Posts in the category

How to stay motivated (So you completed your first 5K)

By | October 10, 2014 9:33 am | 0 Comments

a runner

So you completed your first 5K (like, maybe the Her Times women’s 5K) and now that the “big day” has come & gone, you may be feeling a little lost or confused about what to do now (some people even feel a little depressed when they complete their big goal). What now? What’s next? Where do you go from the 5K? How do you make running a lifelong habit? What will keep you going through a long, cold Erie winter?

I’ve got some advice and tips:

* Aim to run three days a week. If you just completed your first 5K, you will probably want to run about 45 minutes or 2-4 miles. Don’t run more than five days a week. Rest days are very important for recovery.

* Do other stuff, too. On the days you don’t run, do some weight training or yoga or another form of low-impact exercise and/or strength training. Cross training will help keep you build a strong core, which helps keep injuries at bay.

* Commit to it. Make your exercise time a non-negotiable on your to-do list. Don’t let anything interfere. There is very little that can’t wait for a half hour or 45 minutes. This includes your kids. You’ll be a better, more patient and healthier mom if you take the time you need to take care of yourself.

* Make it routine. Make exercise a part of your day. Morning works best for most people who work full time because it’s the least likely time to be interfered with. Yes, it sucks to sacrifice an hour of sleep, but…it’s totally worth it to start your day off right and have it done for the day.  Energy begets energy — if you get up early & exercise, you’ll have more energy all day (maybe not at first, but…once you adjust to it, you will).

Tip: Set your shoes and workout gear out the night before in the bathroom near the potty. I get my workout stuff on right after I pee. Many a time I’ve gotten laced up and realized it’s 3 in the morning.  — Eloise Hawking

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* Sign up for another race now. If you’re the kind of person who needs the pressure of a race date looming in the future to keep you going, then just look at the list here…pick one (or more) & send in your registration. Definitely sign up for the Turkey Trot (and do it now) — it’s a fun family event!

* Set a new goal. Work toward trying a 10K or longer race next summer. You can find tons of training plans here.

* Find fit friends. Join the Erie Runners Club. Friend the club on Facebook and request to join the ERC running groups page (it’s not very active, but…it’s a resource). Look for other runners about your pace in your neighborhood or near where you work. Erie has a very active, large, and welcoming running community. Join in and you’ll never have to run alone again.

* Get a dog. Borrow a dog. Adopt a dog. Dogs are fantastic training partners. They go in any weather and are ALWAYS enthusiastic about running. They’re also good listeners and pace setters.

Tip: if you’ve got a dog that pulls, try a “gentle leader” — if you control their head/face…they have no choice but to stay beside you.

* Rely on it.  Pay attention to how running makes you feel. Realize that 3 miles can turn a really crappy day into a not-so-bad one. If you’re about to lose your cool with the kids, go for a run — when you come back, you’ll have the strength, patience and energy to deal with them.

* Invest in winter running gear. Don’t be afraid to run outdoors year-round. Hundreds of us do and – trust me – you’ll find that it’s one of the most pleasant and peaceful times of the year to exercise and, provided you’re dressed, properly, you won’t be cold after the first mile. Here is info on recommended winter running gear.

Tip: Marshall’s always has winter running gear at decent prices. Don’t forget that if you’re running in the dark (and if you’re running in Erie in the winter, you will probably be running in the dark), you need a reflective vest or jacket.)

*  Bookmark this blog. I can’t say it’s always riveting reading (if only I had three more hours in every day or if this was my full time job, I’d write TONS of cool content for you guys), but it will, at least, provide a connection to the Erie running scene and a forum for you to learn more about the sport.

* Ask questions. Runners love to talk about running!  And 99.9% of runners also love to help new runners, so don’t be afraid to chat up any runners you know. Also, you can email me your questions (please do…it gives me blog fodder!) at zipdang22 at aol dot com (spelled out to thwart spammers!).

* Own the “runner” label. Because….

ifyourunyouarearunner

From the Running community

I decided to gather advice & tips from other area runners, too. I asked them: What advice do you have for those new to running? What made you stick with it when you first started?

I loved the racing, but I wasn’t much for the training. My dad would pay me 25 cents per mile I ran toward my next race entry fee. I think intrinsically, I do that for myself even now. Like I get a 10 mile week in, and I know $2.50 isn’t going to get me in any races, but when I string a couple of $10 weeks together, I know I can race. — Greg Cooper (Penn State Behrend cross-country and track coach)

Fun runs with friends! Plan “destination runs” for coffee…wine….dinner, etc. — Stacey Hammer

Having a friend to run with is probably the #1 reason I stayed consistent when I started.
I also started keeping a log, knowing I hadn’t recorded any mileage in a few days was reason to get out the door.
I would also suggest signing up for the Turkey Trot :) — Jennifer D.

Find a running buddy! — Tracy Jenks

Be patient, run within yourself, expect your miracles to occur with time. — Al Warner

Running with friends is my time to chat, laugh, catch up and feel a lot better than I did when I started. I also enjoy the occasional solo run and cherish the “me” time to think through things or daydream without interruption. — Kristen Currier.

Running with friends for fun is really the only reason I run. I’m not even a big fan of running, but the company and the conversations – and sometimes the destination – is what keeps me running. — Matt Kleck

I find tranquility in running. To me, it has become therapy after a long day. My dog – a husky – is my running partner and I enjoy taking him and running the trails until one of us poops out. I have simply made running (exercise) a routine part of my day. I also use the Nike App on my phone and always have a goal to keep me accountable. — Angie Faulhaber.

You don’t have to race or be competitive to enjoy running. I like it so much more now that I just run to run. I had a P.R. at a half marathon this weekend and I didn’t even realize it until three days later when someone else looked up my time and told me. And, never underestimate what you can do it you put your mind to it. — Renee Uht

I enjoy running for the fun and time it gives me with my friends. I can always carry on a conversation (editor’s note: you should be able to carry on a conversation when you’re on a long training run…if you can’t, you’re running too fast). I also like that when I feel like being competitive, it’s only a competition with myself and not what everyone else is doing. It’s my PR. Running with friends keeps me motivated to go greater distances than I would ever try solo. — Debbie Humphreys

I started running track in high school and my teammates kept me accountable. After track, I kept running because I realized that I really enjoyed the time alone to think or de-stress, which was a lifesaver as I got older and was in college. Looking forward every day to that time to run and be alone with my thoughts was what made me stick with it. I loved it. As an adult, I can look back and see that running didn’t just give me “alone time,” it also helped me develop a lot of positive qualities, such as perseverance, resilience and determination. — Karen Beebe

I started running when my doctor told me at age 18 that I had high blood pressure, something that runs in my family. They wanted to put me on meds and I said, “No, what else can I do?” The doctor told me to do more cardio. So I went to Sears bought a $10 pair of sneakers called “Winners.” It was 1985. And the rest is history. I haven’t had trouble with high blood pressure since. I run for stress relief and so I can eat and not get fat. I just started running with other people four years ago and it’s nice to mix things up, though I will say solo runs with some good heavy metal music is my therapy. — Amy Morrow

When I first started running, I would set small goals for myself usually about a month apart. It would keep me interested and on track. Eventually, I found a great group of running friends and now we run for fun. We pick a place (coffee shop, bar, chocolate shop, winery) and make it a social thing. It gets you out of the house and combines exercise with fun – which is think is the key to sticking with it. — Leslie Cooksey

Sign up for a race every month. —Trisha Schrieber

I’m a social runner, so I pretty much never go out alone. So my advice is to get in a running group. Also, make it public. If I NEED to go out alone, I post it online or message my friends…that gives me accountability. — Jen Kelly

Sign up for another event. I like to know I have something else coming up, and then I keep moving. It’s way more fun to sign up to do an event with others. The social part makes it much more fun. — LeAnne Morton

When I really got into running I set goals for myself. First a 10k then a half. Now it’s running different events and places. I do agree to run with friends helps too! Plus change it up! — Betsey Haffley

your own hero

#tbt Advice for newbies (Running will change your life)

By | October 9, 2014 4:48 am | 0 Comments

I was looking for something else in my blog archives when I stumbled across this post from February of 2008 and thought it was worth posting again, especially for all the women who just completed their first 5K at the Her Times 5K last Saturday. — H.C.

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I received this question from a new runner and reader of this blog & thought my response might help other newbies struggling with the same thing.
So…here’s the question (edited down some):

I am hoping you might be able to give me some additional advice as my girlfriend (T) and I continue to work on progressing with becoming runners. T and I are coming into running with a similar background to your own. We are both overweight and basically hit a point where we were tired of being sick and tired. We’ve both tried numerous other things to get fit. Only to have them work and then fail to take a permanent hold onto our lives.

We both feel like we’re almost classical Yo-Yo Dieters. Something works – a diet change or a new exercise regiment, but 6 month later – those tried and true Size 18 Jeans are starting to fit tight again. So – T and I are both coming into running with caution – will this work or just another Yo-Yo attempt. (The jean sizes are starting to shrink and the scale does occasionally show us some love.)

But now we’re stuck with that nagging question. Is this just another Yo-Yo or is this the real/final change? We both stuck with running much longer than any prior exercise attempts and the results are obvious to everyone who sees us – even when we’re not willing to always admit it to ourselves. We’ve been very fortunate to have found each other as unexpected Running Partners. T was actually a complete chance of fate that we even spoke to each other the 1st time. So for us to have gone from barely knowing each other to seriously considering attempting to run a 1/2 marathon together has been quite a journey onto itself.

I guess the question that T and I have is – is this anywhere close to your memory lane of your first year of transforming from walking around the block to jogging from Telephone pole to telephone pole to actually running? And do you have any advice on eliminating to that inner negative voice that say don’t get rid of those Size 18 – you’ll be back….

I realize that this is a personal question. But I figured it can’t hurt to ask. As I’ve seen on the blog, you are willing to share how much running has changed your life so I thought I’d see if you could give us some additional reflections on how the transformation occurred.

Here was my response to Christine:

“The thing about running — and probably why you’ve stuck with it this long — is that it’s not a yo-yo attempt or a diet. It’s a lifestyle change that will progress — gradually and naturally — to a complete lifestyle overhaul.

It will change the way you live your life — it already has, no?

For instance, now you probably don’t drive around the parking lot looking for the closest spot anymore, right? Why? Cause you can run miles and miles you are now more willing to walk an extra 20 feet into the store.

Do that day after day…combine it with taking the stairs instead of the elevator and taking a walk at lunch instead of sitting in the breakroom watching The Young and the Restless…and you’ve got a minor changes that end up leading to big lifestyle changes.

If you have kids or a spouse…you’ll see that you will start choosing (consciously or unconsciously) to do more active things with them on the weekends. A dreary winter Sunday once spent lounging around watching TV is no longer something you want to do — instead you’ll pack everyone up and go to the Y to go swimming or take them ice skating, or whatever.

You will start making smarter food choices — not eliminating everything you love (no way…never, never deprive yourself of the things you truly love…everything is OK in moderation), if you’re not doing this already. It should all be a natural progression….something that just happens over time because you’re aware of the fact that an apple and bagel will be a much better pre-run choice than 6 Oreo cookies (and because you know that it takes a few miles to burn off those Oreos and you WANT to keep wearing those great new size-12 jeans you just bought).

I think you’ll see (soon) that the jeans will start to get a lot looser. Once you start to see results…it starts to happen quickly. It did for me.

I remember vividly the day, the place (I can point to the exact point on Rolling Ridge Parkway in Harborcreek) when I went from being a jogger to a runner. I was doing my jogging/walking thing (about 6 months into it) and I saw a woman run by me who was heavier and older than me and yet, she was running along without stopping. I thought…well, if she can run the whole time, so can I. And, I did.

I am a competitor. I’m a quiet and a humble one — but I am a competitor inside.

And I have a confession to make — I was so afraid that my weight loss (11 years ago) would be temporary…so afraid I’d go back to wearing my “fat clothes” … that I hung onto them for….oh….10 years. Seriously…they were all in boxes in my basement — all these size 18s and 20s — and my husband would bug me to get rid of them, but I held onto them for fear I would need them again someday. They were my security blanket (or insecurity blanket, I guess).

We burned those boxes of closes at a bonfire this summer (they were too old and out of style to donate!) and I realized that it was the final chapter in those unhappy days. The book is forever closed. All that remains is a pair of my fat shorts — for posterity.

Now, I’ve been (about) the same weight/size for a decade. The older I get, a few pounds creep on here & there and things aren’t as taut as they once were (and should be!), but I’m getting older and bodies change. So what? I’m healthy and that I can celebrate that.

So, the key to this not being a temporary thing is to make it a lifestyle change. Like I said, this is something that will happen naturally and gradually as you become more and more ensconced in running and fitness.

You already have a fitness-minded friend, but it pays to have more. Become active in the local racing scene….make friends…get to know people and they will all encourage and inspire you.

Immerse yourself in the fitness culture…go to the races…take active vacations…help those who are unfit, have seen you lose weight and look to you as a role model…subscribe to “Runners’ World” magazine….think like a runner (because you ARE a runner) and don’t take the easy way (eschew drive-throughs…walk your stuff into the store, take the farthest parking space in the company parking lot, take the stairs, walk to the post office at lunch instead of driving…).

If you’re still running now — in this winter-weather — this is not a temporary thing for you. You’re a die-hard. Welcome to the club.

BTW — Christine – the woman who sent me this question in 2008 — is running a 50K (31 miles) on hilly trails this weekend in Oil Creek…so…yeah…she’s still going. :0) Run strong, my friend.

75 pounds lost…and counting: Non smoker turned runner

By | September 3, 2014 10:07 am | 0 Comments

Editor’s note: I “met” Mary when I posted a question on the Her Times 5K Facebook page asking women to tell me why other women should try the HT5K. Mary wrote me a sweet note and told me a little bit about her journey. I sent her some more questions so I could share her story with you in hopes it might inspire you or someone you know. 

 before after

Before                                                                                                Now

As often happens, Mary Krysiak, 34, of Erie, gained weight when she stopped smoking in November of 2012, topping out at 287 pounds. But, unlike most ex-smokers who accept the extra pounds as the price of healthier lungs, Krysiak decided to take charge of her own health.

The catalyst? An unflattering photo of herself that was taken the summer after she quit smoking.

“I saw a picture of myself and I didn’t like what I saw,” she said. “I decided to take charge of my own life. I didn’t want to get surgery or take pills or any of that. I wanted to do it myself, so I started walking, biking.”

She joined the YMCA in November 2013 – her one-year anniversary of going smoke-free.

“A friend at work told me that it takes a year for your body to adjust to not smoking, so I decided to wait until the year market and then join the YMCA.”

Since then, Krysiak has lost 75 pounds and is now down to 212 pounds. She’s run a 5K, a 10K and completed a triathlon!

I talked with Krysiak about her experience and what the future holds for her (hint: the big 26.2 is on her to-do list!)

How did you start when taking charge of your health? I joined the YMCA and found out that they have coaches there, so I signed up. While I was working there with my coach, they started a program that was kind of like “The Biggest Loser” competition. You had to fill out an application & everything. I didn’t think I’d get in, but I had an interview and they picked me. That made all the difference in the world… to talk a dietician and have trainers there for you at any time. I ended up finishing in 2nd place, having lost 22 percent of my body weight.

What is the farthest you’ve run so far? 6.6 miles.

What race distances have you accomplished so far? I have ran a 5K and 10K, my next goal is a half marathon (13.1 miles). I have also done a triathlon.

What is your workout routine like now? I like to do weights 3 days a week and cardio 5 days.

How often do you workout? Right now, I work out 5 days a week. When I hit my goal weight of 190, then I plan to go down to 3 days to maintain.

Did you make any changes to your diet? How so? My diet before was mainly red meat, carbs, and lots of bread. I never used to eat vegetables and rarely ate fruit. Now, I have increased my fruits and vegetables intake to several a day and bread has been decreased. I also eat fish and try to substitute turkey for hamburger, etc.

What was your highest weight? 287

What is your current weight? 212

What is your goal weight? 190

What is your current running pace? 12 minute miles

Why running? Did you start walking, then progress to running? What made you start running?

I think that running is very effective and it gives me my “me” time. I started to run because when I was doing the YMCA Challenge, they told me that we were going to have a run clinic and I wanted to be able to run. I started to train by walking and running a little. Then, I just progressed into all running. I never thought I would run a mile let alone 10….nor did I ever dream I’d actually want to run a half marathon!

Do you have any support — a dog or friends or family you run with or who encourage you? My trainer Erica ran my first mile with me and always believed in me, even when I didn’t. Now, I usually run by myself. I have awesome friends and family that have been behind me all the way and encourage me all of the time. I am a nurse at the Erie Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center and my patients actually encourage me daily. They have all been a great support system for me.

What is your dream race and/or a bucket list item that you want to complete? My short-term dream is a half marathon. My long-range dream is a marathon.

How do you reward yourself? With my hair. If I reach a goal, I usually do something with my hair to treat myself. When I do, I walk into a salon and tell them do whatever they want, then it’s a surprise even to me.

What do you want people to know about losing weight? That it well worth the hard work and dedication. Also, it starts with one step. Just start moving and if you fall, get back up and start again. It’s worth it to be healthy. I really had no idea that I didn’t feel good before, but now I know because now I feel great!

Inspired, ladies? Good! Sign up for the Her Times 5K!

 

Where to find races in Erie

By | August 13, 2014 2:34 am | 0 Comments

I received the following email & after I answered him, I thought it might be useful info to post here for any other runners new to the Erie scene:

Hi Heather,

I got your email from your blog on GoErie.com.  You seem like a great person to provide me some information.  I’m getting back into running after many years off, and haven’t ever run a race since living in the Erie area.  Is there a list of runs nearby Erie that you can point me to?
Thanks for your help.
~ J.L.
Hi Jason. Welcome back into the running family. You’ll find that Erie has a very active, supportive & friendly running community. I know of lots of groups who run together around Erie county at a variety of paces, so if & when you want to join others, let me know & I’ll see if I can’t find you some folks to run with.

Tonight is Tuesday Night Race League which is an informal racing league that gets together on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in the summer months to run in places all over Erie county. Some race (I don’t) and there are usually two distances given…a shorter & a longer. People of all abilities show up and are welcome at TNRL. It is free and informal (no bibs or shirts or anything…there are times you’ll need to write your own time down). More info on TNRL and the schedule can be found here. Tonight TNRL is at Highmyer park in Harborcreek

Information on local races can be found here.  As you’ll see…there is no shortage of events to chose from. I don’t know that every single race is listed here (it’s up to organizers to send to the Erie runners club to get their event listed), but…the bigger ones are on the list. The official Erie Runners Club events are typically the most well attended and best run (managed).

If you have questions about any of the races, let me know, I’ve been running here in Erie for nearly 20 years. There’s probably not a race course or area of the county that I’m not familiar with (OK, maybe far west county — I’m an east county girl, born and raised).


See you at the races!

 

Erie running group news, notes

By | June 1, 2014 1:50 am | 0 Comments

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Running with other people will improve your performance and it may even improve your running experience (it has for me).

The Tuesday Night Race League, an informal weekly “race” league that is free and open to anyone & everyone of any ability (walkers welcome, too) has a Facebook page now. “Like” it to stay informed about all the group’s happenings and each week’s location and distance options. Not on FB? TNRL news is also posted on Jim Lang’s Big White Trailer website.

This coming Tuesday (June 3), TNRL is at Lake Erie Speedway at 7 p.m. Meet in the parking lot. There is always a longer & a shorter run option.

The Monday beginners trail run group at Penn State Behrend is going to be moving from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Park in the Junker Center parking lot and look for the folks gathering in the corner near the soccer fields. It’s “real” trail running with a mostly single-track course and plenty of mud if there’s been a recent rain. Plan accordingly!  If you’re on Facebook, join the Erie Trail Runners group to stay up-to-date.  More info on the trail run here.

If you’re looking for a group to run with…or you have a group that you’d like to invite more runners to, request to join the Erie Runners Club Running Groups Facebook group.

Free running clinic starts Thursday

By | May 8, 2014 9:22 pm | 0 Comments

Once again, Harborcreek Township is sponsoring a FREE 6-week Beginner’s Running Clinic.  Learn how to start running, choose proper equipment, warm up & stretching, diet, and follow a training plan to help you reach your running goals.

The clinic will be held every Thursday starting on May 15th at 6 PM.  Meet at the picnic pavilion next to the Firman Road concession stand at Harborcreek Community Park.

The running clinic is FREE andYou do NOT need to be a Harborcreek resident to attend.

Here’s a Q&A I did with Sandie Sweet, the runner who leads the clinic.

Need some inspiration? This Harborcreek blogger attended Sandie’s clinic and started running (she had not run prior to attending the clinic) and she just completed her first half marathon!  Read all about it here.

You can do it. You are so much stronger than you can possible imagine.

Go!  DO IT. Try it. It can will change your life.

Questions?  Call (814) 899-3171 or email Sandie Sweet at sweetrunners@yahoo.com

Things I found — 3/20/14

By | March 20, 2014 1:44 am | 0 Comments

Worth Reading

Star Tribune: She found running and left troubles in the dust

How to pick the right running partner (Tip: If your goal is to get faster, your best running partners are those slightly faster than you. This means you may curse them while running because they will push you, but…that’s how you improve).

Because we can: Why we all need to run

Undies for running women (cute concept, but…pricey — 3 pairs for $48. Ouch).

Forget Fitbit –  This T-shirt embeds fitness sensors into fabric (interesting)

Funny stuff

 

How Are You Training? from Boss Hog on Vimeo.

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Know the lingo: Recovery Run

By | February 26, 2014 8:55 am | 0 Comments

When you’re just getting started in a sport, it’s hard to learn the lingo. Running and walking, like any sport, has it’s own special language and local phrases. Each week, I’ll define a term or phrase that will help you not only walk the walk (or run the run), but talk the talk.

A “recovery run” is a run that you’d do the day after a hard or long (or long and hard) run or race. It’s meant to speed recovery by getting the blood flowing to the legs to flush out all the toxins, lactate etc. Recovery runs are always short, but… most importantly, they’re done very, very slowly.

More info on recovery runs here and here.

Things I found — 8/8/13

By | August 8, 2013 1:19 am | 0 Comments

Worth Reading

* Protein is key to satiating meals and, therefore, key to weight loss (you eat much less when you eat protein). Here are 9 Portable Protein Sources for Athletes (though I disagree with peanut butter…it’s full of sugar and peanuts are legumes, not nuts).

* Can’t figure out what your next race should be? Take the pop quiz to find out what your next challenge should be.

* Dogs don’t sweat, so be cautious about taking your favorite four-legged partner on a run on a hot, humid day (no matter how much they WANT to go). Heed these 12 safety tips for running with your dog in the heat.

funny

Gear of the week (I’m getting bored with T-shirts)

Check out these cool MantraBands!  Mantras can get you through a tough race. I’ve got several mantras and they’ve changed over the years. The one I relied on in the PA Grand Canyon marathon was “Relentless Forward Progression.” I don’t see that one here, but I’m thinking I won’t need that one again anyway.  “Carpe Diem” or “Enjoy the Journey” might be better choices for me now.

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Wanna be a Poser?

Also…don’t forget about Pose-method classes that are now available in Erie. Here are the details:

crossfit

 

 

 

Guest Post: Confessions of a lapsed runner (Don’t let this happen to you)

By | August 7, 2013 1:33 am | 0 Comments

Guest post

By Tom Madura

Hi, my name is Tom and I haven’t run in months.

Well, not quite true. I’ve run. A little.

But this is a story about what happens when you lose the drive, and how hard it is to get it back. See, I’ve been a runner for about 30 years, give or take, and I’ve had my ups and downs. But never like this.

I started running in my 20s, and now, in my 50s,  my PR’s are all behind me. My 1:44 in the Clarion River Half Marathon seems like a lifetime ago. (That’s the fore-runner of the Cook’s Forest Half for you young ‘uns). But that’s OK.  I don’t mind getting older and slower – as long as I can still run and enjoy it.

It’s been years since I ran with the express purpose of beating anyone or trying to continually improve my pace. I started running barefoot to reduce the stress on my knees, and started to run just for the sheer fun of it and to stay fit. I love running and I was having a ball.

But last summer something changed – a long stretch of hot, humid weather led me to take a few weeks off. “What’s a few weeks?” I thought. It’s happened before. As soon as it cools off, I’ll start puttin’ in the miles again.

Only I didn’t. “Just a couple more days”, I thought, and I’ll jump right back in. I promise.

And then I twisted my ankle while out boating. A running injury when I wasn’t even running. Just great.

So then I decided, “Well, with that ankle all swollen and sore I’d better not start running again until it feels better.”

Weeks stretched into months, and then it was almost time for the Turkey Trot – one of my favorite races, and one I have only missed once in the last ten years. I hadn’t run at all since August, and it was early November. I did a few 2-mile runs and felt pretty good so I signed up for the 5K. Afterward I felt great, but there was still a little twinge in my ankle, and it was a little swollen the next day. No big deal, I’ll just take a few more days off (this train of thought was getting way too easy!)

Next up was the Snowflake Run – another favorite. I ran it and felt great.

Then I started to find every excuse imaginable not to run. What was wrong with me? All winter it was “I’m busy tonight”. “It’s raining – maybe it’ll be nicer tomorrow.” “It’s too cold”, or “I had a long day at work – I‘m tired”, or “Boy that couch and fireplace sure look more inviting than a run in the snow.”

Problem is, there are ALWAYS long days at work, or it’s ALWAYS too hot or too cold, or too rainy, and the couch is ALWAYS there. These things never stopped me from running before. I just didn’t have the motivation. I’d lost the drive. I was in a slump. My wife bought me a running motivational calendar for Christmas – it’s hanging in my office – I read it every day.

Didn’t help.

I read Heather’s blog every day for motivation and envied her drive to train for her Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania marathon.

Didn’t help.

It was just becoming easier and easier to NOT run.

Winter turned to Spring and I was really starting to miss running.

Oh, I finally started to go for an occasional 2 or 3 mile run, but getting back into a regular running routine was turning out to be harder than I thought. I did a few after-work runs at Presque Isle, and did 3 miles on International Barefoot Running Day in May. But by then it had been almost nine months (nine months!) since I had run on a regular schedule, and time I had previously set aside for running had now been taken up with other things – yard work; staying late at work; going out with friends. My schedule was full! Was this a permanent change in my life? Was I becoming an ex-runner?

N0. Damn it. I just need to focus on this and motivate myself – it’s for my own good and nobody else is going to do it for me. And I ENJOY IT! Why is this so hard??

As they say – it’s all in the mind. Just Do It.

So last week, on a cool rainy day, after a long day at work, I told my wife that dinner would have to wait a little bit tonight, and with only a passing glance at the couch as I headed out the front door, I did my first 3 mile run in weeks. And I’ve done 3 more since.

And most important of all, I finally WANT to keep doing it again! I’m looking forward to my next run.

I’m back! And it feels great!

I’ll see you on the road.

~ Tom