Run The Talk

Did you know that when I started marathon training, I was not stretching before each run? How in the world did I think I could just hop up and run 4 or 5 miles without a single knee, glute, hamstring stretch… nothing. It was painful to say the least. My husband just thought I had a death wish. He told me I wasn’t a spring chicken anymore so I’d better learn some good stretches. (Come to think of it, I still owe him for that one.)

My longest run so far has been 15 miles. I ran it very early in the morning because I live in Florida and by 9am its like 10 thousand degrees outside already. You can always tell where someone is from by looking at the time of day they stop doing outdoor activities. By 10am I’m running for cover and ceasing all things even remotely related to going outside. I won’t even go out to get the mail between the hours of 9am and 5pm. But Floridians will still be outside at high noon running, bike riding, gardening.  🙂

So anyway, I went to bed early the night before and set my alarm for 5am so that I could be up and running by 6. I ate a huge bowl of pasta the night before as well to boost my energy (complex carbs ya know…). When I woke up at 5:45 (I just couldn’t make my body move at 5am), I brushed my teeth while I stretched. I drank 12 ounces of water, while I stretched. I ate a light grilled chicken sandwich for the carbs and protein, while I stretched. If you haven’t guessed, the operative word here is stretched.  🙂

I put on all the things I needed for my run. And it was a lot. I had to wear so much gear I felt like a transformer. I guess I was transforming into “Ro – The Runner!” Check out this list, from head to feet:

1. Sun visor
2. Ponytail holder – to keep my hair up
3. Sports band – to keep my glasses from falling off
4. Sports bra
5. Light-weight running top
6. Running capris – I’m not comfortable in those little tiny shorts yet
7. Knee support – to help support sensative right knee due to injury
8. Sports socks – that stay perfectly in place when I run and also stay dry
9. Running shoes with nike+ sensor to track my run
10. Fuel belt – which carries four 7 oz. water bottles to help me stay hydrated
11. Ipod – with nike+ remote
12. Headphones

People often say if you’re going to talk the talk you better walk the walk. But has anyone ever considered how hard it can be to do that?? I mean when I started running I was so clueless I wasn’t even stretching before. Now, in addition to stretching ’til the cows come home, I have no less than 12 items I put on to run.

So how difficult is it to say you want to go back to school knowing the last time you wrote a paper, you did it on a typewriter? Now kids have laptops in class! Or you want to open your own restaurant but you’re constantly hearing how big a failure restaurants can be if you don’t know what you’re doing and all you know how to do is make a mean pesto chicken pasta with broccoli?

As I put on all 12 items for that 15 mile run I realized I probably looked like a clueless little amateur out there on my first few runs with my Target brand tennis shoes and no water. It was rough. But I learned and got better because I started running and I kept at it. If I didn’t start running I would’ve been depriving myself of going for my goals. But equally important, if I hadn’t ignored how ridiculous I felt and kept at it, someone else who aspired to be a runner might have given up because they saw me give up. That’s why you walk the talk… to give others hope that it can be done.

So as the mileage requirement (and the temperature) gets higher each week I will keep walking the talk, or “running” the talk in my case, because I want others to know that an overweight mother of four CAN run a marathon. But I tell you one thing… I may not be “Ro -The Runner” anymore. I’ll be “Ro -The-run-only-at-night-because-it’s-just-too-friggin’-hot-to-run-during-the-day-Runner!”


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The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

The mind wanders a lot when you run. And I mean a lot. I finally completed a 13.1 mile run, which is a half-marathon, and I think I thought every thought there is to think in that 2 hours and 40 minutes of running! 

The beginning was great. It was early in the morning and I was enjoying the weather, the quiet, and my ipod. Me and “Pretty Girl Rock” could probably be heard for miles around. (I was like, “My name is Big Ro, I’m so very, fly oh my its a little bit scary!)  🙂  But around mile 5, I could feel myself starting the count down to how many miles I had left. But 5 behind you and 8 in front is not all that encouraging! That’s when I figured out what mental strength was.

One thing I haven’t come across in any of my reading about running marathons is how much mental stamina it requires. I assumed, hey, if I want to be a runner, I need to train my body, my lungs and legs, to run long distances. So get out there and run! A lot! What I didn’t realize was that all that running wasn’t just training my body, it was also training my mind.

I think back to a specific 4 mile run when I first started training. I was on the last mile and was soooo tired that I really wanted to give up and stop running. I had almost convinced myself that I couldn’t finish, that It was too early in my training for me to be running that far.

I was literally steps away from stopping and then one of my favorite gospel songs came on my ipod. “The Light” by Ricky Dillard. I LOVE THAT SONG!! I immediately started singing and doing all the little dance moves he and the choir did when they perfomed it a few years ago on tv. You couldn’t tell me I wasn’t doing my thing…  Fo’ sho’ yo!! I was enjoying myself so much that I didn’t feel tired anymore. And before I knew it that weird little automated voice in my ipod was telling me that I had completed my run and could stop! Well I was so happy I had to jump back and kiss myself. (James Brown style.)   🙂 

See, once I got my mind on something other than running and how tired I thought I was, I was able to finish. So by the time I got to the 13.1 mile run in my training, my mind had been trained for weeks already to endure long runs. So even when I wanted to stop, numerous times, I knew it wasn’t my body, it was my mind playing tricks on me, trying to convince me that I couldn’t endure. And I knew to just put my mind back to work.

If you ever come across a trainer at some gym that says you can train to run marathons without even running, don’t listen. Run! For real, run…  Run the other way. Because what they are forgetting is the mental work needed to run distances. Yes, train your body. Train your legs, your core, your lungs. But in all thy training, train your mind so you’ll be able to physically AND mentally endure til the end.

So maybe use your runs to figure some stuff out. Figure out how to forgive someone who hurt you, figure out another way to cook chicken for dinner (chocolate chicken??), figure out what drug they’re sending through the tv to keep people watching American Idol. Just remember:

Don’t waste the time, train your mind!  (I might put that on a t-shirt.)


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When It Rains, It Drizzles

Anyone who knows me knows there are a few things I don’t like. I don’t like tomatoes. I don’t like cold weather. I don’t like surpises. And I don’t like being out in the rain.

Not just out in the rain, but out in the rain. (If that makes no sense, in a minute it will.) What I mean is not only do I not like getting wet walking around in the rain, I don’t like driving in the rain. I don’t like running from the mall to the store in the rain. I don’t like stepping out onto the porch to get the mail in the rain. If it’s raining outside, I want to be inside. At all times.

So why didn’t anyone tell me that marathon runners may, on occasion, have to run in the rain?! I mean if you’re halfway into a marathon and it starts raining, you can’t just stop running and go home. Well you can but you’d look like a punk. No, you keep going.

I had my very first experience with running in the rain the other day. It rained through the night, but when I woke up that morning it wasn’t raining. And since I also don’t like running on treadmills (does my “things I don’t like” list seem to be getting longer by the minute?), I went outside to run in my neighborhood. I was running 6 miles and at mile 3 it started to rain. Hard. Well dang, I’m halfway done and I am not starting this run all over again when the rain stops. So I keep going, hoping it will stop.

Wouldn’t you know it, a few minutes later, just like that, it stops. Woo-hoo!! But then it starts again, and stops. And starts. And stops. And starts… And stops… It rains off and on for the rest of my run. And not hard enough to make me give up and go hide on someone’s porch until Ruben can come get me. No, it does that annoying drizzle thing rain does to get you wet enough to be uncomfortable but not soaking. So against my will, I keep going and finish.

Now I know you’d love to hear me say that it was amazing. That running in the rain was refreshing and not at all what I thought it would be. And I’d love to say that…but I can’t. I realized something that my husband has learned over the years…I was right all along! :-)(I’m gonna pay for that later. Maybe Ruben won’t read this one.) It was awful, messy, and now I was sweaty, dirty, and soggy from head to toe. I really don’t like running in the rain.

But I did learn something else. The rain really didn’t matter. I was out there to run, so I ran. Rain shouldn’t keep me from doing what I’m supposed to be doing. And since I have no control over the weather (wouldn’t it be fun if I did?!), I’d better just be about mine. So rain, rain, go away. Come again  another day. But I will run today.


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Magic Shoes Or Clown Shoes

I finally went to a specialty running shoe store and had my gait assessed. Then I was fitted for an awesome pair of running shoes. They set me back a grip but man was I excited!

The only thing is the shoes are huge! I’ve been running in shoes 1/2 size bigger than my regular shoe size.  But apparently that’s not big enough.  Your feet swell when you run so you need extra room to allow your feet to get all fat and still be comfortable. The salesman at the shoe store informed me that he fits runners with toe space about the size of a thumb. So he fit me with shoes another whole size bigger. So now I’m wearing running shoes a size and a half bigger than my regular shoe size. Are you serious??!!?!

The first time I ran in them, I think I tripped more miles then I ran. I mean it’s hard getting used to shoes that much bigger then what you normally wear. I thought surely the salesman made some sort of mistake. I felt like I should have also been wearing a red nose while climbing out of a Volkswagon Beetle with 12 other runners.

But then a strange thing happened. I was set to run 4 miles but when I finished the 4th mile I wasn’t tired so I ran one more. And then the next day it happened again. I was set to run 6 miles but I finished 6 and wasn’t tired so I ran 7. What was going on here? I mean were these clown shoes or magic shoes?!

I remember reading that the running shoes you wear can have a huge impact on your running. The right shoes can improve speed, increase stamina, even reduce injury. I thought it was true but that it couldn’t be THAT true. They’re just shoes after all, you just have to know how to run and keep at it, right? Wrong.

So if you’re thinking about running, do yourself and your feet a big favor (no pun intended) and get professionally fitted for a good pair of running shoes. You might feel like Homie the Clown at first but you’ll run like Jackie Joyner-Kersee!

Boom baby!!


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Hardly Ever Say Never

I know people say, “Never say never,” but doesn’t that statement kind of cancel itself out? Like a big old statement-cancelling, say the opposite of what you’re saying, statement??? (I know there’s a word for that, but for now what it is escapes me.)

I was really afraid that maybe I would actually never be able to run again. I mean it had been weeks since I could run without pain and I worried everyday that maybe in my ignorance I had done permanent damage to my shin. I couldn’t even knock out a quick mile without limping for days afterwards. That’s pretty bad if you’re in training to run 26 of those bad boys.

But today for the first time in weeks, I ran without any pain. No knee pain, No shin pain. It was totally awesome!! Of course I came home and iced my leg and popped 2 ibuprofen just in case, but when I stood up, no pain. I was so happy I wanted to cry. Or go out and run another 3.5 miles in celebration but that would’ve probably been stupid, huh??  🙂

I think sometimes you have to say never. I will never be a size 2 super model. I will never be an astro-physicist. I will never be the president of communist Russia. But I will run a marathon one day, and one day sooner rather than later.

(Oxymoron!!! That’s what its called. Man that was gonna bug me…)


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A Junkie For Running

Well, its official. I’m on a break due to injury and I’m not supposed to run until my shin heals completely. You’d think I’d be relieved but kill me, kill me now.

I am officially a junkie for running. I remember one particular move-in day at Virginia Tech. The campus was hectic. U-hauls, trucks, families everywhere, helping kids move back into the dorms. And as we drove up I saw this girl on her run. I was like, “For real?! On move-in day?? That’s crazy!” And my dad said, “No, that’s just what you do when you’re a runner, you run no matter what.” And I remember thinking that was the coolest thing ever but it could never be me.

Well, it’s me. I feel like screaming every time I go outside and see people running. And what I thought would be a couple of days at most will probably end up being a couple of weeks of no running.

My mom was like, what do want more, to take a little time off to heal or to run on an injury and risk permanent damage. Well duh, when you put it like that, it’s an easy decision – run anyway and risk permanent damage.  😀

But in the end I did the right thing; no running, ibuprofen with meals, and lots of time with my leg elevated and iced. Hey, if it will make me a better, healthier runner its worth it, right? (With a tear trickling down my face…) Right!!!


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I feel like I’m being punked, played, duped, had, swindled, carried – and as many more as I could think of if I had the time.

Of all the minor injuries I have had since I started marathon training, my shin just doesn’t want to heal. It’s still bothering me to the point of causing me to limp sometimes. And it’s sooo annoying me right now. I’d hate to not run today – particularly since I ate like 3 slices of pizza, some fries, and a big ole cup of orange soda for dinner the other day – but I also don’t want to exacerbate (is that how you spell that?) the injury and risk some kind of permanent problem.

So even though I’m supposed to be running 13 miles today, I can’t. And I can’t decide between running and walking for 13 miles, running for less miles, or not running or walking at all until it heals completely.

I want to release some aggravation but I can’t curse in my blog. (Can I…?) So as my kids have heard me say tons of times instead of the s-word, Shalamar!!!! 
What do I do??


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