Friday, May 08, 2009

Not a penguin

I had to wait a few days to make sure it wasn't a fluke, but it seems clear now. I am not a penguin anymore.

In the running community on-line a penguin is someone whose running pace is closer to a waddle than to a sprint. Generally a pace slower than 10 minutes per mile puts you in the penguin category.

My first week of running was those Couch-to-5k walk-run intervals (2 minutes running, 1 minute walking, that sort of thing) and my pace was around 13 minutes per mile. Waddle waddle. By the time I had eliminated the walk intervals I had sped up a good bit, to about 11.5 minutes per mile.

For the last three weeks I've been trying to increase both my speed and my distance, hoping to graduate from penguinhood. I've added 3 km (2 miles) to my distance, and my speed has been coming along gradually. Within the last week my faster flatter runs have hovered right around that 10-minute pace. Was I still a penguin? I wasn't sure. A few seconds this way or that, a few missing metres could make the difference either way.

But today I definitively discarded my penguin status, pulling off a 9:55 pace on my 3-mile (5 km) hill route. I'm sure of the time and distance on this one, and with an elevation gain on the outgoing leg of almost 100 metres, this route isn't a casual stroll. So there you have it. I run. I no longer waddle. And, best news of all, the dog is occasionally breaking into a lope, and panting alongside me, tongue lolling and finally looking like she's getting a workout too.


  1. Fantastic!! I think I still hover around a waddle. ;-)

  2. Anonymous5:21 am

    I am an experienced runner, running both marathons, 10Ks, and 10 mile races. Never heard of someone who runs less than 10 minute miles being referred to as a penguin. A 10 minute mile is very respectable...I do them all the time. The only time I ever worry about times is in my races. Much more fun that way:-)

  3. "Penguins" is a sort of slow-runners' pride movement that's taken root in the on-line communities at Runner's World an elsewhere. It's not a slam.

  4. Wow, that is excellent progress. Well done!

  5. Proud Penquin here hehehe . . . not sure I will ever be anything but a penguin, sigh . . . .

  6. I actually googled "penguin" and it originally started in Canada, for people who run for the pure joy of it, and do not care about time...sounds like I am a penguin after all of these years.

  7. Congratulations!

    I am a penguin. I keep telling myself 'faster than a walk, faster than a walk'.

  8. Well done, Miranda! After some metric translation, my DH says that a 10 minute mile is very respectable.


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