Tuesday, September 9, 2014

running just as fast as we can

Tips From an Asthmatic Runner Who Does Long(ish) Distances Very Slowly:
My only picture crossing the finish line! It's blurry but takes me right back to that moment, so I love it. Also, that's the marathon timer and they started a few hours before us. Juuust FTR.

1. Run when you can, walk when you have to.  I started off with a 3:3 minute walking/running ratio. I gradually upped my running time to 4 minutes, and then I'd shave a minute off my walking time.  It was neat to experiment with my ratios and see how short I could make my walking times vs. how long I could run.  The biggest misconception I had about running was that you couldn't ever walk. All the marathoners I saw at my race took little walking breaks here and there.

2. Just focus on the run you're doing that day.  I distinctly remember walking through the door after my 7 mile run--a full month before race day--and feeling so defeated because I couldn't imagine running 5 miles after the beast of a run I'd just finished.  I had to shift my focus.  Even on my short run days, I tell myself: "Today, it's just 4 miles, nothing more."  Tomorrow's distance, or next week's distance, they don't matter.  It's all about the run at hand (which is, like, so true as a metaphor...for life, man. Think about it. It's deep).

3. Warm up. Warm. Up. WARM UP. Warm up, ya turkey. Ain't nobody got time for an injury. I have to stretch out and walk briskly for a long time to give my lungs time to clue in that they're about to work.  My lungs are fickle, petulant little organs. I have to be gentle with them or they go full-on screaming in the cereal aisle on me.

4. Good shoes! It's basically your only expense as a runner, don't be cheap about your feet. Go to a running store, have them fit you properly, pay more. They're going to last you 500ish miles, it's worth it. No sale rack at TJ Maxx or neon Nike shoes just because they're trendy, I'm being for reals here.

6. Be so patient with yourself, and then also push yourself. If you're positive you can only do 1 mile, map a 1.25 mile run. You'll get such a rush out of pushing yourself just a little extra bit, you'll want to see what you can do the next time. And then also, don't be discouraged because the guy who fits you for running shoes does 12 milers regularly. The coolest (COOLEST!) thing about the running community is how excited runners of all levels are just to see other people out on the road with them.  I rarely pass someone without getting a nod or a smile or a thumbs up.

7. Sign up for a race! Nothing gets my butt off the couch faster than knowing I paid entry fees and they'll be wasted if I'm not ready. Plus, you get a tee shirt. And a huckleberry milkshake if you do the Mesa Falls run like I did.

8. I mean...just do it. Put on your sneakers and walk out the freaking door.
There were so many crazy moments during my half marathon...the Killers whispering "Time, truth, and heart" into my ear right as I turned and saw fog rolling in over the deepest blue river.  Rounding the last corner and finally seeing the finish line--I teared up and somehow found the adrenaline to runfloat over it.  Miles 1-4, which felt like floating. Miles 5-8, which were straight uphill and not as hard as I imagined. Miles 9-12, which were the hardest physical moments of my life.  Over anything else, though, I keep thinking about a comment David made the day before the race: "The training has been a bigger accomplishment than the race will be."  He was right. Committing to it, sticking to the plan, making it happen; I really didn't think I could do it. There's a lot of power in proving yourself wrong about yourself. If you WANT to run, but don't feel like it's something you can do...well, you really can do it, and I hope you do! Because if I can, then really, really, truly, anyone can.


  1. Go Brandilyn! I'm so proud to be your friend!
    Also, these are really practical tips so I'm gonna save it... and then I'm gonna finish my Diet Coke and head to Zumba instead of running ;)

  2. GO B! so impressed with you. like, SO impressed. also, re: #4 JJ just came home last week with THE fugliest running shoes i have ever seen. i teased him. #neontrendynikes4lyfe (that hashtag is why i'll never be a runner) also also, i feel like you should take this line you wrote: "My lungs are fickle, petulant little organs," and make a poem out of it. just go with it. see where it takes you.

  3. That's it, I need to do a half. So proud of you!


I think you're smart, pretty, & entitled to your own opinion.

I'd love it if the feeling was mutual!