Ten Mile Tuesday (Running with Strangers. . . So You Want to Start Running?)

*This just in:
Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Premiers this Friday on ABC at 8:00 p.m. Central Time.
I am a huge fan of Jamie's latest cookbook: Jamie's Food Revolution.
The philosophy of improving yourself and your health always begins with what you put in the pie hole! Is this a vegan-based TV cooking show? No. And the day that happens on prime time television, well. . . it will be cause for great celebration--and pigs will surely be flying, too. This is, however, a step in the right direction--getting folks thinking about much healthier and pro-active food choices and eating styles (sans the meat for vegans of course). Next up: get the folks "moving!" How perfect this airs this week given our climate of "health lovers" and "health haters."

I ran my first ten miles in years yesterday! It was a perfect running day. Perfect. I set out the door with my water-bottle belt (yes, a bit geeked out in my running "gear-head" self, slathered in 100 SPF sun protection, because honestly, I like being pale)--but read on and you'll understand why the best runner is a "prepared" runner! I finished my run in 2:06. Now, was that super-speed? Good god, no. Would I have liked to finish this in under two hours? Yes! But I'll take it! Not making excuses here, but I had a diversion of "hiking/off street running" thrown in the mix (but totally by accident because of this freak of nature encounter, read on).

I feel fine today. I am barely sore. I am not a pre-running stretcher. I walk for a warm up. I do a lot of stretching after and mostly on my hamstrings and calves. I didn't kill myself doing this run, it was too important for me to keep a measured pace and not to injure myself. I am almost fifty and injuries spring up on women of a certain age much quicker at this stage in life than they once used to. *Thank you doctor for the wonderful job you did on my knees seven years ago! My endurance is what I am working on now--to prepare for my half marathon coming up (April 11th). Here is what I asked myself after this run: Could I have gone another three miles. Absolutely. So, with that, I feel very confident I am ready to run a half. To cap off the night--we had vegan meatballs and spaghetti--the perfect post run meal! I need to get in at least one more ten-miler, even trying a twelve miler--but do so within the next week. The week of the marathon is a really scaled back running week. Today I rest--really important for runners in training to NOT run every day. But that can be hard for some.

I used the More fitness 16-Week Half-Marathon Training Plan as my guide. I didn't stick to it 100%--but what I did do is use it as a base to help me measure out my long runs and intersperse shorter runs throughout the week. It's really nice to also write in a calendar what you've done each day of the week--be it a three mile brisk walk (which I will do--using an indoor walk with a Leslie Sansone Walk At Home Workout--I love Leslie's workouts--really, I do!)--or a three-to-four mile run. You know, some days I just don't want to deal with cars on the road or people in general.

I like to see my totals for each seven day period so I know what I need to work on in the coming week. Using this training guide helped me stay focused on my distance needs. I was so afraid of not getting my endurance back after my hospital stay--the structure this provided me really helped. I was already half there being that I was working on my speed training when my "incident" took two weeks off the calendar in February. So, I switched from working on speed to just getting mileage in.

So, yesterday's run turned into quite the affair. I have a park very close to home--beautiful creek running through it, paved path, then hiking path as well. I'd diverted once onto the unpaved path trying to find my way back home with very scary results, but eventually did find my way back home. Anyhow. Having had run an eight miler last week, I sort of knew in my head what running route I needed to take to accomplish this. But I wanted to add two miles to this to get to ten. How would I do this? At first I was like, well, I'll just run past my usual spot that takes me home and double back. That didn't really sound too fun because I knew I'd be psyching myself out as I ran past my street. In other words, it would be really hard to keep my focus.

So into the park I turned. I was near mile five at this point. But here's the catch, there was no mile marker on the paved-path. So I do what most crazy runners do and approached a complete stranger (a woman--I'm not that crazy) and asked if she knew the path's distance? She did--as she had just finished running it! It was a mile and a half if you did the circle twice. I was bummed, I needed two miles. So she said, Well, I'm planning to go up into the hiking trail to finish my workout (it's two and a quarter miles). I was like, really? Okay, would you mind if we did it together? No, she said, that would be great! *Why do this with a complete stranger--well, it was a woman, what harm--plus I knew I could totally out run her, and because it is in the woods but they are sparse right now. . . you can see the creepy people still.

So here's where you learn a bit about Vegan Thyme. I don't really like making new "friends" on the spur of the moment. New women friends especially. Plus, I am not much of a "joiner"--this blog and a few folks I've connected with along the way--that's about all I want right now. (I was burned by a "friend" a while back and I am not in the mood to work all over again on "building friendships", plus I have the "family" member/rehab thingy which is a sore spot right, too.) Okay?

I was leary of this new "female bond" I'd walked right into, but the company was nice. She had some "medical" issues she began sharing with me, then. . . personal "issues", then, I just kept the pace going as we navigated in and out of rock crevices and I tried not to get my running shoes dirty! She began to get red in the face and tired looking--so like a nice person, I offered her one of my water bottles from my geek gear. She really appreciated it--I was like, hey, I have three more--no problem. I didn't want her to pass out on me, you know? Well, our little run was filled with Uh-huh, and Oh Really? And, You're kidding? Blah, Blah, Blah.

Women are strange. Right? Most of you are women, you know exactly what I mean. Here was a perfect opportunity for me to have a "new" friend in my life. And what did I do at the end of this "off road adventure"? I took off on the paved road we began on with a wave and a "Okay, bye, that was fun--keep up the good work on your running" and off I went into the distance! She was a bit stunned I am sure. But I am a loner runner--it's a loner sport. I like running alone. I don't really like "friend running" too much. Clearly this was evident after my mad dash away from my new "friend".

Okay, so I was leaving this koffee klatch and thinking--You know, Kelly, that was sort of stupid. You didn't know that woman from Adam? What were you thinking going up in the "hills" with her? What if she'd been crazy? I run with mace now--I'm prepared. (I think it was an endorphine thingy taking over anyhow). Then, along I go. Then guess what? "Friend" pulls up along side me in her car! I was sort of aware of something out of the corner of my eye, you have to be when you run. Then look up, there she was all smiles, slowed down and waving. I was like, OMG, what the?#$! Then, I waved and she moved on. Thankfully, without her brake lights coming on--I would have high-tailed it into some side road brush, I swear to god!

What's the point to this? Well, there isn't one. I am mainly documenting my run, and my "friend" moment. It was a strange running day to be sure. Will there be more strange running days. Of course. But I'll not stop running any time soon.

And for beginning runners. Not to be cliche or copy-kat, but: Just do it. Your body will tell you when you have had enough. Start running and walking--and try to do this outside. A treadmill run is not the same--but if it is what you feel comfortable with--so be it. Just don't be surprised when you run outside and find you tire out more quickly. Running indoors is just not the same. Plan for a two mile distance: running/walking. This should take you maybe 25-30 minutes. If it takes you 45 minutes, who cares, you've gotten up and started--that's the important part. Everyone starts off somewhere.

You only need "good" running shoes and clothes. Shoes are important in this sport--very. I have a rotation of shoes I use. Actually, I own more running shoes than "fancy-pants shoes". It helps prevent injury. It just makes sense, too. My favorite pair are my Nike Pegasus--been running in those for years--but I always buy an arch support insole for all of my shoes. I have really high arches. Next I have a pair of Under Armour. These are wonderful stability shoes with huge arch support benefits. I love them, too. Now, does a beginner runner need two pairs of shoes, no. But go to a running store for shoes, not Payless, okay?

Running is one of the least gear-oriented sports you could jump into. No fancy machines, no loud gyms. Just you and your mind. But it is also one of the most rewarding and accesible sports there is. I know I've said this before somewhere in my blog, but it bears repeating: running has saved my life. Are there days when I don't feel like running--absolutely. But are there days I can barely wait to go out and get a run in--you bet. It all balances itself out in the end. So on my day of "rest" today, I plan to work on the old veggie patch some more! I have some vermiculite to pick up and need to catch up on my reading!


  1. Ten miles is amazing to me! Congratulations.

  2. Wow, ten miles and you run the whole time? I don't know if I will ever get there. I had the same question as veggie365 did yesterday. Thank you for this informative post. I have been running for 2 min, then walking for 3 min. I know it's pathetic. But I'm going to try to push myself more because I really want to do this for many reasons. We are the same age but I think you have said you have always been a runner, do you think it's even possible to begin at this age and get to 10 miles?(running the WHOLE WAY:o) Have a great rest/gardening day.

  3. Thanks for sharing your running story today, and congrats! :) I'm sure I probably will need knee surgery at some point, but I'm hoping later rather than sooner (it's been giving me trouble for 3 years now). So I have to take the mentality of "Just do it" and add "slowly" and "with lots of stretching". haha Good luck with that half coming up!!

  4. bwhahaha...real friendish, your so halarious!

  5. Thank you for a great (and motivational) post! :-)

  6. Hi Bonnie! Thanks so much!!!!

  7. Hi veganhomemaker! Thanks as always! First of all--the running and walking you are doing is AMAZING, not pathetic! Congrats!!!! Second, I was NOT running per se on the cliff-side park path with "friend"--but doing a sort of Tim Conway "shuffle"--trying not to fall--(if you and I are the same age, you will get that!). Getting to two miles and keeping a running pace is nothing to be bashful about--that is super! If you've just begun running, keep it up--your endurance will begin to improve. That's what running, to me, is about--keeping the endurance up. I am not much of a weight training type or Jillian Michaels gal, and my only other non-running activity I use to "cross-train" are my Leslie Sansone Walk-At-Home DVDs and a few Denise Austin workouts (I love both women)--oh and lugging around fifty pound bags of mulch and compost in the garden! I have the "arm" flab, trust me--I don't think there is anything I can do about that at this point in life other than starve myself--not happening, thank you very much! But that extra cardio workout switch does help in muscle/cardio improvement, for me, anyway. On you getting to ten miles--is that possible? I know what I had to do to get here--"individual results may vary!"--does that sound familiar? Here's what really helped me. I run by clock time. After running ten miles in over two hours, I knew I still had some reserves to keep up a run, but probably not a "fast" run, but that I would cross the finish line at least without killing myself! Gradually--it is recommended by running trainers--you only increase your distances running by about 10% per week--once you've reached a base. First, this disclaimer: This is purely an example and I am not a personal trainer (though was a YMCA aerobic instructor once)--so check with your doctor for "physical fitness" ability if you think you need this! I find writing down what I've run/or walked very helpful. If you need help with this--Runner's World is a great web site, and please, get a physical, too. The magazine is motivating in itself. Wonderful running stories and anecdotes--all things running. I have rambled here a bit--but I was just so happy to hear what you'd accomplished, I wanted to offer at least a bit of insight and help. I hope this did help! But try Runner's World!

  8. Hi Kirsten! I know that friend story. . . it was so strange--your comment made ME laugh! I was very certain that my chance encounter would make for good blog stuff! What a weird day that was--seriously!

  9. Hi Veggie365: Oh, thank you so much--I really appreciate that!

  10. Hi Amanda! Thanks so much! Here's my "knee" story. I knew I needed knee surgery when I had to take like eight ibuprofen a day for pain (which is how my knee doctor started the diagnosis, especially knowing I was a runner: What are you taking for pain management?) Once I gave my answer I was immediately sent for an MRI and the rest is history. I was very, very cautious about him touching my knees--or anyone for that matter. Turns out my knee caps were crooked and I had plica-band syndrome--and some cartilage issues. Who knew--after running for almost forty years?! I had him do both knees for the simple fact that I knew I needed both scoped and he certainly seemed to think so. Before hand, I had a twenty-question meeting with him just to "screen" him for his qualifications for attending to a runner's knees--because honestly when I walked into the waiting room, it seemed like everyone was really much worse off than me in terms of age and or weight problems (which sadly, probably was contributing to why they were there in the first place). I was scared to death of losing my running ability. I got very lucky because my doctor happened to have a daughter who ran marathons, so he totally got it. But I truly put him through the Q & A part. It is my right as a patient to be sure! So, good luck to you and your running and workouts!

  11. Hey, Kelly!

    I was wondering if you would mind sharing what sunscreen you use? I too like to be pale and am wearing an SPF 50, but it does seem to run when I run! :-)

    It does not hold up to sweat very well, so I think I need something new!


  12. Hi Veggie365! I am so glad you asked! I use Neutrogena Advanced Spectrum Sunblock 100--it comes in a silver tube. I buy one for the face and one for the rest of the body. I am sure I will someday pay the piper for my ill-ways in tanning later in life (lifeguarding, tanning beds)--but for now and hereafter, I am all about sunscreen!


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