Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's Cinco de MILE-O | Things I Have Learned

My family calls today, "Cinco de MILE-O"

Today marks the day, I first attempted to run a mile. Ironically, it also marks the 7 year anniversary of the day we arrived in Vegas from our cross-country move.  

I use the term "run" very loosely.

It was more of a"walk/power walk/let's try to jog" mile.  I can still visualize the look on my youngest son's face, the look of disappointment that I could not keep up with him.  I ran in cargo pants, sleeveless "top" and old gym shoes.  No wonder my knees, ankles and shins would hurt.

But it was the day that set many things into motion.  I vowed never to feel that defeat again.  Yes, I was 48, not 16 again - but I knew I could do better.  Well, I thought I could do better - so I tried.

For one month - I pushed and pushed to try to run a mile.  I finished that one mile a month later.  I felt like I conquered the world!

Of course, my husband then challenged me to run the Vegas Half.  I don't think he thought I would accept.  After I did finish the Vegas Half, he admitted he thought I would never make it to 13.1 miles.  Well, I have to admit - I wondered about that myself many times during the first few months of training.

What an adventure it has been!  Some high's and low's - but mostly high's.

I have learned that I could race under the worst mental anguish and physical conditions.

I have learned that I have met some incredible people online and in person.  All sharing a common bond = love of fitness, especially running.

I learned there is an amazing sub-culture in this world of runners.  New lingo, new clothing and everything else in between.

Below is a summary of some of the things I learned:

What I learned the first 3 months of running:
1. Buy good shoes and socks
2. Another mile was only 15-17 minutes away
3. Vaseline around my eyes is my best friend during sweaty runs – keeps the sweat out of my eyes
4. The terms, “Garmin”, “PR”, “Half/Full Mary”, BQ and why I need a hydration belt
5. GLIDE is my best friend

What I learned the first 6 months of running:
1. Reaching the 10 mile mark in training was harder than trying to reach 13 miles
2. Another mile is only 10-11 minutes away
3. The terms, “Finisher Medals”, “Chip Time”, “Corral” and “Carb Load”
4. Don’t wear a cotton shirt during long runs or races
5. I overheat, even in cold days.
6. I don’t like Imodium
7. That I learned so much from so many other racers on Twitter and Facebook
8. That I could finish a Half Marathon in a respectable time

What I learned the first year of running:
1. My kids love coming to races with me
2. The vital importance of good running form
3. The difference in placing Overall vs Age Division
4. Another mile is only 8-9 minutes away
5. The value of strength training
6. The importance of mental strength
7. To never stop loving the feeling of running. If I do, then it’s time to stop
8. Always look for options for my training and medical needs. Always look for ways to improve and enjoy the sport even more.
9. Running lots of miles isn’t the best nor only training for a runner.
10. The terms, “EIA (Exercise Induced Asthma)”, “Ragnar”, “DailyMile”, and “Running Naked”

How will I celebrate?  My family and I are celebrating this weekend.  Details to come (smile)

As I sit here at my office desk writing this blog, I look up and I see all my Finisher Medals, Bibs and Race Day photos....

My eyes are drawn to one medal.  My Vegas Half.  There will never be a medal so important to me as that medal.

It was my ultimate goal - almost impossible to achieve, but now, it's mine - and I earned every second of it.  I may never qualify for Boston or any other high profile race.  But on that sunny, clear day in December 2010 - I conquered, I survived and I crossed the Finish Line with a smile on my face.

Thank you to all of you who follow my Blog, joined my FB page and have become an vital part of my running life, training and support.  I have learned from you and you have inspired me to better myself, not just my race times.

Onward to many more years to come....see you at the Start and Finish Line.

Live and Run Strong,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
Half-Marathoner, Business Blogger, Public Speaker
~My Facebook Fan Page ~Follow Me on Twitter


  1. I enjoy reading your blog. You do have a gift for writing and it is nice you let us enjoy it. Let me know when you put these blogs into a book.

  2. Thanks for your compliment and support, Will. I am glad we met and you were a part of this adventure of mine.

    No book in the works, yet


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