Home Exercise 101 5 Things I Learned While Running 10 Miles

5 Things I Learned While Running 10 Miles

by Erika Nicole Kendall

Last Wednesday, I accomplished something I never thought I could do.

I ran ten miles.

Before you call me crazy – and before I agree with you – I have to tell you. It was the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever done in my life. As someone who is literally traumatized by my experiences with the Presidential Fitness Test in high school, I’ve got to admit that the thought of me making it across the city on the two feet I was born with… is powerful stuff.

My running experiences began last year, after I’d lost a little bit of the weight, first. I used to take my then-two year old daughter walking with me every day and, while we enjoyed ourselves and had a wonderful time… there was a point in time where it felt like I should be trying to do something more. I mean, surely I could manage to squeak in a teeensy bit more activity into this hour-long time frame, right?

So, from walking… came dancing. And we’d dance together pacing around our daily path. It was too much fun. Have you ever seen a two-year old try to dance and walk at the same time? She attracted kids everywhere she went, and before too long, there would be all kinds of kids trying to tag along on our walk.

I love kids… but not that much.

So… I needed to figure out a way to keep our daily hour of fun an actual fun thing for me as well as her, while still being able to get in the activity level. One night, it hit me. I asked her if she wanted a piggy-back ride, and once she hopped up… I took off running. I’d run one lap, put her down, and walk one lap. Pick her up again, run another lap, drop her and walk again. I did this for 45 minutes. I’d come home sweating, angry, gross… but satisfied.

My daughter loved the piggy-back runs. I was losing weight, gaining strength, feeling far more powerful… and Mini-me was beyond excited to experience the joys of treating Mommy like a life-sized horsie. “Go, Mommom! You can do it!” It became our little fun time. It rocked.

From there, I learned how to run intervals. Learning how to run for 30 seconds, then walk for 4 minutes. Then run for 1 minute, walk for 4 minutes. Run for 2 minutes, walk for 3 minutes. Run for 3 minutes, walk for 2. Run for 4, walk for 1. Run for 5, walk for 1. Then…. just run. I played that game at my own leisure, and I didn’t progress to the next level until I got bored with the current level. I didn’t upgrade to running for 1 full minute and walking for 4 until I felt like I had mastered the art of running for 30 full seconds, no problem.

Once I was able to run for a full five minutes, I started trying to run a full mile on my own. With the help and support of a wonderful person (or a few of ’em, really), I was convinced that I could do it. Before long, I was not only running a full mile… but I was running several at a time. For someone who took almost 20 minutes to walk a mile and had no idea that I could “walk faster,” let alone “run”… that’s kind of unbelievable to me.

The day that I decided I was going to run ten miles… was the day before I had to return my moving truck. I’d ran four, five… even six miles before and though it was rough, I still managed to make it. No big deal. Right?

Eh… right. It was only almost twice what I was used to running.

Why ten miles, though? I have fantasies of running a marathon. Judge me if you want. I think there’s something sexy and awe-inspiring about being tired as sin, struggling, and pushing your body to its limits… only to see the finish line and perk up a little… just enough to help you find the last bit of energy you’ve got to cross the finish line. A marathon is 26.2 miles, a half-marathon is 13.1… and I would be running 10.

I drove the truck across town to Downtown Miami in the early afternoon. I figured if I set myself up this way, instead of starting at home with the option of always being able to turn around and go back home, I’d be forced to test my body against this distance. I could always call a cab to take me home. I could’ve always caught the bus and said “screw it.” Hell, I could’ve hitchhiked if it was that deep. I just… I knew I wouldn’t.

Once I dropped off the truck and received my confirmation, I headed out of the parking lot, looked around… and exhaled. I was seriously about to do this. Seriously? Seriously.

Let’s talk about the five things I learned – the hard way – about my running adventure, though.

First… go potty first. Don’t ask me why I know how important that is… just know that I know.

Second, there is no other instance where you learn how important food is for fuel… than a situation where you are constantly burning fuel. Like running. If you are constantly hitting the pavement and burning fuel, you have to eat. Because my “Oh! I have to eat first!” epiphany came late, I grabbed a fruit smoothie from a nearby smoothie shop (mango, banana, apple and coconut shavings) and did what I could to tear that whole thing up as fast as I could before I reached my destination. The smoothie, as large as it was, could only carry me through the first 7 miles – I had to stop and get food in order to keep going. That’s how serious this fueling thing is. Your body uses food for fuel. If you’re going to be burning fuel that hard, that highly for that long, give it what it needs to carry you through the activity.

Third. To be a runner, one must “move swiftly on foot so that both feet leave the ground during each stride.” It says nothing of how fast you must move. It also doesn’t say you have to look a certain way, either. You don’t have to be Speedy Gonzales (or look like an olympic hurdler) on the sidewalk in order to qualify yourself as a runner. Own it, regardless of how long it takes you to finish or what size you are when you begin.

Fourth. Runners stop sometimes. You might not notice it because they no longer look like runners when they’re not running – they look like walkers, or loiterers, even – but.. when they become overwhelmed, they stop. And that’s okay. It doesn’t make you a “less than” because you stop. You’re training to be a better runner, not training to win a million dollars.You gain nothing from wearing yourself down to nothingness.

Lastly. stretch. Stretch before. Stretch after… after a very long warm soak. If you don’t… you’ll hate life. I did this run Wednesday. It is now Tuesday, and I’m just now feeling back at 100%. Running long distances is something your body has to get used to doing. I needed to know just how far I could push myself, and what the results would be. I now know, and that’ll help me prepare for my super duper goal.

I’m not gonna lie. I’m mad at myself for being able to complete the entire thing in less than 3 hours… because now it means that I can, without question, take on the Miami Beach Half Marathon in a few months. And though I really don’t want to do it… I reeeeeeeeeeally want to do it.

So… I say, for anyone out there afraid to jump into running… take your time. It took me a year to get down to where I am now. It took time for me to learn to value running enough to invest time and money into it – I saved up to purchase a jogging stroller for Mini-me, a good pair of comfy running shoes and a nice set of headphones. Taking that time to appreciate running actually allowed me to develop a need for it, learn to value it and what it can do for me, and list it high enough on my list of priorities that I could save up money on the things I needed.

Now, after that ten mile run…. I have to start budgeting for marathon registration fees. Y’all know I’m cheap, man.

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Madame: The Journey December 21, 2010 - 1:10 PM

Yay, for #teamprospectmarathoners! I plan on joining the elite runnerhood (lol), next October.

Best wishes with everything regarding your training and congrats on reaching a personal best. That 10 miles is only the beginning for you Sis.! ;o)

Erika December 21, 2010 - 1:43 PM

Thanks, Sis! Giiiiiiiiiiirl, I’m scared to death, LOL. I’ve done everything I can to make it easy on myself, buuuuuut… we’ll see how it goes.

Talk about “only the beginning!” Those are awfully humbling words coming from you! πŸ™‚

Alovelydai December 21, 2010 - 1:25 PM

“Before you call me crazy – and before I agree with you –”

“Why ten miles, though? I have fantasies of running a marathon. Judge me if you want.”

We don’t think you’re crazy or judge you for setting challenging goals. We read your blog because it’s inspiring & resourceful. No disclaimers needed. So stop making these kind of statements & get your marathon on!

Erika December 21, 2010 - 1:33 PM

I love it. πŸ™‚

Bre December 21, 2010 - 1:30 PM

You are such an inspiration! I found you a couple of months ago on a coworkers blog and have been hooked ever since! I have posted your links on my blog and on my facebook page and now even have other friends reading and being inspired by you. I have never enjoyed running. Like, I failed PE my freshman year because I wouldn’t run. I have always been somewhat athletic though. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I really got focused on health and fitness and realized the impact of adding running to my fitness routine instead of just the elliptical….but I still don’t enjoy it. I have done a couple of 5Ks, because it seemed like the thing to do, but I never trained for them. I don’t really run regularly enough, or at a pace to really get my body acclimated to it. I might try your suggestions though. Thanks for the inspiration and good luck on your future running goals!

Erika December 21, 2010 - 1:46 PM

For me, the “enjoyment” came from what it did for my body… then it became a way to achieve peace. Like, the way that I can zone out and just think… or not think at all.. that’s helpful for me. You have to find what running does for you, then tap into that and use it to compel you to go further. Beyond that, I really think anything is possible.

There are TONS of running programs out there – I didn’t use any, I created my own and modeled it after those because they moved too fast for me – that can help someone become more comfy with running. You should definitely check that out!

And thaaaaaaaaaaank you! πŸ™‚

gwendolyn lewis December 21, 2010 - 1:35 PM

You R my She-ro! You have the courage to say the things I have no words for.

Erika December 21, 2010 - 1:49 PM


Cyn December 21, 2010 - 1:41 PM

Just signed up for the Revlon 5k In May. I can’t run more than a few steps at the moment but I plan to be ready. Thanks for the inspiration.

Jae December 21, 2010 - 1:46 PM

YOU WILL become addicted. I started out doing a few half marathons here and there in 2008 and this year in June completed my first full marathon. Running has become an addiction to me three seasons out of the year (snowboarding is my winter thing). That feeling of sitting at home mapping out my run, organizing a good play list, watching other runners out on the road and knowing how many calories I’m burning is gratification. I also LOVE tracking my stats while running. That’s when my Garmin comes in handy. I’m often excited to get home and upload the details of my run and see how it compared to previous runs. I can’t wait to hear more about your adventures in running.

Erika December 21, 2010 - 1:49 PM

Seeeee… that’s what I’m afraid of, now. I’m gonna be running all across the darn city, now, just to say I did it. LMAO!

VM December 21, 2010 - 1:47 PM

WAY TO GO, ERIKA! I want to eventually get to the point of running, but first, I need to get back into walking long distances, so baby steps for me. πŸ™‚

Erika December 21, 2010 - 1:51 PM

Heyyyyy… I am a HUGE supporter of “taking my darn time,” so pleeeeeeeeease do what works best for yourself and don’t rush! You will come to love it!

Brittany December 21, 2010 - 1:56 PM

Thank you for this post on running. Sounds corny I know, but one of my dreams has always been to become a runner. To possess the strength and endurance required to push my body for long distances for an extended period of time is amazing. In my eyes, completing a 26.2 mile marathon is the ultimate display of strength. Becoming a runner is one of my goals for 2010. I don’t quite know where to start however. I’ve read plenty on the “Couch to 5k” program, and other variations of it. And I feel that I need to lose more weight before I even attempt any kind of jogging/running. To be honest I’m a little intimidated of this particular goal of mine. Becoming a runner is very important to me, and to attempt and fail at it is something I don’t want to face.

Anyway, just wanted to say thank you. Posts like this inspire me.

Erika December 21, 2010 - 2:21 PM

Trust me… it’s not corny. Especially not to me. πŸ™‚

Emily December 21, 2010 - 9:26 PM

Brittany- I don’t know where you are in your weight loss- but I started C25K when I was 250+. My running intervals were not fast, by any means, but they were SPRINTING to me. You’ll be amazed what you can do- the hardest part is starting. You can do it.

Kirsten December 21, 2010 - 1:56 PM

This is incredible.

To me being able to run anything is a damn miracle, and here you are telling us just how you got there.

I can’t wait to hear about your progress.

You are an inspiration!

Erika December 21, 2010 - 2:07 PM

Thank you! πŸ™‚

Ladi Ohm December 21, 2010 - 2:50 PM

I am inspired!!!! I’m an ’emerging runner’, as I like to call myself. I was supposed to run my first 5k last month, but I was derailed by a hamstring injury (at least now I know the importance of stretching). I am currently getting back in the swing of things with a couple runs a week, but I cannot wait to be able to run 10 whole miles!

Whoa hoo!!! (or even better, SKEE WEE!!!!!) Go Soror!

keyalus December 21, 2010 - 2:51 PM

Congratulations to you! I didn’t really document my journey to becoming a runner properly and I wish I did. It is so good to read yours!

I had to laugh at your bad memories of the Presidential Fitness Test because I remember doing my mile for that test in middle school. They told us to “walk the curves and run the straightways” and it took me 16 minutes. When I think that now as an adult, my fastest mile run ever was a 7:15 min/mile I am amazed.

And wanting to run a marathon is *not* crazy. If so, I became certifiable back in November 2008. (My family did think I was crazy though LOL). I need to see more of “us” at the longer distance races – do your thing!

Nicole December 21, 2010 - 2:54 PM

This is MAJOR congrats on your accomplishment! It must be exhilirating to make this accomplishment AND include and show your daughter that you can do ANYTHING! You have inspired me so much with this. I am at the 2 mile mark and was JUST looking at the ING marathon registration info yesterday with my sister. We are seriously considering it. But first..I have to make it through the Chicago half next year!

Good luck in your Half marathon!

Tameika December 21, 2010 - 2:58 PM

I’m a newbie runner myself and I applaud you for setting such a lofty goal and smashing it! You go girl! I’m only up to 5.5 miles, but I too have goals of a half marathon one day. IDK about no marathon but maybe…lol Anywho congratulations and best of luck on your future training! I look forward to reading and cheering you on!

BAnjeeB December 21, 2010 - 3:19 PM

Congrats! I’ve been working my way to running. I made my first honest attempt at it last year. I’m not consistent with it yet because I prefer the stairmill and elliptical to running outside or on the treadmill. I’m working on it though, and will continue to. As always thanks for sharing your victories in a realistic way!

Pretty Keish December 21, 2010 - 3:57 PM

CONGRATS! I hope u didn’t have a Charlotte from SATC moment, lmao! But rly. What an accomplishment!! Gives me a glimmer of hope as an asthma sufferer. The most I’ve run/walk is 7 miles roundtrip. You’re a beast! Please keep inspiring, and DO the marathon :-p

Nikita December 21, 2010 - 5:34 PM

Good for you Erika. Go for it. It is kinda funny that I came and saw this blogpost today. I signed up for my first walk today. It will be a 3K in support of TB Awareness. I hope it becomes addictive to walk/run to support groups I believe in and it will assist me with staying in shape.

Christen December 21, 2010 - 5:37 PM

Congrats! I just signed up to do a 10 mile race in April and this post was just what I needed to see today. Great inspiration!

Leah December 21, 2010 - 6:37 PM

Yay for you! Definately not crazy. I’ve done 2 marathons and there is nothing like it. Make sure you follow your long runs with a recovery run (3mi) the next day. Soon your long runs will be 16 or 18 miles and a recovery will be 6 or 8. Before you know it you’ll be stopping at the store or running errands after your long runs with salt on you face and smelling like OMG and you won’t even care.
Congratulations! You are a runner!

Erika December 21, 2010 - 6:41 PM

THIS is what I’m looking forward to! I already jog to the grocery store and jog our groceries home.. NOW, I’ll have to start jogging to the farther grocery store just because, LOL!

I have to admit, though – as sore as I was the next day… it’s gonna be harrrrd to learn how to do a recovery run after that. I’ll have to work my way up to that, LOL!

Kimberly December 21, 2010 - 7:40 PM

I also just started running in October, so AMEN on the importance of interval training. Don’t get on the treadmill and expect to run 5 miles the first day!! My trainer was like, “Just do 30 seconds, build up to a minute, then 90 seconds, etc” with walking in between.

I’m soooo happy for you; your blog really shows everyone that we can do it. Listen to your body, eat the right things, enjoy a rare splurge, and you, too, can run 10 miles, create a healthy sexy body, and be a good role model for our children and community.


Renisha December 21, 2010 - 9:21 PM

Reading this makes me so happy. I’m a marathoner (I guess I can call myself that now that I’m approaching my second full marathon…) and just like you said, there’s definitely something awe=inspiring about pushing to run 26.2 miles. I always love hearing stories like this where people have discovered they CAN run a mile or two or…TEN! I’m glad you included the process of building up to those miles. A lot of folks try to start out too fast and get discouraged.

Thanks so much for sharing this. And I can’t wait to hear about all of your running adventures. Good luck at the half-marathon! *hugs*

Emily December 21, 2010 - 9:21 PM

That’s encouraging to read(for so many reasons) because I have signed up to do the Indy 500 Festival Half Marathon this coming May. I also have a 24 hour, 12 person team, 200 mile relay next June. I’ve done the relay before- but not a half. Bodies can do amazing things with training and willpower. Especially when we learn to abolish the negative self-talk.

I’ve now been running for almost a year (Jan 4 is my runniversary)- Went from a 15 min mile to less than 11 minute miles now. Miracles happen!

Chanel December 21, 2010 - 9:34 PM

Run Erika, Run!! Congratulations! I was a beginning runner before my car accident. I had advanced to 7 miles and was working on my first 10K. NY is also my goal. But we must crawl before we run (again). I will be hitting the road in January and beginning the journey all over again. I hated running in the beginning but in all honesty, the saddest thing about being down, was not being able to run. At first I struggled to just keep my legs moving. It finally got to a point where I was experiencing the “runner’s high” and a sense of clarity on my runs. I lost about 15 lbs ( still eating like a NY rat. Imagine how much I would have lost had I been eating right?). I encourage EVERYONE, no matter the size or shape, to give it a try. I belong to a running club and I have seen people of all shapes and sizes out there giving it a go and then before you know it, they are soaring! Perhaps the most inspiring thing is to see people who didn’t think they could run because of their size or weight, cross the finish line. I’m inspired just thinking about it! Congrats again, girl! See you in NY!!!

JoAnna December 21, 2010 - 9:48 PM

Bravo, Bella!!

I had braces on my legs until I was 7 years old. My freshman gym teacher made me walk/half jog that required mile so I could pass gym with a C-. I gave walking tours as a Park Ranger at the French Quarter Unit, New Orleans, but “strolled”. Running led to twisted ankles, panting, sweating (no “glow”, just sweat), and was not something I did. As a teacher, I did find myself joining my students on the soccer field every so often and rushing to a kick a ball and the freedom of that movement was wonderful! Until I twisted my ankle 5 mins later…

So I’m just envious of your progress. My trainer asked me what I wanted from myself for my 6 month goal. I replied: the ability and stamina to Salsa dance without pain for a couple of hours. I’m still getting used to taking my heart rate to make sure I’m in my target zone. Still getting used to sweating and panting and liking it. Maybe running will come for me later. ‘Til then, I give you much respect for the stories of your journey.

Cjbrownsc December 21, 2010 - 9:54 PM

Congratulations!! That is quite an accomplishment!
I too have always wanted to run and have recently worked my way up to 30 seconds running 3 minutes walking intervals. I am not a patient person and want to be able to just get up and run 5 miles nonstop immediately, but will definitely have to work my way up to that!
I’m also trying to get my 14yo daughter to run with me now since she will be doing the Presidents Fitness Test next year.

Kim December 21, 2010 - 9:55 PM

Such an inspiring post. I can barely walk a mile these days without getting winded . . . but someday, I know, I’ll get there, too πŸ™‚

Inkognegro December 21, 2010 - 10:34 PM

I am eyeing a 5K in February…and a marathon…eventually.

I applaud your Progress…and love your Chronicling.

VM December 21, 2010 - 10:37 PM

I wanted to add that I used to participate in my local AIDS Walk, which was about 6 or 6Β½ miles, and did so annually for about 2-3 years. I was in pretty good shape around those times. I stopped because I started gaining more weight and caring less about my health and got way too out of shape to even finish a half-mile! UGH. I think tht will be a good goal for me – to work my way up to doing the AIDS Walk again and start incorporating running into my walks. πŸ™‚

Tam December 21, 2010 - 11:25 PM

YAY!! Glad to see you joining the running club. It can be addictive so I’ll just be on the lookout for your post talking about your first marathon πŸ˜‰ Oh and that fueling thing is crucial, I started keeping peanut butter packets with me so I could have something that was natural but also convenient to carry with me while running.

Stacey December 21, 2010 - 11:31 PM

“I think there’s something sexy and awe-inspiring about being tired as sin, struggling, and pushing your body to its limits…” <–It is!! I just finished my 1st marathon. U cam too!!

And it is so true u have to build on running appreciation courage & moola πŸ™‚

Great post!!

Tina (laidbackchick) December 22, 2010 - 12:08 AM

Congrats chica, I am going to push 10 in a week or 2, haven’t passed 8 yet, but I will be right with you sis. Keep up the good work!

poitreenmoshun December 22, 2010 - 1:32 AM

Kinda needed this. Running an 8k is a goal of mine for next year. My trainer knows this and has committed to completing the run with me. It’s only 5 miles, but for me, RUNNING is a feat in and of itself. I can’t run on a treadmill, I don’t have the balance, and I hate that all my body parts jiggle on impact. LOL. So I use the track instead. I’m determined to do it. I appreciate you documenting what you’re doing. Good to know that even AFTER all of the weight loss, things don’t just get easy. Training still has to be done, and it reminds me of the work ahead and the goals I’ve set for myself.

Thanks for being all in my brain and business E.

~Cupcake Culprit #1 (one day we’ll change it to Carrot Culprit)

Me December 22, 2010 - 4:20 AM

Here, Here for #1 on your list (I’ll spare you the details of why this resonates with me so much)! And congrats for the accomplishment. Yours is a site I accidentally came across recently, and had to favorite.


Erika Nicole Kendall December 22, 2010 - 4:23 AM


And thank you – I still haven’t forgotten your comment, and am actually hoping to address it individually soon. It was pretty powerful stuff. πŸ™‚

Aiby36 December 22, 2010 - 8:34 AM

Congratufreakinlations Erika! That’s an awesome accomplishment and very inspiring. I’ve been telling myself for the past year that I need to start (and keep) running. I worked myself up to 3 miles but the thought of 10 seems good and impossible. Thank you for telling folks its okay to STOP because that’s the main roadblock for me. I don’t want anyone to see me stop. So…I guess I need to get on the treadmill now….

Biolobri December 22, 2010 - 10:18 AM

WTG Erika!!!!

I started thinking about running a marathon when people on my floor hockey team were getting ready for the Boston Marathon and a few teammates asked me if I’d ever run. I have built up great endurance playing hockey and tend to be the “legs” on the floor, but thinking about RUNNING, just running, no game involved seemed horrifying. I had barely been able to run that damn mile in high school and the thought of running MULTIPLE miles seemed downright crazy. I knew I had to do it. So, I decided to sign up for a half marathon.

A FB friend posted that she signed up for this half marathon and I decided that I would too, quickly, before I changed my mind. Once I was signed up I knew I had to stick to my training. And let me tell you, I could have trained a WHOLE lot better (plus going to Ireland in the middle of training where everything is greasy and our days were filled with sight-seeing and driving tours made things a little trickier).

The day of the run, I felt AMAZING. It’s so emotional to be running with all these people and be doing something so GOOD for yourself. People have asked me how I ran 13.1 miles and I tell them that once you get over the first few miles, it just gets easier. If you pace yourself well (and get through the first 1-2 miles) you suddenly realize it’s been 5! Or 6! And while you could quit, it’s almost easier to keep those legs moving than make them stop. Although the last 2 miles were rough, but I just kept thinking “You’ve come this far! You are going ALL the way!”

I recommend a few things:
1. Tunes. I know headphones are discouraged or banned from many races for safety reasons, but I need that distraction! And it helps me pace myself with the beat (just make sure the best is at a good pace for you!!)
2. Scenery. Running on a treadmill is okay if no other options exist, but running in the woods or around neighborhoods, or wherever is so much nicer. It just gives you a sense of connection and the changing scenery helps to pass the time faster. If you live in a snowy area and want to run in the winter, get some yaktraks.
3. Hydration. Pre-hydrate. Hyrdrate WHILE you are running. Hydrate AFTER your run. Trust me, as someone who experienced “runner’s trot” enough to think I had the flu after my first 12 mile run… it’s important. Plus it helps you keep running without feeling like death. I have 2 suggestions for hydration if you have access/can afford them. The first is electrolyte water from Trader Joe’s. It’s not sugary or flavored (I can’t stand syrupy gatorade, but I’ve been told by my physician that I need to replenish my electrolytes when I exercise). The second (and this is more expendable for me) is the camelbak hydration vest. Drinking water during your run can be difficult. You choke. You get it all over your face. You have to carry it around. But the vest makes it a LOT easier. I got it as a birthday present from my family and coworkers and it made race day SO much easier. You don’t have to ruin your pace to grab a cup, you don’t have to figure out how to sip the cup while running and not choke, you don’t have to wait for the next checkpoint. You have water when you need it.

Anyways, sorry this is long. GO ERIKA!!!!! =)

Eunice December 22, 2010 - 10:23 AM

Erikaaaaaaaa! You are my hero for running those 10 miles. I’m going to have to suck it up and do the same soon. My training has been slightly delayed with the sickness I’m dealing with this week, but I hope to be back on the streets (running, that is) in a few days! I’m so excited for the Miami half! Yey!

Crystal December 22, 2010 - 12:30 PM

Go Erika!!! Maaaaannnn!!! although I’ve started back up yet again, I’m so rooting for you girl! Heck go for it!

Elana Carter December 22, 2010 - 5:54 PM

Good luck, keep going. I did 26.2 three years ago after a 135# weight loss. Race fees are a permanent part of my budget no :).

Leah December 22, 2010 - 7:01 PM

@Biolobri I agree with #2 & #3. I try to go in a big circle or square so that I don’t have to see the same scenery twice. HYDRATION! I have a camelbak but rarely use it, only in very hot temps and when I’m not sure where I can fill up. I like the fuel belts myself. I have one with four 8oz. bottles and a little pocket in the back big enough for cell,lip balm,ID. Great for races because you can keep plenty with you for in between water stops. Learning to grab that cup and drink while running was a hard learned skill. The trick is to pinch the top of the cup so there is just a small opening. Which reminds me of another tip. Keep your feet dry. During summer races you will have the urge to dump water over your head and some races have sprinklers. Wet feet=painful blisters. If you are prone to blister, cover your feet in petrolium jelly before putting on your socks.

Rita December 22, 2010 - 8:13 PM

yay you! You just became my motivation to get back into running, I miss it. I started running for fun this summer but thanks winter weather, school and work, its become a forgotten hobby. After reading your entry today, I’m gonna start back from basics and hit the gym tonight.

Good luck ma’am, keep it up.

asada December 23, 2010 - 5:08 PM

@ Joanna
I hope the trainer you have is worth his(er) salt and helps you. I love salsa dancing and running I hear is a blast. Seems all of my teachers are doing marathons. LOL, and they are all in great shape!

If only I could do this with swimming. I would love to swim and bike!!!

Dr. Goddess December 24, 2010 - 11:55 AM

I’m proud of you, Erika! Please let us, your online family, raise the money to buy you a new outfit, snazzy shoes, a playlist and your marathon fees! It’d be our pleasure, I’m sure!

Jennifer December 24, 2010 - 1:03 PM

Wow. That is a great article and a great way of forcing yourself to complete the 10 miles. I need to get back into it, but I have loved seeing that I could run a mile without stopping.

Sarah Rippel February 3, 2011 - 1:10 AM

You are awesome! Just wanted you to know…in case you forgot! πŸ™‚

Naomi February 20, 2011 - 10:14 PM

You’re my hero! I want to do a marathon too, but now, I’m barely making it a mile (11 minutes–I know). The interval training thing is something that I just picked up on and it’s helping me build up my endurance, but I just wanted to say thanks for doing what you do. You are SUCH an inspiration.

Nicole Johnson March 15, 2011 - 7:23 PM

Will be doing my first half marathon at the age of 40 and plan to finish in under 2 hours and 30 min.

Ti March 18, 2011 - 11:31 AM

Great work!

Lee April 13, 2011 - 1:42 PM

I did a 5K last year. It wasn’t pretty, but I finished it. I did it because I was going through some personal struggles and just wanted to feel like I’d accomplished SOMETHING. I’ve often seen others in my neighborhood out running, and I’m jealous because it looks like such an inexpensive, convenient and liberating exercise. But I fall into worrying about how silly I look, or beat myself up about how slowly I’m progressing, and I quit.

But this post has inspired me to try again. I’m on it.

Wesanda June 12, 2011 - 12:39 AM

Hey, Congrats on your 10 mile run…. I will be running the Miami Half Marathon in Jan. 2012… …. I gotta give it to ya….running is no joke… but, I do love the burn….. πŸ™‚

Curlstar June 13, 2011 - 4:53 PM

I’m over here doing the happy dance for you! Now, there’s no excuse for me to get over myself and get running

Lex June 20, 2011 - 2:08 PM

Oooh I want to be a runner! My goal is a half marathon by next January 2012.

Luvlee Creole August 5, 2011 - 6:09 PM

I have to ask you and the other runners….what are you thinking about when you run? Sometimes I have a hard time zoning out…

eclectikchic August 31, 2011 - 11:41 PM

Great post! I think that you are truly a motivator. keep doing what you are doing. running is one of my goals also.

Valarie September 30, 2011 - 11:46 AM


I have been running since I started college oh, ten years ago. It took me years to get to the point where I could run a 5K, and I still haven’t gotten a full ten miles. I am both envious and motivated by your success.

For all those runners out there, I have a book to recommend: “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall. Ann Tracen(sp?) from the book is my hero–a frequent hundred-mile marathoner superwoman who consistently races against and beats men. Ever since I shucked my tennis shoes and started running in vibram 5 fingers as suggested by the book I have run faster and farther and easier than ever before. I’ve only been “barefoot running,” for a few months but all of the discomfort and pain and drudgery I used to get with sneakers has disappeared. Just a suggestion for those of you who feel awkward and stumbly when running(as I used to).

Faby A October 30, 2011 - 9:07 PM

You are an inspiration Erika! Like you I never wanted to run in the past but I started to fall in love with it after chasing my now three year old when we went for our normal walks and she runs fast Lol. So I decided to start running, using the method of progressively increasing my running with the run/walk combo. I am going to try and run my official 5k in Miami this January the Tropical 5k run. I am super excited!

Tremilla October 31, 2011 - 5:14 AM

Hvaen’t started running yet but I’ll get there soon. I ampreparing myself for the ING half marathon in Jan.2012 in downtown Miami. I’ve walked 7 miles so far and that feeling alone was exhilirating. Can’t wait to walk those 13.1 miles to the finish line!!!

Wesanda October 31, 2011 - 7:58 PM

Hey, girl… get it… I am supposed to be running the half marathon in a couple of months too… hopefully I can get my foot betta and still be able to run… either way it goes…I am still gonna be there… πŸ™‚

Shannon November 8, 2011 - 11:38 AM

Congratulations on running 10 miles and on all your success with training! I stumbled upon your blog while looking something up for the race I am currently working on, the Austin 10/20. Everything you said about the 10 mile distance was very true and motivational. If you’re ever looking for a fun 10 mile race to do, you should check out our event: Austin1020.com. It’s a 10 mile race on April 15th that features 20 stages along the course- a live band every half mile and a huge headliner concert afterwards. Best of luck with the Miami Beach Half Marathon! There is no better feeling than accomplishing something you’ve spent hours, days and months training for!

treadmill January 10, 2012 - 6:29 PM

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Kristy January 15, 2012 - 1:25 PM

Simply inspiring!

Karen January 24, 2012 - 2:17 PM

You spoke from my heart…
My walks began a puppy that is now a dog and literally pulls me out the door for our 5-6 mile runs.
I am now inspired to make it to 10 miles by May.

ILA February 9, 2012 - 12:39 PM

I have just started a C25K program currently in week 4. I have registered for my first 5K (3.1 miles) April 29 so I am excited but nervous as well. My weight is not good but I have changed my eating habits and hope to loose a few pounds as I train. I ran back in the day but 35 years have since passed and I am a novice once again with youth not being my friend. I like the feeling that running gives me so that is what motivates me and it’s the one sport where regardless of how you look, weigh, shuffle along, as long as you are moving that is the main goal. I have plantar fasciitis and achilies tendonitis but have new running shoes and custom orthotics. I keep my goal in sight for I want to run the 5K and not walk even if I have to have a pace of a turtle. I belong to a running group Black Girls Run (national group) and they are a great group of women who support one another regardless of the running level. So I plan to work my way up to a 8K-10K and eventually a half marathon. We can do all things!!

Tyeshia February 27, 2012 - 2:14 PM

You ae such an inspriation!! I have run a couple of 5k’s over the passed year. And just like you have always wanted to run a 10K. Last week I just decided to stop dreaming and just sign up. So I am going to run my first 10K in May (Broad Street Run in Philly), right now I can only run 3 miles. Is there any advice you can give me. Thanks

NneNna April 2, 2012 - 3:22 PM

First off I love this blog. It seems like you read my mind and answer all the questiosn I have. I am currently trying to improve my lifestyle. I used to hate eating anything healthy and hated exercise, 50 lbs gained later I now realize that is a no go and am making changes and this blog is right on time!

Good for you for the run! I used to hate running now its a strong dislike of mine but it still awesome how it makes you feel. I signed up for the Air Force half marathon in September and I am so anxious but very excited. If you run the marathon please keep us posted on everything you are doing because I am clueless about it but I am learning everyday! πŸ™‚

cassandre April 2, 2012 - 6:11 PM

thank you, thank you for this post. my friend and i are both running our fist half marathion in April.. the more/fitness magazine half-marathon in NYC.i am learning so much about running and based on the stiffnes i have been having stretching is the one area that i wasn’t doing enough of.. i used to hate running and now i find myself craving it.. it’s such a mental thing with running..

Newbie to running May 3, 2012 - 12:11 PM

Excellent post! It’s giving me encouragement. I’m new to the running game, as I just started this year. I recently completed my first race and it was such an adrenaline rush. I felt so empowered, but learned some valuable lessons in the process about getting proper rest, the right shoes and eating. For the next race, I’ll be better equipped, but in the meantime, I’ll keep reading this blog and keep running. Thank you!

Leo May 3, 2012 - 12:41 PM

this is incredibly inspiring.

Alissa May 24, 2012 - 11:25 AM

I loved this!!!!!! I have an arbitrary goal of running ten miles without stopping by September. Why ten? I have no idea. The longest I’ve run is seven, but I normally can eke out only 3 or 4. So ten is a LOT. But you inspired me!!! I also want to run a half-marathon and, eventually, a full marathon. But yes those races are expensive, so we’ll see. Congratulations to you on your accomplishment!!! And thanks for the inspiration πŸ™‚

Nyota Vargas May 24, 2012 - 12:59 PM

Congrats to you. I actually used to put myself down bc I wasn’t running 10 miles right out the box. I ran a quarter of a mile and felt so happy for myself. I run and get such a great feeling, I don’t know if its a runners high but it feels great. Erica you prove time and time again that fitnessgoals can be met reguardless of size and fitness level. Love the blog and think you are great.

olivia July 5, 2012 - 1:31 PM

as a former person who sweats i understand the joys of a nice long run it clears your mind gets your blood flowing and makes you feel better about you .. i miss those joys i am far to big to run now my knees cant handle the pressure . but i encourage you to try new things in your running hills build strength added weights gains power. your stride and breathing is important that is the only thing on your list you left out the importance of breathing properly while running okay enjoy .. and i agree you do not have to defend your blog to us we are here because you make us proud

Sara August 4, 2012 - 10:23 AM

That’s SO awesome!!! I feel like most people who have had significant weight loss can use distance running as a motivation towards the end of their journey as a way to keep up motivation for workouts and almost like a reward. It doesn’t even have to be half or full marathon, it could be a 5 or 10K. It’s the greatest feeling to have this new body that you can push to limits you never even dreamed of. When you cross that line, it’s emotional and it’s amazing.

Nubian August 4, 2012 - 10:25 AM

Congratulations! I’m also doing the Miami 1/2 marathon! πŸ™‚

oliviadaughter September 24, 2012 - 5:22 PM

WOW it is like you are reading my mind. I love your blog, I read alot of them, but I don’t comment much ! But this one here !!! I use to be a walker for years, just since about June of this year I started running. This summer I have completed 4 – 5Ks of 3 I ran. Running is a struggle, I had to get my mind right, your five points are on point. I really needed to hear that it is ok to stop if I need to and walk then run again. During my last race I made a protein smoothie with good things in it and I felt fueled and I ran better than the other races. The Cleveland Rite Aide Marathon is coming in May 2013 I am training for the 10K. I don’t want to do it but I want to do it, I feel like I have to do it. Thanks so much for this blog. I am 53 years old but I am getting it IN girl TGBTG

Shaka2ursystem September 26, 2012 - 12:09 PM

That is so awesome and I must agree you are quite an inspiration. Although I am not getting ready for a half marathon I am getting prepared to run a 5k. My goal is to be 5k approved and have ran one before the new year. I am trying your approach off running and walking alternating the tow and it seems to be working. I can now run a minute without feeling as though I’m about to pass out. Progress.

Keep up the good work and I will do the same.

hidaya October 6, 2012 - 5:23 PM

Do 200lb. women run or should they wait?

Erika Nicole Kendall October 6, 2012 - 5:58 PM

They run…and they love it!!!!! <3

Denice Smith December 8, 2014 - 3:34 PM

We sure do and yes, I LOVE it!

Saundra Robinson October 6, 2012 - 5:30 PM

Great read. Doing my first 5k on the 20th in Atlantic City. Already looking at another 5k about 3 weeks after that one. (Someone did say running was addictive.) I do the interval thing also, using a 9 week program I found online. I’m loving it. Never wanted to run anywhere for anything. Now I’m walking for miles and running for (shorter) miles. πŸ™‚ Keep up the good work. I’ll be ready for 10 miles after I get a few more 5ks under my belt.

StacyWash October 24, 2012 - 2:24 PM

Love this! I’m a newbie runner as well. Completed my half less than a month ago. I’m headed to Miami for the ING Half in January πŸ™‚

Katisia January 8, 2013 - 10:09 PM

I started jogging/walking two years ago and now am able to run 5-6 miles every other day and fast!!! i feel so strong and confident nothing like a runners high. by the way, i love your site. inspiring!!!

nanz01 March 15, 2013 - 10:22 PM

Congratulations on 10 miles! Inspirational story, too. I’m getting ready to run 10 miles for the first time in my life tomorrow morning. I just wanted to say this post has totally changed my perspective. I was getting in my head, nervous, anxious, but your words have turned my negative thoughts to positive. You’ve reminded me WHY I run. Thanks.

Claire April 23, 2014 - 8:43 AM

GO ERIKA! Psyched for you! And psyched for me, because as you learn more about running, you’ll add that into your awesome toolkit and share with all your devoted followers.

Two things that help me: 1) I track my shoe miles and swap them out for new ones every 300 (Your Mileage Will Vary). The outers still look good but the insides are broken down and don’t support my feet anymore. My beautiful strong feet deserve the investment.

2)I buy my shoes from a dedicated running store to support a small business, support my local running community, take advantage of expertise to buy the RIGHT shoes for my feet. The extra money I spend is worth it and I’m a cheapy cheapster on a budget.

Xo, Claire (Started running fall 2011: NYC Marathon 2013, 10 halfs and counting, next one 4/27/2014)

Erika Nicole Kendall April 24, 2014 - 9:56 AM

Wooooo, that is an impressive list. Wow!

Suzy August 26, 2014 - 6:57 PM

Way to goooooo! From merry Lil England I did my first 10 mile last night. I cannot begin to explain the elation (I still!) feel! Half marathon in 11 days. Feelings of being petrified and now accompanied by BRING IT ON! I did not stop or walk on my 10 mile, been training for 6 months….so happy happy happy, look forward to following your blog – go girl..and I love the bits about mini me πŸ™‚

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