Little Red Runners

These past two weeks I ran in local races in support of good causes.  These are the races I first ran three years back when I began this journey.  These races are also the first races my work team ran together.  Little Red Runners is a team comprised of teachers from my school and myself.  Three years ago we started a competition at work – Biggest Loser. As part of this competition, some of us started running as a workout.  That year, I registered for a Memorial Day 4 mile run and created a team.  I put the information on Facebook and invited anyone at work to join me.  Little Red Runners was created and we have had some exciting adventures over the past three years.  We definitely caught the running bug and have signed up for so many races together.  I’d say this team has been instrumental in keeping me out there pounding the pavement.

Today I’d like to reflect a bit on the role this team has played in my journey.  All of us have set and met goals during this time, both in weight loss and running.  All of us have stuck with the running and we’ve added a few members to the group.  All of us have completed half marathon distances and one has run a marathon.  Two of us will run the NYC Marathon this year.  We have supported each other on our individual goals and through injury and down times.  While all of this is impressive, this team has also had impact on our personal lives.

When you run and preserve through the challenges, you can become an inspiration to others.  You just never know the impact you can have on someone through sharing your journey.  That has been the point of this blog, in addition to keeping myself on the path.  I’ve seen this impact first hand through my work running team.  One member, Patty Peppermints as she is lovingly called, has inspired so many with her journey.  She not only lost weight, but she inspired her family to join her on this running journey.  Her two daughters now run and they’ve joined their mother on many running adventures, including the marathon distance.  It has been a joy and pleasure to run with these ladies as part of our Little Red Runners team. These past two weekends reminded me of just how far we all have come.

The last two weekends the team has completed two local races, yesterday’s was in support of a fallen 9/11 firefighter.  There’s just something about doing these local races.  It’s so nice to not have to travel early in the morning and worry about traffic or parking.  It’s also nice to see the same familiar faces out at the race.  The local after race parties are also fun and family oriented. But what’s best of all is meeting up with the Little Red Runners for a run and some laughs.  These ladies have helped motivate me and kept me on my running journey.  Watching the impact running has had on our lives is a true testament to finding a running tribe.

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What’s your journey?  Please share below what has inspired you.

Finding Your Tribe

Wanted – Running group.  Must be supportive and fun loving.  Willing to run early mornings and drink IPA beers after races.  Interested in exploring new routes and suffer through hot, humid days of summer.  Must be willing to sacrifice pace on occasion if group member needs company.  No runner left behind.

Running is very often a one person sport, especially when training for longer distance races.  During my half marathon training last year, I did 100% of the training runs alone.  Partly this was due to the fact that I don’t like the pressure of trying to run at someone else’s pace. I am a slower runner and when I try to run with others I often start to feel bad about myself because I can’t keep up.  I’ve found solace in music and meditation as I run, but it sure would be nice to run with others.  Definitely would make the miles go by faster.

This year as I get ready to begin training for the marathon, I’ve decided to try again to run with others.  Now, I just need to find my tribe – people who run at a pace similar to mine, or are willing to run with me regardless of pace.  I am a member of an online running club and love how supportive this group is.  When I ran my first half marathon, it was with this club.  We all met in the shadows of the steel stacks in Bethlehem, PA for a weekend of running events at the Runners World Festival.  These people were my phone and computer friends, none of which I had ever met in person prior to that weekend.  I must say it was slightly unnerving to attend an event with strangers, but I just knew it was going to be awesome.

Sub30 is a group of runners who share the goal of running a sub 30 minute 5K race.  But, it is so much more than just that.  It is a club that includes people from all over the country.  They share many goals, the most important of which is positivity.  The heart of the group is the ideal that we lift others up and no subber is ever left behind.  During my weekend at the Runner’s World Festival, this running club’s support was incredible to see and receive.  There were people pacing others, sacrificing any PR goals to support another to their goals.  There were people cheering at every race for anyone in the club, strangers or not.  And, there were people near the finish waiting to run in with members of the club, those last steps.  What a true testament this club is to the running community.  It was something so wonderful to experience in person.

 

With this club experience in mind, I decided this year to try to participate more in my local clubs.  I had joined two last year but never attended any of their group runs or events.  This week I attended my first group meet up with a local running club.  While everyone was friendly enough, I didn’t get the same feel as I did from the Sub30 group.  It just seemed like I went to this event to run alone leaving me wonder if I really needed to drive there to do that.  I will definitely give it another try though.  Perhaps on other evenings there will be others who run at a slightly slower pace.  The whole experience left me wishing my Sub30 crew lived closer and wondering why all clubs don’t embrace the same goals.

I have a second club that I’m a member of which is not quite as local.  It is in Manhattan and they meet up on Saturday mornings.  I get a really good feeling about this running club, but the location makes it more challenging for me to get to.  It’s hard to commit to driving in to Manhattan on Saturday mornings when I generally go to Queens to check in on my parents.  I’m trying to work out the logistics though because I’d love to see how this club operates.

I used to prefer to run solo, but recovering from these last two injuries have left me really struggling to regain my confidence.  I’m afraid of re-injuring myself each time I lace up.  I’m questioning my abilities as I struggle through what used to be so easy for me to do.  I’m wondering when running became so hard and how even though I ran with broken toes all winter I’ve lost so much conditioning.  I know that if I could find a good, supportive tribe I could regain my confidence.  The support of the running community is what I need now to push me through.  Running doesn’t have to be this hard and the energy of others will lift me up.

After struggling to keep up with my training schedule as my injury healed, I have finally decided I cant do this alone anymore.  It’s time I step outside my comfort zone and find a running club, or partner, that I can actually run with on a regular basis.  Going to the local meet up this week was the first step and even though it wasn’t amazing, it won’t be the last.

Do you have a local running club you run with?  How did you find your tribe?  I’d love to hear about how the power of this human connection impacted your journey.  Be sure to leave a comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the Road Again

Sometimes I feel like I’m always starting over with my running. I’ve had to overcome some serious injuries along this path, but I keep getting back out there. As you know this Christmas Eve I broke three toes. Not quite the present I hoped for, but you take what you get in this life. Even though I worked out over the winter these first days back out on the road reminded me just how daunting my new challenge really is. 26.2 miles – gulp!

This week, I started reflecting back on my running journey. When I was younger my dad and I used to run together and do some local fun runs. My training runs back then consisted of me running either on the track across from my house, or around Juniper Valley Park. I was blessed to live across the street from this beautiful park. At the time, I worked in the city and also did some fun runs with my work friends.

Fast forward far too many years to mention and I returned to running with the hope of losing weight. I was doing some walking, but always felt the pull to move my feet and run, so figured I’d go for it. I had no plans to do any races, but ended up signing up for one with my work friends. The running community is a beautiful one to be part of so I’ve continued doing races. To date I’ve completed many 5k, 10K, 15K and one half marathon. The half was my goal race last year and I thought that would be my distance limit. Why then do I now find myself signed up to run in the NYC Marathon?

I can’t even tell you why anyone would even want to run 26.2 miles. I’m not sure how I plan to do it, but do it I will. The real training plan starts June 12th, but the base building plan has already begun. With the arrival of warmer temperatures and healed toes, I’ve taken myself off the treadmill and put myself back outside. With my broken toes, I tried hard to maintain my base by using the elliptical and treadmill over the long winter months.

My first few outside runs have been challenging and disheartening anyway. I feel like I’m back to the beginning again and three mile runs have felt like marathons.  Already I feel my negative self talk returning full force. As I’ve been out there I say mean stuff like, “Are you out of your mind? Three miles feels like this, imagine what 26.2 will feel like. Why do you have to do this anyway? You should forget about it.” Right now I’m procrastinating getting out to do my long run. Lord, I need to get CONTROL.

What do you do when you feel yourself giving in to fear of an upcoming challenge? Do you eat, drink or quit? Me, I definitely eat and indulge in some nice wine. I wallow in self pity for a bit and beat myself up with negative self talk. What I don’t do though, is quit. Once I’ve allowed myself to go through the process of eating, drinking and talking trash, I begin to claw my way back out and get busy.

This week has been about that – getting over it and getting serious. This goal is not going away and I fully plan to meet it. Here are a few of the ways I get myself back on track when fear of failure gets in my head:

Connect with People Who Share Your Goal

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I reminded myself this week that I am NOT alone on this journey. I have a tribe of people who are supporting me. In addition to my family, I have running friends who will support me as I train for and run this race. I have a running club that I am part of and have started reaching out for support. They connected me with another group who consists of people also training to run the NYC Marathon this year.

I also have two running partners in crime who will toe the line with me this November.

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Helen & I – Roosevelt Island 10K
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Flo & I – Freshkill 10K

I also have my 2017 Run the Year teammates coming up to NYC so we can run this race together.  We have in essence created our own tribe of strong women who will meet this goal.

Read, Read, Read

When I start feeling self doubt, I like to read motivational books, articles, quotes, basically anything I can.  There are tons of books out there written by others who have walked our walk in life, whatever it may be.  This week I reread my own blogs written to remind myself why I am on this path.  These two in particular were most helpful –

I Got This

Declaring My Why

I also read a wonderful memoir that truly resonated with me.

Running Like a Girl: Notes on Learning to Run

In her memoir, Alexandra speaks to the journey through self doubt and hard work to meet her goal of running the London Marathon.  I laughed out loud in some parts and strongly connected to her pain in others.  A true journey of triumph and highly motivational to me and many others who have read it.  Worthy of a read for anyone questioning their ability to meet their goals.

Get Started and Try Your Best

The hardest part of the journey is often getting started.  Just lace up and get out there – take that first step.  I’ve been using my week off to jump start my motivation.  I’ve been able to get my runs in outside in the beautiful world.  It’s refreshing to see the sights after a winter in the basement.  It’s good for my soul to be out in nature and though it’s been hard this week, I know I’m making progress.  Finally, in the words of William O’Brien –

Some say risk nothing, try only for the sure thing,
Others say nothing gambled nothing gained,
Go all out for your dream.
Life can be lived either way, but for me,
I’d rather try and fail, than never try at all, you see.

The sun is shining, it’s a beautiful day, I’ve bared my soul here and now feel ready to get out there and get it done.  Enjoy this day and set yourself back on the path to meet your goal, whatever it may be.

Please take a moment to leave a comment.  I’d love to hear about your goals and plans to meet them.

 

 

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