Sunday, June 13, 2010

RunnerDude's Runner of the Week: Lauren

This week's Runner of the Week—Lauren—is a vibrant young lady who's a frequent commentor on the blog. Her upbeat comments are always refreshing and encouraging. Even though she's a busy college student she's discovered a love for running. Read on to find out more about Lauren and how running has impacted her life.

RD: Where are you from?
Lauren: Grew up in Chicago, moved to Orlando in 2006.

RD: Share a little about yourself. What do you do for a living? School? Hobbies?
Lauren: I'm an accounting graduate student right now, so for anyone who knows accounting you know that my life has been taken over by studying for the CPA exam! Well that and school... My schedule right now is
4:30am Wake up
5:30am Start Running
6:30am End Run
7:30am Be home by now
8:30am Be showered by now
9:00am Eat and be studying by now
Study/Go to school ALL day
9:00pm Read some blogs
10:00pm Go to bed! It's crazy!

RD: How long have you been running?
Lauren: I started running originally in high school and I say that lightly because I'm not sure that what I was doing counted as running. Not to mention I lasted about 3 weeks maybe. Later in college I tried again and got injured because I was an idiot with my training. Or rather, I didn't have a plan. Running as fast and as far as you can at all times every day that you are able really isn't safe, effective, fun, or anything good. After that (also still in college) my mom announced to me she was running a half marathon. That's when it hit me. My middle-aged mom was running half marathons and I couldn't' jog a 1/2 mile. That's just what I needed to get me started, get educated on running, and get a plan. Now I'm going to run the Chicago Marathon with her in October and I'm stoked!
RD: What do you enjoy most about running?
Lauren: Feeling so strong. I battled with an eating disorder a large portion of my life and so feeling weak was something I had just taken as a "normal feeling" in my life. After my 12-miler the other day I broke down and cried... I just felt so strong, and I loved it!
RD: That's awesome. Running can be very emotional and very empowering at the same time.

RD: What are your favorite training foods?
Lauren: English muffins w/spray margarine and salt. Yeah, kinda weird, but it's like my staple! Oh yeah, and chocolate skim milk afterward.

RD: Are you a lone runner or do you run with some buddies? What do you like about each?
Lauren: Both. When I'm by myself I find I have the most wonderful, deep thoughts. I figure myself and others out, I realize why I'm on this earth, I cry because of sunrises...etc. Sometimes when I'm by myself though I just get bored and that's when it's nice to have someone. I tend to ramble nonstop when I'm running with someone and therefore can only run with people that don't mind cutting me off and can hold their own in the conversation.

RD: What’s the funniest or oddest thing that’s happened to you while on a run?
Lauren: Ummm a really attractive male high-fived me on a run the other day, we were both doing out and backs apparently and I had passed him twice before and the third time instead of the "wave" he held his hand out and **smack** a high five! It was... rockin!!!

RD: What’s your biggest running accomplishment? Why?
Lauren: Just be able to run in the first place.
RD: I guess another big goal is yet to come in October with your mom.

RD: Do you have a favorite brand of running shoe? Which model? Why?
Lauren: Brooks Adrenaline 10... simply because it's my current one and it's my favorite. Very supportive, very cushiony. Love it!

RD: What’s your favorite race distance(s)? Do you have a favorite race?
Lauren: At this point I've only run a 5k, but I'm training now for Chicago in October. I also plan on running the Rock n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon on August 1st and hopefully a 10k before then as well.
RD: If you were speaking to a group of non-runners or runner wannabes and trying to encourage them to run, what would you say?
Lauren: I would first and foremost ask if they have the desire. They don't have to have the ability to run long-and-hard yet, but they need that desire. Even if it's only been a dream in the past. Now given that the person has the underlying desire to run I'd tell them my biggest piece of advice is to start slow. Nothing needs to hurt in the beginning. Quite the opposite! Some stiffness is normal but really when you're first getting into it, you don't need to be in pain. I feel like the slower I start into a program or into a mileage increase session, the better I feel and the more excited I am to complete it. I'm also not training to be competitive I have to throw that out there. But if you're just wanting to run to run, or to enjoy yourself, I'd say go as slow as you can. Cherish every milestone, whether it's being able to walk for 30 minutes or run for 30 seconds... or a whole mile. Cherish everything. My last piece of advice would be to reflect. Every time you feel like you're progressing SO slowly, think back to where you started. Maybe take a picture of yourself BEFORE you start running and write a quick paragraph as to how you feel about yourself at the moment. I did that actually and looking back on that photo and how I felt about myself really makes me realize how far I've come.

Rd: Open Mike: Share anything you‘d like about your running experiences, past accomplishments, goals, dreams….anything you haven’t previously shared.
Lauren: It's funny that reading this question caused me to sit on my couch and really contemplate for a second. I've always been a runner. That might confuse you after reading my statement above that I started seriously late in college, but let me explain. When I was younger and "mean kids" would make fun of me at lunch I'd go eat lunch with the teacher. When home life was chaotic, I chose to live somewhere else. When schoolwork got too tough, I switched schools. When suddenly I realized in high school I had gained 10 pounds from mindless eating I starved myself so I'd never have to see that person again. I ran... I always ran away from my problems instead of dealing with them appropriately. Teachers, guidance counselors, parents, and even my friends would all tell me that at some point in my life I'd have to stop running and just deal. At some point my life would catch me and I'd lose the race. At this point in my life running has a much different connotation. I still feel that I struggle with avoidance issues at times, but I've also learned, through the physical exercise of running and through just life experience in general, that running AWAY from your problems only prolongs and exacerbates the issue. However, you CAN run THROUGH your problems, and I feel that's what I do now. When I'm on my runs I have time to just think. To be me, with all my issues, complications, quirks, and imperfections. Instead of panicking because of a problem I can see it clearly and think through it, because panicking just takes WAY too much energy and lord knows I have no extra energy past 3 miles. In all seriousness though, I'm going to create a therapy program where therapists will RUN with their patients because while you're running, you don't have the energy to hold back, to be in denial. You're simply you. Don't steal that idea - I'm going to be rich one day.

Thanks for sharing your story Lauren! I can't wait to get the Chicago recap in October!! Be sure to check out Lauren's own blog—Bananas and Toast.


MJ said...

wow wow wow!!!! I've know Lauren for a while through the blogosphere and always knew she was an amazing person, but this just blows it out of the water. Lauren is such an inspiration to me and she may not even realize it. Such a genuine, kind, and strong person is rare to find. Thanks for sharing this...I'm going to bookmark this to remind her of how awesome she is if she ever gets down on herself. :)

Jennifer said...

Great story! Thanks!

Lauren said...

Thank you for featuring me, I feel honored!!

Coachhrd said...

I'm impressed. Wish I would have had that discipline and drive at Lauren's age. I'm following her now so I can be motivated!

Chris K said...

Wake up at 4:30! WHAT?! Way to go Lauren! Good luck at Chicago!

Unknown said...

I can identify with Lauren in many ways. Great story.

Christina said...

Lauren, thanks for sharing. :)
Thanks for reminding why I started running - the desire to run.

Anonymous said...

Very proud of you Lauren!!! You have come a long ways:)