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Here's What No One Tells You About Running

I’m not a runner. I will never be a runner. Yes, I run, but I believe that in order to call myself a runner, I need to have a certain mentality and a particular physique that runners possess. I can’t say that I LOVE running (those of you who know me know that I would rather be racing) and I don’t look the part of a runner. If I was racing either motocross or snocross on a consistent basis I would still run, but it would be running to cross train. I register for half marathons and other running races because I need something to hold myself accountable for my health. By registering, I am tying myself into something that I can’t get out of and I can’t give up or quit.

I have no interest in running more than a half marathon. It’s enough of a challenge and I know my limits. Training requires time, healthy mind space, and it works best with a healthy diet. I follow Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training plan. I don’t have the experience to create my own training plan. I don’t follow it to a ‘perfect t’ but I adapt it to me. I switch days around to accommodate my gym days with days that I am working in Ladysmith because that is where my gym is at. My longer running days were closer together than what his plan suggested, but I did my longer runs on my days off because that is when I had time for them.

The biggest reason people lose interest in exercising is because they don’t have time for it. Honestly none of us have time, but we make time. If we can’t tailor a program to our schedule, it becomes stressful and we just don’t look forward to it. I’ve been there. What I have realized over the past years as some sort of an athlete and as a health care provider, is that if exercise isn’t something that you feel you have time to do, don’t enjoy it (at least somewhat), or if you can’t see a goal that is attainable you give up.

My diet isn’t perfect; but I keep trying. I am still in the process of finding a diet that works for me.  Did you notice the word I used in the last two sentences?  I used the word ‘diet’. What you put into your body isn’t a ‘diet’, it’s a lifestyle. I think that diets are meant to be short term, lifestyles are long term. My nutritional lifestyle isn’t anything in particular-I choose to stay away from fast absorbing sugars (soda, candy, etc), processed foods (things out of a box or can or with ingredients I can’t understand), and I don’t force myself to eat things I don’t like even though they are considered healthy. Technically peanut butter is out of a jar, but it is my main source of fat. It’s ‘pumpkin season’, I’m an addict, and we know most of the commercialized pumpkin treats are garbage. I don’t like cow milk, so I drink almond milk and I don’t like the texture of broccoli stems, so I only eat the florets. Make your lifestyle work for you.

Going back to me not being a runner, when running a race, I pick goals that are appropriate for me. The first time I ran the Mankato Half Marathon I wanted to survive it, not walk at all, and finish at a time of two and a half hours. I achieved all of those. I ran the Eau Claire Half Marathon next, and it didn’t go as well as my first one. I wasn’t aware that there were so many hills the first part of the race and it got really warm as the race went on. In the middle of the race I changed my goals-I wasn’t worried about beating the time I had in Mankato (it wasn’t a fair goal due to the elevation differences in the courses), and instead I focused on just finishing and not walking. I was able to finish it with no walking. I was really excited about running Mankato again and I wanted to beat my first time without walking.

I would rate my training plan compliance at 85-90%, so the race should have gone well. The weather was the perfect weather for running and the course was the exact same as it was the first time. The first 7 miles were fantastic, but I ran them way too fast. I use an application on my phone when I am running to track my miles and times; hearing my time I knew I was running too fast. I had a feeling that running that fast (for my standards) would come back to bite me but I wanted to keep pushing.

Miles 7-10 were slower but still at a pace where I could beat my first half marathon time. The last 3.1 miles I fell apart; I ended up having to walk way more than I should have. I finished at 2 hours and 30 minutes, but I am disappointed I ended up walking a few times. I didn’t beat my first time. Having to walk isn’t bad, it wasn’t one of my goals. My ego ended up being bigger than my talent the first 7 miles. I should have recognized that I couldn’t sustain the pace that I was at but at that time everything felt like it was going great.

Sometimes things don’t go as planned-in all aspects of life. Sometimes the end reward isn’t a true reflection of all of the work that you put in.  I’m irritated I didn’t do as well as I wanted to so I will run Mankato again to keep myself accountable and to reach my goals. My advice for everyone is to pick goals that are significant to you. It’s okay to change them so they are attainable with challenge, and keep working until you reach them.

All my best,

Dr. Tonya

1 Join the Conversation

  1. TC Gappa says
    Oct 31, 2017 at 1:02 AM

    You may not be a runner but your legs have always been fabulous. On your wedding day you looked beautiful nut if you remember my comment was on those runners legs. You should be proud. What a great example. We are proud of you

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