Running Though the Bad

I’m in a bit of a snit with running lately.

Truly, I have no idea why. My guess is that as I’ve become more aware to the running community, I’m feeling intimidated.

I joined a bunch of running groups on facebook and added several members of the two local running clubs of which I’m now a member. At first seeing everyone post their daily miles and races was exciting, but being inundated with paces in the 6-8 minute range has caused me to compare myself.

There’s that envy again! Now Lent is over, but I still struggle with it.

Suddenly, the activity that inspired me and was starting to feel natural got harder. I’ve fallen back with my pace– my confidence took a major dive with it. I’m feeling stuck.

However, there are also awesome benefits. For the first time ever, I (kinda!) knew some people running the Boston Marathon. Seeing their bib numbers and progress posted was exciting. And if these are the individuals in my running clubs, aren’t I lucky? I’m bound to learn and absorb SOME of their skill and running mojo.

If you want to be great, surround yourself with greatness. These people genuinely LOVE running– they run early, in all kinds of weather. Some race nearly every week. They look fit– like runners. They know their pace and seem RELAXED while running– they are able to go on long group runs and even have conversations while running. They travel to Boston just to support other club members– that kind of devotion is impressive. They know who they are — runners– and they’ve built a comfortable life and group of friends around it.

I want that!

I’m in the process of doing the same. I just have remind myself that I can’t compare my beginning to the established routines and athletic excellence that took years to develop.

And I have to be more forgiving of myself and the humility of my body’s limits.

As much as I aspire to it– I’m not Haruki Murakami. I can’t magically up my mileage whenever I feel like it and run endlessly, without walk breaks. He was born with some genetic predisposition to running that is truly a gift.

The rest of us have to earn all those skills and miles under duress.

But I know that I have the heart of a runner, even if my legs and my lungs fight me.

Because I’m reading books about it, signing up for races months in advance, and making major lifestyle changes to better enable myself to perform at a higher level. I’m foregoing other purchases, thinking, “I could put that toward a race fee.” The next thing I fantasize about buying is a new pair of running shoes– mine are starting to feel flat.

Because although right now trying to improve and acclimate myself to this sport honestly sucks, I’m thinking long-term.

Growing pains are awkward, but that’s all these are. Pains of transition.

I can’t wait till my next race– this weekend. It’ll be my first 10k– in an arboretum.

No one I know is doing this race, and I love that. I’ll be free.

No pressure. I’m just going to enjoy myself, push my pace, and look at the trees.

 

The Transition (From Night to Morning Runner!)

Next Saturday, Aug. 8, I will run my FIRST 5K!!

It’s local and in memory of a friend. Perfect.

To prepare, I stopped running at night. Because no matter how many miles I’ve run, it’s still going to be a shock to my system to suddenly be pushing myself at 8 a.m. if I’m used to running at 9 p.m. or later. I would probably be tired and not perform well.

Yesterday I got out in the heat mid-afternoon and mostly walked. But I was glad to be out there– it’s so different than night running. Although there have been some hot ones, it’s usually cooled down and the humidity isn’t as bad. Mid-day is a totally different ballgame. I was really slogging along, I felt dehydrated.

I also seem to run better solo for now. Once my mileage is consistent and my confidence higher, I’d be open to running with a partner again. Other running friends are suggesting going for a fun and I like the idea! I’m open to possibility.

Flexibility. But the only set schedule I want to commit to right now is my own.

Today I got up earlier with the purpose of a morning run. And I was a success!

I only planned on running 2.5 miles, but it became 4.83!! I was shocked when my Nike Running app announced that I had met my goal already– I was so in the zone I’d forgotten about it!

It’s also truly remarkable how much more energized (and faster!) I was this morning. I tried a new place– intent on rewarding myself with a donut. So I parked there and picked up a trail that had a good hill and some twists and a lot of beautiful grass and flowers and wildlife flitting around.

I was having so much fun I forgot to be worried. Today I wasn’t concerned about how fast, how far, how much more I had to go, and especially not water. I had gotten a hand-held mini-bottle. And it really didn’t bother me at all.

What I notice is that I become immediately and exponentially bored with a flat stretch of sidewalk or road ahead of me, but I love trails and windy roads and hills. When I can see the whole distance ahead of me all I can think is how FAR that looks– it makes me intimidated and slows me down. Maybe I can overcome that with time, but for now I’m trying to switch it up and choose more variable routes that will be fun.

I’m slowly building my runner’s wardrobe and accessories. I now have a hat and a visor to help block the sun, since I don’t have the prescription sunglasses I need. Dressing the part really helps.

The 5K course is listed online and I plan to run it twice before the race, so I know where I’m going.

I want to give myself every advantage. I’m having so much fun imagining all the people I’ll be running with!

Who might I see? Who might I meet?

How fast,

how fast,

may I carry

my feet?

YES!! Today I broke all my previous records– it was both my longest and fastest run yet.