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Last week my friend, E, who I find to be pretty awesome, went out for a run.  She hadn’t run in a while.  She was pumped.  She had found renewed energy and focus.  She was happy to be out on the streets, putting one foot in front of the other.  She was just finding her groove, battling a hill, when some jackass yelled out and called her a name.

It doesn’t matter what the name was – suffice it to say, it was hurtful and demoralizing.  By the end of her run, my friend was alternating between tears and anger.

When I read what had happened I was furious.

On the micro-level, I was furious that someone would belittle my friend, a woman who was working hard to better herself.

But there was  a whole other  macro-level of furious that boiled up in me.  As the parent of a girl with autism, I know that I have become overly-sensitive to the concept of name calling.  Words like “retard” make me want to grab the speaker by the shoulders, shake them and then pop ’em in the kisser with a left-cross (and my left-cross is pretty good).  I usually take a deep breath, take stock of the situation.  If it is the only time I have ever heard this person say it, then I usually let it go, but if it becomes a regular thing, that’s when I kindly ask them to stop.  The wife actually wrote a very good post on the topic.  You can read it —>HERE<—.

But I digress.

I know in this day and age, it ain’t cool to be PC, and quite honestly, I tend to think that as a society, we tend to over-think things a lot.  There are a lot of PC concepts that I just can’t get behind (everybody wins all the time? does that teach anybody anything?).  But the truth is, words hurt; words scar.  And if you are particularly insecure about certain things, certain words can cut even deeper and leave scars that take a long time to go away.

So when I heard this story, my heart went out to E.

She wrote that it might be a while before she gets out there again with running shoes on.  My hope is that she can find her inner duck and let the name calling roll off her back.  When she runs, she inspires more people than she knows.  She may not be fast – in fact, I think she would be the first person to admit that – but she runs, and through her running and her humor she brings smiles to faces and gets people thinking about health and fitness.

I hope she will Tai Chi the crap out of the hurtful words, turning its energy against itself, turning it into something positive.  I hope she gets angry instead of demoralized.  I hope she decides to take the power away from the jackass and make it her own.  I hope she remembers that running is cleansing and can wash away the dirt people throw at us.

I hope to see you out there running soon E.

You can check out Miss E at – http://fromfat2fab2009.blogspot.com/

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-To My Non-Running Friends –

This is my New Year’s Resolution (please ignore the fact that I just wrote a post about not waiting until New Years to make resolutions):

I want you to start running*.

Here’s my pitch:

It’s gonna hurt.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it.  Even after running for over a year now, the first 1 – 3 miles can still suck whenever I go out for a run.  The likelihood is that over the first couple of months, you will rarely get past 3 miles, and you shouldn’t.  Most of the time it’s gonna stink.  Most of the time it’s gonna hurt.  You’re gonna ask yourself why?  Why are you running these stinking 2-3 mile runs 3 days a week.  Why did you listen to that stupid Luau and start this stupid thing?  Why are you not sleeping in/going to bed early/lounging on the couch/cuddling with your significant other?  Why Luau Why?

Wrong questions.

Look at the people who have crossed the threshold.  The looks on their faces when they are done with a run should be all the answer and motivation you need.  It feels good.  It makes them happy.  The first 1-3 miles become an entrance fee – an investment in the run, if you will.  If the payoff wasn’t worth it, they wouldn’t be doing it.

That’s it.

That’s my pitch.

Tell yourself whatever you need to get past the first few months; to get to the point where you can run 5-6 miles comfortably 3 or 4 times a week.  That’s when you really start to see the payoff physically.  Tell yourself that you need to get in shape.  Tell yourself that you want to be at your child’s graduation.  Tell yourself that you want to be able to walk your daughter down the aisle when she get married.  Tell yourself that you want to hold your special person’s hand when you are both in your 80’s.  Tell yourself whatever the hell is takes to get yourself to that 6 mile mark.

Once you’re there you won’t have to tell yourself anything.  Your body will tell you.  It will tell you it’s time to run, it’s time to let the horses out.  It won’t be a fight to get your butt off the couch.

BUT…

You’re going to need a plan.  You’re going to need support.  Sometimes the simplest of plans can work.

A simple log.

Keep track of every mile and all of the food you eat.  It’s not nearly as hard as you think.  If you have a smartphone there are plenty of apps that will record both for you.  Otherwise, a small pad and mini-pen will work just fine.  The simple act of keeping a log can steer you towards healthier habits.  That is what worked for me.  I dropped the food log about 2 months in when I realized that my eating habits overall were just fine except for the second full plate of dinner I was having every night.  As soon as I stopped going back for seconds and thirds every night, the pounds melted away.  I have kept a workout log since November 2008.  Two nights ago I proudly logged my 1,329th mile of running for 2009.

Start slowly.  1-3 miles per run, 3 times a week.  Try to follow the 10% percent rule, building your weekly mileage just a little at a time.  Set a goal for yourself for the year.  400 miles.  It may sound like a lot.  That’s because it is.  But if you break it down, it comes down to a little over 33 miles a month – that’s just a touch over a mile a day.  You can find an average of 15 minutes a day.

You will stumble.  You will have days, maybe even weeks where it all falls apart.  It’s inevitable and it’s okay.  But as long as you get back up, you will be fine.  Stay determined, stick with your plan and you will be rewarded.  When you hit the 5-6 miles per run average, you will see the changes in the mirror.

As for support, you can always find it here.  I am more than happy to help.  Even better, you can find it on websites like dailymile or even Twitter where you will find an instant group of friends who will support and cheer you on.  They will help you when you are down, and celebrate when you are up.

My goal this year is to get you to start running.

For my running friends:  My goal is to get you to get 10 of your non-running friends to start running regularly in 2010.  If 40 of you get 10 of your friends to start running and they do the same next year, and so on, we can have this whole nation running by 2016.  Healthcare reform?  We won’t need it!  It starts now.

*If you can’t run, then bike or swim or cardio-kickbox.  Whatever it is that will get you eventually exercising regularly 3-4 hours a week.

Email me here ( runluaurun )  if you would like to leave a non-public comment/question or leave a comment in the comment section:

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