Follow my journey from being overweight and addicted to ice cream, to running marathon's!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Slow Runners Are Still Runners!

At least that's what I keep telling myself!
I've often lamented the fact that I'm a slow runner. My average pace at my marathon was 12:38. My average pace for a 5k is around 10:20. I have a bad habit of comparing myself to other speedy runners, and wishing I could be like them! I feel like I should be faster by now. I've been running seriously for almost a year. I think maybe I'm just not pushing myself as hard as I should be. I also think if I was thinner maybe I would be faster. Carrying around an extra 20+ lbs. surely doesn't help with speed!

  A girl in my youth group has just recently started running and has come to me for advice. I recommended the Couch to 5k program to her, and she's loving it and doing great! Last night she made the comment to me that she's so slow. 
 I immediately wondered if she had heard me say that about myself before! That's when I decided I've got to change my way of thinking.
 Every time I start a statement with "I know I'm slow but...", I'm conditioning myself to believe that I can never be fast. I've got to start believing in myself and having more self confidence!
 And as all my facebook friends said, speed is relative. One person said that I'm fast compared to her! So, I think this is something a lot of us struggle with.
 
 I also need to remember how far I've come. I remember the days when a 5k was a HUGE challenge, and now I can run a marathon. (Although when someone asks my marathon time, I'm embarrassed to say 5:31...)
 
 So, here's to a new way of thinking! Changing my thoughts on speed and potential will open myself up for great things to happen. 

I will never settle though, I will always push myself and try harder. I WILL run a sub 30 5k this Spring!!

Does anyone else struggle with comparing yourself to other runners?

katie
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83 comments

  1. I love this post. Thanks for sharing. I am a "slow" runner too, but I try not to dwell on that. I'm working on speed training some and I have a half marathon time to beat this fall, but mostly I'm just happy to be out there and running at all. I have a goal of a sub 30 5k sometime this year too, but I have a lot farther to go than you! I average about 11:20 for my 5k still. Good luck! And the fact that you've done a marathon is nothing to be embarrassed about, and I would be thrilled with your time!

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    1. Thank you, Kim. I will not be dwelling on being 'slow' anymore either. It just gets us down! We'll both get our sub 30's this year!! :)

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  2. All the time! I love reading other's blogs about running, but it's always hard for me to see them say, "I ran my 6 mile run with a slow pace of 8:00", and I'm thinking, "SLOW?! That's FAST!" But I've also learned that I simply cannot compare myself to another runner! We are all so very different! Some runners are taller than me, shorter than me, weigh more than me, weigh less than me, etc.

    But in the end, it's about the effort you bring! I consider myself a slow runner, but I also know that I run faster than some others. So I have changed my view of myself to be, "I consider myself a STRONG runner!". And I am a strong runner, no matter what my pace is!

    And you shouldn't be ashamed to tell people of your marathon time! Being a marathoner is an elite group! Not everyone can say that they've ran a marathon! I am PROUD of you and you should be proud of yourself! You are an inspiration!

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    1. Oh, I know it!! And then remember the announcers at the Boston marathon were saying the elite's running 5's were slow?! Crazy!
      We are strong, girl!! Thank you so much! xoxo

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  3. I'm not a fast runner either but since I never thought I'd be a runner in the first place I try to focus on how far I've come. Please please please don't be ashamed of your marathon time!!! Seriously, that is such a huge accomplishment so don't take away from it.

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    1. That's exactly right, I need to focus on how far I've come! Last night at spin class when someone was asking about my marathon, I again found myself being embarrassed about my time! Ugh! But I noticed it right away, and made a mental note to STOP! :)

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  4. You are not slow!!!!!! You have accomplished the biggest hurdle and that is lacing the shoes up and getting out the door!!!!! You are fast in my book!!! i used to say that all the time and finally i came to grips with that I won't ever be a speed demon, and I am okay with that!

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    1. That's right, girl! No more saying that. I know I can't expect to get faster if I always say how slow I am!

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  5. I agree with Jogging on Coffee. There will always be people faster than me. Always. And there will be people slower, too! I try to focus on just bettering myself, regardless of what other people around me are doing. If I'm running an 11 minute mile, my next goal is 10:45. And so on. When I ran the Houston Half, I saw that I finished ahead of ONE THOUSAND women!! That's freaking awesome. Granted, I finished behind 3 thousand. LOL. But still, it put it in perspective. I'm fine just being me!

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    1. Lol! I love the way you look at that- you finished ahead of 1000 women! You're awesome! :)

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  6. I'm so in the same boat as you. I'll start a sentence with "I'm not as fast as you ...." or "I can't join a running club because I'm not fast enough" and so on. I have just run my first marathon and that seems to have been what is changing my attitude towards myself and how I think of myself as a runner because I dam-well finished a blinkin' marathon for flips sake, yes it too 5:43 but I FINISHED and I was happy and that achievement is HUGE to me - and yours should be to you too xx

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    1. Congrats on your blinkin marathon! ;) That's so awesome! That is a huge achievement, and I will start looking at it that way!

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  7. I started off "slow" as well, but what I've come to learn is that your speed doesn't really matter. Completion is such a huge hurdle!
    And don't get too hung up on the weight thing. I still have 10-15lbs to lose and I've shaved about a minute and a half off my pace in the past 3 months. All you need to do is throw in some more sprint interval training and you'll start seeing pace results in no time :-)

    Congratulations on completing a marathon! That's so awesome! I'm planning on running my first next March since I was just approached to coach a training group for LA. Terrified doesn't begin to cover it.

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    1. That's amazing that you've shaved off a minute and a half on your pace! I do need to start do interval training, I think that's what will help me get faster. I can't believe you get to coach a training group! You'll love the marathon, I was terrified too, but now I can't wait to do another one!!

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  8. Listen your marathon time is faster than mine --I've never run one -- that is a huge accomplishment and one that scares the bleep out of me to even try so give yourself a lot of credit and be proud of your time!

    I sometimes get caught up in how much faster others are than me too, but I really do try to just celebrate how far I've come. I like your focus to change your thinking...you never know where it will take you :)

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    1. Thank you, Michelle! You could totally do it, I think you should!! :)

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  9. Slow runners are faster than non-runners. I always tell people that it's approximately 100 calories per mile whether you run the mile in 5 mins or 12 mins or more. Good for you for no longer calling yourself a slow runner!!

    The way to get faster is by doing speedwork and speedwork SUCKS!!! Back in the day when I was running my 23 min 5Ks, I was going to a high school track every Wednesday during the spring & summer and running 1/4 mile (1 lap) repeats in 1:35 - 1:40 with a 1:30 rest. I did from 8 - 12 repeats. It was torture! I really pushed myself and kept track of every lap time. It was fun to place in my age group and even sometimes win the masters (1st finisher age 40+)! After a few years, I decided that I just didn't want to do that to myself anymore; I just wanted to run and have fun. (running a 5K at a 7:30 pace hurts!) I still do speedwork and still push myself in races but not like I used to. I will even sit out a repeat or modify the workout for myself. I go to a group workout and I'm always saying that I'm just there to burn a few extra calories!

    I'm in my 50s now and right now I'm working hard for a 5K on May 18th. I am going to call it my 50s PR! I know that I will never be able to run the 23:13 I did back in 2008 but will be happy as can be to be in the high 25s to low 26s! After that 5K, I'm going to start concentrating on the Chicago marathon, for which I'm going to train for a 4:30, and not worry about fast 5Ks anymore.

    The last couple of years I have not been able to run a 5K under 30 mins until recently and it really bothered me for a while. I finally had to tell myself that I am pretty lucky to be in good health and be able to be out and running. I can do the things I want to do in my everyday life; I can carry out the necessities like grocery shopping, cleaning, putting gas in the car, I can shop all day if I want to! As a respiratory therapist, I see people my own age who can't do those things very easily anymore and I am lucky to be able to and I know running will have a part in my being able to continue through the next 20, 30+ years.

    I also don't like the term, jogging! I once left an online comment on a newspaper article where they had told the story of a man who had lost a lot of weight, took up running and was training for a 25K (15.5 miles) that takes place in Grand Rapids, MI. There was a photo of him running and guess what the caption said - "...jogs along the river trail to train for the 25K". Yes, they said JOGS and I left a comment saying that he is not jogging but he is RUNNING!!

    So, anyway, I'm not sure why I'm rambling on but, you CAN run that sub 30 min 5K if you work on it! I have to admit that the feeling is awesome after a speed workout even though the workout itself is bad feeling!



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    1. I definitely need to start doing speedwork. I really think that's the only way I'll get faster. If I just keep running at my comfortable pace, I can't expect to get faster! I have no doubt that you'll PR at your 5k. I can't wait to hear about it!
      That's right, we need to look at the big picture and all that we ARE able to do! I definitely plan on running for the rest of my life too.
      Ugh, I hate the term jogging too. I mean, what is a 'jog'? I might be a slow runner, but I never want to be called a jogger! That poor guy!
      Thank you for believing in me, Lorenda. We definitely have to meet at Chicago!! :)

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  10. This was a great post. I too have felt this way. I am almost done with the 7TH week of Couch to 5 K. I know I am slow but at least I am trying. I have about 83 pounds to lose and I too feel that I will be faster once the weight is gone. It is hard to carry around this extra weight.
    I do once in a while start to compare myself with other such as you. I know I will be there I just have to keep pushing myself.
    Keep up the great work. Hugs, Bobbi Jo

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    1. You're doing awesome, Bobbi!! I'm so proud of you. We'll both get there, girl! Hugs!!

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  11. I think this is an insecurity we all have on some level, but I truly believe that if you run, then you are a runner. Plain and simple. You ran a marathon!!! That's an amazing feat that few will ever even attempt! It's hard not to compare, but when I find myself doing it, I quickly change my mindset to one of learning from other runners, and finding inspiration. Whether someone runs a 6 hour marathon or a sub-3 shouldn't matter- it's all about the heart that went into running it in the first place! You're an awesome runner and a great inspiration!

    Here's a great article that goes along with your post topic!
    http://www.runnersworld.com/race-training/elite-state-mind

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    1. Thank you so much! I will definitely try to learn from other runners, rather than always compare myself to them. I totally agree- if you run, then you're a runner. I have bookmarked that article and will read it this weekend. Thanks girl! :)

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  12. Other than interval training, I think one of the best ways to get faster is to just push yourself outside of that comfort zone. Personally, I want to be fast. So when I am running I sometimes catch myself zoning out mentally and moving at a "comfortable" pace. Whenever I catch myself in that mode, I ask myself "Are you pushing yourself hard enough?" And that's when I step it up a bit. Then at the end of all my runs I always "empty the tank" and sprint for the last few seconds. It's hard work, but it's helped me to get down to about an 8:30 pace, and I only started running 6 months ago.

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    1. That's awesome, Karen!! That's exactly it, I need to get out of my comfort zone. I think I just run at my comfortable pace, I rarely push myself. How can I expect to get faster, if I don't try? Love the idea of sprinting at the very end too!

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  13. Thanks for sharing....I use to be a "fast" runner, but it totally controlled my life... Now I run for running. It's hard for me to not compare myself to others, that I competed with in the past....but I'm running :)

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    1. And that's what matters- we're running!! I can see how constantly striving to be faster could control your life, and I don't think running would be very enjoyable anymore- at least for me. We're doing a lot more than most people out there!

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  14. I am with you. I actually wrote a whole post about hare envy. How turtles like myself want to do better and catch the hares out there. Running a sub 30 5K would make me feel awesome, my best friend knocks out sub 24s like it is nothing, she think she is slow because their are other girls here running sub20. I guess it is all perspective.
    I try to remind myself that in the end the turtle beat the hare and we are winning everyday because we are running. And i think we are both awesome.

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    1. It is definitely all in your perspective. I'm sure once I get to sub 30's, I'll want to keep getting better and better. That's right girl, we ARE awesome! :)

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  15. I think it is very common to feel this way. I too am a slow runner. My friend Becky always tells people how slow we are, which sometimes makes me mad. I feel like we are runners, doesn't matter how slow or fast! I think sometimes the hardest part is getting out there and just running no matter what the speed!

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    1. Don't let Becky say that!! That's exactly right, we are runners no matter what!

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  16. I'm a slow runner too. one day at work I was talking to a co-worker about my first 5k and the time I ran it in. Someone over heard the conversation and said "I walk as fast as you run". I was like at least I did it & I never stopped to walk. I consider getting off the coach great start! Love this post too! Here's to the slow runners!

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    1. I CANNOT believe someone would say that to you! What a jerk! That's right, at least you did it! Keep doing what you're doing, April! :)

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  17. I think we compare ourselves to others in all area 'I'm not as good of a mother as she is', 'I'm not as fast as she is', 'not as pretty', 'not as smart' yadda yadda yadda. But we are where we are. We can improve certain areas and there are areas we SHOULD strive to be better/do better at, but sometimes we place too much importance on things that really aren't that important and they take up t0o much space in our brains and in our lives =) I think you're doing great =)

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  18. Did I write this post?? I think I did!!! LOL I feel the same EXACT WAY!! My mantra....I race to run, not run to race.

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    1. Lol! Love that mantra, I need to remember that!

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  19. For me personally I think I started to run faster when I put the electronics down and just ran. When I finally did put back on the electronics I noticed I was a heck of a lot faster. My natural running pace just naturally got faster the more I ran.

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    1. Wow, maybe I need to try that. I've never ran without my electronics!

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  20. Running is not all about speed! I really want to improve my speed, but I am trying super hard not to get caught in the comparison trap. No, I'm not a speedy runner, and probably never will be, but I love running and I always will!! :)

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    1. I love it too. No more comparing myself to others! :)

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  21. Man, girl, I hear you on that slow runners are runners too mantra!! It was actually something that really bothered me after Chicago last fall (see http://www.merrymarathoner.com/2012/10/just-over-week-ago-at-2012-chicago.html) - the more you'll run, the faster you'll get. My first marathon (Chicago 2011), I was so out of shape, I had no business running that, but I did, I found the will to finish and ran a 6:10 (ugh - it is just painful to be on your feet that long). But, I kept running for the next year, and I cut 62 minutes when I ran Chicago 2012. That still makes me a 5:08 marathoner, but I know the next one will be sub-5 and that's progress! You'll get there, I know it because I can tell how dedicated you are.

    Also, you should try these: http://www.runnersworld.com/race-training/yasso-800s - they work wonders!

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    1. I think that's awesome that you took 62 mins off your first time! My goal for Chicago is also a sub 5. I know we can do it!! Yasso 800's are very interesting! I'll have to work on that. Thanks for sharing that!

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  22. i LOVE this! My marathon time is 7:12. I ran Disney and stopped at most of the characters and rode the roller coaster! Ask people their time, just random people, and most won't have one! I run slow as well, but I still feel badass every time I finish! You def. have the right mentality, you go girl!

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    1. Thanks, Kimmie. If I ever get to run Disney, I would be stopping a lot too. I wouldn't want to miss out on all of that!!

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  23. First off.....love the blog!

    Secondly, NEVER.....NEVER......NEVER feel embarrassed about your marathon time. For crying loud, Katie, you ran a marathon! It's an AMAZING accomplishment!

    I'm as slow as molasses, and I've come to accept that. The first couple of times I got passed by little kids and old ladies in a 5K, it was a bit of a shot to my ego, but that changed as soon as I realized that I wasn't competing with them, but rather competing with myself to do MY best. That freed me up to be able to cheer on everyone around me, enjoy their successes and concentrate on improving myself. I've since run 3 marathons (with my 4th coming up in 3 weeks) with a "PR" of 4:51.......slow by my own standards but WAY faster than those on the couch! :>)

    Can you get faster? Depends how bad you want it.......it definitely takes work. As far as I'm concerned, the real victory is achieved every time you toe the line for a race......getting out there and trying your best and having the time of your life doing it. Sure beats sitting on the sidelines!

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    1. Thanks, Bill! I will no longer be embarrassed about my time- I promise! That's exactly right- I need to remember I'm only competing against myself, and it's ok if 80 year olds pass me! Yes, that is definitely a blow to the ego! ;)
      I do want to get faster, and I know I can do it. Thank you for your encouragement!

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  24. I am slow, very slow. And it makes me crazy and I have to agree about the 20 lbs. I just had this conversation with my friend. If we lost it, we would run faster, right now it is like we are running with a 20lb sand bag. Put I run, I am a runner, no matter how slow I am.

    I have a head band I wear for my halves - May Not Be Fast, But I Will Not Be Last

    And you know what, its true!

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    1. LOVE the saying on your headband!! Last summer I was running 30 lbs. heavier, and I'm faster than I was then, so I know what you mean about carrying a sandbag with you as you're running. But we ARE runners!! :)

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  25. I was very slow, then I built some speed (well, speed to me...) and ran a 28:55 5k. I was amazed with myself! Now I'm back to where I was in the very beginning and run about a 35:00 5k. Very frustrating!!!!! I just tell myself I will get back there some day, and I think it's amazing that you ran a 5:31 marathon! If I EVER were to try for one, my goal would be less than 5:40.

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    1. Since you've done it before, you know you can do it again. I know you can too. This is our year, we'll both get sub 30's!

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  26. I'm really new to running, so you are fast compared to me! At this point, running a 5K is what I'm trying to do instead of walking it, running a marathon isn't even a dream yet. One day :)

    Jen@HealthyFoodandFamily

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    1. That's exactly how I started out, I was slow as could be. Running a marathon was an impossible feat! Just keep going, and I know you'll get there too girl!

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  27. Great post Katie! You'll definitely get there. Keep at it, add some speed work in and stay consistent. Sub 30 will totally be yours!!

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  28. I'm 49, have lost 40 lbs(stuck with 10 more to go) and have been running for 2 yrs. I've gone from 5k to marathon too. I constantly compare myself to my running friends; most of which are a lot younger than me. I have to remind myself why I run. I run long because of the way it makes me feel, to be outside for longer periods of time, to really get to know the people I run with during those long conversations. For me, when I really push for time on those shorter distances, I set myself up for injury every time

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    1. Congrats on your weight loss and keeping it off. That's the hard part for me.
      No more comparing ourselves to others! I just need to enjoy the journey, what a great reminder!

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  29. I think we all do this. :) My last marathon was 9 1/2 years ago, and I get embarrassed admitting that, but you know what? We are BOTH marathoners - no matter how fast we ran or how long ago.

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  30. I too struggle with comparing myself to other runners!

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    1. It's so hard not to do it! From now on though, let's make a conscious effort not to that anymore!!

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  31. I totally compare myself to other runners. I used to be able to run long distances and I was fast, but after being out of it for a long time... its so hard! I'm a slower runner now, and that just has to be okay! :)

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    1. Yes, that is totally fine! I still want to get faster, but am learning to be ok with where I am, and keep trying!

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  32. I hear ya!! I constantly compare myself to all the faster runners out there. I have just come to realize that I am destined to be a slow runner!! I enjoy running because it keeps me active and keeps my weight in check. Races are fun because of the bling! That is enough for me!! I went from being a smoker to a runner so I am proud of myself regardless of how fast I am.

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    1. I too need to remember WHY I'm running, and not get so caught up in feeling 'slow'. Going from being a smoker to a runner is HUGE! I'm proud of you for that!!

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  33. I just came across your blog and this post grabbed me! I fall into the trap of comparing my times to speedier friends, but I love that saying that you are always lapping those on the couch! Don't ever be embarrassed by your marathon time! I am confident that there are thousands upon thousands of people that don't even take the plunge to sign up for one because the distance is intimidating. It's hard not to compare, especially when you are always training but keep up the awesome work!

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    1. I love that saying too. That's a great way to look at it! Thank you! :)

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  34. We have a mutual friend (Karen Paverd) who "Facebook introduced" you to me. I love your blog and have found it very inspiring. Especially this latest post. I ran a 5K at Keeneland yesterday at my slowest time ever. I wanted to wallow in misery bc I was sooooo slow, but instead decided to be happy to be running again (first 5K since my youngest was born in August). I have signed up for my first half marathon in October and am excited about upping my distance, but am trying to lower my time before then. Speed is so relative...I would consider myself "fast" at sub 11 minute miles and I have a blog friend that considers herself slow at 8:30s...which would be a dead sprint for me. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you I am excited to read more of your running tales.

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    1. Hey Jules! I'm so glad she introduced us! That's awesome that you decided to be happy about running again, instead of getting caught up in your time. I'm so excited you signed up for your first half!! Which one are you doing? Maybe we can run together sometime! Thanks so much!

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    2. I'm doing the Iron Horse half in midway. I'm pretty excited about it. The most I've run is 8 miles...and that was before kiddos. It will be a big milestone for me. I'd love to run with you sometime. I don't really have any running friends and my husband is too fast and inconsistent for me. My email is juliecannon18@yahoo.com. I'm in about the same boat as you were when you began your journey....50 lbs bigger than my wedding day. Really want to lose about 60 lbs....and I know that will help improve my run time as well.

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  35. I love this post! I'm "slow" compared to most runners too but I try not to let that take away from all that I've accomplished as a runner.

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  36. Yes I am so slow but at least we aren't at home sitting on our couches doing nothing :) Training for my first marathon now lets home slow and steady does it!

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    1. That's exactly right! I'm so excited you're training for your first marathon!!

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  37. I know that this is a really old post, but I am so glad I came across it. You are so motivating and inspiring. Not to mention a breath of fresh air. I have enjoyed reading your posts about your running adventures, and it inspires me to keep going and to keep reminding myself that I am a runner. I, have many times, battled this idea that I am not a "true runner" because I am a "slow" runner. I would often compare myself to my friends who have always been faster than me. I average about a 10-11 minute mile and have just recently started training for my first half marathon. Reading your posts have kept me inspired!

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