Monday, November 17, 2014

Kristen The (Non) Runner

I remember my first run. Basically, my aussie best friend asked me to play in her netball team and surprised me with a run to warm up before the game. I almost puked and she was shocked I hadn't said anything before running 5k. I went to the gym regularly but I ate like crap and was not a runner. But I was too embarrassed to tell her, so I just tried to keep up.

A couple of days after that, I jumped on the treadmill to try this running thing again. I could barely last a minute, I had no idea how fast or slow I was supposed to go, what I was supposed to do with the incline and I held on to the treadmill for dear life. I must have looked a real sight.

I started running outside after that - not paying attention to how far, just the time, and running the same route every day which I soon discovered was 5k. At first I had to walk most of it, and then slowly but surely I was running the whole thing. Then one day I decided to keep going, and I did another lap. Again, it took me awhile, but I kept trying and before I knew it I was doing 10k without stopping.

I had done the City2Surf before, but only walking. That year I was determined to run the whole thing - but it was harder than it looked! We have our own 'heartbreak hill' and I only managed to run about 10k, but I was still so proud of myself.


Then I signed up for my first half marathon. I had to walk bits and pieces but I did it - me! I ran 21 kms, which seemed so crazy daunting and scary 2 years prior. But I did it. I cried when I crossed the finish line - if you ever have the opportunity you should do a race that ends in the heart of Sydney. Nothing like it.


A couple months later I did the City2Surf  again - this time I ran the whole thing. So proud.



After that I ran regularly, 4-5 times a week, even when I visited and moved to KY. I did my second half marathon in 2012 and cut more than 30 minutes off my race time.


2013 was a stressful and busy year and I still ran, but I was nowhere near as consistent. One month I would run 20 times, another I would run once. The horrible winter really didn't help.

Finally in early 2014 I decided to sign up for the same half marathon I'd done in 2012. I thought it would motivate me. Unfortunately it didn't, and I ran 2 minutes slower than my first half marathon - I was so disappointed and disgusted with myself.


As the weather got better, I ran more. I was so slow compared to my old running self, and it discouraged me. It's so hard to go back and reach all the same goals, it doesn't feel as great the second time around.

I ran my 4th half marathon. It wasn't great, but at least I did better than #1 and #3.


Anyway, this trip down memory lane has a point, besides showcasing my love for a certain jacket. After all these races, I still don't call myself a runner. Never have. When people say 'oh you're a runner?' I say 'well, I run sometimes - but no, not really.' Like it's some club I can't get into, a hurdle I can't jump. Sure I run. But not consistently, and I have never taken it seriously. When I'm really into it, I love it. When I'm lazy, I'm lucky to go for a walk. So I don't call myself a runner. I feel that calling myself a runner somehow cheapens real runners, like Alyssa or Tracy. Or I'm adding salt to the wound for people who have an injury that prevents them running, like KC. How can I call myself a runner when I don't do it regularly, and he would give almost anything to run? I can't call myself a runner because I've gotten worse, I've gotten slower. Aren't you supposed to get better at things, not worse? I'm better at talking about running than actually running.

But that first run? That started this all? The date was November 17th 2009. I have been doing this for 5 years. Shouldn't I be better by now? I know you shouldn't compare, but other people have been running less than a year and are better than me. Or rather, they are better than they were when they first started - I have hardly improved, I've gone backwards.

I cleaned out my closet yesterday. It was fun. I'm a bit emotional with clothes sometimes, ruthless with others. I saw a pair of jeans from 2012, around the time of my best half marathon - I don't wear them anymore because I wore them when I worked in a restaurant and they smell like oil. I decided to try them on for shits and giggles. Well the joke was on me because I kid you not, I could not get them over my butt. Hilarious, right? I couldn't believe it. I know I've gained weight but this was embarrassing. I'm not saying I couldn't do them up, I'm saying they wouldn't even go past my butt.


Now that it's getting cold again, I'm struggling to keep motivated. But the 'jeans incident of 2014 that we shall never talk about again' gave me the kick up the butt (pun intended) I needed.

My problem is not only my motivation to run, but also the pressure I put on myself. When I started running I did so 'naked'. I didn't use apps, I had a watch on but I didn't monitor it the way most runners do. I like listening to audiobooks because if I listen to music I catch myself thinking 'one more song should be 3 miles'. I wait for the nike app lady to tell me how fast I'm going, and then I criticize myself. I listened to an app for a 10 miler in 2012 that turned out to be incorrect and I was so upset because I missed my opportunity to PR that I didn't run for 3 weeks (which happened to be the 3 weeks before the half marathon). Perhaps if I didn't get so mad at myself, and ran those 3 weeks I might have actually done a sub 2 hour half. Maybe.

I look back on my past races, specifically 2012, and I am so disappointed by how far I am away from that, how much weight I have gained, how much slower I am. I give myself goals and deadlines and I never meet them because I am too hard on myself. I have to understand that I am not going to get back to 2012 shape overnight. But I'm certainly not gonna get there by crying over a pair of jeans, eating ice cream with my ass on the couch.


So as of today, I am calling myself a runner. Zero pressure. No goals, no requirements, no 'must run this many miles each week'. I'm not gonna get mad at myself if I miss a run, or if I run slower than I 'should' be. At least, not yet. First I just need to get back into the routine, running needs to become like brushing my teeth again. It needs to be something I don't think about, something I enjoy. Once it is, I'll start thinking about specific goals and training plans.

I have done the triple crown (5k, 10k, 10 miler) for the last 3 years, and I am considering signing up again. KC doesn't really want me to, they are expensive and such a pain in the butt to get to, but as every runner knows, a PR doesn't count unless it's a race. The first race is 109 days away and the half marathon is 158 days away.

I can do this. I know I can. But it's not about can, it's about actually doing it. I have to do this. And I need you all to hold me accountable. Because if I don't get better, I am stripping myself of the runner title again. Ok that might be a bit dramatic. But I can't let a pair of jeans show me up like that. I can't let 2012 be my best. I've asked for help before and I am armed with the tips that you all shared (thank you). Here's to not going backwards anymore.


Do you have any health or fitness goals you're working on right now? 

52 comments:

  1. Love this!! I have never been a runner. In fact I hated running. The most I would ever do was a mile on the treadmill and I would run it as fast as possible just to get it over with. Lately I've started running as a stress reliever and just to push myself to do something new and while I still don't love it it's so rewarding seeing myself get a little further each time! It's definitely a progressive thing and I don't think I'll ever get to where you are but I give you a ton of credit for running! It's definitely not easy at all!!

    <3, Pamela
    sequinsandseabreezes.blogspot.com

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  2. If you decide to run the Mini in Indy (in May), I'll come and bring a sign and cheer you on!! <3 (I would say I'd do it with you, but we both know that's not true!!)

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  3. I was the same way when I did triathlons. I felt I did them sure, but I wasn't great. I didn't get into the top 10 pr even the top 100 but I finished so that mattered to me. I think just starting back and getting into a routine will be the hardest but the best for feeling like a runner again. You can totally do it!

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  4. You can do it! Maybe updating weekly or every couple of weeks will help keep you accountable? I know that when I know that I have to update my blog on my progress I"m more out to do whatever it is I say I'm going to do than not...

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  5. So great! I think you should find a way to do it! (or something similar!). I am not a runner. I'm not even sure if I would want to be. I do however want to get back into better shape and work on taking care of myself. In college I did yoga 3 times a week and walked everywhere. Then I was at the point where I did it everyday, often twice per day, still walking everywhere. It's a little harder to walk everywhere now that I don't live on a campus... so I have been trying to take the stairs up and and down more at work, and making excuses to take more trips to different floors. We've rearranged our apartment as well so there is more floor space for doing yoga DVDs. That worked for a day and then I covered it up with a project that had to stay where it was... brilliant... but now it's cleared again, hopefully I will have the forethought to start those projects elsewhere next time. This way KC and I can do our yoga before bed and whenever else we think we should. Plus it gives me space to do much more embarrassing workouts too when he's not home.. .bellydancing anyone? haha XO-Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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  6. Good for you! I know that for me when I focused too much on my time and the pressure I started to hate running. I had to take a break and remind myself why I love it so much otherwise, what's the point? There are tons of other cardio workouts to do, if you run it should be for fun. Now I run with a friend and we chat the whole time or else I listen to podcasts because they keep me interested. I only focus on time intervals once a week and it's a short 20 minute speed workout. otherwise, i'm out there to just enjoy myself. Good luck Kristen can't wait to read about it

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  7. YES!!! You got this!!! I have always been the same way about calling myself a runner- like I run but I don't eat/sleep/breathe/dream running and I don't live off running diets etc and I don't read books about runners and I refuse to run in the snow and ice so I feel like i"m not allowed haha. SO excited for you!!!

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  8. At first I was all like "Noooo, Kristen!" but by the end I was like, "YES, KRISTEN!!!" Running is such a personal thing, and I really don't think there's an answer to "What makes a real runner?" except that you are a runner if you think you're a runner. Whether you run a mile once a week or ultramarathons. If you think you are, you are, and that's that. And if you're not at the point where you think you are yet, for whatever reason, that's okay too. It doesn't mean you won't get there. I struggled with that for a long time, whether I was a real runner or not, but eventually I figured out that there is no mileage, no distance, no pace that I could hit that would make me feel like okay, now I am a runner. It's something that just sort of happened over time.
    You can totally do this! I think you should go for the triple crown. Those are such perfect milestones to work up to (rather than having one big race to train for). It sounds like you really want to do it so you should do it! I'm happy to lend an ear anytime you want to talk running (sometimes I think I'm better than talking about it than doing it too haha)!

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  9. You're a beast- first of all! I am so impressed with what you've done over just the past few years!! I ran my first ever half-marathon this past May and was so pumped to do it. I actually trained decently for a couple of months and then I injured my hip which stopped everything -literally- in its tracks. I rested and tried to get back into things, but I was just so frustrated. I still did the race, but only ran probably 7-8 of the miles, I did a lot of walking. That race discouraged me and for awhile I thought no way I'd do another one... but guess what?! I have officially signed up for 2 halfs for 2015 already! ACK! I have been there with the jeans issues, the weight fluctuating, etc.... I feel ya girl! You can TOTALLY do the triple crown- that is an awesome goal! :)

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  10. haha you sure can run for a non-runner! Im still a baby runner and totally love it! I love these pics!

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  11. This is a fantastic post! I'm glad you are calling yourself a runner because you absolutely are.And there is no need to be hard on yourself or compare yourself to others. the great thing is that you still run and you haven't given up. I tried on some jeans from when Scott and I met in 2011....it was awful. Couldn't get them past my butt either.

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  12. This is great! I love that picture of you finishing the race and smiling/waving! I used to use a lot of apps (like gympact, jawbone, etc), but now that I am getting stronger after a set back, I am just trying to go to a workout class 4-5 times a week. I have a heart monitor and all of that, but I figure that if I go and give it all I have each class, that's the best! I don't need to measure my heart rate and calories in/out, as long as I am just eating healthy food--and only when I'm hungry!
    I also love the quotation about how you are always lapping the people on the sofa! It's a great one.
    Also, I love that you're doing audiobooks while you run :) I gave my brother BJ Novak's short story audiobook (he reads it and it's hilarious!) and he said he's going to listen while he works out.

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  13. You are absolutely a runner and an inspiring one at that!!! I feel your pain with those jeans, its such a terrible feeling, but I think it's a great motivator...especially if I know I want to chow down for the holidays LOL!!

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  14. You can do this! I have thought about doing the triple crown this year too but I don't know if I want to. That 10 miler is a beast! I just can't make a decision. You are going to do amazing! You have already done more than I have ever done and more than most people! I appreciate you sharing how you struggle with this because I tend to look at people that run a lot and think that it is easier for them. You helped me see it another way and I thank you for that!

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  15. this makes me want to get up and run! love this. I really need to get back into running. you are awesome. i would definitely consider you a runner!

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  16. I have been playing around with a fitness goal accountability type of post when it comes to running. I'm so with you girl I get really off track when it comes to running. I love the feeling when I am done but I have made like a million excuses not to do it recently and I really need to get my butt back in motion!

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  17. Great post! I feel the same about myself - I am not a runner. And yet this summer I decided to start running and after a few weeks I was up to 3Ks and that made me so proud! The idea to run an entire half marathon seems almost ludicrous to me right now, but your post is inspiring! :)

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  18. Girl, whatever....you are so a runner! Look at all you have accomplished! I have really bad knees, so I use it as an excuse as to why I dont run...but if we are being honest...it is because I cant! I have never been a runner, I played with running a little in college for working out but didn't stick with it. If you asked me to run a mile right now...I probably couldn't run the whole thing. Sad, huh? I really would like to get in to it, but my neighborhood has awful roads and lots of stray dogs and coyotes so it isn't a godo place to practice. Maybe one day....

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  19. What a journey you have had!! That's something to be proud of!! I've always hated running! Even though I have tried to push myself I still try to avoid it as much as possible haha! But I really need to stop doing that and just suck it up!

    <3 Shannon
    Upbeatsoles.blogspot.com

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  20. If you run, you are a runner! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise! I'm in awe of all your races, I still haven't run a half yet. That's on my list!

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  21. Go you and getting back on the running track. My size 25(!!) 7 Jeans were finally parted with on ebay after I realized this ass ain't ever gonna be that size again hah. I am attempppptiinnnng to be more fitness-oriented, but with 30 around the corner something's gotta change ha. You got this!

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  22. don't even worry about labels. you run, therefore you're a runner. i run therefore i am a runner even though i have never ran a marathon or a 5k. but i'm a runner. i run trails for fun and exercise therefore i'm a trail runner. i do muay thai therefore i'm a badass fighter. labels mean nothing; exercise is for you; to keep you healthy. there's no finish line for any kind of exercise; you just keep doing it or doing different things that you enjoy...that's it.

    to me, as long as you're active, you're doing way better than anyone who is not. don't put pressure on yourself to beat your PR of your last race. sometimes life happens and you can't be where you want to be or even where you were but that doesn't mean you will never get there.

    run because you like to; don't do it because you feel you need to. that's when things will get bad and you'll end up hating it. go back to the beginning, when running was more fun than anything else - no pressure, no target time. just run. RUN FORREST, RUN! like that - run for the fun of it and your passion will return.

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  23. Girl, you are DEFINITELY a runner. And you definitely got this! Keep on taking names and kickin' ass!

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  24. Mmkay, from a non-runner's POV (I. do. not. run.) -you go out running without being required to do so for PE class in school and without being chased by somoene who is trying to steal your purse, therefore you are a runner. Furthermore, you SIGN UP for races and attend them of your own free will. Therefore you are a DIE HARD runner. If you ask me, pants have nothing to do with running. Running has to do with running. :) So keep on doing your thing and yes, you CAN and will get where you want to be!

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  25. Me, I am not a runner. Not sure if I could ever like it. However, I would definitely call you a runner! Good for you for running all those half marathons, lady!

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  26. Girl... you are telling a story that sounds just like mine.
    I look back on race pictures & I see how healthy & fit I was (& felt fat even then) & compare myself to now & I just could cry...

    but its about keeping on... trying... pushing ourselves.
    You are aware of it all - you ARE a runner - you may not have the time as you did before, but you are still an athlete trying... all that matters.
    YOU ROCK!

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  27. I know we're just "blog friends" but I am so proud of you for this. You've set a goal, and you've given yourself a pep talk without beating yourself up (b/c like you pointed out, beating yourself up only makes things worse, not better). I know you can do this, girl. I'm rooting for you. :D
    ~Gianni~

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  28. Love that last pic, it's so true! Heck yes you're a runner, you should be so proud! I remember when I couldn't even run 1 mile and never thought I could, now I can run more than 1, but not very many haha. But, I am enjoying it more and more each time! I'm more of a weight lifting girl now, so my current goals are lifting heavier and running further. I'm training for Tough Mudder next year, so both are very important!

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  29. My health and fitness goals are wayyyy off track. Now is the best time to buckle down and I think I just might join you. You're right about the summer bodies being made in the winter. And it helps get thru the holidays without gaininbg a ton of weight. Besides... what else have I got going on until I land dream job???

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  30. You are totally a runner! You're doing much better than me, I've never even done a race because I'm too scared to!

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  31. You are a runner! I've done a ton of races from full marathons to 5K's. It does not matter if you run a 20 minute mile or a six minute mile. If you get your booty out there and run, you are a runner!
    It is really hard to stay motivated in the winter. I tend to run to the treadmill rather than run outside.

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  32. You can do this girl! Looking forward to hearing about many more running adventures and seeing the photos!

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  33. I loved reading about your running journey. And it's kind of funny, because I had to be convinced that I can call myself a runner too. You run. You race. You lace up and hit the pavement — you're a runner. I look at it like I look at yoga: Your practice (or your running) is for you. There are no rules, no club, and it doesn't have to be some secret society. You can join and set parameters for yourself, and YOU are the only person you need to answer to.

    That said, you *need* to be easier on yourself. The worst thing you can do is look at another runner and think in terms of better/worse. You cannot compare yourself to anyone else because you're built differently, you train differently, you think differently. You know how mental running is. So even if you were built exactly the same as Tracy and me (who both say we're better built for endurance than speed; speed comes with consistent speed training, it's not a natural thing for either of us!), you train differently, we live different lifestyles, we eat differently, and we have different mental motivators and roadblocks. The only person you can even think of comparing yourself to is yourself.

    That said, you have to be more forgiving! Anything can affect a race day: training, weather, what you're wearing, what you ate, what happened at work that week, the crowd around you. You can't PR every time and you can't give up when you don't. It took me until my fourth 5k to beat my FIRST 5k time! What matters most is that you *do it* at all. Not how fast you do it, and not how the girl who finished before you did it. I know you can do it, and I'm so happy that I get to be your friend and watch you do it. Go be amazing.

    Oh and one last thing: Literally none of my old, pre-runner jeans fit up over my butt either because hill sprints made my little bubble but turn into a big bubble butt so don't even sweat that, girlfriend.

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  34. Girl you inspire me! I have to run in the new cardio class I take and I swear my lungs feel like they are on fire. Last week we had to see how fast we could run a quarter of a mile and I was DYING! I felt like such a wimp but I have to remember that I'm not competing with anyone else. You are amazing and I will be using this as motivation for my workout tomorrow!
    ~Elise @ highheelsglitteringeyes.blogspot.com

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  35. Girl, you rock! Not only am I not a runner but I can't even come up with the motivation to work out at all. I'm proud of you for starting back to a routine!

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  36. You are awesome! I can not get into running. I've tried, it is just not in me!

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  37. I can't help but chuckle at you playing netball and being embarrassed you hadn't ran. Sounds like something I would do. LoL. You are totally a runner. It's really difficult to stay motivated in the winter. I think that is the hardest time for any runner. I know you will meet your goals. This post, even though you were clearly working through your emotions and thoughts, was so inspirational. You have so much motivation living inside of you just waiting for you to hit the pavement running! You can do it girlfriend!

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  38. Great post and happy Running!!!
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

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  39. I am impressed with all the support, and you deserve it!

    I was once interviewed on the Houston news. The final mile of the Houston marathon started just in front of my lofts. I stood outside it with a sign and neon pom poms to cheer on a friend of mine. The reporter asked if I was a runner. The sound bite that made it on the news was "I only run if I'm being chased."...cut to me shaking the pom poms. :)

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  40. You are awesome and a runner! I haven't done any of those things, past a 5K. I feel the same way - I want to run without a thousand things to keep track of. I run with my husband sometimes, and we both use apps to keep distance, but his is set to go off every .25 miles and it drives me crazy. I basically only want to know when I reach where I want to get to. I also like Spartan Races and other obstacle courses because it gives me a variety to train for.

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  41. Just like everyone else says, you ARE a runner! I'm in the same place now, except my 2014 has been horrible. Jeans that fit me last year, don't fit me now. My pace has slowed down a lot. It is discouraging because I used to be so close to a sub 30 5k, now that's just a very distant memory.
    I love your pics, and your jacket- lol! We can do this girl!

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  42. yes, you are most definitely a runner!! and you are freaking awesome!!

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  43. This post reminded me of a quote I saw in Pinterest (you know the Yoda of our generation) a while back:

    "It's not who you are that holds you back. It's who you think you're not." :)

    Kristen, you are so a runner! Just look at the amount of passion in this post. It's what challenges you, inspires you, and motivates you. You don't have to meet a certain goal or run x amount of miles to get your membership card. You are there. You are an awesome and beautiful runner at any size and any speed. :)

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  44. Try not to be so hard on yourself, you've done so great and you are definitely a runner. Whether or not you're better or worse than someone (or your 2012 self), you're still exercising! You're still trying, and that's the most important thing. :) We all need pushes and motivators every now and then, because it aint easy. XO Good luck girl, I will now use your determination to motivate me!!

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  45. You're amazing, lady! I think you're a far better runner than you give yourself credit for. Heck, I'm no runner, but I can't wait to get out there and attempt to run again after this baby! Your fitness goals and insta pics get me pumped!

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  46. I love this because I am not a runner anymore so I try to be careful when referring to my running days - so it doesn't seem like I still do it. I remember when I first began and the progress that I made- I was so excited and I broke my arm while training for a marathon. Then hurt my knee so I have never run one which means you have accomplished a lot more than myself - and probably many more. You can do it!

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  47. You are definitely a runner!!! Anyone who runs is a runner - it doesn't matter how far, how fast, where....I rarely race anymore but I'm still a runner.

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  48. Oh my goodness, I seriously hate running. The next time I will be running is if something is chasing me and it is a life or death situation. I'll get my cardio in other ways. Anyway, I don't think you should be so hard on yourself. Throw out those jeans. Run, Eat the occasional ice cream and do whatever makes you feel happy!

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  49. I hate running. Haaaaaate it. So anybody who runs even sometimes is a runner in my book. And I'm in awe of you. Half marathons! Woah!

    My mum gave me a denim skirt about 5 years ago. When I tried to wear it again this summer I couldn't get it over my hips. I knew I'd put on weight, but didn't realise it was that much! And I LOVED that skirt!

    ~Bevchen

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  50. You're making me chuckle at myself. First, I do not consider myself a runner because I don't like it. I played soccer for 13 years, so I used to run a 7 minute mile but it was because I had to, not because I got any kind of enjoyment out of it.
    2 years ago, I was a certified kickboxing instructor. I've since let that lapse because life and other priorities have stepped in. I've been in that place where the pants don't fit. I remember the spring of 2008 and the spring of 2011 specifically. It's terrible. But I'm realizing that sometimes the pants from when we were 21 don't fit because they're from when we were 21 and they're NOT supposed to fit anymore, you know? I, sadly, don't really have any advice, but I sympathize.

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  51. Well I think your FREAKING AMAZING!!! Because I sure as hell don't have the ability or motivatation to run those types of races let alone run consistently! I think you've done an awesome job regardless of the race times, skipping training, or gaining weight. Don't be so hard on yourself girl! You can do this! I know you can and you will! :) :) :)

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  52. This is such a great post! I can relate to the feelings of running a lot, but acting sheepish if someone asked if I was a runner. I used to put a lot of pressure on myself to run. So much so that I was just wearing myself out since I had this magic number of miles to hit each week. I ended up getting runner's knee quite bad and couldn't run for about a year. I still did the elliptical machine, but it wasn't the same. I'm able to run a few miles now and have vowed to myself I won't put so much pressure on myself to make a certain time. Now I just am grateful I can run, even if it is only a little bit. It's so hard to change your mindset, but I love your new goal to just run. That's awesome!

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