I’m a bit of a planner.  I like to have a schedule.  I like to know what I’m doing when.  If I have a goal, I like to know what steps I need to take to get there.  So when I have a race, I like to have a training plan to follow.  This is mostly because if I don’t have a plan, I won’t train, and then I will fail miserably at the race.

So I made a great marathon training plan based on a Hal Higdon plan.  I modified it slightly to fit my schedule, knowing that I had races on certain weekends and events that would leave me swamped on other weekends.  I even left a bit of padding in case something happened and I didn’t get in a long run as planned.

And then I stuck to my schedule.  Which is awesome.  Except that it now needed some serious tweaking or I was going to be ready for the race way too early.  So I enlisted the help of some amazing friends and now I have a new plan.

  • Nov 18 – Philadelphia Half
  • Nov 25 – 17 miles
  • Dec 2 – 14 miles
  • Dec 9 – 18 miles (maybe including a 15k race, maybe not)
  • Dec 15/16 – 5 mile race and two epic choir concerts that hurt more than any run
  • Dec 21 – 20 miles.  Eeep.

Yes, December 21 is a Friday.  I have that day off and planned to use it for getting ready for my trip to my hometown for Christmas and then to a friend’s wedding in Michigan.  But it makes sense to also do a 20 mile run that day.  Does that leave me slightly stressed with all of the other things I will need to do, like pack and get the house ready for the pet sitter?  Absolutely.  But it’s how things work best.  And now that I know the plan, I can work the plan and get everything done in time.

And then run a marathon.  Yikes.

Don’t Belittle Your Accomplishments

I’ve noticed some interesting things while perusing running blogs as of late.  While I don’t read blogs that have any sort of negativity towards slow runners (because I will not stand for that), I’ve noticed a sort of shame among us slow runners.  And I’m guilty of it too.

Here are some quotes that I’m not going to attribute to the blogs from which they came, as I don’t want to embarrass anyone.  However, if you want to claim a quote, go ahead and do so in the comments, and I will put in a link.

“Haha, I’m slow, I only run an 11 minute mile.” (Note – I think an 11 minute mile is fast.)

“Well, I only run/walk, I don’t run.”  (Tell that to Jeff Galloway.)

“I’ll be starting in the last corral because I’m slow.”  (Yes, and you’re still out there.)

“I’m only doing the half marathon.” (Okay, this isn’t about speed, but it’s still about belittling the accomplishment, and ONLY A HALF MARATHON?  There is no only.)

And it’s not just slow runners that I see this with.  New runners, short distance runners, a lot of people are guilty of it.  Why do we do this to ourselves?

Admittedly, it can be hard to be the slow one.  Among my close friends, I’m not the slowest, but I’m definitely close to it.  Thankfully, these friends are awesome, so I don’t feel bad about it.  And with my health issues, I’m not likely to get a whole lot faster, especially in the short distance races.  I’ve got some room to improve in longer distances, so that’s where I focus, but I will never qualify as fast.

And I know that some of you are probably reading this and thinking “What is she talking about?  Her half marathon PR is a 2:48.  I will never be that fast. ” (And some of you are thinking “Wow, she’s slow.”  Some are thinking “Hey, we’re the same pace!”  And the rest of you are thinking “Who in the world wants to run a half marathon?”)

So I know I’m not the slowest of the slow, but I’m not fast either.  I’m in the last 25% of runners, probably even further back than that.  Does it matter?  No.  But sometimes, it hurts when others say things to unintentionally belittle my goals and accomplishments.

“Oh my gosh, I could never run a marathon at a 1/1 run/walk interval.  That’s way too slow for me.”

(The friend who said this probably doesn’t remember she said it, nor did she intend for it to hurt as much as it did, but these things happen.)

It’s tough when I finish a race to find the awards ceremony already started.  Not that I thought I was winning any awards, but it still rubs a bit.  Not that I expect the fast runners to have to wait for me to finish.  It’s just one of those moments where I realize just how slow I am.

So what’s the point?  The point is to not care. So what if you’re slow?  Own it.  It reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Keeping the Faith, where the kid chants “I love that I suck!”

Except you don’t suck, of course. You rock because you’re out there doing it.  So what if you’re slow.  Don’t let it get you down.  Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Set goals for yourself.  Maybe those goals are to get faster.  Maybe those goals are to reach a new distance.  Maybe those goals are to take as many ridiculous race pictures as possible.  Figure out what you want and set that goal.  Just be reasonable.  For example, I will never qualify for Boston.  The qualifying time for an 80-year-old woman is 5 hours and 25 minutes.  While I have never run a marathon, a race predictor tells me that a person who can run a 5:25 marathon will run a 2:34 half.  I can run a 2:48 half now.  I don’t think that I’m going to be faster in my 80’s.

But you know what?  That’s okay.  My goals right now are to someday get my half time under 2:45.  It’s going to take speedwork and finding a race in a nice cool climate.  My other goals are to finish a marathon and a triathlon.  I will be slow at all of those things too.  And I need to remind myself to not let it get me down.  No one cares that I’m slow.  I shouldn’t care either.


16 Miles of Beauty

I am very lucky.  I live right by a lovely creek with a long path running alongside it.  I can go out my door, do my warmup walk, and there I am at the path.  I have yet to run the entire path, so every time I go out, I see something new.


And now that it’s fall, the scenery is incredible.  These camera phone shots do a poor job of showing you just how beautiful it is.


Clearly, I’m not the only one out running.  I love the random inspiration along the way.


This part of the run was new to me.  I hit a new distance this weekend (16 miles) and took a part of the trail that I hadn’t run before.  It was very different from the heavily wooded parts of the trail, but I kind of liked the sparseness of this.  I could envision a movie being filmed there.


When I put the contract on my house, I hadn’t been paying attention to possible running routes, and was delighted to discover this great path practically right outside my front door.

Cotton Is Bad

Don’t get me wrong.  I love cotton.  There is nothing more comfy than an old cotton t-shirt.  But for running?  Cotton is bad.

A friend who will remain nameless said one day  (I am paraphrasing) “What can I do to stop blisters on my feet?”  I started to think about the best friction-reducing products, and then she slipped in “I don’t want to spend a fortune on socks.”

Wait.  “Are you wearing cotton socks?”

“Well, yes…”

And there, my friends, was the problem.  Cotton is awesome except when running.  Cotton socks are the worst.  Why?

Well, synthetic socks are superior for two reasons – friction is reduced and they wick away sweat so you don’t end up with wet feet.  Both of these things lead to much happier feet.

Which socks should you buy?  Well, that’s up to you.  Everyone is different in what they like.  Personally, I like slightly padded toe socks so that my toes aren’t rubbing against each other.  Other people think those are the most uncomfortable socks in the world.  So check out your options and try a couple of different kinds of socks.  Your feet will be glad you did.