Monday, January 25, 2010

Beginning with one step and the right tude.

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." -Lao Tzu

I was asked by a friend recently about running. She said this:
"I have to warn you, I have tried in the past and have hated it, but I am older and feel the need for time to myself and to get rid of this baby weight. ANy suggestions on getting started, like for how long and how many days?"

This is how I responded:
"I started out doing a mile and then building up from there. I didn't much worry about time but distance. I found a route that was pretty with some hills and I mapped it out on google earth. I don't listen to music when I run but sometimes on long runs I wish I did have some tunes! Definitely try to find somewhere to run other than a track or boring place unless you have to. You should try running barefoot in the spring, it helps with form and is quite fun but until then make some small goals and then go after them! You should sign up for or plan to sign up for a 5k. Try this :) I have heard of it and have friends online who thought it was great. I am glad you like my blog!! Follow me and hey you should start a blog about starting running! It would be great and keep you motivated. Most people feel a sense of dislike when the run gets hard but runs change so don't focus on the discomfort but think positive instead! Keep me posted and good luck! I think I will blog about this correspondence too!"

First off I love how the guy in header of c25k is running BAREFOOT on the beach!! Anyhoo, several people have asked how to start running. Most mimply you put one foot in front of the other and tell yourself you are going to like it. 
Its really a matter of perspective. There are times during at least every other run that I have a hard time liking what I am doing but just like everything in life I tell myself that this too shall pass and wait it out. Its a mental and emotional game we play each time and part of the success is sticking it out or sometimes knowing when to stop depending on the day.
I think the hardest part, the place where most get stuck is getting out there. Once you are standing on the road or trail then its easy. You have to push away and ignore the million excuses not to do it and know that its human nature to stall and that its something that you have to just push past ,plain and simple. The first mile is the "get the kinks out" mile and you have to at least give that a go.
And most importantly, RELAX. Relax your jaw, your shoulders, your knees and ankles. Hold a nice straight back and run easy and light.

When I started running after having Archimedes (he will be 2 on the 28th and I started running again at about 5 months or so) I had just quit smoking. I know I know. Trust me I know how awful that is and I also know how hard it was to quit. It took more than stopping the act of smoking but I had to find other coping mechanisms to deal with life.....I had stress from living alone in Des Moines with 4 kids missing my dear one and not knowing what the next day would hold and how to fix what was wrong. I had crappy lung capacity and was hurting inside my soul something fierce. I was fighting some demons that were taking their toll and I needed something, so off I went with Archimedes strapped in the jogging stroller hanging on and smiling. I lost some weight and gained some lung capacity and endurance and time to myself to concentrate on my breathe and my heart.

I look back now and remember with gratitude what running has done for me over the last 2 summers. Hell, this winter has been much more bearable when I force myself to get out there on the days that are descent and to get on the treadmill on the majority that are not. Did I mention that winter in Iowa makes one weary at best?

I have set goals and know without a doubt how miserable I can be when I don't take care of my needs and I need to run. I need to run for my emotional and mental well being. It keeps the stress at bay. It doesn't magically erase stress, although sometimes when you get to that sweet spot it feels that way for sure! That fleeting sweet spot is something else! Where everything makes sense and you feel relaxed and strong and clear.
Running takes the edge off and when I meet those goals and keep getting better then its the icing on the self esteem cake. I like who I am and running is part of who I am.

So get off your butt and go for a run. Put one foot in front of the other and a smile on your face :) I learned and put to the test the fact that if you relax your jaw and mouth as well as your shoulders your lower body will relax as well. You will open up and let yourself be ok with discomfort and you endure or are able to push through a little farther. Childbirth is not much different than running in many ways. There are tips and tricks and advice galore but at some point you have to listen to your body and work it out for your own unique self and it is an interesting and fulfilling journey.
So enough about that and on to other things.

On a side note I have read recently in several places how running popularity goes up in times of financial crisis. It will be interesting so see how the numbers turn out for the races I will be running this year and see if they go up from last year.

My run today was on the treadmill. Of course it was on the treadmill since we had a blizzard warning today here in balmy Des Moines Iowa. Do you sense the sarcasm?? Hhhmmm?
I ran 7 miles. 6 miles in 57 minutes and one 11 minute mile to finish off and relax. It was hard hard, but I finished strong and even though I did not eat optimally today and was still weary from my long run the day before yesterday, I still pushed through and was happy with the results.

My dear one who is a barefoot runner now, is getting better and better and I have to keep my lead for as long as I can! Its great motivation. I am so looking forward to racing with him this spring.
Its so nice to sit and feel blissful after working out together and talk shop.

One thing that kind of bites lately is that my metabolism is jacked up and I am having a hard time staying asleep at night. Thankfully I have not been having the creeping irrational fears in the middle of the night when I can't sleep. I have been reading "Small Favor" by Jim Butcher in bed wit the flashlight to get back to sleep. I love love love Harry Dresden!


Anonymous said...

I thought Des Moines was tropical this time of year. Maybe I need a geography lesson...

Julie said...

Hi Angie,
I clearly thought that I was up pretty early here and I see that you already have one comment...and it is Jamoosh! He is so flipping fast! It is true that the journey and andventure of running begins with one step, one mile, three miles and so on. We build and we grow:) Have a great day Angie!

shel said...

i think the key to starting with and sticking to a running program is this: you have to want to be a runner. we can't lie - running sucks at first. it is hard and you feel like your heart is going to pound out of your chest. you wonder how you'll ever make it a mile, or why someone would race for 3 or 6 of them. and then 2 years later you win a 12 hour race, and you surf the internet looking for nearby 100 milers and thinking how amazing your friend (who just entered a 200 mile race) is and that he is so crazy and that you could never do that. and then you remember that you told yourself 2 years ago you'd never run 3 miles. and then you smile. and then you be sure to tell all of your friends that all you have to do is want it. after 3 or 4 months it is infinitely easier than the first week.

Unknown said...

Hey Jamoosh, its 12.5 degrees. Thats pretty stinkin warm if you ask me!!

You have a great day too Julie!

Shel, I totally agree. I think most all of it is in the head and what you can wrap that around. Most things are or seem infinately harder in the beginning. We humans have this uncanny ability to forget things, especially discomfort or at least loose touch with them.

Anonymous said...

I love Harry Dresden too. I would marry him if he were real :) I pushed myself today past my usual 6 miles to 8. I am finding that my toes will get numb. Am I doing something wrong?

Unknown said...

ah yes Harry Dresden. Can't get enough of him.
Anonymous, I couldn't really say why your toes are going numb. Maybe when you get tired your form gets a bit more sloppy, I know mine does, and you are pinching nerves or something. Are you running in shoes or barefoot? What part of your toes and is it all of them? If you have shoes on maybe your feet are swelling and you needed to adjust the laces to loosen up and accommodate the swelling.
Good job on the mileage though!

Anonymous said...

Everything you said about starting to run is so right on. Getting out there past all of the excuses is the hardest part, and it really is a mental battle more than a physical one. Great advice!

I provide Bradley Method childbirth education, doula, belly casting, placenta encapsulation, and post partum doula services.
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