It’s amazing when you open yourself up to the world of technology, how many teachers and mentors come into your life. The saying “Your vibe attracts your tribe” could not be more true. I have had the opportunity to collaborate with so many runners through this 25 Hour Learning Challenge journey and the support I have received by reaching out has been incredibly inspiring.
In terms of sticking to my plan, I did expect to get off track with my travels to Austin, but what surprised me is how many walking miles we got in, exploring the city (34.7 miles in 4 days!). I did get a super short run/walk in at Lady Bird Lake, a beautiful running trail that encircles the heart of Austin, Texas. We were kind of in a hurry because we were on a mission to see the bats come out at twilight under the Congress Street Bridge (a tourist must-see I learned), but I got a chance to get my run on and take in the beautiful sights which was a priority in my travels. There is something amazing about running in a new city or town that I just cannot resist.
One of the highlights of my journey to Texas was getting a chance to meet Anna in person. Anna and I found each other through a running/Lululemon Facebook group about 4 years ago. We’ve stayed in touch through the years through the online groups, private messages and texts, encouraging each other and offering up suggestions and running advice. Anna was “there” for me when I ran my first half marathon back in 2015 and just a few months ago, I was able to “watch” her finish her first ever full- 26.2 miles of crazy. Anna used to live in San Francisco, but recently moved back to her home town of Austin. When I found out that the conference was going to be there, I was hoping our schedules would coincide and sure enough, after being digital friends, our paths finally met up and we got to spend a few hours together, as she showed me around her town and of course, we went to Lululemon, the Mother Ship that initially inspired our friendship. It was an incredible experience to finally meet her. Technology is amazing in the way that it can bring perfect strangers together in a life long bond of friendship and inspiration, based on our collective passions.
I have the unique opportunity to collaborate with my inclusion co-teacher, Billy Barnett, as well, on an ongoing basis. Billy is an amazing runner who thinks nothing of going for a 15 mile run after school and has even run 100 mile Ultra races. He was featured in the book Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. I consider myself very lucky to have access to his continuous support and advice regularly. Most recently, Billy suggested purchasing a heart rate monitor. In his blog, he posted, “I was curious to know how my heart rate fit into Dr. Maffetone’s aerobic threshold formula. That means not getting your HR above 180- your age. Ever. I thought “All right, I will get to go even slower now” and he suggested I do some investigation with regard to the formula as well (Barnett, 2016). It has been neat seeing that perhaps speed is not what I should be aiming for, but rather building my aerobic threshold and keeping my heart rate in the suggested rang for optimum glucose burning, and eventually going faster without trying so hard. I am still playing around with this notion, but it’s been neat to reach out beyond just pushing harder. Just like in teaching, sometimes, less is more.
In terms of blogs, I’ve really found a lot of great information in Jeff Galloway’s blog with regard to running for newbies and the run/walk method he teaches. Prior to this challenge, I always felt guilty about walking. Like, are you really a runner if you are doing so much walking? Galloway (and Billy, mentioned above) say undoubtedly YES! In fact, he suggests that by using his method, you can continue “Running and Walking till you’re 100 Injury Free!” which sounds good to me! He goes over tips to remain injury free and even has a FAQ section that is really informative. I recently started following him on Twitter as well. I look forward to continue following him as I walk/run my way to becoming an even stronger runner.
My friend Morgen, who is a two time Ironman, turned me on to the notion of Chi Running when I was first starting out. According to Morgen, I was “reaching out” too far with my feet while running, which caused me to heel strike. This, of course, leads to injury. I started reading the Chi-Running and Chi-Marathon books she had loaned me, and then starting studying runners and their form. I started working to adjust my own running stance, trying to follow the notion of kicking up behind you versus stretching out in front. It felt counterintuitive, as to go forward, you’d think you’d well, reach forward. This information has been life changing and really has helped me so much, if just to remain cognizant of where I put my feet when I run. By getting online and reading up on Chi Running even more, through their website and blog and through Twitter, I am able to stay connected and keep striving to run with greater intention.
I have also found so many amazing running blogs, some through my Facebook running group “friends” and some just on my own. My favorite is Meals and Miles, which I’ve been reading for over 5 years now. Meghann Anderson Russell started her blog in college, and now she’s a married wife and new mom. I feel like by following her blog all these years I truly “know” her and look forward to what she’s up to. Right now, she’s training for her first Walt Disney World full marathon post baby, which is so incredibly inspiring to me. Running Disney is one of my bucket list dreams in life. I love watching her share her training tips and real life adventures along the way. In fact, as this 25 Hour Learning Challenge began, I sought her advice through Twitter on how to make her running calendar on excel. Through her guidance, I was able to pattern my training plan after hers. She was so open and willing to help. I love that about the running community. It seems everyone is there to help guide, inspire and encourage one another. For someone new to the sport, there is nothing more motivating.
So with that, I must say, that not only am I leaving my running footprints all over town, my digital footprints are finding a path of their own in the process. I love the idea of reaching out and finding that guidance along the way as questions or concerns arise. And sometimes, it’s just a matter of sharing your excitement and telling the world, “Hey, I ran today!” and that inspires someone else to lace up and get out there. I feel like my collaborative learning community has increased by leaps and bounds, just in the last month. I can’t wait to see where this path continues to take me!