For The Newbie Runner…

The infamous shaving incident

I’m the one with the cotton ball-looking things around my neck. I have no idea what my mother was thinking.

I come from an era when everyone had to do the Presidential Physical Fitness Test twice a year in PE. Remember that?!  I hated and dreaded it!  I was always last in the run part of the test, and at those crucial times in a child’s life, it can be humiliating.  My last year of PE was when I was in the 11th grade and I signed up for the weight class because I hated everything else… volleyball, softball, basketball.  I am not a natural-born athlete.  But I discovered I could lift weights. And I could do aerobics and Jazzercise. One of my grades in weights was figuring out an aerobics routine and teaching it to the class (yes, this was in the middle of the aerobics boom).  I nailed it, and the coach even told me that I was good at it.  I was chuffed.  But I digress…

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My sister Angela (left) and me; I was 15.

Even in weight class, we had to do that stupid physical fitness test, you know, the one with the running.  I couldn’t even make it around the track once without walking half of it.  I was tired of being humiliated, so I worked all year long on trying to get around that track without having to stop and walk, and I worked on trying to speed up.  I did this after school or whenever I could get to the track to practice.  By the end of the year when the test came, I made it around the track without walking.  I was still last, but I made it around that stupid track. I considered the run a success.

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Fast forward to now.  I’m closer to 50 than 40, and I am a runner.  I’m also in my 2nd year of racing.  And I go out and give it my all.  And I am not fast… although I am faster than I was last year.  And that’s so very encouraging and positive.  I see progress.  And I’ve just begun.

I read other blogs of newbie runners, too.  A lot of newbies (including me) struggle with how slow they run.  Sometimes it even discourages them… “Why do this?  I’m not going to get any better.  It’s never going to get any easier.  I’m so slow.” I want to tell you that you will get better, it will get easier, and you will get faster.  You just have to have patience and put in the effort if you really want to become a faster runner. Sometimes it’s discouraging to be slow, I know, but keep at it.  Your pace will come down, and with it, you will become more fit, or vice-versa.  Running has brought me a sense of good will, good health, empowerment, control, a major sense of accomplishment.  And I think it’s all worth it.  You will too.

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Me just before Thursday’s Turkey Trot, my 13th race.

25 thoughts on “For The Newbie Runner…

  1. Lucy

    I always love your encouragement. It’s so easy to forget that progress only comes with practice. Time is going to pass anyway, so we might as well use it to make ourselves better!

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  2. mariegriffith

    I’ve been running less than 2 years. I ran my 2nd 5k in our local Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning and my improvement is encouraging! I placed 73rd overall and 8th in my age group! You’re right……. It is empowering. Thanks for the encouragement!!

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  3. niki

    I can really relate to this. I was “crap at PE” all through my childhood. Luckily, I could swim a bit, and I used to walk a lot, and cycle, so I had some base fitness. But I can’t shake that “who are you trying to fool” thing, however hard I try…. Beautifully written 🙂 Enjoyed reading this…

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  4. janerunswild

    Thank you for this post and opening up about your background. Running certainly is a patient sport- something that takes years of patient base-building in order for it to feel natural. You are doing so well, keep it up!! Looking forward to reading more running adventures!

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  5. Tasha

    I got a good laugh out of the cotton ball looking thingy comment!!! Hilarious! Maybe that was a craft you’d made at school or something hehehe! This is a very inspiring post, Paula. I don’t do as much cardio in my workouts as I should because I am also a very short winded person….it’s very difficult to run when your body is not use to it. I need to do it more often though because cardio workouts are probably the most beneficial!

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      LOL, I’m glad you got a giggle, :D.

      Thank you Tasha! I think all around fitness is the best idea… exercise the lungs and heart with cardio, as well as strength train those muscles. I was always extremely winded, but it’s the practice that makes it better and easier. I’ve made slow steady progress, and I’ve never pushed myself to the point of injury, nor will I. Slow and steady got the race won. Mind you, when I speed up, it does take my breath away, and I think that’s why I make such slow progress. I hate the feeling of being winded. 😀

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  6. acbrandt

    I heard a statistic the other day on NPR that grade school PE was actually more likely to deter people from athletics and fitness as adults. I believe it, too–I can remember do the presidential fitness test and failing at the rope climb. It was miserable!

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      And that would make total sense, too. Being humiliated like that does a lot of damage. I don’t know if they still do that in school, but my son will go to middle school next year, and I’m going to make certain he’s not embarrassed like I was. He’ll be in somewhat decent shape so he can get through those stupid assessments. I would so love to be able to home school like you. Our public schools don’t do our kids any favors.

      Liked by 2 people

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      1. aidyl93

        Hehe, I did! 🙂 Well you’re definitely doing a great job of encouraging newbies! It can be frustrating, but if I had a little more time and motivation I’d be running too; you make it sound like a lot of fun, while explaining how hard and treacherous it can be too!

        Liked by 1 person

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