A Cross Country Meet & Some Major Motivation

Last week I had the pleasure of watching my cousin run in her first cross-country meet. Being a runner myself, I was obviously thrilled that she had taken up the sport! I was so excited to be there to support and cheer her on.
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I couldn’t believe how “un-nervous” she was!

The total distance was that of a 5k, through one of the local parks. It’s probably one of the few places in the area that has a significant hill (at least significant to us southern Virginians). The course could be seen at many different points and made one curvy loop around. It actually is a great location because spectators can move around to different portions of the course to watch whoever they were there for. I caught Casey at each spot, starting line, first loop, downhill, the curve, and the finish line.

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Starting line

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These girls (and the guys too) were so inspiring to watch! So much enthusiasm for the run, so much energy. If you ever have the opportunity to go watch a meet, GO! It was incredible. I know that you could find this energy just as easily at any weekend race, but seeing just young people out there, and so many of them, was awesome. It makes me happy to see that running has already become such a big part of their lives. It made me wish so bad that I had joined my high school cross-country team. (I was on the crew, or rowing team & ran all the time for practice, but it wasn’t the same)

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I was so impressed with how well Casey did! For never having run distance before, and recently having back surgery, YES, BACK SURGERY, I didn’t have a clue as to how fast she’d be. And wow, was I completely and utterly surprised and impressed! She was born to run. Seriously. She held a great pace the entire race and didn’t start out too fast. She was consistent in her pace and hit every turn right when I expected her to be there.  I was a very proud cousin.

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Finish 27:35

And what a strong finish!  She put all she had into that last stretch and finished her very first official race, and very first official 5k with a 27:35!  Did I mention she’s in 9th grade?!  Maybe I’m just bragging because she’s my cousin, but this girl has some major potential to be a great runner.  I mean my PR for a 5k this year is 25:54,  I guarantee she has me beat by the end of the season.  And you know what, I hope she does.

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Strong finish!

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If you’re looking for a boost in your running spirit, go to a local high school cross-country meet.  If it’s anything like this one, you’ll definitely find some inspiration, a lot of passion, and you’ll leave with a renewed excitement for the sport.  I mean this picture shows it all!  Dealing with my ankle injury at the time of this race, I was dying to be able to jump in there and run with them.  I gained a whole new love for a sport I was already madly in love with.

Casey, I am so looking forward to watching you progress and succeed as a runner!  Can’t wait to come to some more meets!  Lots of love and luck! 

Did you run cross-country in high school/college?

Have you attended a local meet?  Do you get the same vibes from going?

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Guest Posting at The Daily Runner

Today is the day!  I had the opportunity to write a guest post for The Daily Runner and it was posted this morning.  Click over and check it out!  This is a more serious post than the workout posts you find here and I definitely think it is a worthwhile read (but maybe I’m a little biased there).

Here’s a small passage from the post:

Naked & Afraid and The Long Run:  Where the Mind is Capable of the Most

“As I began to ponder the whole idea that a positive mentality was more important than having physical ability, I couldn’t help but compare it to long distance running.  Obviously, there are certain circumstances where physical ability is important; in order to win a race, you need to be very physically fit.  I’m not necessarily saying that mental ability will overcome physical ability to win an actual race; it’s more a question of who will have the better experience.”

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Hope you’ll give it a read 🙂

Try New Things.

Let’s face it, trying new things can be exhilarating and terrifying all at once.  Whether it’s trying a new food, taking a new route on a run, or taking a new class.  While some new adventures may be easy for some, change and newness is seen as scary for others.

I’d call myself an “in-betweener.”  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found myself being more comfortable with new situations, new ideas, and new experiences.  Before a few years ago, getting me to try something a simple as a new food, was a struggle.  While I am still a very picky eater, I am much more inclined to trying new food than I was back then.  I am also much more confident in terms of doing things alone, which also used to be a struggle because I was/am still a teensy bit shy…

Trying new things wasn’t something I intended to do a lot of this year, it seems that trying new things has become a habit of sorts.  Looking back on this past year, I’ve been extremely adventurous this year…

  • I decided to start training for a half marathon, and did it.

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  • I ran the half marathon alone.
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Still missing these lovely ladies from my previous workplace. It was a little family.

  • I had to leave my previous job of three years.  I applied for my first out of college job, was hired, and am still currently working there.
  • I joined not one, but 3 different running clubs/groups.  (One was more recent and haven’t had a chance to go to any of the meetups due to my schedule.  I do plan on going soon though).

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  • I tried red and yellow peppers and have found a new favorite snack.
  • I tried caviar and will never eat it again.
  • I learned la langue des Français.  (It was required but I didn’t take the easy way out and take Spanish, which I was already semi-comfortable with from high school)
  • I tried salad and eat it multiple times a week. (YES. I know this one probably shocked everyone.  Until this year, salad was not on my list of things to eat.  I could never get past the texture… don’t ask me what changed…)
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…putting myself out there as in showing you how gross and sweaty mid-run pictures can be…

  • I started a blog and am putting myself out there in a way I never thought I could.
  • I decided to train for a marathon and have registered and am in the midst of training.1016520_602082549831411_1397849796_n
  • I will be running said marathon alone.

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  • I decided to apply to graduate school.  I was accepted and I start my online grad school program in less than 2 weeks.

While some of these changes and new experiences were easier and less painful than others, it doesn’t discount the fact that I had to step out of my comfort zone.  And I can honestly say that I have no regrets, even trying the caviar, because at least now I can say that I’ve tried it.  Everything that I changed, tried, added to my daily routine, has been for the better.  I have found new friends, new hobbies, and new appreciations that I had previously been missing out on.

Trying new things has so many more benefits than drawbacks.  The worst thing that’s going to happen is that you didn’t like what you tried (mind you, more serious changes obviously have more consequences, we’re sticking to the more mild end).  Trying new things gives you a stronger sense of self.  You’ll learn things about yourself that you never knew before.  It will give you confidence and courage.  It will keep you from becoming bored with where you’re at.

Now with all this talk about trying something new, I’ve been getting the itch.

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A Pure Barre studio has opened up in the area and I am really looking forward to trying it out.  I’ll most likely be going alone and while I’m nervous to try something new by myself, I have a feeling that I might find another fitness love.  The plan is to visit the studio tomorrow and sign up for a class.  I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

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I am a little nervous in terms of going into this completely blind. I do not know anyone who has gone to a barre type class, nor do I have anyone volunteering to go with me.  I know the basics of what the class entails but not much more. Whether it’s my next favorite fitness class or a class I’ll never attend again, at least once the class is over, I’ll walk out with new skills, a workout completed, and a sense of accomplishment.  I can’t seem to find the negatives in that…

I’m challenging you to try something new!  Have anything you’ve been wanting to do but you’re letting fear or your own doubts stand in your way? I dare you to go try.

What’s the best “new thing” you’ve tried?

Has anyone attended a barre class?  Tell me about your experience!  Love it?  Hate it?

Of Love & Running…

Looking for books to add to my never-ending, 50 million page long list of books I need/want to read, I found Born to Run:  A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.  I like to read quotes from non-fiction books before I decide to read them, mostly because I want to share an opinion with the author.  This quote is one I found from the author, Christopher McDougall and it really struck me as true…

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“…there was some kind of connection between the capacity to love and the capacity to love *running*. The engineering was certainly the same: both depended on loosening your grip on your own desires, putting aside what you wanted and appreciating what you’ve got, being patient and forgiving and… undemanding…We wouldn’t be alive without love, we wouldn’t have survived without running, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that getting better at one could make you better at the other.”

― Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

I think the author is on to something.  In order to enjoy running you definitely have to be patient.  In order to increase your stamina, your distance, your pace, you have to be patient in achieving those goals.  They won’t be conquered overnight or over the weekend, it requires a gradual build.  It also requires forgiveness on bad days.  It’s okay to have an off day, don’t beat yourself up about it.  We all have them.

There’s a fine line between pushing yourself and demanding.  Running shouldn’t be something you loathe doing.  If it is, it’s time to take a break.  You also have to be okay with the abilities you have.  I would love to run a sub-7:30 pace, but right now it’s not all that fathomable, and I’m okay with that.  I am perfectly happy with my 10:30 – 9:30 min pace.  If I somehow find myself faster, then by all means, I’ll be faster.  Striving to be better is one thing, getting angry that I’m not there yet is another.

Running has also given me another “thing” to call my own.  It let’s me get away for an hour or two at a time.  It allows me to have my own life outside of my relationship with Trae, with my own friends, events, and experiences.  Trae’s “thing” is golf.  While I accompany him on special occasions, this is his time to be by himself.  We need these separate hobbies so that we appreciate being together more.  It gives us something to talk about, something to learn from each other and we can root each other on.  Running helps me appreciate everything I have and can do.  It helps me think, it challenges me, and I love it all the more for that.

What are your thoughts on the quote?  Is there another quote that hits closer to home for your relationship with running?

Do you think these qualities (patience, forgiveness, appreciation) are that of most runners?

What do you love about running?

Just a Few Things…

Just a few things to mention…

1.  Reading Runner Girl is now on Facebook!  Like if you’d like!851581_371114989659302_1663619632_n

2.  Reading Runner Girl is now on Bloglovin!

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3.  I had not yet signed up for the OBX Marathon and decided to switch to the Anthem Richmond Marathon, November 16, Richmond, VA.  I have family in Richmond and can save some money by not having to get a hotel.  Plus, I read that the Richmond Marathon features two “junk food” stations and my sweet tooth got the best of me.  This marathon was also named “America’s Friendliest Marathon.”  Needless to say, I am excited about this switch.

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4.  Words of Wisdom

Lululemon_CrazyThingImage Courtesy of Lululemon Athletica.

5.  #RunHappy and Embrace the Crazy

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6.  You can also follow me via Instagram & Twitter

Instagram:  @readingrunnergirl

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Twitter: Follow @readingrungirl

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Happy Fourth

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Hope everyone is enjoying their day off!  I started mine with a nice 5 mile tempo run.  What better way to celebrate our freedom than to go running?!

Me and my running friend ran 1.5 mi. warm up, 2 mi. race pace, 1.5 mi. cool down.

Splits:  10:58, 10:27, 9:17, 9:37, 10:36

Note that the second mile was half warm-up, half race pace and the same for the fourth mile.  Next time we’ll probably shoot for an even number to get more accurate splits.  Those two middle race pace miles felt really good and has me itching to keep pushing them to be a little faster.  I’d be happy to get them between 8:00 – 8:30.

Heading to the pool to enjoy this sunny weather and my day off!  Hope everyone else is doing the same.

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Go be free!