Where Have You Been?

October 29, 2009 at 1:03 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I know, I know.  I dropped off the face of the earth.  I didn’t just drop, I plummeted.  I don’t even have a good excuse…um, life?  No, that’s no excuse.  I even have the WordPress app on my iPhone — I could blog from anywhere.  And I didn’t.   Believe me, I gave serious thought to just shutting down this blog out of shame because of my absence.

Then I though, nah.  I think only 3 people have actually read it so far.  I can catch up.

Let’s see.  First the important stuff…the stats!

10K Training Day: 27 (50 minutes cross train) Almost Halfway!

10K Training Mileage So Far: 29 miles

Miles this week: 3 miles

Wow.  It has been a long time.  That’s embarassing.  But so is this blog, a little bit. 😉

Training is going really well.  I’m continuing to surprise myself with how far I can run and I’m actually starting to notice a change in my speed and pace.  I ran my three miles on Saturday and I shaved 6 minutes off my old time.  Not shabby!  I wasn’t even trying, which is the best part!  I attribute the improvement to two things: 1) my body is finally accepting this as a normal, routine form of exercise (I have beaten it into submission!) and 2) I didn’t stop to walk for as long–just long enough to catch my breath and start again.

I think one of the neatest things about running is that I can actually seeeeeeee a change taking place.  I have muscles in my calves I didn’t know existed just a month ago.  It’s neat, it’s also one of nature’s tricks to keep you going, I think.  Kind of like the runner’s high.  I think the runner’s high came about because bodies across the globe suddenly decided it was time to hook people on something that was good for them.  Tricky, very tricky.  Runner’s high, to me, is like golf.  You have one good game or drive, you have one exhilarating run or time and you’re hooked.  You keep doing it trying to replicate the experience.  Sometimes it’s there, sometimes it’s not.  In this example, however, one is healthy, the other is expensive.  Can you guess which? 😉

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my attitude toward running and why is it that suddenly, I enjoy it.  I’m in my mid-twenties…I could have figured this out a long time ago.   I’ve traced it back to my attitude toward exercise in general.  I mean, hullo, look what I named the blog.  I wasn’t exactly the exercise queen.  I played sports when I was younger, but when high school rolled around, I just accepted I had good genes and didn’t think I needed to exercise.  Exercise was for weight loss — so I usually only engaged after the holidays.

This trend progressed into college.  Sad, but true.  I attended a beautiful university on a very hilly campus with academic buildings spread far and wide, which meant my Freshman 15 was a LOSS, not a GAIN.  Go ahead, haters, bring it.   During that time, I also was making new friends in the dorms, attending cardio kickboxing classes to hang out with said friends and I was shunning the dining hall offerings in exchange for a life of salad bar options.  I came home from my first quarter weighing about 15 pounds less than I do now.

Sadly,  seeing that number actually did a bad thing to me: it made me equate exercise with dramatic weight loss.  Um, no.  Now I recognize it was a total lifestyle change (college is a lifestyle change, right?) not just the cardio kickboxing.  But it didn’t matter.  Because from that point until very recently, I was on a treadmill/exercise bike/elliptical/rower with only the goal of sweating out the exact number of droplets it would take to baptize me from my sugary sins.  Seriously.  I can’t remember not working out with a goal in mind, sporadically and with the wrong intent.  Graduation, wedding, pre-holiday prevention, post-holiday penance, and of course, let’s don’t discount BATHING SUIT SEASON.


So what changed?  Well, I think I realized one day that these are my 20’s.  People always look back at their 20’s and say, “I was so thin/pretty/youthful/healthy and I didn’t even know it.”  Well, pardon me, but that’s dumb.  I’m going to know it!  I started to re-define my attitude.  Who cares what I weigh?  Do my clothes fit?  Fine, then.  Am I slim?  Yes.  Am I fit? No.  Which matters more?  Fit, of course.

Another thing I attribute to my change in attitude is a blog I stumbled across.  I absolutely love this blog now.  I check it every day.  Head over to OhSheGlows.com to see what I’m talking about.  After reading a couple of posts, I was incredibly inspired by Angela and her attitude toward health and fitness.  I think that’s when the summer running really started.  I wasn’t running to lose weight, I was running to run.  To just do it.  Amazing.

A new blog I also love is similar to Oh She Glows, it’s Healthy Tipping Point.  I agree with Catlin’s idea that it isn’t about a dramatic change, it’s about little changes that stick.  Give it a click if you have a minute to kill.

I don’t know if I was trying to make up for my absence by rambling and making this post incredibly long, but either way I’m sorry.  For both! 🙂

Happy Trails, kiddos.  Lace up those tennies and run, even if just for five minutes.  Don’t do it for calories, cake or Christmas…do it for you!


Oh, How Things Change

October 9, 2009 at 2:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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10K Training Day: 8 (stretch and strengthen)

10K Training Mileage So Far: 7.5

Miles This Week: 5

Well, well, well.  Who ran 3 miles yesterday?  Who dominated that 3 miles?  Who feels great today, not sore at all and knows she can run more than 3 miles?


I’ll admit, after a crummy previous run, I woke up with trepidation.  I shrugged on those running clothes, stretched and hit the pavement at 6:45am.  I usually wake up at 7:15, but since I had a busy day, I knew I needed to make this run a priority, even if I was scared of it.

Yup, I was scared of it.  3 miles?  I know that’s not a lot to some people, but 3 miles is the point where I believe that my running shoes will turn back into remote controls and I’ll transform back into a couch potato.  Cinderella running story over.  I’ve never actually run three miles.  Secret’s out.  This was going to be the first time.

It was still dark in our neighborhood when I made it to the end of the driveway and started off.  Makes me think I’m going to need one of these:

ReflectiveBeltA reflective belt.  Sexy, no?  The crossing guard look is very in this season, just ask Stacey and Clinton ;).  My sister made fun of me for this idea, and for that, I’m posting her ridicule in my blog.  We may be grown-ups, but the tit-for-tat of sisterhood NEVER ends.  🙂

But I digress…

So it’s dark, I didn’t bring a flashlight and all I can think is I hope I don’t break my ankle out here at the crack of dawn.  As an aside, I try my best to avoid ever seeing the crack of dawn in the first place.  So running before it?  Wow.  Talk about pushing yourself.

The first mile and a half went pretty well.  I kept up a good pace, avoided getting hit by cars and Gertrude was cooperating in telling me how far I had gone.  All was good.

Are you waiting for me to say “that’s when it all fell apart?”.  BECAUSE I’M NOT GOING TO!  Self-doubt was  nowhere to be found.  No little voice in the back of my head telling me to panic and telling me to quit.

I think it was still sleeping in.

Now I’m not going to act like the three miles were easy.  They were about as hard as two and a half miles except it was harder, longer.  I did stop twice to walk, for about 30 seconds each, but that’s okay.  This was my first 3-miler.  Next 3-miler, maybe I won’t walk at all.  Progress!  I felt exhilarated when I got home.  I walked back through the door feeling accomplished, found my husband, showed him the 3 miles now marked in Gertrude’s log on my iPhone and gave a very womanly roar of “DOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMIIINNNNNNNNAAAAAAAATTTTTEEEDDDD!”

It. Felt. Great.

Today is an easy day, tomorrow is just a two and half mile run.  I used to think two and half was unattainable.  I never reached it on a treadmill, that’s for sure.  But now it’s just something I do.  It’s who I be. 😉

I look forward to the fact that soon, three miles will be the same to me as two and a half.

HAVE A GREAT FRIDAY!  Do something that SCARES you!

What’s Your Running Style?

October 7, 2009 at 1:36 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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10K Training Day: 6 (40 min. cross train)

10K Training Mileage So Far: 4.5

Miles this week: 2

Lately, during my runs, I’ve been thinking about this old episode from the sitcom Friends.  In the episode, Rachel and Phoebe decide to go running together in Central Park — but it soon becomes apparent they have very different running styles.  While Rachel runs in perfect form, like a prig, Phoebe tears around the park, arms flailing, legs crazy — running like a child.

That YouTube clip doesn’t really do the episode justice, but you get the general idea.

When I think of how, in the end of the episode, Rachel tries Phoebe’s crazy running style and likes it, I smile.  It’s a good reminder that sometimes you don’t need to do what the experts say or what makes you look the best to other runners on the path — you need to do what feels good.

Yesterday, I started my 2-mile run for the day with my iPod blaring, Run Keeper Pro updating me how fast I was going and how far I had run.  I was smiling.  It was a chilly day– about 40 degrees, but the running kept me warm and I felt good!  I even started singing along with my iPod playlist, doing a little dance — taking a page from Phoebe’s running playbook if you will.

But it didn’t last long.

I’m not sure where it started to fall apart, but it did.  Maybe it was when my Run Keeper (who I’ve decided to name Gertrude) told me I was only .46 miles into the run and I thought I was a half a mile.  A small discrepancy, I thought, no big deal. But when .46 became only .92 when I thought it would be a mile — it became a deal.  A big deal.  I was running in our neighborhood on the same loop I had been running alllllll summer.  I started to panic.  Had I been fooling myself all summer?  Had I really not run as far as I thought I had?  What if I really couldn’t do this?  What if the 2 miles I thought would be EASY when I set out would in fact be REALLY HARD.

That’s when it started to fall apart.  I let my self doubt creep in and my run went to crap.  I made the two miles, but I did it slower that I usually do and I stopped twice.  What the heck?  This was supposed to be an easy run.  I’ve got a three miler coming up tomorrow.  If I can’t do this 2 miles, how will I accomplish 3?

It took until the end of the run to remind myself that I’ve run farther and faster before.  Gertrude keeps a log of my runs, and while there are only three on the log so far, the other two were more than 2.5 miles.  I can do this.  Why did I let my terrible thoughts tell me I couldn’t?  I ended the run feeling pretty disappointed in myself — which is worse than the fact my run had gone crummy.  I could recover from a crummy run — could I recover from self-doubt?

So I have a plan for tomorrow.   Tomorrow, when I start that 3 miles, I’m still going to use Gertrude, I’m still going to listen to my iPod and I’m still going to run like usual.  I’m NOT, however, going to listen to that little voice of doubt that tells me I can’t do this or it won’t go as well as I want.  That voice is NOT my trainer.  I am my trainer.  That voice can TAKE A HIKE.

And if the doubt persists, I’m going to scare it away with a little Phoebe running.  🙂  Let’s face it — that doubt is the voice of rigidity and judgment.  Nothing will scare it away better than some good ol’ fashioned crazy running.

I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow.

Where did we leave off?

October 5, 2009 at 8:03 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Ah yes…

Why A Marathon?
Ha, that’s a question I’ve been asking myself lately, too.  The answer, you see, lies in the three most important men in my life.  Before you rush to judge and shake your head saying “oh, you’re one of THOSE women”, let me explain.
The first man is my father.  For a long time, when I was little, there was a picture on his desk in the home office.  A younger, thinner father smiled back at me from that picture.  It’s the moment, captured forever in photographic evidence, that my father crossed the finish line for the Chicago marathon in the early 80’s.  Arms up, fingers displaying peace signs, the look on his face is a complex mixture of relief, satisfaction, joy, pain and incredulity.  I can’t remember what number he’s wearing or what color his running togs are, but I can remember that look like I was there myself.  It is the look of a runner’s high.  How wonderful it would be to give that look.  I can see that picture in my mind’s eye and it is incredibly inspiring.
The second man is my husband.  While waiting at the start of a 5k we ran in August, I looked at him and said “I’d really like to run a marathon some day.”  His reply? “So do it.”  Those three words weren’t uttered with indifference, rather with an incredible amount of belief.  To him, my running a marathon wasn’t an insurmountable task — it was simply a matter of me doing it.  I was stunned those three words that packed so much faith, and I wondered over the course of the next 3.1 miles, if he thought I could do it, why didn’t I think I could do it?
Finally, the third man is my grandfather — and this is perhaps the most difficult to touch on.  I lost my grandfather to cancer in mid-April and it was truly one of the hardest transitions in my life.  It was not only the passing of a loved one, the absence of their life in mine, but a reminder that there is a passing of generations that takes place in life.  It is only a matter of time before my parents will be the grandparents, my husband and I will be the parents and a new set of young lives will consume our attentions.  It was a reminder we are all aging.  At his visitation, my mother set up several mementos from all the activities my grandfather was involved in.  Volunteering at the local hospital, card games with friends, workouts at the Y, golf games well into his late 80’s…the man led an active life.  Driving home from the funeral, we passed a church with a sign that questioned “are you living life or are you surviving it?” and it made me think how my grandfather lived his life.  I, on the other hand, was only surviving it.  When I searched for a marathon to run close to my hometown, I found one right in my own backyard.  So, April 11th — one year exactly since my grandfather passed away — will be the first chance I take at living my life instead of just surviving it.

So You’re Already a Runner, Right?

Um, no.  Remember?  We covered this in the “What’s With the Name?” subtitle.  I am not a runner.  I picture runners as these other-wordly creatures, with bodies like gazelles and an effortless air of physical fitness.  In other words, people who actually look good in those tiny running shorts.
I am not one of those people.
I started jogging this summer and was winded after one half-mile lap around our neighborhood.  One half-mile with one half-hill. Oh, and I felt like throwing up.  But, I am nothing if not stubborn.  One lap was not enough.
Soon, one lap was two and two was three.  Soon, jogging was less of a shuffle and more of an actual run.  Soon, I looked forward to running instead of feeling a bizarre obligation to it.  More on this later…
It culminated one Saturday as Husband and I went for a run on the bike path in our community.  Using his iPhone app RunKeeper Pro, he tracked our pace and our distance.  I refused to be updated during the run and focused instead on just getting from Point A to Point B and back to Point A.  I was still at the point where I had to listen to my iPod, not for musical enjoyment or to pace myself, but to block out the sound of my own huffing.
Turns out, we ran more that day than I ever had before.  Almost 3 miles! And at a pretty good pace for a non-runner!
Exhilaration!  I could run.  Nothing had prevented me from running that far before except me.  Me telling myself “you aren’t a runner, you don’t run, you’re not athletic enough”.
But I still don’t think I’m a runner ;).

Just How Are You Doing This?

I’m sure there are plenty of “real” runners who would diagnose me as a flash in the pan and too new to running to really be able to run and complete this marathon.  Heck, even the training guide I’m following says I should have been running for a year before attempting this.
Well, poppycock.  I’m going to do it anyways.  You’re always a newbie the first time you try something, what difference does it make if I’m a new newbie or an old newbie?
After careful thought and a lot of Googling, I’ve chosen to follow Hal Higdon’s novice marathon training program http://www.halhigdon.com/marathon/Mar00novice.htm .   Basically, having read things like “He ran eight times in the Olympic Trials and won four world masters championships” and “I estimate that I have assisted a quarter million runners reach the finish line of 26 mile 385 yard races” and “Never before has it been easier to run a marathon. Never before has it been more fun! Good luck with your training” I believe in Hal.  Hal looks like he’s run a good many marathons.  Hal has a trusting face.
Don’t let me down, Hal.
So there are about 6 months between me and Marathon Day (hereto referred as “M-Day”).  To get there in one piece, my plan is two fold: 1) I’ll follow Hal’s guide to training for a novice 10K http://www.halhigdon.com/10ktraining/10knovice.htm in preparation for a 10K on Thanksgiving Day.  I’m on day 4 (I had to change up the days of the week a little since the race falls on a Thursday, and not on a Sunday as the guide shows) and it’s going well so far.
2) That should put me in a good place to start actively following Hal’s guide for the marathon.  It’s an 18-week schedule, so I’ll start it December 7th with vengeance.
I’m only slightly concerned about running in the winter (snow, slush, frigid temperatures).  Remember, I’m a Midwesterner.



October 2, 2009 at 1:13 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment


Welcome!  Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re either related to me or you found this blog by accident.  Either way, I’m glad you stopped by.


This is the blog of one average woman attempting to train, run and finish (without major injury or death) a marathon.  A MARATHON, I said.  *moment of silence* Before I continue, I feel I should go ahead with this disclaimer: my blog was NOT inspired by the Columbia Pictures movie Julie & Julia, I am NOT looking for a movie deal (some movie that would be – just a chick running – yawn) and this is NOT an exercise in airing my grievances on the interweb as so many pre-pubescent/pubescent/post-pubescent blogs do.  I have nothing to share about Mom and Dad taking away my texting privileges or forbidding me to piece my (*insert most popularly punctured body part*).  Instead, this blog, in its most simple form, is going to serve as a way for me to chronicle my training and reflect on how far I’ve progressed or how far I’ve regressed.  Either way, should be a good laugh in about 10 years.


For security purposes, I’ve decided not to post anything personal about myself.  Instead, I’ll work in vague parameters to give you an idea of who I am.  I’m a mid-to-late 20’s something woman living in the Midwest.  I am married, I have no children and according to a quick perusal of Google: I am the average woman in terms of height, weight, shoe size and body composition.  Finally, an answer for why the clearance racks rarely have much inventory in my size!  I work a 40-hour work week just like the rest of you and I would hardly consider my job stressful.  Running for me isn’t about stress relief, but more on that later.

I chose not to go into more specifics about myself because I feel that’s not the point of this adventure.  I’m not writing to be best friends with you.  I’m not writing for your sympathy or your scorn.  I’m writing to have proof of a transformation I believe will take place over the next 6 months.  Besides, maybe, just maybe, this will inspire someone else to start running, and who am I to burden them with specifics?  People will use anything to stop themselves: “I’m not as a thin as she is” “I’m not as tall” “I have smaller feet” whatttttttever.


Ah yes.  “Not Unless I’m Being Chased.”  I know, a little odd.  I struggled with what to name the blog because I really wanted it to reflect my endeavor.  “The Road Not Traveled ” was already taken.  Thanks, Frost.  You steal all the good ones.

Anyway, I picked the name because that used to be my standard response when the general subject of running came up.  “Oh, do you run?” people would ask.  “Not unless I’m being chased.”  It was a good way to deflect my general lack of athleticism and a way to mask the fact that I wanted to run, I just believed I COULDN’T.  I don’t believe that anymore.  I don’t ALLOW myself to believe that anymore.  I’m not going to think anymore that I’m not fast enough, that I don’t have the perseverance or ability.  Hogwash.

So, that gets us off and running (ooh, bad pun) with this blog.  Stay tuned for more on Why A Marathon? and Just How Are You Doing This? annnnnnnd So You’re Already A Runner, Right?

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