Sunday, March 15, 2009

Every run is different

So today is the beginning of week 7 and it feels both like it's gone so quickly, and like I've been doing this forever. On this morning's run, I was back to intervals, running five minutes, walking three, running eight, walking three and running five more. Since I'd run a full 20 minutes on Friday, I was thinking of this as an "easy" run (at least for me - Coach J ran 85 minutes one day last week, then went out for an easy 6-mile run later the same day, so I guess it's all about perspective). But it turned out that I was going to learn another lesson about running - every run is different. Since I skipped the "What I learned this week" on Friday, I'll give you my lessons today:

- As I said, "Every run is different" - Although I'd run 20 minutes and felt great on Friday, today's run felt tougher most of the way through. That's because I was running under different conditions - my body is still tired and sore from Friday, so it took longer to warm up my muscles. The weather was a chilly 45 degrees, so it was just between the "wear a fleece" and "just wear a tee shirt" temperature. I chose the tee shirt, which meant I was cold all during my warm up walk. So every day I run is going to be different, based on how my body feels, how I've been taking care of it on recovery days, what I've been eating, what the weather is like, how windy it is, etc. As soon as I realized that this morning, I mentally gave myself a break and was able to get through the intervals just fine. Good thing it only took me seven weeks to realize this.

- I really love the feeling of accomplishment I get from longer runs. Running 20 straight minutes on Friday for the first time in my life (sad, I know, but true) was a great feeling! It showed me in such a concrete way that if I put my mind to something, and put the work in, I can do anything. I love the exhausted, sick, sweaty feeling I have by the end of a run (seriously!), because it means I really accomplished something. And I'm actually starting to like running during the running intervals (instead of just afterwards), which is a first.

- I'm tougher than I thought I was. Last week, pretty much right through Friday morning, I really, really, really, really didn't think I was going to be able to run 20 minutes without taking a break. When I thought about it in an abstract way, like "oh yeah, I'll just run for 20 minutes," I thought it was possible. But when I ran on Wednesday, and the two eight-minute intervals felt like forever, and as I was running on Friday, and I really didn't know if my body could handle 20 minutes, I just wasn't sure. Getting through that made me realize how tough (both physically and mentally) I can be.

- I can't wait until 20 minutes is an easy run for me. I built it up so much, like it was SUCH a long time to run, that it seems laughable in the face of other people's ability to run long distances. So I can't wait until I'm heading out for easy six mile runs. Someday...

Back to today's run - when I woke up this morning, my body was sore, I was exhausted and it wasn't even that early. I really wanted to put off the run until tomorrow morning, but I know it will be a busy day and I don't want to get derailed. I'm glad I got up and pushed myself, and already my body feels less sore and tired. This Friday, I face 25 minutes of straight running. I really want to whine and complain about it, but now I know I can do it, so I can't get away with that! Plus, I might be starting to love running. Just a little. Let's not get too excited.

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