When Walsh, Jastrem & Browne was merged into the Withum family in March of 2015, Simone Chuda was one of only two Boston employees to join the Withum 300 running group. And despite essentially only beginning the program in April, she was still able to achieve her goal of 300 miles by December. This month, Simone explains why she started running, the “firsts” she’s challenging herself with this year, and her philosophy of how “something is better than nothing.”
I was always active with sports throughout my school years. As most adults face, I struggled with the options of how to stay healthy and get active as I transitioned into a full-time job and was now spending hours sitting behind a desk. I have always enjoyed running and it tends to be my go-to exercise, mainly because it is easy and “free” unlike a gym membership, however I never considered myself “a runner.” I would strive to run 3 times a week for about 2-3 miles each time, and would sign up for occasional 5K runs to keep me motivated, yet I would fall short of my goal constantly.
In March 2015, Withum merged with our office and with the merger came information about the Withum 300 group. I was instantly interested and signed up as I tried to recruit others as well. I updated MapMyRun and quickly refreshed my memory of how to use the app so that I could track my miles and join challenges. The updates from the Withum 300 group showing the monthly progress was rewarding and motivating. I quickly made it a goal to play catch up and get on track to reach the 300 miles by the end of the year. In December 2015, I conquered that goal, proudly representing the Boston office, and immediately signed up to rejoin Withum 300 in 2016.
My personal goal for this year is to reach my 300 miles by Thanksgiving. I did not expect for this year to bring so many firsts along with that goal. On top of experiencing some new 5K runs, I ran my first 10K on the 4th of July, my first Falmouth Road Race on August 21st, which is a selective 7.1-mile race on Cape Cod, and am signed up to run my first half marathon on October 2nd. With all of these runs and new distances has come hours’ worth of training. The top three factors to my successful training has been listening to my body, variety and fellow runners.
I personally use the Nike+ app for my training which has a Coach setting detailing coaching plans by listing the distance for me to run each day and for the weeks ahead, which enables me to look back at the progress. I admit there are days I miss a run or do not reach the distance goal. On days that I struggle or have low motivation, I remind myself and others of my personal training motto, “something is better than nothing.” You will never regret going out and doing something to help you train, no matter how short. I continue to learn more about my body and its limits. I am not afraid anymore to admit when I need to have an unscheduled rest day or to walk out a cramp during a run. Listening to your body is crucial.
Another key factor to my training is variety. Nike+ app helps remind me that distance is not the sole goal in my training. For example, my training plans will explain on certain days for me to run shorter distance but I will be working on periodic sprints. Mixing up my route also helps keep my mind fresh and engaged. Trying a new route is a perfect excuse for me to explore different areas of the city on foot. Having shorter races scheduled in between the ultimate goal, in this case my half marathon, helps me stay focused and motivated while showing me the progress I have made and the areas to improve upon. It was ultimately having the shorter scheduled races in between now and the half marathon that helped me convince myself that I could take my running to the next level; besides, I knew it would be fun regardless with friends.
The largest contribution to my training is fellow runners. Being able to come into the office and talk about running with coworkers has a mutual motivation. When I go home to NH I know I can count on going for a long run with my best friend. My best friend from home is the one who invited me to join her for our first 10K race, my cousin invited me to join the Falmouth Road race and it is a combined effort from my best friend and our own Krysten Hambrook to join them for the half marathon. Being able to bounce off ideas in terms of new routes, running gear, and training plans brings a new element and a reminder that this is a shared hobby. The monthly updates of how everyone else in the Withum 300 group is progressing is always exciting. Krysten and I constantly talk about our runs and the monthly progress we have made, boosting each other to go farther. With a strong support group and people who are able to join in on your interest, your progress will grow exponentially and you will be reaching upon your original goals like I have.
This year has certainly transformed me into “a runner.” Remember- something is better than nothing!