Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Runner I Am

I read a blog post today from RunLadyLike titled Be the Runner You Are, and it brought me back to some thought I had during my long run on Sunday. I haven't posted much about it here on my blog, but I'm in the final few weeks of my training for my upcoming half marathon. If you've followed me on other social media, you have seen some of the struggles and triumphs I've had over the last month or so. This is at once humbling and uplifting. I'm pushing my body to do things that I'd hardly imagined I could do, but at the same time being forced to accept my limitations.

Starting just before the new year I've been hitting distance records on most of my long runs. I did a 9 mile run and it felt magical, like I'd hit a sweet spot and really felt that the sky was the limit for my running. Then a week later when faced with my first 10 mile run, it was a disaster. After 7 miles I felt like I couldn't move another step. I walked and prodded my way to the end and instantly felt defeated. Then I thought more about what I'd done, posted about it on Twitter and got some tremendous encouragement from the community. My next 10 miler was a little better and last week's 11 miler felt even better. I can finally picture myself completing 13.1 and I finished that run really excited about crossing the finish line in just a few short weeks.

Here's the thing. I've always had a time goal in mind for my half. I know that the only goal should be finishing and all that talk, but I'd thought that I could keep a certain pace and make my goal of about 2:45. Its not a fast time by any means, but I would feel comfortable with it. While I was running my 11 miles on Sunday, I realized that the pace that makes it comfortable enough for me to go that distance without burning out is much slower than that. My pace will put me much closer to 3 hours. I struggled with that a bit when I first realized it. Man that's slow! But, its me. Its me moving my still quite heavy body 13.1 miles. Its me logging 88 miles for the month of January (after tomorrow's 5 miler). I'm a better runner than I was 18 months ago, 12 months ago, 6 months ago, 3 months ago. From the beginning of my running journey I've said I want to build distance and then worry about speed. So why am I worried about how fast I do the longest distance I'll ever try? Uh, I don't know! I'm not!

The runner I am is one who fuels himself with positive thoughts. I will run 13.1 miles because I'm putting in the work to get my body ready to do it. There is a lot more that I need to get my body to do, including be less body, but that will all come with time and more positivity. For now, I am the runner I am, and that runner is going to move his 270 pound body 13.1 miles along the Ft. Lauderdale beach 6 days after his 40th birthday.


  1. Jamie - you are awesome! I just hope you recognize that every day!

    I just completed my first half back in November and it was rough. I told everyone that I had no goal time, that I just wanted to finish, but still- in the back of my mind (based off my training runs) I thought I would finish somewhere around 2:35-2:45. Boy was I wrong. And it was ugly. I crossed that finish with a smile on my face but disappointed in that 3:07 on the clock. It wasn't what I expected. I was pissed.

    But I got over it. That 3:07 taught me alot about myself. I think that for us (the "slow" runners) we see that 3 hour mark as a sign that what we did wasn't good enough. Well, I should say that's how I felt- I can't speak for everyone. But I was wrong. I ran a freaking half marathon. Something I NEVER thought would happen. EVER. I used to be the obese girl on the sidelines cheering on my husband feeling like running wasn't even a possibility for me. And it was. And I want to kick myself for ever feeling like 3:07 was ever anything to be ashamed of or disappointed in. The reality is that I set a goal, a training plan, stuck to it (persevered through the toughest times) and was able to cross that finish line. I didn't deserve to have that time on the clock take away from how amazing of an accomplishment that was. 3:07 doesn't mean I didn't give 100%, it doesn't mean I'm lazy, and it certainly doesn't mean anything that I should be embarrassed by. What it means is that for 3 hours and 7 minutes I gave that pavement everything I had that day and when it sucked and when it hurt I didn't quit. I pushed to the very end.

    So, why am I babbling in your comments section? Because I want you to know that what that clock says when you cross the finish line is not the important part. It's not. The important part really, truly, is crossing that line. That is the reward for all of your handwork. And when you cross I hope you feel overwhelmed with joy and pride and you celebrate this amazing accomplishment. Because you are awesome! And I hope you recognize that every day!

  2. I love this post, Jamie. And I am so excited for you and your race. You and Dacia (above) are both right. You can NEVER be disappointed in giving your best effort, doing something that makes you the best version of yourself and makes you healthy. We all want this amazing time on the clock at the end of the day, but I can honestly say the races I am most proud of were the ones that were literally the toughest ... the ones I didn't have my best time but I kept fighting anyway. The ones where I gave the most heart. It is about the experience -- not just during the race but the many months you've prepared to get there. It's about the support of this amazing running community. It's about finishing something you once thought was impossible.

    You are going to do great in your half marathon, and I can't wait to hear all about it. Thank you for mentioning my post. I'm so glad it inspired you. You inspire me! xo