running

Reverse Progress

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photo-41

A quick glance at my Garmin Connect activities report and I can tell you my running is not where I'd like it to be.  Truth be told I didn't need to look at a report to be able to tell you that.

There are long runs and short runs that feel good.  I'm sure you've had the experience, you feel strong and fast like you could go on forever.  Then there are the runs like today... Run's that feel horrible the whole way through.

Today the only thing that carried me through was shear determination to put one foot in front of the other for 6 long miles.

It's been about a month or so of this.  I'm running, I'm sticking to it, but it doesn't feel like I have the capacity to get stronger or faster.  The normal route feels like a chore. Every single run I've felt heavy, tired and unable to get faster or stronger.  I keep wondering if this is just a story I'm telling myself or if there is something really wrong with me.  Is it simply the ebb and flow of running?  The result of hot humid summer running?

It's all part of running, of dedication, the ebb and the flow I suppose.  There will be months of running that feel amazing and long dry spells where you feel lucky that you have friends to meet or you would probably skip out all together.  I'm especially grateful right now for my friends who run.  The ones that meet me at 4:45am for 6 miles during the week and the ones that will meet at 6am on a Saturday in order to beat the heat.  Thank god for those friends because they make it worth it even when it sucked the whole time.

Lucky for me my running friends, are encouraging and wise.  I also have a friend who is an amazing coach and she always says "just keep running", and especially when it's hard I know she's right.

Today I kept running even though I didn't even want to start.  Tomorrow I'll lace up again.  I know I'll break through this.  Have you been through the running the slump?  how did you break through?

The not "fast" myth

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As far back as I can remember I've thought of myself as not fast. I was on the cross country team in grade school (I confess I hated it at the time). Even in those grueling practices I never thought of myself as fast, it never felt like I had the "natural" talent other children had. I did not stick with the running in junior high or high school. College for me did not include the desire to run. When I got out of college I knew I needed to exercise so i ran, the cheapest sport I could think of. A way to bond with my dad. Something I could easily do after or before work without a lot of fuss. I never thought I'd actually like it or do more than 3 runs a week. Little did I know I had started a love affair with running and more importantly myself.

Some people do have natural ability in running, and that is awesome, I'm in awe of some of my friends who seem to make "fast" look easy. The funny thing is the more I get to know people who are "naturally fast" the more I see how hard they work, how dedicated, and committed they are to pushing themselves harder and faster or taking time off when they need to to.

I have two legs, I have big healthy lungs, a healthy heart, therefore I have a motor. What I know now is this is what I need to be fast. It's not more or less than any other runner out there. What is making the difference is commitment, dedication and now experience.

Running is often not easy for me, but I do it anyway. I don't often feel good while doing it. I often doubt my ability to improve. Once a run is over I never regret that I did it. It makes me feel strong and healthy. Every time I choose to run over not running I feel better about myself and I feel better about my body. Running has taught me to love myself and love my body.

Yesterday I ran the Glass City Half Marathon. I ran the best race of my life. 1:51 minutes is the unofficial time. I came in 20th in my field out of 221 women between the ages 30-34. I felt great. Not only did I feel great, I think I could do better by a lot.

What if I had told myself years ago that I was fast? What if my self talk had been "I can improve by leaps and bounds if I'm committed, and dedicated". What if I had believed in myself? Maybe I would be faster by now.

Yesterday was a taste of great things to come. I know I'm fast, I know I can be faster. Faster will require more dedication, more hard work and most importantly a belief that I can. I can and I believe that you can too.

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