I Never Thought I’d Be a Runner Until… #CabotFit

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As I write this, I’m looking just a short day or so ahead to achieving a goal I’ve had for a long time – participating and completing my first race, in this case the Beach 2 Beacon 10K in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. I’ll be among 6000 people, from former Olympians and elite athletes to those recovering from injuries and being greeted at the finish line by their grandchildren, plus everyone in between, united in a common goal of crossing the finish line. I’m likely to be slow, but I’m going to do it even though for many years before I started this journey, I Never Thought I’d Be a Runner Until…

Plus read on to enter a Giveaway to win a FitKit to help kickstart or support your fitness goals.

I Never Thought I’d Be a Runner Until…

I Never Thought I'd Be a Runner Until - How to be a runner in 7 common cliches from your average, everyday former non-runner.

Disclosure: Cabot Creamery Cooperative selected me to be on the Cabot Fit Team and has paid for all travel and accommodations to participate in the TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K race, and provided race gear, including the FitKit and Cabot cheese coupons for this giveaway.

For a long time I have wanted to call myself a runner. I’ve tried. I’ve hurt. I’ve gotten bored. I’ve gotten busy. Somehow with every attempt, I’ve always found a good reason to stop. In every other area of my life, that’s not me. So when the opportunity came up to be part of the Cabot Fit Team and run the Beach to Beacon 10K, I knew it was the kick in the pants I needed to do things the right way. I just had to figure out what the “right way” was.

I’m not an expert or someone with a degree or special training in this area. This is just what your average former non-runner found out about running.

“Start with the end in mind”

In my previous attempts at running, I just ran. I’d hop on the treadmill and get in my thirty minutes of cardio because that’s all it was to me – one of my three or four thirty minute cardio workouts of the week. But without a goal to work towards, I didn’t feel like I had any reason to run longer or faster or harder. I just slogged away for thirty minutes and was done. So if you want to run, sign up for a race. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a 5K, 10K, or if you are going to go all out and run a marathon. And if you aren’t ready to commit to a race, make sure you have goals – one mile without stopping, two miles in less than twenty minutes. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, just having something to work towards will keep you getting out of bed and lacing up those sneakers.

“If the shoe fits.”

Speaking of sneakers, make sure you get the right gear. Seriously. I used to try to run in whatever gym shoes I was currently using, in whatever state they were in. I’d pull on whatever pair of shorts I had in my drawer, an old stretched out tank top, held my iPhone in my hand, and set off. This didn’t make me very comfortable. And if you aren’t comfortable, you aren’t going to want to keep running. So first, go to a good running store and have them check your size and your stride. I found out that I should be buying a full size larger in a running shoe than I expected, and I needed inserts for overpronation. Ah, so that’s why I often dealt with shin splints and other foot and leg pain. Then I got the right shorts and running tank tops, I got a FItBand to hold my iPhone, a Garmin Forerunner watch to help track my runs. A lot of people say that running is a great workout because you don’t have to spend any money, and while you don’t have to spend a fortune, investing in the right gear to be safe and comfortable will make a world of difference.

“You are what you eat.”

What else makes a world of different is paying attention not only to what you put on your body, but also what you put in your body. I’m not saying you need to become vegan or paleo or whatever if that’s not your thing (if it is, that’s cool too). I’m not going to tell you to never have another glass of wine or stop eating sugar. But just know that whatever you put in your body is going to affect how you perform. I can’t have a big steak dinner and two glasses of red wine and then get up and run five miles at five in the morning. Same goes for a giant hot fudge sundae. Now don’t get me wrong, I still have those things, I just try to keep it in moderation, or know that the next day might be a rest day, or that I would sleep in and get in some light cross training or strength work later in the day. I also know that with running that early, I run better on an empty stomach, or, if I am really starving, I’ll just grab a half a banana. But then after I run, I need my oatmeal and smoothie. And for the next day and half to two days after a long run, I am starrrrrrrrving. So I eat. I eat more than I usually do. I eat more than I am used to eating, But my body needs it. I can feel it. So listen to your body.

“Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.”

Besides food, you also need to listen to your body when it comes to how you feel. If you were planning on running but are just exhausted or don’t get a good night’s sleep, don’t run. If you are sick, don’t run. You’ll probably end up feeling worse and your overall training will suffer. It’s okay to take a rest when your body needs a rest. Just give it the break it needs, then get back into it.

“Slow and steady wins the race”

But don’t get back into it too fast. And don’t start too fast. Those were two of my biggest mistakes. My last attempt at running, I tried to go out and run three and a half miles twice a week (in the aforementioned crappy shoes). Well my achilles flared up and that was the end of it. Build your distance slowly. Build your speed slowly. Even with the right shoes, I still has some shin pain, but by building my distance gradually and making sure I stretched and built my strength, I worked past it and now no longer have those problems. And if you get sick or hurt and have to take a break, don’t try to make your first run afterwards as long as your last longest run. A few weeks prior to my race, I got a stomach virus. Part of me wanted to just get right out there and run six or seven miles, but I reached out to my Cabot Fit Teammates and they encouraged me to take a leisurely run and just enjoy it until lI felt like I got my legs back under me again.

“It takes a village.”

And yes, sometimes you will need to reach out to others for advice or support, so make sure you find your village. Somedays you may need information, others you may simply need cheerleaders, but you need people. Besides the Cabot Fit Team, one of the best communities I found was on Instagram where I’d post my sweaty selfies and quick snaps of my Garmin watch with a little update, for better or for worse, of the day’s run. Seeing the same people “like” my posts, getting words of encouragement and commiseration and support and understanding kept me going even when I didn’t want to anymore. Some of the people don’t even know what it meant to me, but it helped me each and every day.

“Put one foot in front of the other.”

You know how you know that you are a runner? You run. Whether it’s a mile or a marathon, just running makes you a runner. I never believed this before, but now I recognize the truth in this statement because it takes work and commitment to run, and every step you run is one step towards a healthier you. The days I slogged through two miles, I was a runner. The days I had an amazing seven miles, I was a runner. If you go for a walk around the block and decide to sprint the last ten feet home, and then next time you decide to run twenty feet, you are a runner. Everyday that you put in the miles, you are a runner, as long as you keep running. Injuries and illness aside, you are a runner until you just stop running. Don’t give up. Just run.

Soooo…

Will I keep running after this race? I think so. I guess I can’t really answer that until after the race. I don’t know that I’m the kind of person to run just for the sake of running, even though I’ve never felt better both physically and psychologically. I am strong, I feel strong, and I am proud of my body and what it can do. That’s been a long time coming after my chubby childhood, some ups and downs as an adult, and let’s not forget those two pregnancies. So I’d like to continue. Will I try to improve my speed and stay at the 10K distance or will I shoot for a half marathon? I don’t know yet, but I do know that this journey has reemphasized how important fitness is to me in my overall lifestyle. It is part of who I am.

I hope that if you’ve followed along at all that maybe I have inspired you to move your body – whether it is running, popping in an exercise DVD, or just taking your kids for a walk for bike ride around the block. Anytime we do that, we are doing something good for ourselves and our families. Or maybe you’ve been inspired to reach a non-fitness related goal. That’s awesome too! Growing and going outside your comfort zone is amazing for your physical well-being. Go for it!

And now of the giveaway! Cabot provided each member of the Cabot Fit Team with a super awesome FitKit. This kit allows you to take your workouts anywhere by packing some simple and light equipment plus exercise cards and a sample workout program into one portable package that will fit in any bag. I have mine with me in Maine so that I can loosen up my muscles before and after the race. You’ll also get four coupons for free Cabot products!

Win a FitKit from cupcakesandkalechips.com and Cabot!

Giveaway is open to U.S. residents 18 and older. You have until 11:59 pm on August 7, 2015 to enter.

To enter, just tell me – what is your current fitness goal?

Good luck!

96 Comments
  1. Kimberly

    I use to run, in fact I absolutely loved it. I would do 7 races in a summer and half of those we 13.1 miles or more… Until I was sidelined with a really bad sinus infection that was prolonged by my stubbornness of not resting. Days turned into weeks and then months. My goal after nearly 6 months of inactivity and 10 pounds of added weight is to complete a 10k.

  2. My goal is very specifically to get back in shape and lose twenty pounds of fat. Or at least drop four dress sizes. That can result from gaining muscle instead, I’m okay with that! 😉

  3. Sandy

    My current fitness goal is getting on track and staying there! Life gets so busy with a family and a career. My goal is to stop with the pizzas and make time for health!

  4. allyson tice

    I just ran my first 15k in July and am hoping to start training for a half marathon this coming spring! so, my goal is to run a half marathon!

  5. Ally

    I just want to start some good habits. We just got a dog, and she’s got us walking 3+ times a day, but I’d like to do a little more!

  6. Dawn S.

    My current fitness goal is to increase my endurance and feel stronger. I work at a desk and lately, have been getting winded walking up stairs. That needs to change!

  7. cassie

    i suffer from chronic pain, so my fitness goal now is just to keep moving! daily walks will help build endurance, strength, and ironically cut down on pain

  8. Meg

    My current fitness goal is to get “bridal arms” haha. I am getting married in November and have been trying to get some tone in tricep/bicep area!

  9. Pam C.

    My current goal includes losing 10 pounds, but it’s not quite that simple. I also really need to tone up again. I have definitely gotten out of shape, BUT I am working on it and am headed for success.

  10. Melissa B.

    My youngest is heading off to college next week, so my current fitness goal is to avoid looking like the mom of a college student. I’m about to have lots more “me time”, so I hope to lose a few pounds and hopefully tighten back up.

  11. susan smoaks

    Currently I am trying to do barre amped at least three times a week to get stronger and longer and leaner. I have done it this week, so I am starting off strong.

  12. Deborah

    My current fitness goal is to get back into running (week 4 for me). And to continue doing strength training and mobility. Thank you!

  13. Heidi Ingalls

    My fitness goal is to lose at least 10 pounds, if not more! I am going to try to cut out sweets (even though I love them so!) and go to the gym more often.

  14. Leah Shumack

    My new years resolution was t at home more and we’ve done a really good job of keeping that up. Now to find some extra time to go walking I would be a happy girl!

  15. Robyn L

    My current fitness goal has been watching what I eat, cutting out trans fat and refined sugar. Also to up my walking daily.

  16. Kris

    My husband and I are completing a summer bootcamp. Our goal is to make working out a habit. This week is week 9, only one week left!

  17. Nicole Flynn

    My current short term fitness goal is to run a mile in 14 minutes or less, not too fast I know, but I slightly struggled with a 16 minute mile two weeks ago when I started running. I started because I entered my children in a local road runners club and run with them while they are running. I learned I am the same pace as my 6 year old and I can help encourage her along, and that my 7 year old is quite a bit faster than either of us. My longer term goal is to run in the 5 K with my mom in the Spring. I am determined and I will do it.

  18. Diana Stanhope

    My goals center around being healthy. After I was diagnosed with Lupus and Addison’s I had to take high doses of steroids which stole my bone density, immunity and added over 90 pounds. I have been eating healthy and walking every day and now I am down to 20 pounds to go and feel a bit stronger. The main goal now it to add something for strength training to help with one density and there are a few more trigger foods I just need to let go of. Thank you for the chance. Cheese is my main source of health fats and Cabot makes the best sharp cheddar ever!

  19. Christy Spurlock

    My fitness goal is to be healthy and feel comfortable with myself. My husband and I walk while we are at work then at home we walk two miles and bicycle 4-6 miles each night. We ran/walked our first 5K over the 4th of July and proud to say we completed the race. We are getting stronger every day by incorporating weight training 3 days a week. Doctor encouraged us to get healthier with our food choices so things have definitely changed for the better in our kitchen. A lot of grilling and fruits and veggies. NO REGRETS! Blood levels have gotten better and we are feeling GREAT!

  20. SARAH CHANEY

    I had 2 babies back to back and they were both a C-Section. Between the surgeries and the pregnancies I gained 80 lbs. Fast forward a year and I still have about 65 lbs to lose. I want more than ever to get into shape and I am determined to do so. I loved running before I was pregnant and I would love to get back into it.

  21. Kelsey

    Right now, I want to maintain my healthy lifestyle while pregnant. I’m struggling to find workouts that I can do and feel satisfied.

  22. David

    We have a 20+ mile trail that runs a circle around our town. My wife and I have a goal to run the entire loop. Up to now we have only been able to run half, then we have to turn around and come back(just kidding). It is a little less than a marathon, so we have to work our way up to it.

  23. This week I am joining the gym supplied by my new position, and to utilize their personal training services. My goal is to get my cholesterol under control, get off the newly prescribed meds for my cholesterol issue, and to get back into shape. I am going to schedule an appointment with the trainer once a week, much like how I schedule my meetings for work.

    Friday is the initial evaluation before I can start the program, complete with the skin caliper measurements. I gotta admit, this is making me nervous. But it’s time to rip off the band aid, regain control, and get back into shape. I worked on the road for the past 8 years, and it took a toll on my body and my health. I am going to regain control starting this week.

  24. Erin M.

    I’ve been consistently running for about 10 years now and my current goal is to incorporate more yoga into my routine. I know I love how I feel when I do it, but I need to actually make myself do it more often!

  25. Starla B

    This is so awesome. Currently I am trying to tone my body and become confident again. I am also working to be able to run a 5K with no walking. It is a tough one for me, but I am definitely making progress!

  26. Bri

    My goal is pretty small: I’d like to be able to run more than down the driveway and down the hill to the corner. I’d like to be able to run back up without having to stop and breathe! Maybe run to the next corner after that? Who knows! I think other than setting a goal, I’ll need to go with your second often said statement: shoes that really fit.

  27. Tina Hobbs

    Currently I walk and exercise every other day. My goal is to exercise 5 days a week mixing it up and rest two days.

  28. Julie D

    My fitness goal is to be ready to take the kids abroad it two months and keep up with them as they explore our wonderful world.

  29. Sarah

    My fitness goal is to keep doing strength and cardio every week, keep running those races and don’t get disappointed if I don’t do as well as I would have hoped. Next year I plan to run a mini so I’ve got to hold myself accountable to work towards that goal.

  30. Kimberly C

    My current fitness goal, one I’ve had for the past few years actually, is to stick with my workout and get into a routine.

  31. Dana Coughlin

    My current fitness goal is just to do some sort of exercise every day to help with chronic pain, I plan on starting the
    Couch 2 5k training program.

  32. Rachael

    Hi! I was glad to see your post here about running & that you gave advice. I’m interested in running too, but for me, I think that I will start out walking (fast). Work my way up to running because I will probably need to gain more muscle in my legs. Like you, I also have overpronation that has caused my knee’s to hurt. I have found shoe’s for that, thank goodness, because they really do make a difference. Your article is an inspiration, Thank You!

  33. Pattie

    Two years ago, my daughter talked me into training for a 5K. I don’t enjoy running, was not and am not in good shape but I’m so grateful I did it because of the time I spent with her and getting to a healthier place. I recently decided I need to get moving again and the huge smile on my daughter’s face when I told her we should train again confirmed I’d made the right decision. Looking forward to training and hopefully improving my time.

  34. Krista

    I’ve been running for a long time, but haven’t been the best at improving my distance. I’d like to build up to a 10K for a race 🙂

  35. Woohoo! I have a special place in my heart for Cabot products because my fiance is originally from Cabot, AR. Ha! One of my fitness goals this Summer is to continue finding outdoor activities in our new city that we live in to enjoy while getting in a good workout

  36. Lorraine F

    My current fitness goal is to get my big ol’ butt back on the treadmill on a regular basis, and to lose this pudge in my middle!

  37. Karen

    I am getting ready for my first ever half marathon. I was plagued at the beginning of the summer with injuries and here it is one month till my race. I am nervous but trying my best to be ready.

  38. Shoshana

    My current fitness goal is simply to mix it up…I don’t want to get bored with one type of exercise so I try to do something different every day!

  39. Katie

    My last few summers I have been focused on training for a fall marathon. Working on it again, but shooting for a new best time!

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