unmotivated.  People tend to have less time to train, and don't put in the same 70+ hour weeks that some men used to do to train for races in the 1970's.  This does not mean that races these days are turning into parades.

What the shift in our generation does mean is more people are getting out there and running.  Running is no longer owned by the elites.  It is becoming about the masses.  There is nothing wrong with having races available to people to start running in a society where obesity is an epidemic. 

The article points to our generation embracing mediocrity, but they seem to be equating mediocrity with being average.  Since when is average not ok?  Not everyone is the star basketball player, or the best academically, or able to earn a million dollars.  Why isn't ok to be good at some things, and average on others? 

My opinion is that I am average, in many ways. 

I am average with my weight.  I don't think I am a "big girl running".  I wear a size 8 - since when is that big? 

I am an average runner.  I am working towards the elusive goal of a 5k in 30 minutes, or a 10k in an hour.  I'm close, but not there yet. 

I am a mediocre blogger - I drop off too easily, and I am trying to fix that.

Everyone is running their own race.  It is cliche but true.  We all have our own demons we are facing, and if doing a race through mud, or through coloured powder, or with a tiara and tutu stopping for pictures on the way makes you happy, do it.  Your goal doesn't have to be about time, and you don't have to come first.  Finishing any race is an accomplishment, and it means you are focusing on you and your health.  I will never judge you for that.

Have you judged another runner?  I admit, I have.  Usually related to race outfits or pictures. 

Have you been judged?

What do you think of the Wall Street Journal article?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Getting back to business

Back early this year, January to be exact, I thought I was going to pick up the blog again.  Well, 9 months later, I guess it is about time.

I think it is a perfect time to do so, since my prespective with running has changed so much since then.  In March of this year, I signed up for a Running Room clinic.  I have had a negative mindset with running for quite some time, focusing too much on times, and not enough on consistency and just being happy.  I signed up for the clinic thinking that I could at least find one running partner who was at my pace, and could try out the method of 10's and 1's to get faster. 

I definitely got more than that out of it:  I had a great instructor who pushed everyone, and who never left any runner behind.  I tried the 10 and 1 method, and was able to knock a whole 6 minutes of my previous PB for a 10k race.  I gained several running friends.  But most of all, I began to love running in a way I never had before.  I didn't dread having a running schedule, I embraced it.  It became routine, and the distances were no big thing.  When there is someone else who is waiting for you to run with (and when you have paid to get your butt in gear) it is easy to find motivation and avoid saying "I'll do it tomorrow." 

So fast forward to May Race Weekend, I rocked it.  Since then, I have kept my distances up, aside from the past two weeks, and have came up with a running plan for the next year or so. 

Given that it is my 30th birthday this year, I wanted to do some things that were out of my comfort level, that cost more than I would normally spend on myself, that put me first.  So out of the blue, I have decided to do this:

Registration Confirmation for:
Dear Pamela,
Congratulations! You are now registered for 2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. Please check the event's official website for updates:

This is for the 2014 Glass Slipper Challenge on Saturday, February 22, 2014 and Sunday, February 23, 2014.

So in a little over 150 days, I am going to run a 10k on Saturday, and a half marathon on Sunday.  In costume.  With three of my best girlfriends.  It is daunting, but so much fun.

Training starts October 8th.  I am not sure if I am mentally ready yet, I haven't ran a half marathon in over two years, so it is a big challenge.  I wasn't happy during my first two half marathons, but really, how can you be miserable when running in a tutu through the happiest place on earth?

What is the best race you have ever done?  How can I start to prepare mentally for the journey ahead?