First off, my race recap for the Mercedes Half Marathon should be posted on Monday morning. It has been a hectic week, and I just have not done it yet. In the meantime, I wanted to share with all of y’all the Music Highway medal that I received this week for running the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville and St. Jude Half Marathon in Memphis as a St.. Jude Hero.
Currently, Memphis and much of the mid-south is experiencing some intense ice coverage, which limits what can be done. I currently do not have a gym membership, but I can go to the student rec center when it is open. But, of course, with this ice, comes school closings, and thus, the student rec center is not an option. Likewise for boot camp since it follows the University of Memphis’ decision to cancel classes and activities or not. I could try my hand at running along the streets, but with my propensity to fall, that seems like a huge gamble. Especially with the Mercedes Half Marathon coming up this Sunday. Therefore, I must find ways to be active within the confines of my house.
Last night, Susan suggested that I try an interactive program called GoNoodle that they use at her school. It is a way for students to learn while being active. The learning fractions was not of my concern, but the activities were. I did a combination of indoor running, Zumba, yoga, and calisthenics. It was a better workout than I was expecting, and it was a great way to keep moving.
Tonight, I am going to do some TRX and other body weight exercises. TRX is always a quick and easy way to stay active at the house, so if this ice maintains for a few more days, I should be covered. I should be able to reach the end of my ice induced hibernation without gaining an obscene amount of weight.
I am a part of a blogger program through Jeff Galloway in which he provides some tips and insights for sharing with my readers. Today is the first one of those posts. So, without interruption, the following are a few tips on running from Mr. Galloway:
When paced correctly, running delivers the best attitude boost you can get. Sustain this by pacing yourself gently during the first mile or three.
A well-paced run enhances vitality for the rest of the day. Start each run at least 30 seconds a mile slower than you will run at the end.
If you have a Run Walk Run strategy that is right for you on that day, it’s possible to feel good after every run-even the marathon.
Running is the best stress reliever I’ve found. Research shows that running tends to activate the conscious brain which over-rides the emotional subconscious brain and manages the negative and anxiety hormones during and after the run.
Research shows that as runners get faster, their stride length shortens. A quicker cadence is the mechanical key to faster running.
The finishing of a run that is longer than you’ve run in the last 3 weeks can bestow a sense of achievement that is unique and empowering-due to positive brain circuits that are turned on.
You can’t run a long run too slowly or take too many walk breaks. You’ll get the same endurance based upon the distance covered.
Of course Galloway is known for his run, walk, run programs and his association with runDisney. I have never tried his run, walk, run program, but I am considering it for a future event just to see how it goes for me.
On Monday night, I was on the Facebook page for Run the Bluegrass (I was there checking the progress of my submitted medals in the 2014 Medal of the Year bracket that is going on – vote for Oak Barrel and Navy Nautical 10 Miler) and noticed something strange. For this year’s race, the RD has decided to incorporate Clydesdale and Athena categories. For those of you that do not know, these categories are geared for larger runners. Clydesdale is for male runners in excess of 220 pounds, and Athena is for female runners checking in at over 165 pounds.
These are USAT certified divisions, but they are most often seen in triathlons, not half marathons, marathons, or any other running only events. Personally, I think that it is a neat wrinkle to this year’s event, and as a “Clydesdale”, I would be pumped to place in that division. However, the topic seemed to be very polarizing in the comments section (like everything on Facebook seems to be) and as of last night, tempers were flaring. After reading through both sides, I decided to post my thoughts on here so as to share with all of you, and not stoke the flames over there anymore. I just found the debate interesting.
On one side, you have a growing number of runners not cut from the traditional mold. They are heavier and less athletic looking than what a layperson would expect when they hear that the person is a runner. Several are on amazing weight loss journeys, some are deceptively large and will smoke you on the course, and some are out there achieving a goal, and quite possibly embracing a new lifestyle. This group very rarely gets to feel the joy that is associated with a podium call, and the additional accolades and swag that might come from the accomplishment. Often they are in the group of the back of the pack finishers that many spectators and fellow runners forget about once the medals are handed out, and the post race beer is enjoyed. They are running the same course as everyone else, but often feel like they are running a different race.
On the other side, by classifying someone by a weight class can be demeaning. Being teased for my weight virtually my entire life, whether it be from family, friends, or foe has left some very real marks on my psyche. A major race labeling their in a manner that will only heighten the attention on this group seems off-putting, and in many ways cruel. Just because a runner is larger, does not mean that they should be forced to wear a scarlet letter as one more reminder of their size! This is just another form of fat-shaming and any race director that supports it should be ashamed of themselves!
And of course, there is also the notion that just because one’s weight is over a certain threshold, does not mean that they are fat! Their BMI (which in itself is a flawed metric) could be in a very favorable range, and they could be quite tall, thus adding weight without adding girth. There are several scenarios at play, and therefore pigeon-holing people into categories is wrong, and should be abstained from.
Honestly, after reading the comments, I feel that in no way, shape, or form are the staff from Run the Bluegrass trying to fat-shame, embarrass, or ridicule anyone over the weight thresholds. Rather, they are simply trying to find ways to enhance the experience for ALL runners of the event. The fact that a race is trying to give this group a little extra incentive for the event, and maybe help boost their self-esteem, especially in regards to their running, is commendable to me. And honestly, as I told Susan last night, I wish more races would offer these categories for people like me! Who knows, I could be earning quite a few podium calls if they did!
This post was written a little over-the-top and dramatic for effect. I do not wish or intend to offend anyone, but simply lay out what some extremes of both sides of this debate might be. I would love to hear any input or insight that you might have about this topic.