Tuesday, October 29, 2013

So You Wanna Be A Distance Runner

If you are one of those naturally speedy runners that looks good in lycra, gets excited at the mere thought of going for a 15 mile run or was able to run a sub two hour half on your first try, this post is probably not for you.

Actually, if you fit that description, you are probably not reading this blog in the first place. You are most likely a completely different caliber of athlete and I commend you. But I'm certainly not that girl....yet. But it might be in my future.

I was never a runner. I never played sports in school. I was a drama nerd and horse crazy. Even though riding takes a lot of strength and stamina (drama takes no strength whatsoever unless you count emotional fits as a work out) so when I randomly announced to my family that I was running a half marathon, they thought I had gone insane.

To be honest, pretty much the only reason I signed up for a half marathon was because a friend of mine said she was running the Disneyland Half Marathon. What?!? There were races at my favorite place?! What could be better?!

So I went home and immediately signed up the 2010 Disneyland Half  Marathon. Never mind that I had never run a race of any distance ever nor was a even a casual runner. I don't think I could even run to the mailbox without taking a walk break.

I signed up in April (can you believe it didn't sell out until sometime in the summer then?) and had never run more than a mile.

I wish I had been blogging back then. I was training for my first half in miserable AZ heat and truly wondered if I would be able to finish on race day.

Since then, I've run a whole lot of half marathons and one full marathon and I can pretty much say without lying that...I still don't love running. I'd rather be on my couch with my cats. Plus, there's a shit ton of good TV on these days.

I mean, seriously. How cute are they?

Now don't get me wrong, when I'm really dedicated in my training, I get a little obsessive about running. I also know that there are plenty of newbie runners that seem naturally gifted at running and I know there are plenty of really fast runners that also enjoy the "fun" races.

This post is for those of you that are like me: never thought about running until somebody dangled a golden ticket in front of your nose. And for me that golden ticket was running through the Magic Kingdom. And then suddenly you realize that golden ticket had morphed into something else.

I've been in a running and blogging slump for awhile now and that became very clear during and after Dumbo Double Dare. My life has changed for the better in the last year and therefore, it took me awhile to realize that my running wants and goals had changed as well. I no longer feel this insane need to sign up for every race that comes my way, but to stretch my comfort zone as a runner.


I've read several posts lately by other bloggers being in a blogging and/or running slump. Here are a few things I've learned on my running journey thus far:

1.) Don't let anyone convince you that you are not a "real runner". Yes, there are runners out there that are super snobby about running and would never dare toe the start line of a Disney race, much less wear a costume. Lucky for me, all of the runners I've met have been very cool and supportive of fellow runners, fast and slow alike.

2.) Everyone has different reasons for running. When I first started running, I was in a weird and unhappy place in my life. Running was something I did that I kept low pressure. I didn't care that I was slow. I could complete 13.1 miles and it was something I never thought I could do. I'm not saying that people shouldn't have goals, I just think that it's okay to run for whatever makes you happy. If you enjoy going for a slow jog, then don't let other people convince you that you should do anything other than what you want to do with your running.

3.) Don't compare yourself to other runners. Luckily for me, I had more non running friends than running friends when I first started running. Therefore, my friends were super impressed when I ran my first half. They thought I was crazy, but they were happy for me. They didn't ask me what my time was because they were so focused on the fact that I ran 13.1 miles. I'm grateful for that.

4.) If you want to run that marathon, but you think that you can't. You can. Yes, I've only finished one marathon. But it was under really crappy conditions, the day after running a half and I was under trained. If you don't want to, well, hey, you're probably the smart one here. If you do, but think you can't, well, you can. (Wow, I seem to be using a lot of commas today...and most likely incorrectly. C'est la vie.)

We look happy, but all three of us were crying.
But we are all marathoners.

5.) Most of all, run to be healthy and happy. If qualifying for Boston is your goal, train for it. If you want to jog with your dog for fun, do it. Do what you want. You don't have to explain anything to anyone and your reasons are just fine.

For the first time, I actually want to train to become a better runner. Things in my life are pretty good right now. I'm happy and I no longer need running as a form of escape. But I really think I needed these last few years to experience all of the fun races and have a good time. I've made some great friends and had a blast. Plus, I really need some new things to blog about. Stay tuned.


  1. GREAT post! No shame in your golden ticket being to run through the Magic Kingdom. That was mine, too (even though "running through Times Square" happened first)- and no wonder we are such good friends.

    Can't wait to follow along and cheer you on!

    1. Running through Times Square would have been a serious golden ticket for me, too. I can't imagine how cool that would be!

  2. I am completely stymied as to what happened with the Disneyland races. You used to be able to register for a few months before they sold out. Disney raised the prices, and they're selling out faster than ever. There's some bizarre Disney economics lesson there, but I can't figure out what it is.
    I love your lessons! All great points!

    1. I also can't figure out why they seem so cult-like now. Before, they were run like any normal big race with a touch of Disney awesomeness. Now there's SO many people fighting for everything from merchandise to rD meet ups.

  3. YAY!!! I love this and I can't wait til we're running together again!


Thanks for reading!