Sunday, February 20, 2011

Fitness Goals and being a Penguin

I believe it is important to have goals. Mentally it is easier to be motivated to work if you know you are working toward a goal. I am wondering if my lack of exercising motivation has been due to a lack of goals. What am I working toward? I feel right now like I am hoping to just maintain what I have acheived in the last year. I am fairly happy with the way I look, I know I have lost some of my endurance/strength and wouldn't mind building it back up, but I haven't had any specific goals.

My sister has been throwing around the idea of running a half marathon at the Mogathon in June. She called me last night to say she has signed up for it, and will be starting an 18 week training program on Tuesday. I was suddenly hit with a wave of anticipation and thinking it might be fun/challenging/down right tough/exciting to join her. I think it would be easier to train with another person, and even though it is still cold out, I am thinking of getting a city leisure pass for a few months so I could run at the Field House if weather does not permit. The more I think about it, the more I am leaning toward it.


As I have been thinking about this, I have looked at a few training schedules online. I also have come across some websites with training tips. I found this one site that had a group of articles about 'penguin runners'. It caught my attention so I started to read some of them. I felt that I could identify with them, from my experiences last summer. I am going to copy a couple of exerpts:

"Why a penguin? Because metaphors usually used to describe runners–fleet-footed gazelles, cheetahs and winged-footed Mercury–don’t have much to do with my running style. I tend to resemble a penguin waddling across the frozen tundra more than a thoroughbred in the homestretch.

If you’ve seen a penguin run or walk, you know what I mean. Penguins walk as if their feet are killing them. Penguins, waddling and scurrying, are the ultimate expression of will over form. Their feet move as fast as possible, but their bodies are barely propelled forward at all."


"What is often misunderstood about those of us struggling to reach the front of the back of the pack is that we really are trying. We really are, at whatever our pace, doing the best we can. Some runners, and even well meaning non-runners, interpret our position in the pack as a measure of our effort. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We — the few, the proud, the plodding — very often train as much as, or more than, faster runners. At a blistering 12-minute pace, a 20-mile week represents a major time commitment. I do speed work and tempo runs. I do long, slow runs. I just do them very slowly.

It's not a matter of trying. It's not a matter of motivation. It's just a matter of speed. A fast runner friend of mine put it succinctly when I asked him what he thought was the limiting factor in my running future. His answer was as insightful as it was concise: "Maybe you're just slow!"

And slow I may be. But I am the best athlete I know how to be. I am the best runner I know how to be. Every day is an opportunity to improve. Every time I run, I try to be better. I have given in to my running instinct. I have given in to this passion to uncover the primal joy in running. And I hope you will, too."

After reading these articles and identifying with the idea of being a 'penguin' I had some flashbacks to grade seven and eight, where I got picked on, on a daily basis, at school for the way I walked. The boys would call me penguin then they would quack at me. Haha...silly boys didn't even know that penguins don't quack ;) I will wear that title proudly. I am not in it to win, I am in it to finish. What an accomplishment to cross that finish line, and maybe it will lead to greater and even more seemingly CRAZY a triathlon, or a full marathon......we shall see!

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