Every runner starts somewhere.
For Lana Hilgemann, it started with a wedding – her daughter’s. It was about five years ago, and Lana just wanted to tone up a bit before the big day. She started with a couch to 5K program that she did on her treadmill in Eureka.
“It was awful,” she says. “I would text Rachel and say, ‘I did 3 miles,’ and give her my progress report.”
But those are the two things you need to stick to a new plan – motivation and accountability, and Lana had both. “You know how it is when you have a big event and have these big goals,” she said.
She stuck to the treadmill because she was too self-conscious to run outside, and that meant she wasn’t sure if what she didn’t love was running or if it was running on the treadmill. So the next year, she tried the program again, but this time outside. She would run on a gravel road that looped a lake.
“I just ran by myself all the time,” Lana said. “And I realized it was a lot more fun than running on a treadmill.”
After that, she just kept it up and decided to try a half-marathon – the Mickelson Trail race.
In the meantime, her life changed – she moved to Sioux Falls and found the Sioux Falls Women Run Facebook group, a built-in social circle for her new hobby. She went to a few events and took her time warming up to running as part of a group.
“I started meeting people, and I tell people now, ‘I think my social life is that running group,’” Lana says. “It isn’t always running but it is doing things with the running community.”
She’s found a group of other women who run a similar pace, one that community has coined the “sexy pace,” for the back of the pack runners who are – and should be – proud of their personal accomplishments.
“I’m very sexy running,” Lana laughs, using the term. “I’m sometimes pornographic running.”
It’s awesome to hear her talk about her hobby and how it’s helped her step out of her comfort zone. She’s joined group runs, ladies nights at 605 Running Co., and group runs with the Sioux Falls Area Running Club.
And she’s taken her confidence and used it to bolster other women.
“I always felt like I had to keep up,” Lana says, and talks about how she often uses a run/walk method. “I did it to myself, and I would shy away from group runs. Now I’ve met my tribe of people and we’re all in the same boat.”
To help others, she’s created two weekly group runs aimed at those who prefer to walk/run.
“I needed the accountability,” Lana says. “I thought, if I post, people will come and that holds me accountable and gives me company.
And they do, and Lana loves it.
“It just warms my heart,” she says. “It’s so fun to see people get over the hump of joining something.”
Name: Lana Hilgemann
From: Eureka, S.D., and moved to Sioux Falls in 2015
Works: At Avera as an IT specialist
Family: Husband John, daughter Rachel and sons Andrew and Ethan
Group runs: 5:15 a.m. Thursdays at Rosa Parks and 6:30 a.m. Saturday at Falls Overlook Café. The pace is 11:30-12:00/mile and the routes are usually an out and back.
Best advice: You’re your own worst critic. Embrace your pace. If you’re off the couch and doing something, you should be enjoying it. There’s no shame.
Jacqueline Palfy is a longtime runner, reader and writer, marathoner, mom and board member of the nonprofit Sioux Falls Area Running Club. Her contributions to the 605 Running Co. blog will appear each Tuesday. You can follow her on Twitter @runnerJPK or reach her at email@example.com. Story ideas are encouraged.