Running: the fun stuff, then the serious stuff.

I have a LOT weighing on my mind today. The last couple days have been pretty darn great. The temperatures cooled a bit to be more seasonal, and I had a few great running days in a row.
Awesome things to note: the co-op has my favorite mint tea on sale! I left a little bit for other people, but bought a bunch myself.

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Luke was working, and we had a few laughs over the Great Quinoa Shortage of 2012, a.k.a. they’re still out.

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Yesterday morning, I had a coffee date with my friend Jen, from high school. She is still as adorable as ever, and she’s in the midst of planning a beautiful wedding to her longtime love, Josh. She’s in town to do some clinical work or something over at Marshfield clinic, so I grabbed her for coffee while she was in my neck of the woods. It turns out that yesterday was her birthday! Happy Birthday, Jen! πŸ™‚
After that lovely coffee date, I did something semi-stupid. I decided to start eating chia seeds, so I put a whole tablespoon in my yogurt. A tablespoon is a normal serving, but probably not the best to start with on your first day, right before a run. Danny stopped over so we could log a few miles together. He’s from Nashville, so it was extra awesome to catch up with him.

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Hmm, I should have called this week ‘Reuniting with Far-away Friends Week’ or something. πŸ™‚ Danny was kind enough to slow his normal 5 min/mile to my 9:30 min/mile… With a few walk breaks. I’m not going to lie, I thought I might lose those chia seeds a few times. Luckily, I’d rather die than embarrass myself by puking during a regular run (especially in front of people!), so I held it together. 7 miles of catching up with Danny: check.

One of the things that Danny and I talked about is something that has just been on my mind constantly lately. Thanks to Danny for letting me air my grievances during our run πŸ™‚
It has to do with speed, especially when it comes to slower runners. I’ll preface this by saying that while I am continually getting faster, I know that I am by no means a fast runner. A couple years ago, I ran DePere’s Noodleini 15K in the Athena division. Athena (for women) and Clydesdale (for men) are weight-based divisions- opposed to age-group divisions. The reasoning behind offering these categories as competitive options seems to make sense; it is more comparable for a 170-pound woman to race against another 170-pound woman, compared to a 170-pound woman racing against a 110-pound woman, even if they are the same age. Until that Noodleini race, I’d never placed in my age group. In fact, I was so far down the list, compared to other 20-29 year olds, that I often didn’t even look at my actual placement. I was simply interested in my official time, improving my race times, and competing with myself. Once I crossed the finish line, I finished second in the Athena division. I got this TROPHY!

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It was the first time that I’d gotten a trophy for an athletic event (I can put it next to all my hordes of MathCounts, music, and dance awards…). That race lit a new competitive fire in my heart- and I’d never felt that as a runner. I saw my name with a single digit placement next to it. It felt like some sort of small miracle.

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A few quick Google searches later, I realized that the majority of serious runners sort of consider those weight-based divisions to be a joke. I read a lot of opinions saying that all runners should race against each other, regardless of weight- and if the heavier runners think it’s unfair, then we should just lose some weight. While I still have body fat to lose, I am a pretty muscular girl, and I like it that way! I love being able to load my kayak on my car by myself, and help hold drywall during remodeling, and hold my own in a push-up contest. The runners in the weight-based divisions are often tall, broad-shouldered, muscular athletes. Take a peek at the times on that race’s division winners- those racers are fast! The Clydesdale men continually impress me with their speed. Racing in Athena and Clydesdale are by no means a piece of cake.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not overly offended by the opinions of other runners. Everyone is entitled to one! I just wonder if continuing to race in Athena categories is a mistake. I do realize that if I’m upset that my times are slow, and if I’m convinced that it’s because I’m lugging around a 160 pound body- I’m the only one who can change that. The only thing I know for sure right now is that I registered to run the Oshkosh 1/2 in Athena, and I’ve never felt so motivated to train for speed. I want to add another trophy to my rack of medals. πŸ™‚

Enough serious stuff. Back to yesterday…
After a quick shower and some photo sorting, I made a delicious lunch. I was going to have a chicken salad, but then I decided to skip the leafy greens and just put everything I like in a bowl. Sounds reasonable, right? Chicken, onions, tomatoes, spicy mustard, Sriracha sauce, red grapes, walnuts, snap peas, a little tiny bit of mayo, and a bunch of spices. That disappeared faster than the fraud on my checking account last week.
(PS Chase is GREAT at catching that stuff!)

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I forgot to take a photo of Dale and I rehearsing last night. I’ll post a video soon, then you can catch a glimpse of this ‘dancing’ that I do. I’ll have proof soon. πŸ˜€

I was all set to head home from dancing and go straight to bed when Brian text me to let me know that after a somewhat hilarious afternoon at the driving range, Kenny and Brian were drowning their sorrows at Rustys, and I was invited. I can’t pass that up. I mean, come on, look at their bloody marys…

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I got mine with the garlic, but passed on the beef stick. With the beef, that beverage is more like a meal replacement than a night cap. πŸ™‚ Thanks, boys, for the good times last night.

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This morning, I finished editing some photos, and I’m getting ready to run some errands before a lunch date with my photo mentor.
As you can see, I’m hard at work.

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There are so many of my favorite things happening in that photo. Breakfast, Monica’s vlog “Ask a Monican,” a pedicure (I went with blue this week!), and my marimba. Thus, the view from my couch on this dreary Friday morning.

If you’ve got something to say about weight- v. age- based divisions, please chime in! I’d love to hear some feedback. Thanks, y’all! πŸ˜€ Have a great weekend!

Miles this year: 159

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Running: the fun stuff, then the serious stuff.

  1. Sally

    Hey Heidi! I became intrigued to read this because of your Facebook post beginning with “hey runners…” First and foremost – I think it is absolutely fabulous the role that running has taken in your life – very inspirational!

    After reading this – I definitely have thoughts for you, though I am not so sure if I can grasp how to put them down in writing so bear with me….

    I have been a competitive “runner” basically my entire life. Jr High, high school, college and now I am more recreational but still love to compete in races around Chicago. I use quotations around runner because in college I had to have 2 leg surgeries that made me dramatically change the way I run, the speed I run and how intense I am but I refuse to ever let the characteristic of runner go away when I describe myself.

    I realize I am probably more on the extreme end or not the average case to respond to your dilemma so keep in mind that my opinion is, for the most part, based on my case:

    I have never been a “slight” runner. I have always been tall, muscular and weighed at the higher end of my healthy BMI weight category but that is just normal for me. That being said, back in my competitive days and even now, I would put myself against anyone half my size in a race and that goes for cross country races as well, which in general are thought of as “skinny people” races. My mindset was always that I will kick your little skinny ass because I have more weight and muscle to outlast you….I realize that it is obvious that serious long distance runners have a certain body type – especially as we grow older and they would most certainly kick my ass but those are professionals..

    My advice to you moving forward is simply focus on getting faster – that is whatever faster means to you – and feel good about doing both types of races but I feel it would limit your progress to think you can only be more competitive in the weight based races because it is my feeling that fast is fast and it doesn’t depend on weight.

    Another side of it is – part of being able to run fast is simply god given but the great thing about running is that anyone can get faster depending on the miles they put in, how they train and how determined they are.

    Thank you for the opportunity to rant – apparently I am still very passionate about the topic of running : )

  2. Jena

    Heidi-
    Age- I always tell people women don’t peak in distance running until much later… upper 30s. I just think the best is still ahead of me, it also is a great motivator. I also idolize the runners that are in there 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s that are still able and out there doing it. I find it just as inspirational as watching freakishly fast people run.
    Weight class- There is something to be said about having to carry around extra weight while you run- your body has to work harder. However, if you are underweight you also won’t have the strength to move your body, especially on a hilly, muddy, need to fight through it run. That being said- I’m completely confident you can get faster without losing weight. If you ever want ideas I’d be happy to share.
    Genetics- In college I never trained so hard in my entire life at running. However, I would still have been lapped in the mile by the most elite collegiate runners. At some point it really has to be about personal goals and achievements. Running is a humbling sport- records are broken and there always seems to be someone out there that is better or faster just waiting for their moment.
    Time Spent Running- My coach in college was a saint. He was literally amazing. He would give you goals to achieve that I wouldn’t have dreamed of. However, he would also tell you it is common for a runner to have a good year (large drops in time) and then plateau for a year or so. This can be frustrating but you have to put it in perspective it’s faster than you were running 3 years ago. If you keep working at it you will hit another good year and so the cycle continues.

    If I’m eyeing up to see if next year my age group category will change and be easier (less competition) then I think you are doing the same thing by doing the Athena competition. It’s called being competitive. I say just go out there and kick some ass! The runners who tell you otherwise forgot why they started running in the first place and whatever is motivating them to run now won’t keep them going for the rest of their lives.

    By the way- I love Bloody Mary’s… and that one looked amazing! Best of luck at the Oshkosh Half.

  3. They do those weight categories in mountain bike races for the same exact reasons that you stated (mostly for men though, never women) and guess what, they are not a joke. I don’t see why running couldn’t embrace the same idea. Great post!

  4. Hey Heidi! First of all I bought the very last of the quoina at the COOP! They helped me reach it and tip it, so it filled my bag. Just a little FYI.

    Regarding running and weight class. In my opinion at the end of the day does it really matter to the other runners. If it gets many people off the couch or at least interested in walking and running, and not being so intimidated, or believing that all runner are skinny I think the class is well worth it. I have no issues with it, and its been great to see so many people of all different sizes and shapes doing what we all love. Isn’t it about the love of the sport?

    Speed- just keep adding in those intervals of all different distances. Speed comes with persistence and determination- both of what you have.

    Keep on running and smiling!

  5. Nancy

    Hey Heidi! I have pondered this question of the Athena/Clydesdale catagory in the past. Overall, I have to say I don’t agree with the catagory. However, I would never judge those who participate and I know that people have individual reasons for competing in these catagories. For me, it all comes down to motivation. The negative side…does this catagory encourage people to be heavy so they can compete in this catagory? I knew a triathlete that was 5 pounds away from the Athena weight. She said, “if I only gain 5 pounds, I could compete in Athena!” Also, if there is a 150 and over catagory, why not a 110 and under catagory? Is this “fair” to only cater to the larger runner? Also, I know that some people are just larger, not fat; however, with such a problem in this country of obesity, I don’t want the wrong message to be sent. On the positive side…the Athena/Clydesdale catagories may encourage some people to participate who would not normally do so. This may light a fire in them and motivate them to continue running and give them the boost in confidence they need. There is something to be said for winning an award and working hard toward a goal. Who hasn’t entered a race event where they would have a better chance to win an award? I sure have. Why? It is a good shot to the ego! Let’s face it; it is fun to accomplish a goal. Winning an award is icing on the cake. So there you have my more than 2 cents on the topic.
    Bottom line: What motivates you? Why are you running? Whatever that is, keep doing it. Set your goals. Keep reaching them and then make new ones. Running is a lifestyle. Keep at it. It can only make you healthier and you will inspire others along the way…no matter what size you are.

  6. Pingback: Oshkosh 1/2 marathon 2012 race recap and cute dogs :) | artistandathlete

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