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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Life Lessons I learned from running

I've wrapped my 2014 running season and started 2015 with a Resolution Run of 4 miles today.  I've learned a few things over the course (pun intended) of the year, that I'd like to share.

1Set Goals.  At the end of 2013, encouraged by one of the ladies in my running group, I signed up for the Triple Peach.   The Honor of being a Triple Peach Finisher is limited to 1500 brave souls who run 3 designated races sponsored by the Atlanta Track Club.   The Peachtree Road Race, run on the 4th of July, The Atlanta 10-Miler and the Atlanta Half Marathon, run annually on Thanksgiving.   When I set the goal, I figured it was achievable since it was based on progressive mileage.  10k (6.2 miles), 10 miles and then the Half Marathon (13.1 miles), the finale.   Although things didn't work out perfectly, I earned my each of my medals and am a Triple Peach Finisher!   I'm working on my goals for 2015.

2Train consistently or "You can run today's race, on the last race training" - Jessie A. Lopez, Running Partner.  Anything worth doing is worth doing well.   Very few people start doing something and don't have to train or apply some manner of discipline to do it.  Running is the same, especially if you have goals...and we all have goals, right?   In 2014 I did bad things and my caveat is "don't try this at home".  First I ran a 10k, having covered the 10k distance only twice before the race.   I ran a 10 miler, which I suffered through because of inconsistent training.   And I finished a half marathon, after the clock should have been shut off, because I barely ran between the 10 miler and the half.   What's the deal?   I have no excuse.   I sat, slept and sulked instead of running every time that I should have.    Lazy kept me sitting. Tired kept me sleeping.   Hormones had me sulking.   Funny that each of these 3 minor conditions could have been cured by a few good runs.

3Don't profile other runners or "That 75 year old granny will leave you in the dust".  Oh boy....on a short run, you can usually finish before those you have preconceived notions about.   However,  on a long run, Grandma, the person you decided was heavier and slower than you, a 9-year old first timer and the duo of Grandpa Sam and uncle Joe talking about their great grandsons, will pass you and convincingly so.   You may (I really mean, I may)  be able to hold them off for the first 5 or 6 miles, but on the last half of the race, experience and consistent training takes precedence and you will I did get spanked.   The difference between me and them.....see #2.

4.  Know, rotate and replace your gear or "You can't run straight if your shoes have no tread".  Well because I wasn't training consistently, I didn't realize that the tread was a little too worn on my favorite pair of running shoes.   And when I realized it I had to debate between replacing them days before the race or running in them anyway.   I voted to run in them anyway and ended up with issues.   Also, who knew that eventually your socks wear down too?   The socks which on prior runs  were holding my feet firmly an providing support and protection, started sliding around in my shoe and I ended up with feet that were killing me for the last 6 miles.   I had a second pair of running shoes that I could have worn that had more tread, but they didn't match my I suffered the ouchy feet.

5.  Have the right equipment or "Cute pants are cute, until they start falling down".  Everyone knows, or should know that you need to be properly fitted for your running shoes.   For Shoes, going to a specialty shop geared towards running and running gear will beat out the deal found at TJ Maxx.....always.   But what about your other gear.    This lesson was learned in 2013.    I had been training pretty regularly, my shoes and socks were in good condition, but I wanted a new pair of pants for an upcoming 5K.  I wore them without a run test.   Bad move.   On race day....I spent the first half mile moving pins from my bib to secure my pants.   Even more embarrassing I was running with my church group and the new pastor.  Luckily I had taken all 4 pins for the bib so I was able to leave two in the bib and still save the embarrassment of falling pants...As luck would have it, our new associate pastor became my running partner!   Thank goodness for the extra safety pins I grabbed at bib pickup.  I actually run with a couple of extra pins available now.

6.  You can run anywhere or "but you can't run everywhere" - Running is the type of activity that you don't need a special place to do it.  Run in the mountains, on a trail, at the beach, on the street, the options are endless.  But be smart about your route.   In Atlanta this year, there was as story about a woman who was assaulted while on her solo run in a isolated area.  A solo run is soothing and a great stress buster, but be wise and aware of your surrounding.   If a certain spot gives you the heebie geebies, find another place, run with a partner or run inside.

7You can't outrun ( or out train) a bad diet.   Exercise and diet go hand in hand.   However it seems that for some reason I can't get my eating plan and my exercise plan together for long term....but trying again.   And I've made a big commitment with small goal markers.   1 pound per week for the year!

So with this, I'm looking forward to a new run season....

What have you learned from your exercise of choice?

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