Tag Archives: beginnings

A Runner’s Evolution

Today’s blog is borrowed from John Bingham’s No Need for Speed which I read recently. If you’re a beginning runner, especially if you worry about being slow, I definitely recommend Bingham’s books. I especially like this quote:

“As I set new goals, conquered new fears, and overcame new doubts, I became a new person. I was no longer the person who sat inside on cold mornings. I was not the person for whom comfort was the sole objective. I wasn’t the person who was controlled by the circumstances of my life…. What happens when we untie the ‘nots’ in our lives is that we can see beyond today and begin to imagine a different tomorrow. As you see the obvious changes in your body, you also begin to see the less obvious changes in your soul. When you untie the ‘nots,’ when you become fully engaged in the process of becoming a better athlete, you can’t help becoming a better person. You find, without realizing it, that you’re NOT afraid to change, learn and grow. You learn to look past all the things that you can’t be to those few that you can. As you learn to accept your limitations as an athlete, you’re less afraid to accept other limitations in your life. Your unique combination of talent and motivations, discipline and dedication, become the tools with which you build the person you most want to be.”

In my experience, new runners go through stages of evolution — that affect both the body and the mind. Pushing through old limitations, testing boundaries, and taking on new challenges. Standing shivering and expectant at the starting line waiting to find out what is possible on the journey to the finish. And knowing that the person who finishes the race, may not be the same person who started it.

What else has changed in your life since you started running?

Broken Toe Recovery – Week 4

The title of this blog is a bit misleading, since it has actually been 8 weeks since my toe surgery, but it’s my fourth week back to walking/running.

My efforts to run this week using 10 second running/50 second walking intervals have been more successful than last week’s overly ambitious jump into full running minutes.  Tuesday I “ran” 10/50 intervals for a total of 10 minutes, Thursday 15 minutes, and Saturday 20 minutes.  I’m also walking before and after each run so getting in 2-3 miles each session. I’ve iced my toe after each session and am feeling ok, though it is definitely sore for the rest of the day. My physical therapist recommended that I work on extending my total time before I start increasing the running intervals.

Importantly this week I also (finally!) crossed the 15 minute mile barrier that’s been dangling out there for a few weeks, doing my  first sub 15:00 “running” mile at 14:52.  I also walked a 46:03 5K, which is an average of under 15:00 for 3.1 miles, and another significant improvement from last week.  So my running and walking paces are virtually identical at the moment.

Next week my goal is to gradually extend to two miles of “running” using 10/50 intervals.  This is huge exercise in patience!

Throw Yourself

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This feels like an appropriate Seth Godin quote to share as I head off to my first of four leadership retreats and literally and metaphorically “throw myself” out into the open with a group of 25 strangers, facing some very real fears:

“Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead.

The scarcity makes leadership valuable. If everyone tries to lead all the time, not much happens. It’s discomfort that creates the leverage that makes leadership worthwhile.

In other words, if everyone could do it, they would, and it wouldn’t be worth much.

It’s uncomfortable to stand up in front of strangers.
It’s uncomfortable to propose an idea that might fail.
It’s uncomfortable to challenge the status quo.
It’s uncomfortable to resist the urge to settle.

When you identify the discomfort, you’ve found the place where a leader is needed.

If you’re not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it’s almost certain you’re not reaching your potential as a leader.

-Seth Godin, Tribes

And special thanks to the friend who sent me this photo and inspiration the other day:

“The little guy is coming out of his shell to conquer the world armed with all the instincts he was born with.  He’ll (she’ll?) finish crawling out of the egg, scurry around a little, get oriented, then head out to the ocean to start an amazing journey.  Just made me think of you as you embark on the first retreat.”

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Broken Toe Recovery – Week 3

This week brought good and bad news on the “return to running” front.

Good news: I logged more miles walking than I have in the previous two weeks. I managed to get out there 6 days out of 7, and did a total of 15 miles, including my longest walk to date of four miles. My fastest mile was 15:07, also an improvement. And my 5K time dropped from 52:55 to 47:23 something since last week. I’m still walking with a slight limp but I feel like it’s becoming less noticeable and I’m hopeful for a 15 minute mile by next week.

Mixed news: Met with the doctor and had another x-ray. Learned that most of the bone has healed well, but that about 1/4 of fracture isn’t like to ever heal unless I have another and more difficult surgery. That part of my toe is still pretty painful. The doctor recommended that I work on resuming “normal” activities and see if I am able to do that. She is hopeful that I will be able to recover without surgery — as am I! So I am continuing physical therapy and am cleared to try to resume running.

Bad news: My first attempt to run since January wasn’t great. I ran 1 minute with 3 minute walking intervals for 20 minutes — so a total of 5 minutes running.  I was hopeful that this would be a precursor to starting Couch to 5K, but the toe was so painful that night that I don’t think I’m ready. So I’m going to try Jeff Galloway’s running recovery program of 10 seconds running, 50 seconds walking this week and see how that feels. This is going more slowly as I had hoped, but I’m determined to keep working at it.

No great insights this week, just a healthy dose of persistence and determination.

Broken Toe Running Recovery – Weeks 1 & 2

For some reason, one of the top search terms for this blog of late has been “running with a broken toe.” Are there that many runners out there with broken toes, trying to figure out if they should keep running through the pain?

Allow me to save you further sleuthing: Don’t do it.

Really.  Don’t.

To recap: I broke my middle right toe in September. Ran a half marathon on it two days later.  Took about 6-7 weeks to mend and started back to running. I injured my calf around the holidays and then discovered from subsequent x-rays that the toe had never healed properly (of course, a friend said “why should it heel? It’s a toe!”). The toe was re-broken surgically on March 1st and I am just beginning to resume exercising. Three weeks ago it was the elliptical. The last two weeks I started back to walking, admittedly with a slight limp, while still undergoing physical therapy.

  • Sunday:  1.25 miles @ average pace of 20:21. Ugh!
  • Wednesday:  1.5 miles @ average pace of 19:02.
  • Saturday: 2.0 miles, untimed, but slow!
  • Sunday: 3.0 miles @ average pace of 17:07
  • Tuesday: 3.5 miles @ average pace of 19:30
  • Thursday 2.5 miles @ 16:20, managed 1 mile at 15:22 (toe sore)
  • Saturday 3.0 miles @ average pace of 19:20, after 2 miles on elliptical
  • Sunday 3.1 miles @ average pace of 17:04, 52:50 5K

The plan for Week  3 is to keep walking and try to do at least three walks of three miles each and then attempt another 5K, hopefully a little faster.  I’ll see the doctor this week and am hoping to get cleared to start Couch to 5K as soon as I feel ready.

I’m trying to focus on how far I’ve come and not how far I am from where I want to be. At least I am outside again, exercising, enjoying my tunes and burning some calories.

Happy running marathoners!  And really, stay off those broken toes!

Guest Musings

This week I thought I’d take a break from writing and just offer up a few quotes and snips  that I’ve gathered in the past few weeks that have gotten me thinking:

“At times you have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition.  What you’ll discover will be wonderful.  What you’ll discover is yourself.”   -Alan Alda

“To be sincerely loyal to yourself is to allow yourself the freedom to grow, change and challenge who you are and what you think at any given moment in time.  The only thing you ever are for sure is unsure, and this means you’re growing, and not stagnant or imprisoned by old ways of thinking.” – Marc and Angel Hack Life

“As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.  And as we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Nelson Mandela

“I doesn’t take as much as we think to step outside our comfort zone, it only takes a willingness.” – Mike Robbins

“Perfection, as it’s revered and pursued in our culture, is an unhealthy lie. A myth. A human construct. A marketing concept. In many cases, it’s a story told by people who want to manipulate your mindset and behavior to buy what they’re selling. And while it means different things to different people, the pursuit of it rarely leads to anything more positive than anxiety, insecurity, self-doubt and misery.” – Craig Harper

Do any of these resonate with you?   How so?

A Force… Of Nature

With a winter storm bearing down on the Northeast yesterday, I walked into the gym and it was overflowing with people, with every treadmill taken, and it stayed that way all morning – and up until the early storm closing at 1 pm. Seeing all those folks there got me thinking about the difference between motivation and commitment.

Those at the gym were the committed… the people who took time out of preparing for the storm to make sure they got their workouts in – knowing that it was unlikely that they would be able to get to the gym on Saturday during the blizzard. They had planned ahead, making themselves and their workouts a priority, even as the snow began to fall outside.

So often I hear people say “I’m just not motivated enough to get in shape or lose weight [or change whatever habits they’d like to change].” But it’s not really about motivation. Motivation is what happens when you see that picture of yourself looking unacceptable. Or when you realize that “enough is enough” and something needs to change. Motivation happens in the moment. Motivation is that resolution that you set on January 1st, pledging that this will be the year of the “new you.” Motivation is exciting – it gets you started, but it won’t get you the finish line.

That’s because motivation is transient. One day you wake up and you just don’t FEEL motivated anymore. Maybe you’re tired, or you’re stressed, or you feel crappy, or sorry for yourself. Your motivation needle drops to zero and before you know it, you’re back to your old ways. Not exercising. Digging into the freezer for that pint of Ben and Jerry’s. And probably feeling miserable about yourself for “just not being motivated enough to reach your goal.” Again. Damn. And the cycle repeats.

In those dark moments when motivation fails you, what you really NEED to summon is your commitment. Commitment is a powerful force that takes a stand for you and your priorities today, tomorrow, and the next day. Commitment is rooted in the why behind what you wanted to change. To be healthy, to be fit, to be happy, to start that business. It’s hard to put yourself and your priorities first. Somewhere along the way so many of us get taught that it’s “selfish” to put yourself first. But if we don’t take care of ourselves we can’t truly care for others.

Commitment is focus. It means putting yourself at the top of your to do list, blocking out time in your schedule for your workout, and saying no to people who will sabotage your efforts. Commitment is a mindset that you have a new and healthier habit now.

Motivation happens in the moment. Commitment happens everyday.

Live your commitment.