Reasons to Run: Because it’s awesome

“Make today so awesome that yesterday gets jealous.” — Unknown

 

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The Wagon

I have fallen off the wagon before. It’s not a new thing.

I have fallen off the wagon before. It’s not a new thing.

I have fallen off the wagon before. It’s not a new thing. Most times, I’ve picked myself up. Trusted that I could. Knew that I would hear the voices of those in my world tell me to “dust off and get back on the ride”. But last June, the death of my mother changed everything for me. Finding my mother…gone… was perhaps the single most traumatizing thing that I can remember happening in my life.

The wagon was there, the cheerleaders were yelling “Dust yourself off, get back on!” But their voices got further and further away…and the wagon left without me this time.

Race for the Cure Detroit, May 2012

Race for the Cure Detroit, May 2012

Now trust me, when it comes to excuses, I wrote the book. Not the entire book, but let’s just say I’ve been a regular contributor. Making excuses actually meant I cared, but this time I’d even forgotten how to do that. No excuses. No explanations. I had gone into full blown mourning. Grief had taken hold of my body, my mind, my soul. Every Facebook memory from the year before had reminded me of all the time and energy I had spent in building the “me” I wanted to be.

Today marks the anniversary of the first 5K I ever ran. In May 2012, I ran the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Detroit with my sister running alongside me, yelling “Water is for weaklings! Peeing? Really?” I ran that whole race, non stop. I encouraged others to run or walk it too. I was surprised at my own strength. From there I went on to run over 24 races and even completed a duathlon.

Which brings me to now. The phone rang this morning. It was a dear friend of mine who did the race with me the first time She called to ask me where she could meet me on the route today. She just knew I’d be there. Me? On the route? Today? Nope, I am at home. My race days seem a world away.

Toronto Caribbean Carnival, August 2014

Toronto Caribbean Carnival, August 2014

I am just now starting to feel myself again. My toes, my desire to move my body again. To dance. To eat well. To love me again. To honor this body again. I gotta do it. Next weekend, I am registered for a half marathon I paid for before my Mom died. I may not be able to run it, like I had in the past. I might have to walk. Or perhaps, the wagon will circle back and I’ll climb back on. #wegotogether

– K.G.

Reasons to Run: Fun with friends at the Mercedes-Benz Oakville 10K

We RUN Tings invites you to join us the Mercedes-Benz Oakville 10k on Sunday, April 27, 2014. Presented by New Balance Oakville, all funds raised through this popular race will be donated to the Oakville Hospital Foundation. Participants will enjoy pituresque views of Oakville’s lakeshore and a variety of fun events for all ages, including a 5k High School Challenge, a 1k Junior Jog, and a 300m Toddler Trot! But wait, there’s more! One lucky winner will drive away in a brand new 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA.

971410_10151789214270465_831301863_nFor Barbara H., it’s worth a four-hour drive from across the border — even longer, if she stops at every Timmy’s! Here, Barbara shares her reasons for running, and tips for newbies.

Why did you start running?

I was always a runner off and on from the age of 13. I was inspired by older brothers who all were cross country runners. As an adult, I always dreamed of running again, but I didn’t fully pursue it again until last year. I was inspired by a group of my friends who had started running and that ignited that spark in me once again.

I started out on the track at first, running one lap and walking one, then running two and walking one. I did this until I could run a mile non-stop. Then I moved my track training to the treadmill. This is where I worked on building my distance. Before I knew it, I had built up enough endurance to run longer distances.

1174590_10151789216845465_409063980_nWhat different places have you gone to run (cities, countries)?

I run most often in Detroit [Michigan, USA], my hometown. However, last summer, I ran in Toronto [Ontario, CANADA] with We RUN Tings. That was my first international running experience.

Why did you decide to do the Mercedes Benz 10K in Oakville?

I had so much fun with We RUN Tings in Toronto last year. Having a group of runners that support you to become better and provides opportunities to see the world through running is great. I look forward to the positive energy that We RUN Tings gives me as a runner. They are really an amazing, supportive group.

Have you run a 10K before?

In November of 2013, I ran my first 10k at the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot in Detroit.

What advice do you have for other runners who may be just getting started?

I’d tell new runners these few points:

  • Don’t pressure yourself
  • Just take it one day at a time
  • Do your best, not anyone else’s best
  • Listen to your body
  • Oh yeah, and join a great running group!

Reasons to Run: Now is the time

Friends: Stop toying with my emotions.

At least twice a week I hear “You know I’ve always wanted to start running! I’ve been meaning to call you. We really should get together sometime.”

But when is this elusive sometime? When it comes to getting out there, it seems that something is always standing in the way.

“I’ll join you when it’s not so cold… When it’s not so hot… When I get back in shape… When things slow down at work… When I get my child care in order… When I lose this weight… When I get the right shoes… When I get more sleep… Sometime… Sometime… Sometime…”

Yes, many of us are serious about getting healthy but we always say that it’s too hard to find the time. When life gets hectic, working out is usually the first thing on the chopping block. When we have to work late, we can’t work in a workout. No child care? No workout. Money tight? Goodbye gym membership. Friends wanna go grab a drink but you planned to go to Zumba? Well…

The truth is, we have to prioritize our exercise the same way we prioritize our other regular habits. Few people will ever admit that they are too busy with their job to bathe or brush their teeth. You have to find the time to get dressed and do something with your hair. Maybe you could find an extra 15 minutes to walk or run around the block. At lunch. On the way to work or home.

Don’t wait until you lose the weight. Do what you can now and enjoy the results as you get fitter and you can do more. Don’t let lack of fancy gear stand in your way. Dress for comfort or just slap some sneakers on with your suit and stash the pumps until you get to work. Money is funny? I hear that! That is why running works for me: the sidewalk is free.

Tell your friends to don their sweats and meet you on that free sidewalk or at the track. If not, you can catch up with them for that drink later because you’ve earned it. Child care? That’s always a big one for me. Take my advice: Take the children with you. Not only are you all getting exercise together now but you are also setting the stage for the healthy, balanced lifestyle that they will emulate when they grow up. Sometime.

“But how do I start?” Just start. Forget about planning for that perfect sometime. Now is the time. Strip down, layer up, drop your briefcase, grab the stroller, fire up your tunes, holler at your homies, fling the door open, take a deep breath, and go.

— NOJ

Crossing the line

Today, I officially crossed the line.

You just never know when that is going to happen. It’s like a surprise party. Once the shock has worn off, you can clearly see all the signs that should have alerted you that something was going to happen. You just didn’t recognize them until everybody jumped up in your face, screaming: SURPRISE! (Got’cha real good, huh?)

I should have known when I opened my eyes this morning. I had been stressed out yesterday and went to bed with a whole lot on my mind, unable to get a really good sleep. Waking up, all I could think about was how much I wanted, no NEEDED to get out there and clear my head. See that right there? The first clue. I went to bed feeling BAD and I saw going for a morning run as something that would make me feel BETTER. Not aspirin. Not a warm soak in the tub. Not a hot cup of tea or (vegan) ice cream. I wanted to RUN. I needed to run.

I only hoped it wouldn’t be too cold. It was 6:15AM, still dark, and the whole world seemed to be asleep.

Checking the weather (the Weather Network app said 2 degrees, plus a girlfriend texted me to say that it was mild outside), I made lunch for my kids and then went to get dressed. I layered up (including the ultra-big headphones to protect my sensitive-and-always-cold ears) and donned the running shoes. With a deep breath, I stepped outside into the cold (but mild) sparkling morning air. It was 7:05AM.

The sun had just started to rise. As I stood in the slushy snow, without my even realizing it, it happened. I crossed over: from mere mortal to serious runner.

This morning was the first time I ever had to shovel a path through the snow before a run. Mortal Me would have turned right around and taken her sleep-deprived body back to bed. Super Me was having none of that. She wanted to get out there BAD. So, path cleared, I picked my way through the wet snow to the street.

The snowplows hadn’t made it yet. The slush was ankle deep. Undaunted, I gingerly crossed to the middle of the road and kept right on stepping. I hailed up one of my neighbours (who looked a bit shocked to see me out there) and made my way to the main street. There, as luck would have it, I found a section of sidewalk a few blocks long that was clear. I claimed that stretch of concrete for my own, and hit the ground running. Literally.

As my feet pounded the ground, and the wind pounded my face, I began to lose myself in the beat (Talib Kweli’s “Get By” didn’t hurt either, I was feeling NO pain) and let my mind flow wherever it wanted. I thought about my long gone friend, Hubert, and how amazed he would be at my progress. I thought about why running is good for our bodies and good for the community. I thought about new (old school) songs I could add to my playlist (I have a 5K tomorrow — I’m going to need Cameo’s “Shake your pants”). I thought about how great it is to get my workout out of the way first thing in the morning, and go off to work having already accomplished something.

Mortal Me was distracted (and embarrassed) by the looks on the faces of the people waiting at the bus stop. I couldn’t even bring myself to run past them, I turned back a few feet away and ran in the other direction. Twice. I recognized that look. A lot of people, especially us African-Caribbean people, make that face when we see people jogging outside in the cold. The look says: “She crazy? Bwoy, mi tell yuh, some people a bin in dis country TOO long!”

Super Me had to admit it: I was crazy! But I was also supremely confident, drunk with my success, amazed at my tenacity, all wonderful, positive, life-affirming feelings. I realized that I am an addict. I had to have that feeling. And no snow or slush or funny looks from strangers was going to stop me.

As I slowed to my cool-down walk, I felt like I was glowing. I know I was smiling. I was brimming with energy as I turned my steps toward home.

The best part was walking into my home, now alive with the sounds of my family. My husband and children were amazed that I had been out there, not just running in the snow but ENJOYING running in the snow. My daughter, 7 years old, hugged my legs and exclaimed: “Mommy! I want to go with you next time!”

Life is good on the other side of the line.

Whatever the weather…

When your body’s telling you GO but the weather’s telling you NO (a reluctant shout-out to R. Kelly here), take your game indoors to the track or the treadmill — in fact, you can click here for a training routine that’s treadmill ready. Or, if you don’t have the option to run indoors, work on one of your supporting areas, since “you can’t run your best without a strong core, the muscles in your abdominals, lower back, and glutes.” Runner’s World provides a 15-minute core workout that’s perfect for runners, and doesn’t require a lot of time or a lot of equipment. Short and sweet workouts like these help you to keep your focus even on days when you can’t get a run in.

Then again, some of us (not me though) love to take a relaxing run in the rain. If that’s you, make sure you have the right clothes, the right shoes (don’t slip!) and the right music. I recommend: Tony Toni Tone – “It Never Rains in Southern California.” Enjoy!

Ready, Set, RUN Tings!

 

Get yourself a stopwatch and get started! Or, if you have a smartphone, download the app for iPhone or Android. Three times a week for nine weeks, and it doesn’t matter how fast you run. Take it at your own happy pace, run with friends, run with your dog, run the treadmill, inside, outside, it’s your world. There are lots of great tips at www.c25k.com.

Week

Workout 1

Workout 2

Workout 3

1

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

2

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

3

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:

  • Jog 200 metres
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 metres
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 metres
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 metres
    (or three minutes)

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:

  • Jog 200 metres
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 metres
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 metres
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 metres
    (or three minutes)

 

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:

  • Jog 200 metres
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 metres
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 metres
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 metres
    (or three minutes)
4

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 400m
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 200m
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 800m
    (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 400m
    (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 400m
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 200m
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 800m
    (or 5 minutes)

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 400m
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 200m
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 800m
    (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 400m
    (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 400m
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 200m
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 800m
    (or 5 minutes)

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 400m
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 200m
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 800m
    (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 400m
    (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 400m
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 200m
    (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 800m
    (or 5 minutes)
5

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 800m
    (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 400m
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 800m
    (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 400m
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 800m
    (or 5 minutes)

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 1.2km
    (or 8 minutes)
  • Walk 800m
    (or 5 minutes)
  • Jog 1.2km
    (or 8 minutes)

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3.2km (or 20 minutes) with no walking.

6

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 800m
    (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 400m
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1.2km
    (or 8 minutes)
  • Walk 400m
    (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 800m
    (or 5 minutes)

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 1.6km
    (or 10 minutes)
  • Walk 400m or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1.6km
    (or 10 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3.6km (or 25 minutes) with no walking.
7

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 4km (or 25 minutes).

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 4km (or 25 minutes).

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 4km (or 25 minutes).

8

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 4.5km
(or 28 minutes).

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 4.5km
(or 28 minutes).

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 4.5km
(or 28 minutes).

9

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 5km (or 30 minutes).

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 5km (or 30 minutes).

The final workout! Congratulations! Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 5km (or 30 minutes).