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From Walker to (Dare I Say It) Runner

Monday, July 01, 2013

I always liked to walk. As a young child, my grandmother took me along on many walking shopping trips. I knew she preferred taking me because I didn't whine about being tired or about hurting feet like my sister and my cousins did. I grew up walking everwhere.

Running, now that's a different story. Even in high school, I did all I could to avoid having to run. I was quite active - participating in a variety of sports and walking for miles, but run - oh no.

As the years passed and I became busy with my family, my own activity waned, like it does for so many of us.

When I started Weight Watchers more than 5 years ago, I started seriously walking again. About the same time, my youngest sister started running 5K races. I signed up with her and I walked. I learned that it is very difficult to walk at the start of a race when everyone else is running, so I did my best to run slowly as far as I could at the start of a race. That was usually less than one minute. My dear sister would finish the race 15 minutes before me. She would come back and find me with a bottle of water for me and encourage me to run across the finish line.

Three years ago, I was participating in a race and I came upon some women who were doing timed walk/run intervals. I found out that they were part of a free organized Couch to 5K program through Team Luna Chix Buffalo. Since the team's weekly runs were done right in the neighborhood I would soon be moving to, I decided I would make a point of joining them. Unfortunately, it took more than a year for me to do so, but I did.

Late July 2011, I started to C25K program and I remember how difficult it was to run for 30 seconds! I diligently did my homework running with the team on Monday evenings and on my own 2 other times per week. Seven weeks later, before I finished the C25K program, I did a race with my sister and I ran it. Two weeks later, I ran my first 5K under 40 minutes.

Although I still run with my Luna Chix friends occasionally on Monday evenings, I also belong to another local run club. They have a wonderful volunteer who compiles all our race results for us and we don't even have to submit them unless they are done out of town.

In 2012, I did 18 races for a total of 67.78 miles ( 16 5Ks, an 8K and a run/walk half marathon). Well, we just finished the first half of 2013 and I just completed my third half marathon. So far this year - 19 races for a total of 128.85 miles.

Like so many others who start out as overweight and slow I hesitated to call myself a runner. I was a wogger (walk/jogger), a slogger (slow jogger), a turtle, but not a runner.

Saturday, I finished that third half marathon in under 3 hours and I actually felt like I could have kept going. I finally feel that I earned the title of runner!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MBTEPP 11/23/2013 8:46AM

    just checking in on the leader of the leader board. Very nice personal story. It is a positive connection to have a sister to encourage you like that. I can relate to not feeling like a runner until I finished my first 10K. Now I am signed up for my first hm. Wow, you and I have similar stories and we have come a long way. Keep on running.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LCOLANGELO0803 7/3/2013 9:24PM

    You should be very proud! I found your blog inspiring as well. I'm a wogger but would love to be able to run. Living in the burbs I'm not sure there are any running clubs like you mentioned so kinda trying to achieve this goal on my own. Keep up the AWESOME work!!


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TATERCAT 7/2/2013 12:52PM

    Congratulations on becoming a RUNNER. I think you can call yourself that. I loved your blog - it is very inspiring since I am slowly starting my running days. Thank you for sharing your journey from the beginning.
I too am a wogger and a slogger hahaha. That just made me chuckle.

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LJR4HEALTH 7/1/2013 10:23PM

    emoticon We have a similar story back in school I hated running back then but loved to walk Thanks for sharing your story and Yes You Are a RUNNER!

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SALLYLEE84 7/1/2013 9:26PM


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One Terrific Walk

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I'm a member of a number of Facebook groups. One of them is a group that tries to get together for Sunday morning walks/runs. On Sunday evening, the youngest member of the group posted a message asking if anyone was interested in a walk or run through a neighborhood to view Christmas lights. Everything was organized very quickly. She and her mom did a drive through a local village and found the streets with the most lights. Then she went home and mapped out a 3.5 mile route.

Yesterday evening, 5 of us met to cover the route. One lady chose to run and took off. The rest of us walked. This was no easy stroll. These are people who walk/run half marathons. Even at a fast walking pace, we were able to truly enjoy the lights.

I would strongly encourage others to find a group to get out there with and walk or jog a neighborhood rather than driving around to view the lights.

Can't wait to get out there again with a different group in a different neighborhood.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RAINBOWFALLS 12/22/2012 9:02AM

    What a great idea. I just got a fitbit to track my steps and it has encouraged me to move more.

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FUZZIEBEAR3 12/19/2012 12:08PM

    Great idea!

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COOP9002 12/19/2012 10:48AM

    Nice job on getting out for some exercise and enjoying the Christmas season.

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MR.NET1 12/19/2012 10:18AM


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Still a Slow, Fat Runner, but...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

As a member of the Slow Fat Runners SparkTeam, I certainly don't deny the fact that I am both slow and fat. Through persistent efforts this year though, I am definitely both less slow and less fat and I will continue to work on becoming faster and leaner.

Prior to 2010, I never ran and I mean never. Even in high school when I regularly participated in sports, I did all I could to avoid having to run.

When focusing on losing weight several years ago, I started walking regularly. I did several races with friends and walked them. I found that I enjoyed the races and was happy with walking, but eventually I started to feel that my body wanted to move more so I started jogging at the beginning of races and then at the finish line. While participating in a race with a large contingency of family members in June of 2010, I heard about the Buffalo Luna Chix. They offered a Couch to 5K program. It took me until July of 2011 to actually start the program. I completed my first all running 5K in September of 2010.

Here's how my races went:
2009 - 1 5K 46:33
2010 - 4 5Ks best time - 44:48
2011 - 12 5Ks and an 8K, best time - 39:05

I set a goal to run at least one race per month in 2012 and to get my time to under 37 minutes. Although I wasn't able to complete races in either April or May as I was undergoing physical therapy for a knee injury, I did complete 16 5Ks, an 8K and a run/walk half marathon in 2012. I met the goal of an under 37 minute 5K on November 10th. I then started working toward my goal getting that time to under 35 minutes for 2013. Well that race on 11/10 was the first of 6 consecutive weekly races. I completed the last of race of 2012 on Sunday, 12/16. It was super thrilling to near the finish line and see that I could possibly meet my 2013 goal. It's the first time in over a year that the finish clock motivated me to sprint to the finish. Now I have to readjust my 2013 goal because Sunday's race time was 34:57.

I will miss the races since they will now be few and far between for the next 3 months. My goal for the next two months will be to focus on distance training since I will be attempting to run my first half marathon (without walking) in February.

Persistence definitely paid off and I'm thinking it will continue to do so. So if I can do it, so can you.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAROLCRC 12/19/2012 8:13AM

    Wonderful! It's so exciting to break time barriers! The key word in your description is RUNNER!

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LIFEISPURRFECT 12/19/2012 8:05AM

    What a great accomplishment. And the goal to not walk the half-marathon is great! emoticon

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RAINBOWFALLS 12/19/2012 7:41AM

    Wow - Fantastic goals and you have done great meeting them. I wish you the best in 2013!

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SHEENADEE 12/18/2012 5:04PM

    emoticon emoticon

Great blog about the great progress you have made. You should be very proud of all your hard work and accomplishments.

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New Achievement

Thursday, April 05, 2012

I already blogged about what a great JASR weekend I had. Turns out I accomplished something I never dreamed of. Finally got around to looking at the race results. I knew my time from the postings at the race site -42:49 for a 5K. Not so impressive - I've done better - but then there were those hills! I actually came in 5th out of 12 women in my age group. I have never been in the first half of any race results - usually close to last in my group. Wow - I think this is the spark I need to keep me going!

So being slow means there is always hope that you will get faster if you keep trying - so to anyone reading this who needs a boost to keep trying - please do- progress may come slowly, but it does come!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOISDESK 4/14/2012 8:17PM

    Thanks for the encouraging words! I am finishing up the end of the C25k program and have really struggled the last 2 times. I end up walking briefly for part of the time and it really bums me out! I have a 5k next Sunday and really wanted to come in under 40 minutes. I know I need to relax and just have fun with it...but I'm trying to push myself too.

Thanks for sharing!

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HAPPYHEALTHYME2 4/8/2012 10:17PM

  Well done

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RAINBOWFALLS 4/6/2012 7:37PM

    emoticon emoticon

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MOXIE-IN-MOTION 4/6/2012 8:16AM

    That is GREAT! Persistence definitely pays off!

My motto, taught to me by another runner, is to "start, finish, and have fun." I try to remember that whenever I'm running in a race.

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BAM0827 4/6/2012 8:00AM

    YAY you!!!

I agree- when we keep going then good things happen!

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JEN-LOVES-LIFE 4/6/2012 7:37AM

    That's great. I try not to compare to others, if I did, i would not focus on my accomplishment, only what I did not do. I have no problem coming in last, I'm just happy to be out there participating.

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CASSIOEPIA 4/5/2012 11:58PM

    Woohoo!!! What a great feeling. I haven't seen race results yet. Maybe I should go check it out!

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BOBBYD31 4/5/2012 10:06PM

    congrats! it does not matter the time or the place it is getting out there and doing it! (i think i was 13th of 14)

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SHEENADEE 4/5/2012 11:20AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Just a Sparktacular Weekend!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Wow! Driving to the Pittsburgh area to meet Spark friends and run a race sounded like a doable event when I first read about the plans last summer. I just knew I had to make it a goal to be there. I've been "slogging - slow jogging" through 5K races in my home area of Buffalo, NY so the idea of committing to a race wasn't intimidating. The idea of traveling to meet a group of people I've only had contact with through SparkPeople - now that's a different story.
This particular race - Just a Short Run - has wide appeal because you can choose between a 5K, 8.1 mile, 1/2 marathon or a 30K. I knew there would be people traveling considerable distances to get there and as the months flew by and the plans came together to be shared on the JASR SparkTeam pages, the excitement certainly kept building.
So was it all it was cracked up to be? It was and so much more. Although the drive down to Pittsburgh was not much fun - I drove through severe thunderstorms with plenty of lightning - I had a friend with me, so the hours passed quickly. Sadly, the weather slowed us down and we didn't arrive at the hotel until the Friday evening get together was already concluded, but Saturday morning provided the opportunity to meet the best group of people I have ever encountered. Coming from me, that is a profound statement. You see, I have traveled to numerous conferences across this country and met great people before. The Spark friends who gathered in Cranberry Township, PA this past weekend were the friendliest, most supportive, caring and unbelievably energetic group imaginable. Have you ever encountered someone with a smile so welcoming that by just one look, you knew you could become great friends? I lost track of how many times I experienced that feeling Saturday morning. Totally awesome!
There were people doing the varying distances in the race and there were a few who came despite injuries that prevented them from participating in the races. We formed a great cheering section. Despite the cold weather, we enjoyed the company and the race atmosphere as a true team! Congratulations to those who completed the longer distances and especially to those who won and placed in their age groups.
So thank you from the bottom of my heart to Bobby and Anne for all of your organizing and to all the wonderful Spark friends I met there. I'll start saving for JASR 2013 and I'll plan to stay the weekend next time. But even more importantly, I vow to keep in touch with those wonderful friends I got to meet and together we will keep supporting each other!
I am so grateful to be able to participate in races for the energy they give me and even more grateful for all the wonderful friends I have to share life's ups and downs with.
If you haven't already done so, please consider adding JASR and the Spark reunion there to your bucket list!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MIAMIA7 4/5/2012 8:33PM

    It was so great to meet you! Loved the whole weekend. Can't wait for you to be here next year. Hope to get to Buffalo...we will let you know.
Hugs, Anne

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RACING4ME 4/5/2012 8:00PM

    It was my most favorite weekend as well:) It was wonderful chatting with you, would love to keep in touch. I saw Bobby's invite to join the rookie runners, I second that:) The main thread is where we hang out and chat. Hugs to you my friend!!


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BE-THE-CHANGE 4/5/2012 4:49PM

    I am so glad you could make it. Thanks for cheering us on!

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VTORIA3 4/5/2012 6:10AM

    Nice blog that chronicles this wonderful experience. Thanks for sharing it. Keep up the nice work and enjoy all the wonderful contacts you made. emoticon

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NEWNAC304 4/4/2012 12:51PM

    I'm glad you had a good time!

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SHEENADEE 4/3/2012 10:12PM

    It was indeed a fun weekend and it was great to meet you.

See you at JASR 2013!


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CASSIOEPIA 4/3/2012 10:09PM


It was so much fun - the whole weekend. Absolutely every part of it - even the tears. It was so good meeting you. The picture of you and I in the Rose Barn turned out great. If you want a copy, send me a Spark mail with your email address.


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BILLALEX70 4/3/2012 8:41PM

    Glad you could join us!

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MCCOURTT 4/3/2012 8:16PM

    That was a fun weekend!! I've already started planning for next year see you there.

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BOBBYD31 4/3/2012 7:19PM

    thanks it was, was great to meet you. sorry about holding your keys hostage, lol. if we make it up to buffalo this year we will let you know. you need to join rookie runner group .

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LOPEYP 4/3/2012 2:32PM

    It's always fun to meet new Sparkfriends emoticon

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KOPSBABY 4/3/2012 12:25PM

    It's great fun and a wonderful motivator to meet SparkFriends. Glad you made the trip.

BTW, how did you do in the race?

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    It was great meeting you even for just the few minutes in the car after the race. All of the people there are amazing!

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HDEMARS 4/3/2012 10:32AM

    It sounds like you had a wonderful weekend! I'm so happy for you! :)

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JEN-LOVES-LIFE 4/3/2012 9:47AM

    It was a great weekend. I'm so glad that you were able to make it. See you next year if not sooner.

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