Spring has finally arrived in Minnesota. I say this with an enthusiasm not previously felt in past years because the idea of actually being out and active in the Springtime was not exactly on my daily list of things to do back in the day. Let's just say I admired Spring from behind screened windows.
But becoming a runner changed all that.
I started running in January of 2010. It started out very slowly. I'd walk four minutes, run one, and then repeat, all at approximately 3.2 miles per hour on my basement treadmill. By April of 2010, I'd built my endurance up to being able to run 30 minutes without stopping. This in and of itself? A veritable revelation for a formerly inert adult whose idea of exercise had been doing laundry and pressing buttons on the remote control.
Once I'd hit that 30-minute mark in April, I decided it was time to step out the front door and give running outside a whirl.
First, you have to understand a few things about me.
1. I used to be moderately afraid of nature. Oh sure, I'd take an occasional walk on a gorgeous 65-degree day, but usually as soon as the bugs and heat came on, you wouldn't see me outside again unless I was on a grocery run, or the leaves were falling off the trees in October.
2. I like Kleenex and water within my reach at all times. When I'm working out, I get really thirsty and my nose runs like a faucet. When you're on a treadmill, you have everything you need right at your fingertips. The idea of toting all that stuff for outdoor runs? Well that just seemed like far more work than its worth.
3. I like routines. Knowing I would get up 4 days a week, get on the treadmill and make it worth the price I paid was something I liked. I liked the predictability of knowing exactly where and how I would be running.
But that day last April when I stepped out to run the roughly 4-mile route from my front door, around the lake and back, I was feeling strangely bold and adventurous. I thought, "What's stopping me from acting like a real runner?" So for shits and giggles, I headed out on a gorgeous 45-degree morning and ran the route.
Later that day, I could barely walk due to my screaming quads, and my sore calves. I was all, "Really? Really? I workout for 4 months, building up my endurance for this?" I could not believe that running on the pavement could be that much different than running on the 'mill. But apparently, my body thought otherwise.
So I decided right there and then. No thanks. I'll stay in my basement.
I'm not sure what happened during the following weeks, but my inner athlete kept whispering in my ear to get back outside and give it another go. It said things like, "Wasn't it gorgeous outside?" and "Didn't it make you feel just a little more connected to the natural world?" and "You didn't buy all these cute running clothes just for your basement, now did you?"
So I went out again and found the second run didn't take nearly as much out of me as that first one did, though I was still a little shaky on the idea. I mean, I had to stuff tons of tissue into my sports bra to whip out at a moment's notice for the old nose blow, and I hadn't made the connection that you can take water with you on a any given run. Still, those were simply small obstacles getting in the way of the fact that I could actually get outside and run.
Once I hit May, my feet only saw the treadmill when the snow fell hard, fast and deep the following November.
The only thing that kept me from running in the ice and snow of a Minnesota Winter was the ice and snow of a Minnesota Winter. I'm no fool to know I have zero balance on ice and I decided that I didn't want to risk an injury from slipping and wipe out all the training and endurance I'd built up over the previous year.
So I ran in my basement all Winter long.
Now I know there are runners who absolutely cringe at the thought of being tied to a treadmill for any amount of time. I'm not one of those runners. Once I made the transition inside, I checked my check list to see if what I was hoping to achieve with running was still happening. 1. Sweating? Check. 2. Breathing hard and bringing my heart rate up? Check. 3. Getting a workout done and feeling really good that it's off my list? Check. 4. Contributing to my efforts to Move More? Check.
I had good tunes playing on my iPod, water and Kleenex aplenty. I settled in for a long Winter.
But there was still a longing to get back outside. A pining for just a few more degrees so I wouldn't have to run just to stay warm. A wish for the ice to finally melt so I could hit that lake route that literally transformed my athletic life last year.
When it finally hit 40 degrees, I got back outside and much to my surprise, the first few runs I've completed have literally kicked my ass. My muscles have ached in places I haven't felt since last summer. My pace is slower than it's been in months. And the worst part? My confidence as a runner has come down a few pegs on the pole as I'm wondering, "Where is the Cathy from last summer? The one who almost felt like each run had the potential to become a religious experience?"
My point for today's post is that exercise seems to have an ebb and flow. It's not always easy or automatic, and sometimes, you have to adjust your expectations, as I'm finding I'm having to adjust mine right now. I'm not a Speedy Gonzales. My muscles don't always want to respond the way I'd like them to. But I'm not giving up. I may go a little slower, or I may decide to hit the pool an extra day and drop one of the runs, but I'm not giving up on Moving More.
I might even reach a point where running no longer works the way I'd like it to, and if this happens, then I'll try a new class, or dust off my bike, or anything to make sure I'm honoring my commitment to my body to give it a little effort and keep it in the best working condition that I can.
If you're out there, Moving More, just remember: things do ebb and flow. Just like food and weight, sometimes the Moving part does too. I'm right there with you, scratching my head and wondering when my lake runs will feel glorious again.
For now, I'll keep plugging away.
What about you?
Kendra B says
You’re right about the ebb and flow . . . although in the past my routine has been ebb and stop LOL But (only a month ago) I’ve made up my mind to at least move in some way every day and its all because of your inspiring posts 🙂 And I think running this time will be just like when you started running . . . you just need some more runs under your belt (or would it be under your shoes??? hmm) and you’ll be back to where you were!
Amy Z says
I will know that feeling well when my knee finally heals and lets me get back out there. I keep imagining a 16 min/mile…LOL
Susan Adams says
I needed to hear this today, Cathy! I ran outside for the first time last week (our Michigan winter was not quite as bad as yours, but still cold enough for indoor treadmill runs), and I didn’t go as far as I do on my treadmill, I didn’t go as fast, and the next couple of days I felt soreness that I hadn’t felt in months! I thought maybe I had been fooling myself all this time–am I really a runner?
Thank you for reminding me about the ebb and flow. Now I will take it one run at a time!
Susan in MD says
Because of my love of all things sweet, I workout M-F. Much to my chagrin, I can barely move this morning after laying mulch this past weekend. You think you lift weights and walk everyday, so your back would be strong enough to do a little springtime clean-up…but oh no. I have pain in muscles I didn’t even know existed. Oh well…back to walking today. Just think I’ll take a few days off from lifting weights until I can bend over and tie my shoes without grunting or groaning.
Susan in MD
PS — why is it that sounds come out of our mouths everytime we move once we hit 40?
I can totally relate to this. My past 3 runs outside have kicked my ass! And it does make me feel like, “What is this??” I have exercised all winter, ran on the treadmill, done other workouts and it feels like THIS the first few times I go back out??? BUT, like you, I remind myself that it is all still good. Moving inside, moving outside…I am still moving, still seeing results, and it feels good!
Glad we all can hold one another up on this one!
Keep on rockin’ it!
I’m enormously proud to say that four years after quitting smoking I ran my first marathon yesterday! The Canberra marathon (in Australia) was held in the pouring rain and there were definetly ebs and flows. My mission this year has been ’42 @ 42′ (I turned 42 on the 5th of april – 42 km’s) and it’s come with it’s fair share of ebs and flows.
Okay. So it’s Monday and I’m having one of those ebb and STOP days. No desire whatsoever to get on the treadmill or even go outside to exercise. Because of your post I’ll put on my shoes and pledge to move for at least 30 minutes. Who know…maybe the exercise will help my mood (not a good one today – and no reason WHY).
Alicia McMahon says
Thanks Cathy for the positive message. I have been beating myself up because I didn’t run outside this winter (I had the best intentions, including acquiring lots of cold weather clothing). But I rode my bike last week to the gym and ran outside yesterday. It was glorious even if I was fighting the wind. Back at it today!
Alicia in KC
I had to take off running for 10 days due to illness and could not believe how hard it was to get back on track. But I did pine for the trail so I guess I am committed to the moving more life!
Wow. Kate, congratulations. You KNOW what an accomplishment that is. Cheers to you!
Cheryl, one thing I do know for sure: it TOTALLY helps your mental state. I never realized that before, but man, on the days I choose not to workout, which are few and far between, I’m not as even as I am on those days I do.
I took my first big bike ride of the spring last Friday. Ironically, the worst part was riding through the traffic created by people picking up their marathon packets. That is, until the evening and my legs started screaming. It was totally worth it though. I’d much rather spend my money on food than gas!
I took my first running class on Saturday – I took a couple practice runs last week before the class (didn’t want to look completely silly!) and by Saturday I was “almost” starting to enjoy myself! We’re starting slowly (run 1 min, walk 2 min), but I can see why running outside can be enjoyable. Of course, the cute running skirts help, don’t they?
Thank you for a reality check from another perspective. I have dabbed in jogging off and on for a couple of years. Having started at almost 300 lbs with my weight and losing my first initial 50 lbs I had plugged away slowly on the YMCA treadmill and one day got emotionally challenged to try a little jog. I didn’t dare brave it at the Y in front of actual sporty type people (including my childrens pediatrian who is what we affectionatly call “granola” as in he is very althletic/nature oriented) so I pulled out my Mom’s old “Deathmill” in the garage and did one full minute of jogging. DEATH BECOMES ME are the words I believe that came to mind? LOL However, I tried again the next day and the next till’ I could jog for 5 minutes. Then I tried it at the Y and did alternating walk and jogs. That spring I did as you, and started outside. BIG dissapointment for me. I could easily jog out a mile on the treadmill at the YMCA — I went to the HS track around the corne from our home and could barely squeeze out a 1/4 mile and I was beat. It was a TRUE heartbreaking moment. I almost gave up. Instead, I got up every morning, went to the Y and then came home, woke up the kids to get ready for school and went back out into the cold and frosty mornings and started jogging/walking intervals till’ I got up to a mile, and then two and finally to three.
Over the course of the past 2+ years I have waivered back and forth, Idaho winters are MUCH like Minn winters so outdoors is not idea. Treadmills are NOT my favorite but they keep you moving.
OK final note. I went out for 8 miles yesteday – mile 7 my calved cramped up like something was going to roll up and pop right outta my legs. It was VERY dissapointing. VERY heartbreaking and VERY dissapointing. I have a 1/2 marathon to do in 5 weeks and I couldn’t tough through 8 miles? My body has failed me.
So, to hear your story today re-insprired my heart and my mind. My legs, they are having a serious stretch today and then tomorrow I’ll go back out for my daily 3-4 miles and this weeken I’ll try fr 8 again!
THANK YOU for being you!!!!
So appreciate this post. I always wanted to know how/when you worked up to 30 minutes of straight running.
Today was my first (treadmill) run where I was able to do the first mile without stopping. HUGE for me. I used to run one song, walk one song.
My only goal is to be able to run 3 miles straight.
For years I tried to run in order to lose weight, always starting and stopping. You inspired me to get the nike+, and it completely changed running for me.
Thanks so much for the continued inspiration!
It is definitely baby steps. It takes time, especially for people like me who never ran before! Keep up the hard work!
Wow Darla, this is inspiring. Look at you. Seriously. And yes, ebb and flow. You know not every run is going to be a good one. Maybe you needed a little extra energy? A banana? Have you ever checked out the Run Like a Mother: The Book Facebook page or their blog? Super inspiring on every level!
You can do the 1/2! Stay positive!
oh, they help immensely! I wear mine on the treadmill too! : )
I think the hardest part of running is, quite often, the mental part. Mentally, you know how to get out there and go. Physically, your body has forgotten. You have to retrain your muscle memory but not your memory memory. 😉 I do this every spring, too. (This spring has been especially bad because of weather & unexpected injuries.) It takes awhile to catch the bug again. But you’ll catch it! Here’s the secret: sign up for a race. Read about the course and find some people who’ve run it for more inspiration. Having that goal to work toward helps ignite your running joy, too!
marlene gibson says
I don’t think I’ve ever posted a comment before, but I thought I’d chime in today.
I started walking/running on the treadmill in January of this year so I could sign up for a 5K that goes right by my house every year. My kids want to wave at ME from the porch 😉 I did my first outside run about a month ago and like everyone else I was so surprised at how much harder it was. My theory is that the treadmill does a lot of the moving for you and you just don’t have that outside.
Yesterday was my first day of running outside when the cold air didn’t shrivel up my lungs and that was awesome! New England winters are brutal too 🙂
wishing you healing! : )
Good for you! And yes, I know its an adjustment period. Im going to mix in an outdoor run each week for the next three weeks to get my muscles reconditioned to it all, and see where I am at the end of April. : )
Kristyn G says
Your post title really hit home with me today. This Saturday I ran my first 10K race. I had actually never covered more than 5 miles in training so I was a little worried about how I would do. I set the easy goal of coming in under 1:15. I crossed the line at 1:10:37. Works for me! I think I could have done much better if it weren’t for the 75 degrees and 87% humidity and NO wind or cloud cover. It was HOT. It got tough. But this tough chick kept going, just a little bit slower than normal 🙂
Thanks for the inspiration CZ! You are the reason I decided to try running for the first time in my life (I swam in high school) after the birth of our second child last fall.
Thanks Cathy for this encouragement! I’ve been exercising/running a lot since January and 2 weeks ago I hit a HUGE wall. My body hurt, and instead of feeling energized, I felt tired. So tired. I’d lost 19 lbs in three months, and I think my post-pregnancy body was saying, “slow down… take a break, or at least ease up some”. I’m still nursing a 5 month old 24/7 and have got to remember how all the exercising, milk production, etc requires me not to push so hard. So I took a week off. I just gardened, worked outside, and walked a bit–I feel great again. So, back to exercising, but not quite so hard this time! I’m going to listen to my body!
I am a big fan of the treadmill. It pushes me in ways I’m psychologically incapable of pushing myself I think. I ran a great race this weekend, a new PR by 12 minutes and when I went back and calculated my pace? Just what I run at on my treadmill.
It’s all very mental for me. I have to have a race to train for. I have to have a treadmill to push me or my running buddies to go outside. I need those external forces.
I am greatly enjoying your blog. Good luck in your endeavors!!
Way to go Kristyn! Thats totally awesome. : )
Ive yet to tackle a 10K but my time goal is the same as yours! good job, mama!
tara pakosta says
yes running outside is 100x harder than a treadmill!!! it’s amazing. I used to run 3miles every other day outside back before I had kids, now I am lucky to be able to run 1/2 mile! but on the treadmill I was up to 4.5!
elise blaha says
I relate completely.
The worst part is I can never quite tell if a run is going to be awesome or terrible until I am about a mile and a half in.
Thanks for the reminder about the ebb and flow of both exercise and diet, it is SOOOO true. I think success can be reached when we finally make a healthy diet and regular exercise a lifestyle and not just an annual event. I’m not there yet, but I’m trying.
Love this post! Thank you!
Definitely a treadmill hater here…every minute is torture for me,,,much prefer to be outside in -10 than on the treadmill…the connection to nature in all different types of weather is what makes me an outdoor runner….also the ebb and flow to running is part of the challenge that I love…sometimes a 10 miler feels hard as heck, sometimes easy, you just never know when your feet hit the pavement what that run is going to bring, that’s part of the fun!! but I”m always glad I went
Two words: water fountains and snot rockets. (Ok, that’s technically four words, but it’s 2 terms that should become your friends.) Lol…But seriously I, too am a friend of the ebb and flow…I feel my pulse quickening with the rising sap…and I am going to spend the next several months formulating in the back of my mind a plan for NEXT winter, because everything I gained in the past year has been lost. I’m ok with it, because I have come to recognize a lifecycle when it’s staring me in the face, and I am old enough to know that what comes, goes, and what goes, usually comes right back. Hang in there, mama. I’m hangin, too!
Christine N says
Way to go Cathy! I’ve been a runner for 13 years and you describe the ebb and flow perfectly. It’s a journey, not a destination.
Isnt that true, Elise? I totally have the same thing. I guess its part of what makes it exciting, right? ; )
K Weston says
Amen, sister-friend. I’m with you. I hate the treadmill with such passion that my winter runs have been on a shin-splint-inducing, concrete, indoor community track. And the transition to the outdoors was still a tough one–shin splints are behind me, but my stabilizer muscles stage a weekly coup and my knees are aching just enough that I’ll give them a little love as well. But nothing beat being outdoors. Nothing. I know I’ve slowed up a bit, too, but really, aren’t we here for the race itself? And the fact that I can get out and run for 5 miles without any trouble at all is astonishing to me. I couldn’t run more than two laps (1/3 mile) in August of last year and now I run 5, no prob.
My sister and I ran 11 a week ago, then I ran 8 this past Saturday as the snow fell here in Utah, all in prep for the SLC half-marathon we’re running this Saturday! That’ right–I’m running a HALF MARATHON! THIS SATURDAY! (Words I never thought would escape my tongue.)
I blame you. And your amazing transformation. And your inspiring writings and testimonials. Thank you for sending them out into the universe just for me. And sending me to the RLAM book people. And pointing out the glories of running skirts. It all started with you.
Heartfelt love to you, babe. Enjoy the scenery.
i have to agree with you that I too am always glad I went. : )
Go K, on the half. This was really cool to read.
Sarah G. (dugarner) says
This is really weird for me, because I was completely the opposite. I can’t run anymore—foot and hip problems—but when I was running & training for the Marine Corps marathon back in college, I could do 19 6:30 miles outside, but when I went inside to do the 1 1/2 mile test, I DIED. I went right back out and ran a 5-mile warmup, then tried again. And DIED. I cannot run inside—but my problem is the weather. I have exercise-induced asthma and the fresh air outside keeps me breathing. Running or doing long-term aerobic or anaerobic activity inside is very difficult for me.
Now I row again (my sport in college), though I have yet to get back on the water. I row on an indoor rower, and finally last month resolved to row 6 days a week. I tested on a 2000m piece last summer, and hit 8:45. After three weeks of fairly serious rowing, I rowed an 8:40.1 last week, my personal best since college. Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s probably equivalent to the average female runner doing 1 1/2 miles at a 6:45-7:00 pace. It kicked my tail. But it feels so good because I’m getting stronger (I use a heart rate monitor and it has revolutionized my exercise!) and I can literally see progress every day.
That said, today is my first endurance row (12,000m) that should take 1 hour. I have never rowed for 1 hour without stopping. I know I’ll need to take it slow, my pace will be slower than my 6,000m pace. I can’t get discouraged if my splits are lower than I want. I have to look at my HR and **know** my body is getting the exercise I need.
I’ve toyed around with the idea of rowing the 1/2 marathon but the thought of rowing for 2 hours without stopping is absolutely more than my psyche can bear. 🙂 The 12,000m today—if I do it—will be roughly like running 8 miles at an 8:30 pace, while using all my chest, back, arm, and shoulder muscles as well. That’s a lot of ask of my fat-mama-body. 🙂
Thanks for the inspiration!
Are we twins???? 🙂 Wisconsin winters and ice don’t agree with my back either. I hate running outside, love the day to day of my treadmill…………..until it didn’t actually seem to be doing anything for me anymore 🙁 I was forced to try something new and that was just a blade of grass shy of giving up altogether. Wonder of wonders, changing it up, ebb and flow, seemed to help. I’ve been grinding my gears for a while now about trying to get in the swing of running outside but you’ve inspired me to give it a shot. Maybe I too will love the glorious lake run 🙂 And maybe I won’t. And maybe it’ll take a couple of times. And maybe I’ll slack a little some where in between. Living, trying, doing. Ebb and flow, ebb and flow 🙂
Tammy M. says
Thank you for posting this today Cathy…really needed to hear that. With the weather here in glorious Ohio, which by the way changes every 5 minutes, I have been a bit frustrated since it has been raining here just about everyday the past week…though the sun is trying to peek out today, in an hour when I normally go out to jog, I know it will be a literal downpour..lol. Yesterday was the first day in about 4 days that I had been out…it was almost 80 and sunny with a slight breeze, perfect weather for a jog. By the time I got back I felt like I was going to die! But I stuck with it and got it done…5 miles…4 of that jogging and a mile of walking. I too agree in the ebb and flow…some days are great, some days not so much….but the magic is being determined to stick with it no matter what. Thanks again!
Glenda Thorne says
I’m a walker, not a runner due to knee issues, but I can still sympathize and agree with your statements. I wish i had a treadmill for those days when it is raining or just plan miserable outside. We in New Brunswick, Canada had a lot of snow this winter which hindered my walking and of course I gained the proverbial extra weight gain. What takes a few weeks to gain, takes me months to lose. Menopause didn’t help with the whole weight gain either! But spring has arrived and I’m able to get outside, walk fast, climb the hills ( a bit slower for now), watch the sunrise or sunset depending on my walking schedule and smell the wonderful clean air. You are doing wonderful with your Move More, Eat Less attitude and you keep me motivated as well. Enjoy your day.
Curious on how do you track your swimming? By the amount of time you are in the pool or how many laps up and back? I would like to try out swimming as a break from the treadmill but not sure how to tell what type of workout I am getting.
Sara G. says
Thank you for the great post and for sharing your journey. This is what I needed to hear today.
Awesome post! I am a long time lurker(sounds so devious:) but this post really hit home. I have 3 little ones(8 and under)and a husband who travels at least 50% of the month. I try and run 3-4 times during the week that he is home. The next week I am limited to my elliptical in the basement and weight lifting. So my running is sporadic and that makes it feel like I am staring over every other week.
I weigh 170 after losing 40 pounds so I get a lot of looks from the “real” runners which makes me feel like what the hell am I doing! Such a mental thing! But I still “do it”, even if I am uncomfortable because I “need” the time away from kids, dogs, husband etc. I feel so much better after I run and it is helping me slowly lose the weight that I want to-so I just make myself get out there, some days good, some days not-ebb and flow!
Thanks Cathy! I really enjoy your blog!!!:)
Doesnt sound like a fat mama workout! You are kicking it! : )
I will tell you: itll take a few runs to settle in. I think my problem this spring is I wanted it to be exactly as i left it last fall. Awesome. But, I am going to have to build back up to that. Definitely.
Glenda, why is it that its SO easy to put it on after 40, and so much harder to take it off? : ) Im just in the peri phase now. Ay yi yi. Ill just have to make sure i find ways to keep moving.
I track time and laps. I do as many sets of 10 laps (8 free, two breast, repeat) as I can. I shoot for 9, which the sets take me about 5 minutes per set. (Im not speedy in the pool either!) But I swim continuously, unless I have to rinse out foggy goggles. When Im done, i know that if i swam 40 or 45 or 50, I can easily calculate my distance based on how many laps that equals.
Andrea, I dont like the sound of those real runners. BOO! You are out there doing it. Most of the runners I know would call you a total rock star for doing it. I mean, i too, dont have the lean look of a runner. I have a very nice round tushka that always looks like I might be hiding something back there on my runs. ; ) You are doing amazing things with the kids and the hubbys travel schedule. Seriously.
Whenever Im driving and I see a fellow mother or female runner who isnt bone thin like me, I always say outloud: Go runner, go runner… go go go runner. Every time.
Keep it up!
Sarah G. (dugarner) says
I second Cathy’s boo!!! Oh my goodness. I could just kick those people, except that wouldn’t be very nice.
I lost about 90 pounds total three years ago (diabetes, then a baby—lost 30 more pounds during the pregnancy) but now I have settled in at about 175. I’m 5′ 8.5″ with a sprinter’s build. (Short, stocky legs and a long torso.) It is hard for me to lose weight because 1) I cannot consume any carbohydrate; if I do, I gain weight and 2) my endrocrine system is all out of whack, and I probably overproduce cortisol . . . which causes hyperinsulinemia, which leads to . . . weight gain. So I have to exercise to stay healthy, but by exercising, I goad my body into maintaining the weight I’m trying to lose.
You do what is GOOD for YOU and don’t think about what other people think. Ugh! I used to look around my gym at all the tight bodies and hotties . . . and yes, there are many who are serious athletes. But a lot—a large percentage—are young girls or older ladies with ideal metabolisms and body types. They get on the elliptical machine with their coffee and iPhone, do a 15-minute mile for 20 minutes, and get off. Then they say they “worked out.” I go, row for 30 minutes, lift heavy weights for 45 minutes, and leave as as fat as I came. And no one would think I’m fit or strong, but I am.
I need the time away from the kids, too. I would go nuts without my gym time. I only have two kids, and a hubby whose work hours are normal. Take your time to go and exercise and don’t give a thought to anyone else. You’re doing it, you’re going to be successful, and you’re doing what feels right for you. Take it a day at a time! 🙂
Andrea, I might be one of those people you call a “real runner”, (did a 20 mile training run yesterday with my hubby and most of our group of friends have qualified for Boston) and I will tell you 100% that the great thing about runners is that we all respect anyone who just gets out there to run and that maybe you are mis-contruing their glances….they very well might be saying “you go girl”!!! I know from years of running and races that their is no such thing as a “typical” sized runner, we come in all shapes and sizes and abilities…….the main thing is that we share the love of running and have mutual respect for each other….keep up the good work!
Thanks for the response to my swimming question. By the way, even though the keep moving focus is not the scale amount, etc- your look skinny and fabulous in your picture from todays post! Thanks for all the great advice.
Thanks, Cathy. I needed that.
Thanks for all the nice words Cathy!!! I will try to remember them this week when I am in the basement on the elliptical as the hubby is gone!:)
Thanks Sarah!!!:) I appreciate your words!!! And you are so right, one day at a time!!
Oh I am sure most runners are nice and I absolutely do see some while I am out there and in reality, the ones giving me the looks may gave everyone the looks!:) I just need to “get over myself” and not worry…I think it’s just coming from not being consistent right now so when I am out running I am having a hard time running as far as I would like(or at least as far as I could run last fall/early winter). And I do love to run, so I just need to focus on that! Thanks Beth!:)
Deonne Beron says
Your honesty is one of the things I love about you. No blowing smoke about how always awesome moving more is. I well remember my first run outside, leaving the safety of the treadmill. Even though I can’t go inside more than 3 miles now (and that under duress), I still remember how I literally wanted to strangle my trainer on that first outdoor run. My whole body felt like one of those cars you see in cartoons where the whole thing is smoking and wheezing and throwing lose parts at every turn or bump.
And even now, while I mostly love my runs, I’ve been feeling lately like somehow the love is running low and the performance isn’t always what I’d like, so I’ve learned to give myself grace and occasionally run without my Nike + iPod.
Even the bad days running are better than the good days without. And for moments like my last race where I knew in the last 1/4 mile that I was smoking my last best pace and started yelling “Yes! Yes! Yes! Go! Go! Go!” as I swung toward the finish line, it’s so totally worth it.
Hang on CZ- the mojo will return. 🙂
Ah, what a bunch of great words to tell your story. I was a bit jealous of you when I read your stories in 2010. And I was proud for you. I wanted to do that! I have not run an inch in 30 years but I have always said to be wanting to do some running. So I started with an athletes club last September. Or so I wanted to. But there was no coach so no training. Then a friend told me there was a really good and enthusiastic bunch of people at the local athletes club in our village. I called them and to my surprise 2 people had just cancelled for the upcoming basic group that would start the next day. I was so happy and o so lucky to be able to join. So this February I started. Gloves, double trousers, triple shirts. Freezing cold? I don’t mind. Rain? Let’s go out to play! First we firmly walked for 3 weeks (twice a week) and slowly we started running. Tomorrow evening we will be doing 24 minutes in total (with some walking in between). It is 1,5 hours of sheer joy in the woods with a bunch of lovely ladies, a great coach and hopefully a bit of sunshine. And my goal? To run 5 km before I reach 50 years (so I have 10 months). I will get there. Thanks Cathy for the inspiration.
Cathy, have you considered doing a triathlon? You already run, and swim, and you have mentioned biking…
I have been toying with the idea. I’m rapidly approaching 50 and need a fun goal (like maybe a triathlon – not an Ironman, just a fun Tri) to work towards. I currently run 4-5 miles with no worries, but the swimming is not a strong skill for me. I know how, but have no endurance for it yet. And biking is just a nice way to spend an afternoon, not work up a sweat. But it could all change if I set that as a goal, right? Wanna join me virtually?
I am a different Andrea from above by the way, and what she would call a real runner, except that I remember being the over weight, can’t run more than 60 seconds, new runner. Now I cheer anyone that looks to be working it!
Just wanted to let you know, I’ve lost 11 lbs so far this year. Thank you for the inspiration!
Hey Glenda! So cool! Fellow New Brunwick girl here!! I started training for another full on January 1st…all my running is outdoors unless it goes below -20….and yes our winter has been brutal but at least being cold is a good motivator to keep moving!!
Truly Andrea believe me when I say that they are more concerned with their own run than what anyone else is doing……..and we all have insecurities too….my hubby and all my friends are fast Boston Marathoners…I will never come close to a 3:30 marathon but they never make me feel like less of a runner and you should never feel that way either!!
Carol Anne says
I’m running into the same issues with my bike. There’s something about exercising indoors isn’t the same to your body as working outdoors.
While you need tissues and water at your grasp, I’m always reaching for water and Carmex. When my lips dry out, I’m miserable. Strange things, bodies.
Cathy, Thanks for this post in particular. I have really struggled running outside the last 2 weeks. And all winter, I kept waiting for it get warm enough to go outside. Thanks for the reminder to be patient and persistent. You go girl!
Lori N says
3 years ago I trained for a 5k (my first ever) and after the race never ran again. Fast forward to this January when I decided I was going to run a half marathon in August. I don’t have access to a treadmill, but walk the dog everyday in the local park, which this year meant snowshoes for much of the winter. I got my fitness up & I’m now trying to transition to running. O.M.G. How can I snowshoe in the woods/hills for an hour and a half & then have such a hard time running for 20 minutes? 🙂 But I’m doing it! I’m on my second week of training, did my long run of 2.2 miles on Saturday and followed it up today with what was suppose to be a 1.5 mile run (but was instead a 1.4 mile run) — BUT I DID IT! After being on a roadtrip with my kids all day, I jumped out of the car, threw on my running clothes and boogied out the door for my run at 6:30pm tonight. It wasn’t pretty, but I did it — and truly, that’s all that counts.
I was worried when I read this post this morning that you were giving up on running. Running outside is completely different from treadmill. I train on both all summer long, as our neighborhood is not lighted and I often cannot run until later in evening. It’s completely different. Each has it’s merits, but the transition can sometimes take a few weeks. And can be hell, to put it lightly (as my hubby right now, LOL) Stick with it, you’ll be surprised how quickly it comes back…with that feeling you are looking for. Slow down, enjoy the fresh air, the rest will come. Really.
katie squires says
keep plugging away 🙂 That Cathy of last Summer Feeling will come back 🙂
Someone said something to me about running…
she said Katie your training for a race, not racing to train. I think she was telling me to stop worrying about how fast I was going and just run 🙂
Gosh, I’m so glad I found your blog (through anothermotherrunner.com). For one thing, it would appear you and I were separated at birth. We have the same hair, same glasses (my husband now laughingly calls me Cathy when I put mine on), same face structure … and the same challenges with moving more and eating less. Along with being delighted to have found a long-lost twin, I am so often delighted by your words. They really resonate with me, as they obviously do with all the others who have posted. These days I am struggling to get back into running, which used to come so easily to me, and finding it very slow going and discouraging. I live in Australia, where the clocks have just “fallen back” and winter is approaching, which definitely tempts me into ebb and stop mode! I’ve signed up for a half-marathon in 12 weeks (my first since before getting pregnant with my 18-month old son); here’s hoping that, along with posts like yours, I get things going and get across the finish line on July 3. But if I find that I’m spending more time in physical therapy than on the trail and that running is more chore than joy, then I am taping up and taking on this paragraph from today’s post: “I might even reach a point where running no longer works the way I’d like it to, and if this happens, then I’ll try a new class, or dust off my bike, or anything to make sure I’m honoring my commitment to my body to give it a little effort and keep it in the best working condition that I can.” So helpful. Thanks again.
Today I got back in the pool after a 2+ week hiatus during which I was walking, not swimming. I was pleasantly surprised that I felt strong. So that ebb and slow thing resonates with me. Some days I feel like an utter slug and other days so good. Thanks for continuing to be an inspiration!
Okay, now you know youll have to send me a pic! : ) Good on you for doing the half! Im a little scared of that distance myself!
So timely…I had surgery on my neck in January. I had just gotten to actually like my three mile “jog”. I don’t think I can really qualify as a runner yet. The only things that were keeping me going was that I loved the outfits, the NIKE +, and the website showing progress. Today I went back, after my three month check up, because I was cleared to exercise again. It took me 45 minutes to WALK three miles, and it hurt! I feel like I am starting over again. I’ll be thankful I can start over, although I am lamenting how far I could have been had I not had to stop.
Cathy – Remiss not to comment… see my comment from last week 😉 ha. No seriously — There are good runs and then the rest of them. They are all runs. There is no magical book counting some and dismissing the rest. Like so much of life, the less than stellar ones are probably what give us opportunity to like ourselves so much more in the end because they reveal our guts (ie, what we’re made of). ONWARD. One step at a time! You’ll coast through that lake run one of these days and think, “HA! CAKE! is that IT?!?! PLEASE!” Not to say you’ll indulge in any cake, of course. Just to clarify 😉 lol. Heidi in Guelph, Ontario (PS Thanks for the post. Today’s a beautiful day to move. I almost forgot! I just laced up my shoes.)
Will do! I’m at work now with no access to pics, but I will send one soon …
Cathy, you are so honest and amazing. Thank you for the post. I had to comment because I was laughing SO HARD about the kleenex! I haven’t met another person whose nose runs when they exercise…mine does too! I always feel so silly stuffing tissue into my workout gear. I ran a 1/2 marathon last summer and it about killed me (probably not really, but it felt like it!). I swore that I would never run again. But, the spring weather is making me feel like running again…
I think that for me I’m not up for the extreme running, and the marathon was too much. Your post encourages me to not give it all up. Thanks for sharing yourself.
I have run or run/walked 5 half marathons. I believe that once you can hit 7 miles, you will be fine. Race day adds new energy – amazing. I have had calf issues in the last few months & have found ice packs and physical therapy to be immensely helpful! Good luck on your race and congratulations on all of your hard work.
I just cannot do the Farmers Blow. Sorry. Kleenex is my friend! LOL!
I cannot even say how many times I’ve almost caught that (his Farmer’s Blow) from my husband while running —-SOOOOO GROSS!!!!!!!!! A blessing of rarely running together nowadays! Heidi
Ann Kearns says
I am definitely plugging away, too, Cathy! I started out with the Couch to 5K app. (twice) and I have decided I hate it. I don’t like being told when to run and when to walk. I want to run when I feel I can, and take a walking break when I feel I need it. That’s just me. And since I’ve switched to just doing the best I can on my treadmill I’ve done much better! For a girl who honestly believed she’d never make it past 90 seconds of running time…I hit 10 minutes straight last week! I can’t tell you how excited that has made me.
So, I’m still hitting the treadmill and once I make it to that 30 minute mark (hopefully soon), I’ve promised myself to take it on outside, too. I’m in Canada…so I think I have a few more weeks. 😉
Thank-you so much for all your running posts and inspiration. It’s done a LOT for me.
(And I love my blue and green Newtons)
Go Ann! 10 minutes is a major accomplishment. I get it! : )
Thanks so much for your honesty expressed in all of your exercise and monthly posts. It’s so inpsiring (is that the right word?) to know I’m not alone in this quest to keep healthy and keep up with the “ebb and flow”. My “ebb and flow” is directly influences by hormones and I seem to have about one good week where I can give it my all, and then I have to push myself the rest of the month! I read every one of your posts, but need to comment more and let you know what your posts mean to me! Thanks!
I can so relate to this…yesterday I went out for the first time w/out listening to my training program and enjoyed it a whole lot better. So I guess training for a 5K will be slower at my own pace, but at least I’ll enjoy it better!
This is good to know…I have a hard time with the treadmill to road transition also.
one of the hardest lessons is that even though you can sort of replicate hills on a treadmill, you can’t replicate the impact of your body hitting pavement and what that does to you physically. It’s a battle, but kudos to you for sticking it out!
I love your shoes! Would you mind sharing what they are?
Thank you for this post. I needed to hear what you had to say. I made a New Year’s Resolution to run a 5K this year. I was doing really well with the Couch 2 5K program until I injured my calf. I have yet to run the full 30 minutes without walking.
Back in February, I signed up for a 5K on April 10. My husband and best friend joined me. They were wonderfully encouraging, trotting alongside me as I plodded along. More walking than running. I’m very disappointed in my progress. They are proud of me for even starting to run.
I have my sights set on another 5K on the same course in June. I’m going to get fitted for new shoes and start over with the program. I can’t do any worse than this one, right?
They are Newtons. : )
Christi, its baby steps. It truly is. The fact that you are out there even trying? GO YOU! Seriously. Keep it up. Dont push too hard, and youll be surprised at what you can achieve!
carla stolte says
I, too, am just getting outside (cold, northern Canadian climate), and am a bit disappointed in how much easier it was to run 5K on a treadmill than outside. But, at least it is outside. Lovely! (albeit a bit chilly still). Thanks for the inspiration!
Good things to remember. Thank you. I have been frustrated w/ my knees and lack of stamina– after all, I’ve been working out consistently for 14 months! I added in a little bike and a little swimming just to see if I am still capable of riding a bike and making it across a pool, and I feel like my running and strenghtening (JILLIAN!!!) have lost momentum. But I think I just need to keep on keepin’ on and it will get better again, right? 🙂
Thank you for this and for reminding me how I felt reading about your first day outdoors running. You know that voice talking to you about how gorgeous it is outside and why not try it. Well I hear your voice saying just give it a try you will like it. I hate bugs and heat and being sticky with sweat. I kept reading your adventure and finally one day just said ” GO DAWN YOU CAN DO IT IF CATHY CAN MAYBE YOU WILL LIKE IT” it was so incredible and awesome and painful. Actually painful for the first two weeks, but that just made me want it more. So thank you Cathy for being my voice and all your encouragement and cheering. Sadly our Ohio winter has been blasting us this winter and I haven’t been to the track yet, but as soon as the weather breaks my feet will be back at the track and I can’t wait. This was a great post cathy, thank you!!
lynne moore says
It has taken me 36 years to find a sport I enjoyed doing over and over… and now, 10 years later, I still love it. But age does get in the way at times.
Ebb and flow. Definitely!
So Cathy, not sure you remember our convo’s about running in the cold, but I chickened out. It was a record setting winter here in Missouri. Way more snow than me and my dog bargained for. I’m back on the trail and let me tell you dusting off the winter cobwebs was tough. I’m still much slower than I should be but hey, I’m back at it. Why is it that I’m happy to know I’m not the only one fighting the uphill battle of spring? Human nature I guess? Stick with it! I know as much as I haven’t loved these recent runs, that feeling will come back. I just know it. 🙂
I know, Im hoping for the same thing and honestly, Im sure that it will come back. : )
As someone who is also struggling with, ‘eat less, move more’, I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your blog posts. I have so much respect and admiration for all you have accomplished this year….YOU ROCK! Thanks for inspiration and for keeping it real. Here’s to SPRING!!
thanks so much!
I’m a day behind this post and not sure you’ll even see this comment, but your friend the former-runner, stacy went out this morning. It was SO hard and my hips screamed at me the whole time. I went incredibly slow and yet I was incredibly proud of myself. I was running — and I “ran” the whole loop — one mile up, one and half miles down. I walked up the last hill, but I survived and it made me really, really happy to think that maybe, just maybe my runnning days aren’t over? There is most definitely an ebb and flow with movement and I’m hopefully emerging from the longest and hardest ebb of my life!
Oh, I read all comments, mlady. Ever think about finding a flatter route? I mean, seriously Stace. The hills? I know they make for a better workout, but… think about possibly going level for a while, you know? I know youd still kick my butt pace wise, no matter what shape youre in!
Ruth Bonser says
OK, I feel compelled to write something here. I met you once upon a time when spoke about scrapbooking and you were inspiring. You talked about letting go of scrapping guilt and scrapping only events, and letting go of some of the things that were stopping you from embracing the part you enjoy. It was eye opening for me. The way you blog about this health and wellbeign journey is the same thing all over again. I am often filled with shame and guilt for the way i eat and don’t move. I have recently returned once again to WW to try to get back on track, but the minute something goes haywire I struggle to keep at it (example we thought my daughter broke her arm earlier this week and after taking her to the Dr I immediately bought a pack of Timtams and ate all of them.. *sigh*). Your attitude, your lifestyle changes, your truth that you share, no matter how hard it must be sometimes to bare your soul, tell things that are embarrassing or that you wish you could pretty up when you tell them… you never do, you give it straight and it make me feel like someone else out there understands and has not just survived but you have succeeded and are continuing your journey onwards and upwards, each day at a time. I wanted to thank you for what you do and for how it helps me move one more step forward in the hardest thing in my life, trying to make my broken head do what it needs to to care for my poorly-treated and long-suffering body.
Hello Ruth, thanks for sharing this. I had to smile at the TimTams reference. I had a bout with TimTams when I was in NZ and Australia in 1996. It was just 4 months after Id quit smoking, and it was the start of gaining a lot of the weight Ive been working to lose. When I found out they were going to release them here in America, I knew I had to steer very clear of them. : )
Heres the deal: we can take care of ourselves better. It is NOT automatic for many of us. It is NOT going to happen every day. I was in a major bingeing way last month, for about 3 weeks. Couldnt stop myself. Felt like I just dont care. And the fact was, I didnt care about me and my health.
When my head is on straight and Im trying to live in reality and deal with everything in my life as an adult would, I have to face the fact that life has pain and frustration. Period. I cant make it go away with food. Or cigarettes. Or whatever. Some days, however, Im going to choose to do just that. (Well, not the smoking part!) But you know what I mean.
Love starts with us, you know? Not to sound all cheesy and weird, but… Im learning how to care about myself and understand what makes me do the stuff I do. Food is part of it. I wish you much peace and kindness. : )
Wendy T. says
Well, Cathy, I did it. I signed up for a 5K. Am I a runner? No. Am I about 50 pounds overweight? yup. Am I scared poopless? Yes. It’s not until the end of June (about 10 weeks away), and I’ve downloaded my C25K app (starting my runs tomorrow!), bought my Vibram FiveFingers and am ready to go. I have to say that while I was debating whether or not to sign up I thought about you and your journey this past year+ a lot. I told myself that if you could do it, I could, too. So I just wanted you to know that you’ve inspired one more person on your journey. And I REALLY hope I get to a point where I enjoy running like you have. Do I want to lose weight? Heck yeah. But I realized that any time I started working out with that goal in mind I quit. So I figured it was time to have a different goal. I’ve made a commitment to finish this race, even if I’m the last person to cross that finish line. Thanks for the inspiration…
Girl, you are a damn good writer. And runner. And yes, it’s a mystery why some days a run can feel wild and glorious. And the next it feels like I’m running through wet cement. But the part that matters? The commitment. And you have that covered.
Ruth Bonser says
Thank You Cathy. Caring about yourself, or not as the case may be, it is a new way of seeing this whole thing and a hard truth to face some days, but I guess thats true for everybody. Thank you for your blog, and for taking the time to reply to my previous comment.
Go Wendy! And rockin the Vibrams right out of the gate! : ) Please keep me posted. Believe it or not, you do reach a point where you can run 3.1 miles and its like, Oh, cool. I just did that and I feel great! : ) Good luck!
So a girl can sit and read and read and read some more and think, ‘yeah, that sounds great’ and just roll over and go back to sleep the next morning, and many, many mornings after that. But she can continue to read and think, ‘maybe, one day’. And then…one day comes, and the girl finally pulls her large butt out of bed and hits the treadmill. At first she walks, but thinks, ‘hey, if Cathy can run…’ and so the girl, who stopped running after the dreaded, mandatory Gr.9 PE class, begins running. And its a hallelujah moment!
It’s only been a couple of weeks, and my butt hurts and my calves are preventing me from sprinting up the stairs like I used to…but I feel good!
THANKS for being an inspiration, for sharing your journey and making it real! I’m actually thinking I may be able to appear in a real bathing suit this summer!
But I refuse to give up my tea lattes and tim tams! A girl has to have boundaries! 😉
Thanks for this comment! : )
No one has to give up the Tams! LOL! : ) Good for you, Christine. Seriously, if I can do it, anyone can.
Debbie Rosenkranz says
I was in an ebb for a couple months but kept on trudging and now I am begining to feel the flow again!