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"Average" woman to target run

by Julie R. Cryser


(May 25) I'm an average woman. Just about as average as you can get.

I wear an average clothes size. I'm married to an average guy. I cook average food.

And what I will attempt to accomplish this summer is something any other average woman or man could do, but few choose to. I have decided to train for and run in the Greater Clarksburg 10K Run.

For you average people out there who can't convert the metric system, much like myself, that's 6.2 miles. Somebody had to tell me. That's about 4.2 miles more than I have ever run in my life.

And wouldn't you know, if there is one thing I'm not average at, it's running. In this category, I am a bit below average.

First off, I have never been a fast runner. My husband won't run with me, he says, because he can walk as fast as I run. I don't agree.

Several people at the Mayor's Fitness Trail at the Veterans Memorial Park are pretty fast walkers, but I always catch them and huff my way past. And I always notice that I beat the walkers around the trail. Granted, most of them are three times my age.

Secondly, I have a breathing problem. I do a heck of a lot of it when I run; I suck wind like a Hoover.

I'm surprised someone hasn't offered me a nitroglycerin tablet. I know how horrible I must sound when I pass the walkers, my chest heaving. Sometimes I scare myself.

Third, I'm a heavy runner. And, no, I don't mean I run a lot. When I looked into buying running shoes, I found that women in my weight and average pant size must wear specially padded shoes for "heavy runners."

When you start out in that category, it just makes that 6.2 miles seem a lot longer.

So far, I'm up to about 1 3/4 miles every other day. This weekend, probably while you are reading this, I'll try for the big 2.5 miles, even though I hear you're only supposed to increase your distance by 10 percent a week. I figure at 1 3/4 miles, what's to lose?

Fourth, because I can't express this enough, I'm a slow runner. I'll be lucky if I can get this thing finished in under the 1:37:47 that an 81-year-old woman completed it last year. I hope there are some people in the same age range in it again this year. That way, if I have to stretch it out at the end, perhaps I'll have a chance at beating them. I wouldn't count on it, though.

Fifth, I hate to sweat. That's about it on that subject.

But for all the reasons that I shouldn't be running a 10K, there are many reason why I want to run the race. First, I would like to move out of the "heavy runner" category. I'm trying to mix a well-balanced diet with a couple of miles each morning. The diet part is harder than the running, though.

I'm also very competitive. So this is probably one of the greatest ways to get me to actually exercise. Put me in front of 24,000 readers and tell me to either run or look like a fool. A good chance exists, however, I'll do both.

But I don't care. I like challenges.

And, frankly, I'm starting to build a rapport with all the other people out there running and walking. No matter where I go to run now, I see the same people. They've basically quit staring at me when I heave my way around them.

Finally, I want to finish a race. It's just something I've never done and something a lot of people in my own newsroom are betting I can't do.

So from now until the race, Aug. 8, I'll be keeping you informed about my progress in an occasional column.

And if you see me slugging my way around Clarksburg, cheer me on. I've got a long way to go before I reach that 6.2 miles. And remember, I've got a lot of deficits.