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Open Mic Friday: Meet Cyndi, Rookie Runner

Open_mic_friday She goes by Rookie Runner.  However reading her blog tells us she's running wise beyond her years running.  We appreciate her insights about running, family, life, and how to get the most from them all.

She recently observed her one year "runniversary" and has unleashed enthusiasm for everything running.  We love featuring runners with her heart and spirit more than running elites, running legends, and running rockstars. We're delighted to introduce you to this week's guest.

Welcome Cyndi, Rookie Runner!

Profile Tell us about your experience getting started running.

I started running in July 2008 as a way to drop some pounds and to work my way towards a permanent lifestyle of fitness and wellness.  I have battled the scale most of my adult life – gaining and losing the same 20, 30, even 40 pounds.  While surfing the internet one day, I came across some very inspiring blogs about people who had adopted a lifestyle of fitness and had accomplished great personal victories.  I wanted a piece of that! 

I decided to try the Couch To 5K program.  I had never run in my life, and certainly was no athlete! So this would be interesting.  But I figured, I can do anything for 9 weeks.   I started my first blog, Tales From The Broken Scale, as a way to document my C25K journey, and report in on my weekly weight loss progress.  I took my first ‘run’ on July 26, 2008, and little did I know then….a runner was born!  It was not long before my focus moved from weight loss numbers to running stats.  I finally ‘broke up’ with my scale and started my new blog this summer, one year after I started running.  As long as I was running, cross training and eating well to support those efforts, the scale pretty much took care of itself.  Sure, I still weigh daily – but more out of habit than for any other reason.

You’re dealing with an emotional rollercoaster right now with an injury.  Tell us about it.

I am sidelined from running right now trying to get through an IT Band issue.  It has only been two weeks so far, but it has REALLY thrown me off mentally. I can handle physical discomfort…it is the not being able to run part that has been surprisingly challenging.  I knew I loved running, and not just for the physical benefits…running has become my spiritual and emotional sanctuary of sorts.  My time out on the road is the one thing I have that is all for ‘me’ – I think, pray, smile, I problem solve, I breathe deep, and sometimes I even cry a little. The frustrating part of being injured for me though, is that I made every rookie mistake in the book, and this should not have happened.  So now I am trying to be patient and smart about getting through this, and hopefully will be able to prevent it from happening again! 

First Half Marathon[1] Best race experience? 

In May this year, I crossed my first Half Marathon finish line in Cleveland – just 10 months after I took my first pathetic quarter mile jog around a track.  Crossing that line was the sweetest personal victory for me.  Exactly one year ago on that day, I was in a very serious car accident that quite frankly, I should NOT have walked away from.  It was an astounding miracle that I climbed out of my completely crushed van.  One year later, as I completed my first 13.1 mile run, I felt very much alive and strong - appreciating every breath and step I took to cross that finish line, and hungry for much, much more.

What are your current running goals?

For the short term, I hope I am able to participate in my scheduled half marathon on November 1st, because I want a new PR to close out the season.  Eventually, I would like to do a marathon just to cross that off the list, but it may be another year or two before I am ready for that.  I am looking into a running coach certification class (through RRCA) next spring.  I really enjoy helping other new runners and feel the need to share the ‘running love’ with others, especially people who would otherwise never expect to be a runner themselves. 

Running hero?

My running hero is not even a runner!  But my 18 year old son, Chris, is my hero and inspiration when the miles get long and tough.  Chris has epilepsy, and a host of other special needs.  When I get tired or frustrated, or when I hit a progress plateau…I think of Chris and all the challenges he faces every minute of every day of his life.  He keeps on going every day no matter what the obstacles, with a smile on his face, and a ‘can do’ attitude.  Suddenly, my IT Band issue becomes insignificant!

Best running advice you’d like to share?

I still view myself as a ‘rookie runner’, so I’m still learning as I log the miles.  But I’ve learned that there are three important components for new runners to keep in mind always: 

1)  Be Consistent  – Get a plan, follow the plan.   Don’t skip runs unless you are injured or sick.  No matter how much I am dragging to get out the door to run, I ALWAYS come back feeling fine, every time.  Just do it.  I firmly believe that anyone…including 40 something moms who work full time and have 3 kids and a house to run….ANYONE can find 20-30 minutes minimum to run.  Find that time consistently, place a high value in it, and every aspect of your life will be that much better for it!

2)  Be Patient -   It’s easy as a new runner to get caught up in numbers, and wanting to be *fast* and go far.  But it takes time and dedication and effort to get reach goals safely.  Never compare yourself to other runners, focus on what you can do at this moment, and just keep running.  Progress is sure to come if you just run.

3)  Follow The Rules -  Stretch, follow the 10% rule for increasing time or distance each week, take rest days, do some strength training, invest in properly fitted shoes for your foot and replace them every 300-400 miles.  Very simple rules really….and not following them will eventually lead to injury.   I made the mistake of NOT following the basic rules, and here I sit with ITBS and wondering if I’m going to be able to run my planned November 1st Half Marathon.  Runners are fit people, but we are not invincible!

Cyn and Shosh Who are some of your virtual running friends you would like to meet up and run with?

Oh boy, there are so many!  I love the blogging community and have read so many inspiring stories.  I have developed what I know will be a life long friendship with one of my blogging friends, Shosh, from The Constant Trainer.  Hers was one of the first blogs I ever read, and her story was so much like mine, I felt immediately connected to her.  She was the one who encouraged me to sign up for my first half marathon, and she even flew fron NYC to Cleveland just to run it with me!  We chat and email daily, and she has also become ‘Aunt Shosh’ to my kids and one of my dearest friends in life.

I would love to spend a day with AKA Alice and her ‘Herd’. I mean come on, who wouldn’t?  I love reading about her adventures in running and mimosas, and her cycling adventures complete with flat tires and…well, flat tires.  She definitely puts the fun in run and I know every time I visit her blog, I’m going to laugh out loud.

Another blogger that I admire and hope to meet personally someday  is Mel from 2nd Chances.  She is another inspirational story that touches me on a personal level.  She has overcome epilepsy by having brain surgery, and she is now living every moment of her life to the fullest as a runner-turned-triathlete!  She is a true example of how we should all live our lives…blessed with the bodies we are given, and never giving up, no matter what gets us down. 

What’s going on in your life outside of running?

This summer I started experimenting with the rowing machine at my gym because I was looking for an alternative cardio activity for cross training.  I LOVE IT!  Rowing is such a great all over body workout, and it a very short time, I noticed an increase in my core strength, leg strength and overall endurance.  The biggest surprise is that rowing comes a very close second to running when it comes to endorphins.  I plan to keep working at rowing and hope to join a local beginners rowing club next spring so I can get out on the water!  There is never a line at the rowing machines at the gym, and I feel like I’ve stumbled on to this big secret!  Another bonus….  Want to bust through a weight loss plateau?  Get on the rowing machine!

Kolonicks What are some key things you’ve learned about yourself since starting running?

I have become more centered and balanced since I started running.  I’ve realized that I am much stronger than I ever gave myself credit for…physically AND emotionally.  I’ve learned that it is OKAY to take time to care for myself ‘first’ because it makes me so much better for everyone else that needs me.  I’ve learned that I can probably do just about anything I set my mind to do if I want it enough.  I’ve learned that it is not enough to simply go through the motions of life….I don’t let life run me…I run my life!  

                                                Thank you, Cyndi!

Do you know a runner you would recommend for Open Mic Friday?

Pass along their name, contact info, and some background and we'll explore introducing them to the Runners' Lounge Community.

Send your suggestions to Tom@runnerslounge.com or Amy@runnerslounge.com


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I love how you said that you "broke up" with your scale!

Congratulations on your healthy lifestyle!

AKA Alice and the Herd ARE that fun in person!

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To share my experience, I started running in '05, I was 25 then, and it was the most exhausting activity I've done almost weekly.

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I would have to agree. You should consider sharing your experiences with more people! Thoroughly enjoyed your story. Good luck and keep up the good work.


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