"slow" runners unite!

taken on a 4 miler in Charleston this weekend, probably my favorite run to date
When I first started running (aka - you know, sort of... right now) the thing I tended to feel (oh wait, still feel) the most anxiety about and constantly found myself asking other runners about (still asking, really) is time. Six months or so ago, when I decided to take the plunge of trying to become a runner - the only people I ever heard talk about running was bloggers. Really good running bloggers. The kind that run 8 minute miles for fun, all the time. Also the kind that try to win races. I immediately felt intimidated. 
I didn't have the right clothes. 
I didn't own a garmin.
I sure couldn't run an eight minute mile. 
I can barely brush my teeth in eight minutes.

But some creepy (awesome) thing in me kept me pumping, trying harder and harder. Running longer and longer distances. Still one of my favorite running memories and general memories all around was a morning back in October when I ran a miraculous 8.9 miles with a sweet new friend and thought for the first time, that I might actually be a legit runner. Not the kind that runs 8 minute miles, but my own kind. And now, all of a sudden, when people ask me about running - it's 90% always someone just like myself - a new, maybe even a non-runner, who feels intimidated and SLOW. 

So here are my words of very amateurish 
wisdom for new and slower runners. 
1. Slow is ok. 
Slow doesn't make you a bad runner, it might make you a GREAT runner. When I first started, I was trying to run 9-9.5 minute miles and actually pooping out around 1.5 miles, no matter what. It was TERRIBLY discouraging and defeating. It wasn't until I slowed down to a TWELVE AND A HALF MINUTES PER MILE pace that I was able to push past four miles. But suddenly, I could! And it wasn't as scary! It was still hard work - but not impossible. 
2. Don't throw out time altogether
I like being a casual runner. For now, I don't care much about wearing the right thing and knowing all the right terms, but it was helpful to learn a few things. Like negative splits. Here is a good article on those. And I'd say it's important to at the very least, know your times and push yourself with them. My favorite, favorite, favorite running tool (um... and only running tool) is Run Keeper. It's a wonderful app that you can use with an iphone or ipod and it's usually $10 but is FREE this month thru January.  Every five minutes it updates you with your total running time, total distance, and current pace - which is SUPER helpful for negative splits. Also, you can set a pace and it will tell you to hurry up or slow down. Then, AFTER you run - it sends you a beautiful little email with a map of where you ran, a cutey little graph that shows your pace each mile, and also keeps track of all your runs, forever. So great. Here are some screenshots from my runs this past week for example. 
negative splits for a 4 miler. that last mile felt like a victory fo' sho. 

overall run summary

a little 5K "race"

3. What do you know?! It gets better! 
This past week, I've seen the biggest (and maybe the first) real difference in my running. I'm not afraid of long runs and I'm definitely excited for short ones. My pace has drastically changed and I'm not even terrified of my upcoming half marathon. Eventually, it seems, if you keep at it, you feel less like a phony and more like an actual runner. 

Here's one last little tidbit for you. 
My current favorite running playlist. 
(warning: it's so schizophrenic it might make you have an episode really eclectic)
You go out a give it a try, lady. 
Or just listen to it while you brush your teeth!
Either way, enjoy. 

heaven is here Jesus Culture (video for you) 
single ladies Beyonce
beautiful things Gungor
our God Chris Tomlin
we cry out Jesus Culture
skeleton bones John Mark McMillan
open up the heavens Hillsong
get me bodied Beyonce
tip of my tongue The Civil Wars
sing my love Jesus Culture
lost! Coldplay
call me out Gungor
revelation song Jesus Culture
get higher Paper Tongues
trinity Paper Tongues (video for you) 

Love ya'll. Mean it. 
Happy Tuesday.