If you told me three months ago that I’d be running a minimum of 5k a day at least 5 times a week I’d say “Hey, you’re a filthy liar!”
Hi, I’m Julia Hladkowicz. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a comedian, actor, writer and professional excuse maker. At first glance I look like a moderately fit woman. I guess I am? I also love to complain. If you accidentally make eye contact with me during a fitness class I’ll give you one of my classic “can you believe this shit?” looks. I’ll crack the occasional joke so people know that *I know* how much I’m screwing up in class. Really committing to something is hard. Maybe I half ass things in other aspects of my life because as a performer I feel like I’m using my full ass and still experience so much rejection and criticism on a daily basis. I don’t like to “fail”.
Sometimes I go the completely opposite direction. I convince myself of these grandiose goals but don’t give myself the tools, time or dedication to complete them. Last year in December, sick and tired of not being flexible, I decided I wanted to do the splits by Christmas. I called it splitsmas. I committed and I committed HARD. Spoiler alert, I really hurt my hamstring and it’s still not completely healed. Oh, and I still can’t do the splits.
So why did I start I’ve Got The Runs? A) I often have the runs (literally) and B) I want the haters, the doubters, the self loathers and the complainers to know that running is for everyone. A lot of friends have reached out to me saying “You’re so brave and inspirational and your running journey is even better than Brittany Runs a Marathon!” Well, not in those exact words. But the general consensus was “wow, if old tight-hips Julia Complainkowicz can do it, so can I!”
Without sounding cliche, slow and steady wins the race. If you are willing to dedicate a little bit of time everyday, huge things can happen. After months of covid, I was sick and tired of just going for walks and bike rides. My husband, who ran the LA marathon right before covid hit, would run almost every day. Even though the thought of running for more than 5 minutes made me sick, I envied him. I saw joggers as super people who must have extra bones in their legs or special lungs for stamina.
What did I have? Flat feet, tight hips, strained hamstrings, stiff lower back, weak glutes, a defeatist attitude and just thinking about running gave me cramps. These things may all be true but one day I just said fuck it and decided to go for a run. I downloaded the Nike Run App, went to guided runs and clicked on “first run”. It’s 20 minutes which I originally thought was absolutely bonkers for a FIRST RUN. Who am I, DONAVAN BAILEY?! A nice man with a gentle voice encourages you throughout the run and tells you to go slow. And slow I went. A jog so slow that I think I’d be able to walk faster. At the end of the run the nice British man congratulates you and tells you how fucking awesome you are and guess what? IT FELT NICE. Humans respond well to positive feedback. WHO KNEW?
My first run was July 16th and I completed 2.35km with an average pace of 8’30/km. I was SO proud of myself because I hadn’t run so long, consecutively, in years. In the past when I’ve tried to run I would get a cramp immediately and be sore for a week. Turns out I was going TOO FAST. I wanted to be good right away without putting in the work but like anything in life, that’s usually not the case.
Completing a slow-ass 20 minute run was such an accomplishment for me, I started to think that anything was possible. I didn’t set any major goals except to just…do it. (I am not sponsored by Nike.) If you just make a commitment to show up and not put too many expectations on the outcome, you might surprise yourself!
So much has changed in my running journey over the last 3 months (including running a few 10K’s and significantly improving my speed) but this is the first post so I don’t want to bombard you. Before I go I wanted to leave you with some tips and tricks to start running. I am by NO MEANS a running expert or health professional. I am a woman who used to hate running who no longer does. Every body is different so make sure to listen to yours! (or to your doctor if you have any major concerns or ailments)
Julia’s Running tips
I can’t stress this enough. Slooooow. You don’t want to push yourself too hard at the beginning or you’ll get burnt out and never want to run again. On your first run just focus on completing that. Even start with a brisk 20 minute walk if you have to!
GET AN APP
Running apps are fun because they track your progress. They hold you accountable. I got the Nike Running App. There’s also an app called Couch to 5K that people swear by if just going out and running 20 min seems too daunting. I like the Nike app because it tracks your history and gives you badges for your achievements. As a former brownie, I love a badge.
This is where I may lose some of you, but don’t take more than a day off. It’s so much harder to get back into it. Even if that means only running for 10 minutes around the block a few times. Commit to doing it at least every other day, especially at the beginning!
STRETCH BEFORE AND AFTER
Dynamic stretches before you run, static stretches after you run. Dynamic means a stretch the you don’t hold for a long period of time. So do things like legs swings, butt kicks, high knees, etc. I like this video! For a post run stretch make sure you’re stretching out you hip flexors, glutes, calves, quads and hamstrings.
BUY A CUTE OUTFIT
Ok this is absolutely not necessary but it helps. One thing you should invest in is good running shoes. OH, and a good sports bra (ladies…and some gents?) My boobs got bigger due to mainlining wine and cheese during covid (I call them my quaran-tits) and having your jugs bounce around during a run isn’t fun for anyone except the pervert in the bushes. Use my Fabletics code for $10 off if you want! https://www.fabletics.ca/invite/210790813/
GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO DIGEST
If you run right after eating a cheeseburger you’ll get a cramp and shit your pants. I don’t make the rules. I tend to run in the morning so will eat something like a banana and a few nuts. Maybe half a cup of coffee. I also drink a big glass of water right when I wake up. Then I wait at least an hour before running. Your body needs to digest and you need do your business so you don’t get the runs on one of your runs.
DON’T LET CRAMPS DISCOURAGE YOU
I got cramps almost every time I ran for the first 2 months. No matter what I did. It was annoying as hell. I googled every cramp remedy and nothing was helping. Unless they’re crazy sharp (listen to your body) you can power through them. Once you figure out your breathing, things will get better. Patience and perseverance! (and CBD oil. Again, I am not a doctor nor do I work for a CBD company)
DON’T EXPECT MIRACLES AND BE NICE TO YOURSELF
You’re not going to lose 50 pounds and become the worlds best runner. I mean, maybe you will eventually but it ain’t gonna happen fast. Part of the reason I started running was to lose some of the covid weight I put on. That has not happened because running makes you HUNGRY and I like to treat myself after a run. Am I stronger than I was 3 months ago? Yes. Am I thinner? No. Should I stop eating pastries every day and maybe cool it on the red wine? Probably. More on that next week…
So there you have it folks. This is the inaugural post so it’s kinda long. Don’t expect a novel every week. You don’t want to spend all day reading some lunatics blog when you could be out there running. Thanks so much for reading. I’ve got the runs and I hope you get the runs too!
7 thoughts on “I’ve Got The Runs”
Awesome blog! Ex Brownie myself, and I agree with the badge thing👌
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So good! I’ve been off my running since the COVID madness due to, well, having had COVID (I wanted to get a head start by having it early in the pandemic BTW). My lungs are getting stronger though and I’m starting to run again. And now I’ll be reading this blog! This is helpful. You’re a badass! xo
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I was scrolling Instagram and procrastinating going on a run when I came across your post about this blog. Guess what! Now I’m in my running shit and heading out the door!
I use the Runkeeper app, which sounds a lot like the Nike app.
The girl running with me inside my headphones is going to be SO PROUD that I SHOWED UP today. Thanks for the motivayvay, Julia.
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Clara! I love this! I’m so glad you got out there and thank you for your kindness!
Good for you Julia. I ran for 25 years, 6 days a week. I just loved it. Keep up the good work.
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Wow! That’s impressive! Thanks so much Debi 🙂
This is EVERYTHING AMAZING AND MORE!
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