5th Year Running Anniversary

Yesterday was five years from the day I walked down to the park to start my first run/walk session of Couch to 5K.  It was a day that changed my life.

How could I know that running, such a rudimentary activity, would introduce me to an entire culture of like-minded souls, that I’d gain friends from all over the world, a sexier healthier body, a free anti-depression drug, reasons to travel, an immeasurable appreciation for nature, goals to conquer and achievements to collect…and that’s just the main stuff.

The social part of running began just one week after starting C25k when I joined the Runners World forums.  I stayed in the Beginners forum for the first 2-3 years, than found my snark buddies in MRT and never left.  Opportunities to meet each other in real life are what make the whole forum thing (and now Facebook) so profound. If I hadn’t discovered RWOL, I honestly believe I’d have quit running early in.

But maybe I had an inkling of potential longevity since I bought a Garmin before I was even done with the run/walking business.  The fact that tech goodies, logs, spreadsheets and graphs could be part of the sport if you’re into that stuff made it all the more alluring to me.

And the blog.  When I started it towards the end of that first year, I figured if I was lucky I’d acquire a handful of middle-aged female readers who related to a 45 year-old beginner.  I also assumed I’d only be updating it once a week at most since how much can you say about running anyway? Flash forward: I have a few hundred people checking me out daily and I can’t seem to shut up.

What a shocker to find that writing here would become as cathartic as the runs themselves.  Not to mention that the more you write, the easier it becomes and you eventually find your “voice”, that writerly thing you’ve read about but didn’t think applied to you.  Running gave me writing.  How do you thank that?  Ironically, there are no words.

Of course, thanks to running, I also became acquainted with the U.S. Health system due to two memorable visits to the ER plus an overnight stay in the cardiac ward, but hey…nothing like new experiences, right?

So I’m truly vaclempt to look back at these 5 years and appreciate with awe all that running has provided and I thank you, my dear readers, for letting me share this journey with you.

A Sentimental and Stupidly Mental Week In Review

8@8:54 10@7:58
6@9:01 8@7:57 3x(1,2,3min)
8@8:21 11@7:59
5@8:45 8@7:53 (3mi tempo)
Total: 97 miles

Twas a big week for me: 97 mi, which is a Mon-Sun first.  It included some wonderfully happy runs, 2 “real” workouts after a long haitus (yay me) and some suckage.  Thursday’s run was in the latter camp, tied to a lack of sleep.  Yesterday’s tempo run was almost in the suckage category as well, until I realized it didn’t actually belong there.

It was 3mi tempo in an 8-miler.  The tempo goal pace was my September Half pace but I managed to pick a day where I ended up smack in headwind for the entire tempo.  I actually said “oh shit” out loud at the turnaround where I’d planned to begin the fast bit because I knew this would be ugly, and it was.

Through the whole thing, my thoughts focused on how horribly I was running,  why am I so slow and omg, I’ve lost so much fitness, I suck, please make this end and what if this happens during a race I think I’ll die and…  I pushed like hell to get on pace but simply could not – but if nothing else, I wouldn’t quit or save it for another day, that was one thing I was not going to hate myself for afterwards.

Turns out, I actually did much better than initially thought, taking the wind hit into account.  Both Runworks calculator (devised off Dr. Jack Daniels’ calculations) and Coolrunning’s article on wind/running tell me the wind cost me about 35 sec/mi, which means I ran faster than I needed to…so I’m at peace about it now.

Still, this was indicative of where my brain was this week; my trademarked negative headspace that precedes every race season has re-entered right on cue and aside from the the thoughts themselves, I get so disappointed in myself for rehashing such demoralizing garbage.  Thus, in an effort to quell the beast, I’ve ordered a couple sports psychology books, “The New Toughness Training for Sports” and “10-Minute Toughness“.  I know, it’s silly that both have Toughness in the title but the reviews are positive and goodness knows, toughening up is exactly what I need.

So that’s it for now, have a great week and I’ll return in a few days.  So much for “nothing to talk about”. :)  Later, kids.


35 thoughts on “5th Year Running Anniversary

  1. Adrienne

    Wow, how’s that for perspective!? Running is an amazing thing isn’t it? For something so simple as putting one foot in front of the other, it can change our whole social landscape and open up new talents as well.

    I couldn’t resist but comment that you snagged some sport psyc books! I have read The New Toughness several times and often use it with my athletes. It’s practical and pretty straightforward and I think you’ll dig it too! If you want an unsolicited “professional” review on Loehr-there ya go:)

    Congrats on year # 5! May there be many more!!

    1. Flo Post author

      Thank you so much for the book input! Coming from an actual sports psychologist, that means a lot. I’m so impressionable that I love it when people I trust give a positive testimonial. Thanks for the good wishes and may you get back on the roads yourself asap…they miss you!

  2. rovatti

    “Running gave me writing. How do you thank that? Ironically, there are no words.”


    Happy 5th anniversary!

    97 miles with 2 workouts? WOW!!!

    I think you should do some stealth races in the next month while the weather is cool and you’re in a groove.

    – rovatti

    1. Flo Post author

      Thanks Rovatti! I will be doing a couple races next month but not stealth since I already blabbed about it. I need to learn to shut the fuck up. :)

      And for the record, they were baby workouts compared to what most people are up to right now. But thanks again for the kudos, my friend.

  3. Susan

    5 years? Only 5 years? I’ve been seeing your posts at the RW forums, and it felt like you had been running forever. It gives me hope for where I will be when I have finished 5 years of running.

    And to really take it back – compare this to your first week of running. I’m guessing you’ve sped up a bit since then.

    1. Flo Post author

      :) I guess you could say I’ve sped up, I was rocking 12min miles when I started. Here’s to your first 5 years, may they be as fun and enlightening as mine were.

  4. Peggy

    Very cool to here your history with running. You continue to excel and inspire. Best wishes for the next 5 years :)

  5. Rebecca

    You are so amazing, Flo. To pick up a sport later in life, and really succeed at it, is quite an accomplishment. Plus, I know there are MANY more years left of success!

    Also, congrats on a KILLER week. I mean, that’s like elite marathon training right there…

    You sure you don’t want to give the marathon another chance?

    1. Flo Post author

      Aw, thanks so much dollface. As for marathons, I’ve mentioned here and there that I might be doing the Philly marathon this fall. Thinkin’ it’s time to put all those miles to work! :)

      1. Rebecca

        OMG, I have *not* read that! I totally think a revisit to the marathon is a GREAT idea. Hmmm… Philly in the fall? It might be time for a reunion…

        I think XC is over then, too.

  6. Kat

    Happy Anniversary from someone who’s been there from the beginning. I still remember reading your first 5K race report :-) Here’s to a lifetime of like-minded souls, fit body and mind, and goals to conquer.

    1. Flo Post author

      Girl, it’s been so wonderful to have found you so early on in the game. Love our adventures so far, we need to have tons more!

    1. Flo Post author

      She flat-out would not believe me. :D Life is a wonder, isn’t it? And you’re another running pal I met at the start in the Beginner’s forum! So happy I’ve been able to keep up with you and the laughs you’ve provided over the years.

  7. Willie

    Wow! from 0 – 100+ mile weeks in 5 years. What an amazing accomplishment. There are days where I’m whining about a 5-6 mile run and think of you. come on Girl, suck it up, Flo run triple what you do in a day. I keep on moving. Keep at it, you make a difference : )

  8. Martina

    I’m also a vintage 2007 runner but haven’t made it to 97 a week yet. Dang it ;). To me it’s almost life before running and since I started to run. Maybe every sports enthusiast says that about his/her sport, but to me there’s nothing’ like it! Keep that body in motion girl!

    1. Flo Post author

      Totally get you on the Life before running and after. It really is an entire culture we get with the package. I mean, if you’re into racing it becomes a whole lifestyle choice and you, my dear, are a poster child for it. Keep rocking your running self, Martina!

    1. Flo Post author

      Love it! Hey, we all have to start at the beginning and that’s usually turtle territory – makes looking back that much sweeter though.

  9. Ewen

    You’ve come a long way in 5 years! Glad you took up running Flo as I’ve learned quite a bit via your blog. Nice week there too. Your suckage pace is my tempo pace.

    Give us a warning when you have “something to talk about” and I’ll set aside 1/2 an hour .)

    1. Flo Post author

      Thanks Ewen, I’ve enjoyed your blog these past years as well, you’re always experimenting which I love. Glad we got to meet this last year, too, that was a high point.

  10. Lisa

    I started running with couch to 5k 18 months ago… I’m 45… have run a few 5k’s and am about to run my 2nd half this weekend (Disney Princess) … I totally feel the same way about who knew how it would amazingly & wonderfully change my life in so many ways :)

    1. Flo Post author

      Congrats on the C25K and becoming a runner! You’ve got a lot of growth ahead, gonna be lots of fun in your future. Cheers!

  11. Barb

    Always late to the party (actually, I’m usually embarrassingly early). Happy anniversary fellow ex- Beginner Forumite (I cannot bring myself to use its initials.) I think I have 2 or 3 years of experience on you, but I totally remember a bizarre moment of realization that I had become a runner. Never thought it would happen – it took me year before I stopped disliking running.

    Anyhoo, enough of a walk down memory lane. Here’s to many more years of healthy, happy running for both of us!

    1. Flo Post author

      Lol Barb, we’re alike in a lot of ways (I’m usually early too). Crazy to think we’ve known each other this long, yay for RW! Cheers to you girlie, I heard I might see you in a few weeks, that would be stellar! Till then, happy running and biking, my sweet.

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