Today is the day. The last day to register for a reduced price for the Athens Marathon and Half-Marathon. I have decided to not kill my body and simply compete in the half-marathon this year. As much as I would love to compete in a greater distance, I am not sure how well my body will be able to handle it. It is great to push oneself, but should never be pushed over a limit that is going to do more harm than it will do good.
The greatest distance I have run so far in my training is 8 miles. I know I can compete in the half-marathon with little to no problems, however, this time last year I was completing my 20-mile run. For some reason this past season, I was not able to gain the motivation I had last year in my training. I would love to keep up the distance running and compete in a marathon later in the spring, however, I do not feel that being a spring quarter in Athens (you Athenians and students know what I am talking about, its awesome down here) that I will have the time or dedication to set aside for 16+ mile runs.
This summer I am sure I will be way more into running and training. I am going to be a “Head of Fitness” director at an overnight summer camp in the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania. Last summer I had the unique opportunity to coach jogging at the camp and it was the greatest motivator of all. I trained 78 campers to compete in a 5K race at the end of the summer.
Things like that are sometimes the motivation one needs- its not always a movie or a quote that gets us going. It has to be something more. Hopefully I will be able to teach the running, coach and get kids motivated all while motivating myself as well to compete later on in Columbus in the fall.
Running is different for everyone and nothing ever sticks to plans. Things change, this race has changed for me.. As hard as it is to accept it, I know that the half is what needs to be done and that there is always next year to try again…
Lauren Miller, 21, is a Warren, Ohio native who has been running for about six years. I had the chance to meet with her over coffee one afternoon and discuss her running career, how it was started, how she feels about running in Athens, Ohio and if she has any advice for non-runners and runners alike out there on the streets.
Courtney: Lauren, I understand you are a runner.
Lauren: Yea, I have been running since I was about 15-years-old, I started back in high school when my friend got me involved with the cross-country team.
C: So you ran competitively?
C: Do you still? Was cross-country the only competitive aspect of your running career?
L: I compete in 5K races here at school, in Athens, but I do not run cross-country or track for the teams here. I am not really a competitive runner anymore. I do it more for leisure now.
C: Yea…I think that is what happens to a lot of runners once they leave high school.
L: Um, yea…I mean, I was never one of those runners who only cared about the sport and had to perfect my form and times with every race. I was the girl who just kinda did it for the fitness aspect, and that’s what I still do.
C: That’s not always a bad thing, some people look at that as like “Why are you in this race if you don’t care how you do?” type thing and I think its great. Competitive running isn’t for everyone.
C: You said you run 5K races here in Athens, have you run or trained for anything greater than a 5K?
L: Back when I was a freshman, three years ago, I trained with my friend for a half-marathon and ended up getting sick a few days before the race. Since then I have realized I am not a long-distance runner. I like the 5K and that is it! (Laughs) My friend has trained for a marathon and she is crazy I think. I’m fairly certain I would die if I tried that. But then again, maybe if I put the right training in and felt good about it all, then it could be done.
C: Marathons are a challenge, I have run one and I think I blacked out in the middle of it. I do not remember miles 13-17. I do know that the last six miles are the hardest six I have ever run.
L: I bet they are! That is insane!
C: Yea, I am going to run in the Athens Half-Marathon this year- I was going to do the whole but have not been training properly for it.
L: Yea that probably wouldn’t be good…
C: Ha ha, yea, probably not. So when you go running around campus and through the town, where do you go?
L: Anywhere. There are some routes that I know back from my half-marathon training days that go around town more so than campus, I kinda like those because they are away from the hustle of pedestrians and campus traffic. It’s more of an alone run…I like that.
C: That would be nice. Have you ever run in any of the state parks?
L: I went out on a run with a friend once and she took me to Sells Park. It was fun- we got to explore new territory aside from a residential neighborhood.
C: Yea you need to switch it up every now and then…Do you think that Athens is a good place for people to start taking up the sport?
L: Absolutley. I think that anyone can become a runner. It takes something more to become competitive, but anyone can really go out there and jog for a little bit.
C: That is true. It doesn’t take much skill. Do you have any advice for Athens runners before I let you go?
L: Well…um…I would just say that, like you said, it doesn’t take a whole lot of skill. It requires commitment though and if you can’t give it that, then you will be at a loss. Running can be great though and act as such a stress reliever. During finals week especially, it would not be a bad idea to go out for a run to just clear your mind. I’ll tell you what, next time someone is stressed, tell them to go for a run, clear their head and go. I can almost guarantee they will be hooked from there on out.
C: You are absolutely right! Thank you Lauren for talking to me today.
L: Thank you for having me and I hope someone is able to take something from this, maybe get someone hooked and a new runner on the streets!
As I have previously stated, I want to run 30 marathons by the time I am 30 years old. In research of what ones to run, I looked online to see what ones were considered the best by other fellow runners. I have made a map of 10 of the greatest races in the USA that all marathoners should try at least once in their lifetime.
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Teaching others to run: This can pose a challenge, a fun one, but a challenge none the less. I have taken after my aunt in being a runner and having the stamina to keep going, however, my mom asked me this weekend to teach her to run. Now, for us runners, being asked to teach someone HOW to run seems a bit obscured… afterall, we have been doing it since we could walk, haven’t we? It seems to me that I never learned how to run, I just did it. I went for a run when I was in 7th grade after dinner and I haven’t stopped since. Now to teach my mom how to run, I knew this would be a funny task because there is no real method as to how to go about teaching it. Running is an instinct inside of us all. We all know how to run, all that can be taught is mechanics, form, pace, habits, etc. So that is what we did. Friday evening after I got home, my mom said for me to lace up my shoes so we could go for a jog, she wanted to learn how to run. I laughed at her and put my shoes on. As we went for a loop around the neighborhood I yelled at her to stop stopping to walk and to breathe in through her nose and out through her mouth. She was out of breath from running four houses away. It seems to me that all that can be taught to her is how to be consistent. How to keep at it and to not stop when it starts to hurt. That is how we all got to where we are today… through hard work. Its not always about being coached by someone else, it is about what we can teach ourselves and having the guidance from someone else who knows what they are doing as well.