Wednesday, January 20, 2016

On The Running Mind of Jen M

I am so very very excited this week to feature another round of my favorite ever segment! This week it is a blurb from the running mind of Jen, one of the absolutley amazing women from my local woman's running club.  She is beyond inspiring, funny as all get out and always up for a running adventure.  I remember fondly one night on a 5 mile group run, a PR for distance for her then, the ride back to our cars was full of hilarious Jenisms and I knew right then and there this lady needed to write for me.  I am currently encouraging her to write more, because the world really does need more of what she offers.  Honesty, humor and the unshakeable passion to believe in herself! 

The Running Mind of Jen:

Many times in my life I was asked to run.  Many times I said no.  One time I said yes.  And my journey began.
The beginning.  My  ability was a level 0.  Just like in the movie Kung Foo Panda.
My very first run on my own was on a treadmill at my husbands Wellness Center for employees and their spouses.  I collapsed on the floor after using the treadmill.  Running in 1 min intervals with a 2 minute walk was more than I could handle.  I was dying.  I was discouraged.  I hated myself.  I hated running.  I hated it all. 
I floundered around with my own attempts at that thing called running for about 9 months.  What a
hot mess!  I was embarrassed by everything I did.  It was truly a nightmare.  I was chasing after my running friends.   I tried and I tried.  My heart was silently breaking. 
One day a friend  added me to a Lebanon lady running group on Facebook.  I accepted.  Why? I can't run like them.  I am not a runner.  I do not deserve to be in the same category as them.  But I accepted.  I posted many times looking for new runners.  Looking for slow runners.  I was embarrassed to ask.  I was ashamed to classify myself as a runner.  At last: the day that saved me.  A newbie group was starting.  I dragged a buddy to the meeting.  And off we went for an 8 wk program. 
This was different though.  I learned that I ran on my tippie toes.  I learned that I was not going to die.  I learned that my legs were not going to fall off.  I learned what true blisters were and how to avoid them.  I learned what running clothes were.  I learned that my anxiety was my biggest barrier. I got fitted for new shoes at Fleet Feet during my 8 weeks.  I got actual running socks.  I learned that running was a liberating, empowering and uplifting sport.  I learned the true meaning of friendship.  I met so many new friends along my way.  
Newbie Graduation Day
I graduated from the Newbie group.  What a great day.  I was more proud that day than any other graduation day.  My 6th grade graduation.  I got a migraine and missed it.  Anxiety.  High school graduation.  My mom was admitted to the hospital two hours prior.  My college graduation.  My husband and my father cheered me on, my mother and memere too.  But there was family conflict that took away from my moment.  It was another disappointing day.  Special events were challenges in my life.  Birthdays, holidays, confirmation, weddings, baby showers, bridal showers.  All came with conflict. Every event.  Every year.  It was my normal.  My Newbie graduation was none of that.  It was filled with joy and pride.  I ran for 30 minutes.  Me!  I did that! It became my new normal.

Today with the support of my husband, my children and many true friends.  I am proud and honored to say I run with the ladies in my running group.  I can run 30 minutes.  I can run a 5k.  I can run a
7 Miles Accomplished! 
10k.  I can even run 7.33 miles.  I can run for one hour 38 minutes consecutively.  I am a runner.  I am not sure when it happened.  But here I am!  My Newbie Coach never left my side.  A few started with me.  Not everyone finished with me.  They continued on their journey.  My Coach was a huge part of my journey. I tell her often.   I am a runner because of her passion, knowledge and her commitment.  I can only hope to bring those same gifts to another. 
I have learned that I love to talk to people when I run.  I run for the joy of it.  Not for the pace or the finish line time.  Having a PR is great.  But its not what drives me.  I love the people I meet along the way.  I love the people I run with.  The people I cross paths with.  I love the volunteers at the water stations, the finish lines, the starting lines.  I love that I can proudly say I ran with them!
I once chased after others.  Because if I caught up to them.  I was a real runner.  One day I stopped chasing them.  I realized they never noticed.  I realized I had my own pace.  My pace made me happy.  All I had to do was embrace it.  I realized I was a runner. 
I have learned that I am an expert at peeing in the woods. I have learned I can pee so fast my auto pause on my runkeeper doesn't come on.  I am always on the lookout for a portable potty.  Its amazing when one appears along my route. 
I have learned that I think of random things when I run.  I people watch.  I house watch.  I house watch.  Why you ask.  I wonder what their bathrooms look like.  I wonder if they have coffee.  I wonder if they have a chair to sit in.  I wonder if they will give me a ride.  I have learned that I can jump over snakes in the road.  I learned that I am the person my friends rely on to talk them through a run.  I tell random stories.  I tell them I am dying.  I tell them my legs are going to fall off. 
One time I ate a bug in my quest to run 4 miles.  It occurred at mile 1.  I now carry water.
One time I peed in prickly bushes on a 4 mile run.  I now watch out for those bushes.  They hurt.
One time I got my headphone wires stuck in my underwear during a 3 mile run while using my outdoor potty.  I now use a flipbelt. 
One time my music and my runkeeper stats shut off during a 5 mile run at mile 1.  I now know I can get through the run without any devices.  Warning to those who run with me.  I will talk your ear off when I finish.  5 miles of just me and my thoughts. Oh my! Ihave lots to catch up on! 
One time I was sad to see my friends run without me.  I am no longer sad.  We are all on a different journey. 
One time I ran with my beagle named Henry Ford.  I realized he is more social than I am.  I now bring him for walks and no runs.
One time I asked one of my beautiful cousins to run with me at the Santa Hustle 5K.  She said yes.  We ran.  We talked.  We ate candy.  We listened to Christmas carols.  We wore beards and Santa hats!  It was the best day.  She ran my pace.  I knew she could run faster.  But we were both so happy to run together.  It was one of my biggest honors.  To run with my cousin.  Soon I will run with my Aunt Christine.   I think she knows....
 I am not who I was in the beginning of my journey.  I started as someone trying to be like the others.  I know
now I can not control how others act.  But I can control how I react.  This includes how I travel on my journey.  Followed or unfollowed in life.    Its all good.  We each have our own road to travel.  Today I am proud to say I am a Lebanon Lady Runner with many great friends.  I am proud to say my family has been my biggest supporters.  They have heard and seen me at my worst.  I am humbled to say that 
people ask me to run with them.  I am honored to say yes.  I am honored when I ask others to run with me and they say yes too!   I am happy to run alone.  I am proud to have my health. 

One day I was asked to be a guest blogger.  I thought.  I love to write.  I love to share my story.  Am I worthy enough to share with others? I needed a reminder.  But here I am.  A runner to the core.  Oh core hurts.