Yes, I'm still *running*
April 3, 2007

Every time I get back in touch with old friends on myspace/friendster/facebook, they inevitably ask the same question… "are you still running?!" Welp, it's complicated…so if you're curious, please read on.

For those of you who don't know, I was a kick-ass runner ten years ago. I ran the mile in 5:09 and the two mile in 11:57 (for all you non-runners out there, those are fab times). I was the CT State Champ and the New England runner-up in the two mile, and I won my age group in the 7-mile Falmouth Road Race (42 minutes folks…that 6 minutes per mile). Oh the glory days!!!! I would lace up my shoes, set my watch and just run. It was so simple, and I was so good at it.

Well, time has marched on and life has changed—a lot. In the past ten years I've gotten married, adopted my husband's hyper-thyroidal eating habits, gained 15 donut-pounds, had a baby, gained and lost one hell of a badong-gadong butt, and started running again. I've noticed some distinct differences between running then and now, and I thought this would be a suitable forum to explore them.

Please refer to the discussion below:

1997-Running was natural, fun and challenging
2007-Liposuction would be a lot easier than this

1997-I felt like a Kenyan
2007-I feel like a nursing home resident who’s at risk of falling in the shower.

1997-Running required shorts, a t-shirt, shoes and socks. Sometimes I wore a watch.
2007-Running requires a membership to an on-line running forum, a membership to the YMCA, a subscription to Runner’s World magazine, specially fitted shoes from a running shop, wicking socks, a top-of-the-line baby jogger, a fully-charged MP3 player (with motivational songs like Eye of the Tiger and We Will Rock You), mace, my cell phone (so I can call friends and family and have them tell me what a good job I’m doing), running shorts with built-in underoos, a dri-fit shirt, a reflective vest (I’m a mom now—safety first), and the piece-de-resistance…a GPS unit.*

1997-I was faster than anyone I knew
2007-I’m way faster than every single member of the weight loss group for retired people that meets at the park near my apartment…suckers.

The good news is I'm still winning. I have two strategies for my continued success. First, I enter the smallest, most obscure races that I can possibly find. My chances of winning an age group award increase drastically when there are only 3 or 4 other ladies in my age group. This is how I picked up my victory in the JL Long PTA 5k last fall. It was held on a Thursday night and the field consisted of middle school kids, their parents, and me—just the way I like it.
I also scored a medal at the Too Cold to Hold 5k this past January. I woke up the morning of this race and it was 30 degrees and pouring down freezing rain—the newscasters were begging people to stay off of the roads. My first thought? "Perfect, no one is going to be there….I'm gonna get me a trophy." And I did.

My second strategy is almost as fool proof. In some races, women who weigh 150 pounds or more are eligible to register in the Clydesdale division. I have no pride; if it will score me some hardware I will take on the name of a giant work-horse that drinks beer instead of water. Hell, if it would increase my chances of winning a trophy I'd sign up for the "flabby-assed-junk-in-the-trunk-over-due-pregnant-elephant division"—fine with me. Now don't get me wrong, 150 pounds is not even close to hefty; most women are just too timid to put their weight down in writing anywhere, including a race entrance form. I generally hover between 147 and 152 pounds, so sometimes I don't make the Clydesdale cut. But you can bet your bottom dollar that the night before a Clydesdale race you'll find me eating country-fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, banana bread and an ice cream sundae—I want to make the weight cut, so I give it my best effort.

So the answer is yes, I still run. But "running," my friends, is a relative term.

* Yes, I actually carry a GPS unit when I run. It tells me how far and "fast" I'm running. Basically, it tells me if I'm running slow-speed, really slow-speed, or you-should-be-really-embarrassed-speed. The freaking thing never stops beeping. [note: it's set to beep twice when I'm running slower than my target pace— 9 minute miles]

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