April 14, 2011

I'm Awesome and an Inspiration!

Okay, my professor said my paper on Civil War memory and Robert Shaw was awesome, actually he said it was 'f*cking awesome' which is even better when said by an 80 year old man who could win a Norman Mailer look-a-like contest.

That alone made this day truly awesome- his words, not mine.

But the day got even better.  I went jogging today to get in my second jog of the week and decided to just do 40 minutes.  Seriously, 50 minutes is a long time for laps.  On Saturdays, when I do 4+ miles which takes somewhere around 60 minutes, the laps just go one for forever.  Anyways, I ran into someone who I've met only once peripherally and she said I was her inspiration.  I'm awesome and so is she.

Also, while jogging some heavier women commented on my general all-around awesomeness.  One even asked me specifically how I got into jogging and I told her all about the 10 minute plans and I hope I plant a seed of interest in her.  She said she regularly walks 6 laps (3.6 miles) and I believe (although I did not tell her this) that if you can comfortably walk 3.6 miles you can try to jog in 1 minute bursts every now and then- if she wants to.

I'm thinking of making t-shirts for exercise and jogging.  One might say "I'm awesome and so are you" and another "If I can jog this so can you."  I really want to challenge this idea of what a physically fit person looks like.  I'm fit.  I'm not the fittest, I'm not even as fit as I want to be but I am fit.  That's one reason I like racing.  I like that it surprises people for them to see me jogging because I don't look like someone who might sign up for a race, especially 10Ks.  But I can, because, as Dr. Jones says, I'm awesome.

I'm leaving you with a video by fat activist Joy Nash.  She released this almost 5 years ago; I saw it then and was floored by the honesty.  I just watched it again for the first time in 5 years and I still think she is hilarious, spot on about some of the ridiculousness people create for themselves and others, and she an incredibly smart woman.

April 11, 2011

This is my 51st post

As the title says, this is the 51st post at Genuine Efforts.

It's been a little more than a week since Springtime Tallahassee and I'm wondering what race to do next.  There are two different 10Ks over the next 5 weeks, one in two weeks and one on May 14.  I'm not sure which one to do.  After that there are no more 10Ks until the fall; it's just too hot here.

April 30 Tails and Trails:  I ran this one last year and I call it my 'break up' race.  Meaning the race was so hard and discouraging that I avoided running for months afterwards.  It was humid (dripping in sweat just standing waiting for the race to start), hot, a girl fell before mile 1.  I stopped to help her and never got my pace back.  It's 80% off-road trails through the woods of Tom Brown park and benefits the Tallahassee Animal Shelters.  This race kicked my butt and I walked the last half.  People came out with ticks and I had at least a dozen mosquito bites. 

It was miserable.

So, I'm not truly interested in running it.  It's a slow course, a frustrating race, gets very narrow in some places, and I had zero fun last year.  Racing is supposed to be fun and I don't do them to feel miserable.  I do them to feel triumphant.  Yes, I know "when you fall off a horse you get back on" but sometimes you don't get back on the same horse.

May 14 is the Missionatte 5K/10K in Cairo Georgia.  It's paved and looks like a lot of fun.  However, from looking at last year's pictures it looks like very few people run it (maybe 100) which only amplifies the fact that I have a good chance of being last but also that people will be 'waiting on me to finish' which makes me uncomfortable.

Right now I am leaning 70/30 in favor of the Missionette.  The only things counting against it is that few people run it and that is is at least 45 minutes away so I'd have to leave early.

One of the other reasons I am less interested in the Tails and Trails is the date.  It's the morning after the big end of the year party for the history grad students.  This year's party is being held at the Florida Beer Society where they are providing the beer to us for free as well as some food.  I'm not a huge beer drinker but I think it would be a pretty cool party and awesome to get to taste all of those fancy, locally produced beers on tap for free.  I know that if I want to run the race then I cannot eat any of the heavy foods or drink any of the neat beer.  I don't want to miss out on the fun with my comrades-at-arms. 

If anyone has an opinion please leave me a comment or text/facebook me.  Thanks.

April 10, 2011

Longer strides

So yesterday I went for a quick 5K workout.  First half has a significant slopeward down, which of course means the second half had a significant, butt killing (literally) uphill. 

However, the awesome part is that I tried to lengthen my strides.  It did require constant focus and it was incredibly difficult.  I mean, a lot more work on my heart and lungs.  I took a lot more walking breaks but overall I still think I was faster than usual because when I was jogging I was really moving.  I am going to keep this up for this week to get it more in my muscle memory and then next week work on some timed miles.

It went well and will continue to work.

April 8, 2011


Well, it's been a week since my race and I am only just getting to blog about it.  Sorry, but this week was nutty with a paper to write, collecting and distributing my own students' end of term paper, along with writing lectures and reading for my own classes.  The next two weeks will be even busier as I write the final exam, research and finish a paper on Lyndon B. Johnson, get ready for a killer final exam in my Civil War class as well as continue to write the rest of the semester's lectures.

Anyways, as I stated before, last week's race was an awesome experience.  I finished in 85 minutes (13:51 minute mile) which was right where I a) expected to be and 2) a comfortable pace.  I had a lot of fun running with the crowds, there was a lot of community support, and my parents came to watch me start- that was awesome.  All in all I'd call Springtime Tallahassee 2011 a success.

Oh, and yes, I tried to recreate last year's outfit but I couldn't find my hat!

I took a few days off and relaxed back into my groove.  I took a 3 mile jog at a very slow pace yesterday, zumba today, and I'll go for a faster run tomorrow.  Everything else is going well.

One thing I did realize during this race was my pace, yes I'm slow.  I get that.  But there are some things I can try to do to increase my pace without working too much harder.  The first being my stride.  I don't know if you can see it in that picture but I have what some would call a "closed" stride.  Meaning there is not a lot of distance between my feet when they are furthest apart.  No, I don't have any measurements.  So my 'goal' for the rest of the month is to try and not work on quickening my pace but to actually try to lengthen it.  That's harder than it sounds.  For starters: most people have a natural gait, mine happens to be short.  However, it's been my gait for almost thirty years- that won't change immediately.  Second: it will take constant awareness and evaluation.  I will not be able to 'check out' while I run because as soon as I do my stride will fall back into its own rhythm.

So, that's the goal for the rest of the month.  We'll see how it goes.  Also, Whittle my Middle is still going fine.  I kind of slacked this week on all of my workouts so I let that kind of slide too but yesterday I experienced a re-commitment and am enjoying my sore abs.

Enjoy your weekend! 

April 5, 2011

Quick Update

All- my race on Saturday in a word: Fantastic.

I achieved my personal goals and had an awesome time.

I've since been writing a 25 page paper that I just turned in this morning and have not had time to update, I will however, update later this evening with a race recap with pictures.

April 1, 2011

A Question

My first 10K in almost a year is tomorrow morning.  I am hydrated, carbed up, iPod is charging, my clothes are all picked out, shoes laid out, camera ready, and my awesome parents are getting up a 'zero dark thirty' as my dad always says to come watch me start and finish and then take me out to breakfast.  Aren't my parents great to come all this way and be so supportive?  Seriously, it's impressive.

There is one question that is lurking though: what if I come in last?  I mean, out of a few hundred participants, what if I come in dead last?  As in, the very last person to come past the finish line.  Last.

Really... what happens if that happens? 

I'm ultimately not sure how I'd feel about that.  However, I do know that if I let worrying about coming in last prevent me from participating at all then I am not mature enough to run.  Someone has to be last.  What makes me so special that I should somehow be excempt from that?  Also, if I let myself be ashamed of even the possibility of being last, well, I diminish the 'genuine efforts' and sincere attempts of anyone who actually does come in last, and that might be me.  If I came in last would that take away from my training jogs or my zumba classes, or the weight I've lost since January?  No. 

I don't know what will happen tomorrow but I do know that I am excited.  I also know that no matter what I have worked really hard since the New Year and that alone does not make me awesome, it makes me Super Awesome.