New to Running: Tiffany’s first 10k race the Resolution Run 2014 | Guest Blogger

We’re excited to have our friend Tiffany guest blogging today. Tiffany has been running for a little over a year and ran her first 10k race with us on January 1st. Here’s her story:

It’s minus 10ºC.  The only thing between me and the air is a few layers of technologically-advanced fabrics. Any moment now, the guy at the front is going to tell us it’s time.  As I stand in anticipation, I set my watch. My fingers tremble as it locates the satellites.  Oooh, we’re almost there! There’s only one thing left to do now….RUN!!

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This year my husband Tyler, a more seasoned runner, is doing the 10 km resolution run with me, a one year amateur.  I must say, our start was great, calmly making our way to the front half of the small herd of runners, commenting on the change of course from last years’ run.  Almost immediately I complain how ‘they’ have us going uphill right out of the gate.  What are they trying to do? Kill me right away? I press on.  My goal us to run 10 minutes and walk 1 minute and maintain a 6:05/km pace and I figure with Tyler there, no problem.

First lap, 2.5 km, piece of cake!

Second, KILL ME NOW! Why was this sooo difficult? I looked at my watch and we had only gone 3 km! How am I pooped out so soon? Was it the cold? Nope. Already a sweaty beast. Was I not hydrated enough? No.  I dug a piece of gum out of my pocket.  Somehow it helped. Maybe I’m just nuts?
I whine to Tyler that ‘ how am I ever going to run a half marathon if I can’t do a 10 k fun-run without feeling defeated 3 k into it?”
“That’s normal”, he says.
“It gets better”, he says.
I roll my eyes and chew my gum faster.

We turn the corner where a friendly volunteer cheers us on.  I’m wearing a bright orangy-pink sweater while Tyler wears bright green.  The volunteers thus names us ‘team neon’.  Cheesy, but oddly motivating at the same time.  We just go with it and make it work for us.

Third lap starts off with a new sense of determination.  I felt renewed like somehow passing the halfway point made everything better.  I can do it.  I can do anything.  I am woman! I felt strong and relaxed.  Not like that thing that was whining the lap before. We turn down a side street and I hear a little girl yelling at all the runners, ” Why are you running?”  I yell out, ” Because we can!” Like an excited idiot, my voice cracking like I’m about to cry from absolute pride, when in reality, I was choking on my own saliva.

Woohoo! Last lap!! Tyler at this point tells me he’s impressed with how my running has improved.  I’m not so bouncy.  I have breath control and I have learned to pace myself.  He also tells me I need to stop talking from now on so I don’t tire out.  Is he really just thinking of me and my goals? Or is this just a good way to shut me up?

I had hoped to come in under the one hour mark, shaving 6 minutes off my personal best.  With 1.3 k left I thought there was no way.  I told Tyler I couldn’t do it so his advice was to no longer look at my watch.  We marched up the final hill, taking off into a sprint, looking like two gazelles swiftly moving across the Serengeti.  Not really.  But I felt great, excited and happy with my efforts.  The best part was running with Tyler for my first 10 km race.  My final time was 59:55.

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Will I do the Resolution Run again? Absolutely! Considering last year at the same race, it was my first 5 km run ever, I feel I have improved dramatically.  I love that my husband and I enjoy doing it together.  My next goal is the Mississauga Half Marathon in May. I was asked by a non-runner friend, “Isn’t it non-motivational to not be timed or potentially get a medal?”  For the majority racing and running isn’t  about winning or placing.  It’s about setting a personal goal or challenge and meeting it or completely slamming it! It’s the knowing that YOU CAN run that far or that fast.  It’s very personal and it’s different for everyone.  I look forward to next year’s Resolution Run and everything in between!

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-Tiffany-

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New to Running – Melissa’s First 10k

Mandy and I have an awesome group of friends who run. We hope to have some of them be guest bloggers so that we can share lots of different  perspectives and experiences.

This past year our sister-in-law Melissa started running. October was a very exciting month as she ran her first 10k with us at the Stratford Festival City Race. (This was where Mandy and I ran our first 10k  several years ago). Melissa, thanks for sharing your experience with  us.  – J –

Melissa’s story:

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“Lifetime athlete?” This is the question asked of me by my new Garmin watch as I was setting up the user profile. “Is there a ‘Hell, no’ option?” I mused. The truth is, I’ve never been very athletic. In school, I always performed better in the library than I did on the field, and while I have maintained an active lifestyle, I don’t consider myself to be very sporty. Yet, this past October, I met a personal milestone when I ran my first 10k race. So, how did a non-athlete accomplish this goal? My sisters-in-law Mandy and Jackie have kindly offered to let me tell my story via their blog, and I’d be happy to do so!

I am going to tell my story in the format of three lessons I have learned from my experience. I hope to inspire other non-runners to go out and give it a shot!

Take baby steps. (Not literally, because that could seriously affect your cadence). You have to start from somewhere. For me, I had to start from scratch. About a year ago, I downloaded an app called “Couch to 5k” to my iPhone, and I used this app to ease into running. For those who aren’t familiar with this app, it uses audio coaching to guide you through intervals of walking and running, and ever-so-slowly advances to longer running intervals. Looking back, I remember how hard it was to run for even one minute, and then two minutes felt like an eternity! But one of the wonderful things about running is that personal improvement is so measurable. Within weeks of starting, you may be running a bit longer, a bit stronger, a bit faster. Admittedly though, these do come in very little “bits” which may not seem all that significant in themselves, but stack them together over time and you won’t believe what you will be able to do.

Just do it. Yes, this is the Nike line. Yes, I did just giggle writing that (Jackie, I think like your house full of boys). But this is what I tell myself over and over again if I need motivation. I have a tendency to overthink, to second-guess, to cautiously decline. I was so hesitant to sign up for the 10k! While I tend to analyze situations, I need a completely different approach to running: I need to just get out there, just do it, without getting my head too involved. It is a wonderful thing in this hectic, crazy world to set aside some time each week to focus on just a few, simple things: breathing, pacing, and distance. I have no regrets about joining my first 10k, but I think I would have many regrets if I chose not to do it. My time was nothing to brag about, but now I have set a personal baseline for years to follow.

Focus on personal achievements. Sure, a little competition can be healthy. To be honest, though, I can discourage myself by comparing myself to others who have been doing this longer than I have or who have even an ounce of natural ability. In a few instances while I was running in the 10k race, I was so worried that I was in last place, I found myself looking behind me to see if there were any other runners trailing me. But I snapped out of it and scolded myself for doing so (I think I did this in my head, but I tend to get crazy and talk to myself when I run, so you never know). For several reasons, I vowed to myself never to look back again. First of all, it is completely counter-productive; it could slow me down or psyche me out. Secondly, how unsportsmanlike! But most importantly, running is an individual sport, and doing your personal best is what counts. So, even if I did finish last, would it matter if I had put forth my greatest effort? I would like to think not.

I am so happy that I was able to run in this race. It was the Stratford Festival City 10k, and while the weather was not perfect, the route was beautiful. The support from both the running community and the neighbourhood was very encouraging. I was proud of my sisters-in-law for their achievements and I ended up having a lot of fun. I think I’m hooked. So, if you are on the fence about running, I would strongly encourage you to tie up your laces and surprise yourself!

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Jackie and Melissa arriving
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Mandy’s finish

I can’t believe we didn’t get a picture of the three of us together!