Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's an off-day...

All right, so it's an "off" day today (and by "off" I mean I wasn't supposed to run, not that I'm feeling strangely). But with my 5k weekend coming up in ten days (TEN DAYS?!?!), I'm feeling the pressure a bit (okay, a lot) and wanted to make sure I didn't lose the motivation I was feeling yesterday. So I thought I'd throw in a short run today. Part of me also wanted to see if I could break an 11 minute mile if I was running a shorter distance. And a bunch of runners I know were running today, and hearing about their distance goals for the day motivated me to get out there myself!

Fortunately, I managed to sneak the run in just before the rain, because once it started raining, all of the bike paths were flooded - that would have been miserable. I thought I had a pretty good idea of where the half mile marker was, so I checked that on Map My Run before I headed out. It turned out to be just over half a mile, so I figured that I'd push myself and hit that distance anyway. My legs felt pretty good today after running 3.4 miles yesterday, but my hip was definitely struggling. Since it's been so rainy lately though, I'm attributing that to weather and just making sure to ice it!

Because I was only running just over a mile, I figured I'd push myself a bit by speeding up (did I really write "only" there? Wow, I've come a long way...). I know eventually I'll be able to run faster, but right now, I still feel like I'm running so slowly! When people talk about running 6 minute miles, I think about how I run about half a mile in that time! I do think I'm at least running faster than I could walk, which is an improvement, and I'm definitely running faster than the classic Chariots of Fire slow motion running. Plus, twelve weeks or so ago, I couldn't run even a mile, so I have to keep things in perspective a little.

At the end of my run, I really pushed myself to run as fast as I could. Of course, this almost killed me. It took me about two blocks of walking to feel like I could get air into my lungs again. I should mention that I'm now wearing a Road ID - basically, you put your name, town, and home phone number on there, as well as the numbers for two emergency contacts, so that if you do pass out on the side of the road, the people who (hopefully) come to your aid will have someone to call. Uh, actually, I think it's more for if you were to get hit by a car while running/training, but in my case, I think passing out on the side of the road is also a valid concern. You can also put a short saying on there, like a reminder to yourself to keep going. Mine says "Defy Expectations!" because when I started out, I never thought I'd be running more than three miles without being chased or needing hospitalization. But anyway, for anyone who is worried that I'll end up alone in a ditch somewhere, people will know who to call to help me (by the way, Dad and Mandy, you're my emergency contacts).

The end result of my run today was that I ran 1.22 miles in 11:30. Map My Run seems to think this is a 9:25 mile pace, while yesterday was a 11:10 mile pace. I'll take it! I'd love to always have a 9:25 mile pace, but as I said yesterday, I'll settle for just finishing both my races and running the whole distance. Plus, both 5k's have tee shirts, which, as you know, is my main criteria in running any race. Though, I saw a picture of the medals they gave out at the Boston Marathon...that would be pretty cool too...oh dear...

Anyway, I am glad I was motivated to put in an extra run today for a few reasons:

1) Seeing that I can run a 9:25 mile during a short run gives me the confidence that my training is working. Not that I had too many doubts, but I was feeling so grouchy and disheartened by running last week that I was worried I wouldn't get back to it. Also, I managed to do some lower body yoga last night, and I could tell that there was a big difference in how strong my legs are. They felt much more powerful, and what a great feeling! And fortunately, I know a woman who started out as a non-runner like me, and became a triathlete in less than a year, so I know it's possible to reach awesome goals! (This is why building a community of athletes around you is so, so important! Can't stress that enough...)

2) I needed to ramp up my mindset a bit. If I take more than two consecutive days off from running, I start to feel like I'm not really a runner anymore and all my old habits start to come back. Someone said to me recently that if you're not moving forwards, you're moving backwards. Doing nothing is still moving backwards. That is so true for me, so if I want to stay one step ahead of my head and the little voice that tells me I will fail, I need to stay on top of my training and keep after it. Liz Waterstraat posted an excellent blog today on the very topic of confidence and fearlessness in training. Sometimes, I feel like she's reading my mind!

3) In addition to being confident in my training, I needed to get some general confidence and remind myself that I am supposed to be enjoying this. I knew I could do a shorter run pretty easily now that I've been running over three miles at a time, so I wanted to cut myself a break without taking a regularly scheduled run to do it, if that makes any sense.

4) I really, really, really, really want to be a runner. Really. And skipping a workout last week, after having a run where I had to do a lot of walking made me wonder if I was cut out for this after all. I think I'm in that crunch time, the moment when they separate the men from the boys (and I may have another moment of this after I complete my goal of doing a 5k - you know, that feeling of, "okay, now I'm done," instead of "yes, I'm just getting started"). This is when I have to dig deep and find the motivation I need to keep going. It helps that I have a non-refundable registration for both of the 5k's, but somedays, it comes down to battling with myself. And I want the runner in me to win, always. Today, the runner won...and I'm so glad!


  1. I am so jealous of all this running! Glad I'm an emergency contact too...though I hope they never need to call me!

  2. I love this!! You are a runner, and from now on you'll steadily get better and better. I know all about battling yourself and all the defeating thoughts that sit waiting to pounce when you begin to struggle. BUT you shake them off and remind yourself of how far you've come. As cheesy as it may sound, I'm constantly drowning out the 'ugly' voices by saying things like "YOU are a champion", "You're strong, you're doing it", and a whole arsenal of positive affirmations to keep going. You are doing so awesome!! Keep running!! :)