I love running and it likes me ok

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A little more than a year ago I wrote a blog post about my one-sided relationship with running. That said blog post can be found here.

Believe it or not, a lot has changed in the past 15 months. Since then, I have completed two 5K races and am in my ninth week of training for a third race in November.

Although I have days I don’t feel like running and although I still don’t love treadmills, I will say this: I finally get it.

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I get why people run. I get why people spend countless hours and days training and I get why people willingly take ice baths. Simply put, running makes you feel better.

I didn’t even realize my relationship with running was becoming less one-sided until about two weeks ago. I was running on some trails behind my apartment and before I knew it I had been running for more than an hour. I looked at my iPod and decided to stop because I had plans that evening. But the point was I decided to stop, I didn’t have to stop.

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So how did I go from rarely running to making it a part of my workout each week? Well, I started a training plan, because let’s face it, I needed some direction. Training plans for 5K and 10K races as well as half marathons and marathons can be found online.

Once I got used to the aching leg muscles and the voice in my head saying it was time to walk, running went from “the worst thing ever” to a new favorite workout.

And as cliché as it sounds, most of my problems with running were mental. When I felt worn out from running before it was because I wasn’t training and because I looked at it as a punishment partly because running laps was literally a form of punishment in both volleyball and softball in high school (thanks, coach).

With a change in attitude, proper training, and a kick ass music playlist (some favorites: Midnight City by M83, Fantasy by MS MR and Rather Be by Clean Bandit), running has become something I actually enjoy.

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A conversation with a marathon runner

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With Americans across the country watching and supporting the Boston Marathon that took place Tuesday, I thought it would be appropriate to share a conversation I previously shared with Bryce Baldwin, a twenty something who completed his first marathon last year.

Bryce is a humble, but talented inhabitant of the Windy City who made a bold switch in careers, hopped states, landed his dream job and discovered a new-found passion for fitness.

Bryce never pictured himself running a marathon. That changed when he started working as a digital specialist for Nike.

Originally from Indiana, Bryce moved to Los Angeles after graduating college to accept a position at a record label.

“Unfortunately, what I thought was my dream job, wasn’t,” he said.

While working at the record label he also started working for Nike, and he has stuck with that. Five years later he is still with Nike and moved from Los Angeles to Chicago, where he is now.

It’s hard not be interested in fitness when working for the athletic company, he said.

“I like what it represents,” he said of the company. “Sports have been a big part of my life- I’ve always been an athlete.

Bryce got away from athletics in college but decided to pick up running and exercising again after he started working for Nike.

“I saw how much other people enjoyed running,” he said of why he started training. “What started as running one or two miles turned into a Tough Mudder race which turned into a half marathon which eventually turned into a marathon.”

He felt a mix of emotions when he completed his first marathon in 4 hours and 8 minutes.

“The first thought was, ‘Heck yeah, I’m done,'” Bryce said. “The second was my grandmother had just passed away so I was thinking how proud she would be that I finished. Other thoughts were I want to take my shoes off and have this victory beer.”

This year he hopes to run four half marathons and one full marathon. Although he continues to set goals advice he has for others is to keep tentative goals.

On running

His goal for his upcoming marathon is to finish in less than four hours. One thing he has learned from other marathon runners is to keep tentative goals.

“You don’t want to be so focused on reaching a goal that you tear cartilage in your knee,” he said. “You also have to take into account the surroundings — if it’s raining, you’ll have to slow down.”

Advice he has for others considering running a marathon is to “give yourself a chance.”

“I never in a million years pictured I would run a marathon,” he said. “I did it because I liked how I felt after a mile or two.”

Other advice includes getting on a training program. Without a training program, it will be easy to put off running, he said.

On career

Bryce developed all of this passion for fitness when he became a digital specialist for Nike.

“When I first took the job I took it because I liked getting a paycheck doing something I liked,” he said. “Later on I really started to think about options to pursue a career I enjoy.”

Enjoying the company you work for is a definite perk. Bryce said he likes that Nike doesn’t copy other companies and  his favorite thing is the corporation’s innovation.

“Our innovation is top notch,” he said. “It’s cool to talk about what we’re doing that other companies aren’t doing — I’m very proud of that.”

The decision to switch careers has changed the way Bryce thinks in many ways, he said.

And he doesn’t regret it. Instead, he recommends others give their hobbies a shot. “Try to do something you like and go from there,” he said.

A look at some of the questions

How did you get in to running?
Seeing how much people enjoyed running was one of the reasons I first tried it out. What started as running one or two miles turned into a Tough Mudder race which turned into a half marathon which eventually turned into a marathon.

How did it feel to see all your training pay off?

The first thought was, ‘Heck yeah, I’m done. The second was my grandmother had just passed away so I was thinking how proud she would be that I finished. Other thoughts were I want to take my shoes off and have this victory beer.

What goals do you have for this year?

I hope to run four half marathons and one full marathon. I hope to finish my upcoming marathon in less than four hours, but one thing I’ve learned from other marathon runners is to keep tentative goals. You don’t want to be so focused on reaching a goal that you tear cartilage in your knee. You also have to take into account the surroundings — if it’s raining, you’ll have to slow down.At the end of the day you’re competing yourself.

What career advice can you give to those thinking about switching?

Try to do something you like and go from there. I don’t regret it.

Read other Conversations here.

Color me rad: my first 5K

My friend and I participated in a Color Me Rad 5K run this weekend. It also was my first 5K. If you never have experienced a color run, do it! It is fun, people are happy, it is not competitive and you get bombed with six different colors. It. Is. Awesome.

1.) The beginning of the race looks like this:

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2.) You get cool tattoos:

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3.) It is just plain fun:

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4.) After the 5K you look like this:

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and this…

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and this…

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5.) This is what the end looks like:

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Go find one in your area and sign up now.

Becoming aware of my body

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While in a Warrior 1 pose, hands stretched toward the ceiling, I was glad I had woken up for the early Saturday morning yoga class. I had deliberated pushing snooze on my alarm and returning to my glorious bed, but alas I managed to make it to class with my red yoga mat.

About two weeks ago I began attending a yoga studio near my work. The business is a gorgeous, high-ceiling and welcoming studio. At first I was skeptical when the first class I came to was a workshop and seemed to focus on the spiritual side of yoga. The classes after, improved from the workshop and I noticed my body, mind changing.

I became aware of everything I was doing. I became aware of my breathing, posture and the toning of muscles didn’t hurt either. I also noticed I was less stressed and focused on taking tasks as they came at me instead of anticipating what was to come.

Yoga has allowed me to focus on my body and what it is telling me – like if I’m trying to go too far in to a pose. I’m looking forward to attending more classes.

How to fake being a runner (read: my one-sided relationship with running)

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I want to like running. I really, really do. It’s a good work out. But the truth is, I have hated it most of my life.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m in to fitness and being healthy; but running isn’t part of my regular workout regimen.

I’m the person who ran the fun run, a stupid name given to an annual one-mile race for elementary students, in fourth grade and hated it.

In high school I would run for sports; volleyball, softball and swimming, but I always looked at as a chore.

My sophomore year of college I would run a mile on a treadmill before a work out, but I would feel like death afterward. I preferred the elliptical or work out classes such as cardio kickboxing to running.

While dating an ex-boyfriend who was a runner, I tried to pick it up. I would jog a mile outside my house in the country and walk in to my house with burning calf muscles.

I would talk a good game and say I was running. That ended shortly when we went for a quick run (his “quick” run was 4 miles) and he was barely breaking a sweat and I was trying to hide my loud breathing. That was the last time we ran together (per my choice, he was embarrassingly kind about it).

While I was interning in Pennsylvania this summer, I stayed in an extended stay hotel. The hotel had a gym, which consisted of a treadmill, Stair Stepper and a weight machine.

I took up running on the treadmill until one day I was running and the moving belt slid out-of-place causing me to stumble off and roll my ankle. Three weeks later I was told it was fixed. After running for 15 minutes it slid again. The machine had an out-of-order sign on it the rest of the summer.

As you can see, running and I have pretty much had a hate/hate relationship. Knowing all this, I signed up for a color run this fall; which sounds like the happiest run on earth. I plan to train and give running another chance. I mean, I do own the Nike Free shoes. Hopefully the relationship will be intimate, sexy and not as one-sided as it’s been for 11 years.

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Unopened magazines

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I have a bad habit of buying several magazines before I can open one of them.

For instance right now I have unopened copies of Vogue, Self, Glamour, Fitness and Vanity Fair sitting on my bedroom floor.

Something about all of these magazines convinces me I need to buy them. Reasons range from a strong, independent person on the cover who I admire, a good work-out plan or a special, holiday issue.

I also have a habit of leaving my room messier than it should be because I spent the day working or because I don’t have time to clean it.

Usually I don’t think twice about this, but I read something recently – I believe on Thought Catalog – that said something like  “don’t use being busy as an excuse to be lazy.”

Just because I worked during the week and have been busy this weekend helping my mother after she had foot surgery doesn’t mean I should use that as an excuse to be lazy.

So for tonight I hung up a few clothes and opened up a “new” magazine. Take me away Vanity Fair comedy issue.