It was supposed to be an easy run. That’s runnerspeak for conversation pace, or kind of slow. As in taking it easy.
We began that way, running a 12-minute mile to start. We sped up as we ran, and actually I started to tire out. We walked in a couple of places near the end.
With all of that, I still ended up running a PR!
Well, sort of.
I’ve only completed a handful of runs at 10k (6.2 miles) or longer. The first time was November 2013. I didn’t run that distance again until this year.
RunKeeper has my data since 2011. It knows the truth – my 2013 run was faster. Garmin only has data since February 2016, so today’s run is the fastest it knows.
That said, today’s run was still a milestone. It serves as a great baseline for my training program. My goal is to run 10k in less than an hour. With 10-weeks left to train, I’m aiming to cut a solid 8 minutes off my current 10k pace. It feels doable, although a stretch. And that’s the reason I chose this goal in the first place.
My training runs have all gone according to plan, so I’ll trust the process and keep on keeping on.
It’s April 1st, and today I was supposed to “rest.”
I spent the past 12 weeks doing a high intensity cardio program, TurboFire. I enjoyed it a great deal. I lost body fat and a few pounds (no mean feat when you already exercise regularly), and gained cardiovascular fitness. I also embraced my newly realized love of exercise and made the 6-day/week workout non-negotiable. It reaffirmed my need for routine and structure, despite my love of freedom and flexibility in my work schedule.
I debated long and hard about continuing the program for another 8 weeks or moving on to something else. I decided the fact I was feeling so attached meant I needed to break away and move on. As of next week, I’m beginning a new regimen – Pump (a full body weight training program) 3 times a week, plus cardio (running) 3 times a week.
So that brings us to today.
I ventured outside for my first run of 2012! I wish I could say it was glorious. It was definitely a good run, and I know for sure my cardiovascular fitness has improved. Breathing was easy and I had plenty of air, even when I pushed my normal pace. The problem? Lack of “rest.”
TurboFire is all choreographed kickboxing, squats and plyometrics. Running four miles was easy on my lungs, but my glutes and quads had commentary.
A lot of it.
I had to walk a little bit and/or slow down during the burn. Still, I’m excited to report I hit a new personal record:
My previous PR was my last run of 2011, so it’s a happy surprise that my new one is my first run of 2012. Here’s to continued temple building.
Today I claim total victory. I ran a personal best, smashing all of my previous times for an average pace below 10 minutes a mile.
This is huge news for someone who never thought she’d run distance for fun, and who once believed the occasional dip below a 12-minute mile was cause for celebratory cheers.
And this, in a nutshell, is one of the things I most love about running.
Running is a daily opportunity to set tangible goals and work toward them. Funny thing about running – it brings you face to face with reality. Sometimes the weather isn’t cooperating; do you run in the rain or sweltering sun anyway? Sometimes your body isn’t cooperating; do you wrap the knee or rest it? Sometimes time isn’t on your side; should you cut your run in half or just wait until another day? Or maybe the laundry has piled up; do you wear those uncomfortable shorts and hike them up the whole time, or…?
Decisions. It’s extremely rare when I can say my run and the stars are in complete alignment. Despite the snooze button, my failure to wash clothes, Mother Nature’s quirks or anything else, I often decide to run anyway.
And maybe today’s run sucked: I was slow, it was hard to breathe, I was hot, cold, etc. Maybe today’s run was perfect: I hit my target pace, I had great form, it was a glorious temperature with a refreshing breeze. But true glory lies within the confines of whatever the circumstances are. In other words, no matter what, I have the opportunity to do my best – realizing that “best” may look very different under varying circumstances.
Today’s circumstances were pretty favorable. And in the past week I’ve surprised myself, shaving two and a half minutes off my “typical” total time. For the first time since I began running over two years ago, the 10-minute average pace was within my grasp!
Monday’s run was literally a couple of seconds shy of the 10-minute pace. I snatched defeat from the jaws of victory as I yanked my skort up and down throughout the run, finally stopping to give it a good pull.
Going out this morning, my aim was what it always is – to have fun and do my best. Honestly, I didn’t think I had it in me to top that 10:01 pace today. Usually, I run fastest after more than a couple of days of rest. When I touched the gate at the end of my run and stopped the clock, I cheered my time. 39:10 (9:48 average pace). Total victory!
I have no idea what my next run will be like. Will it be warm or chilly? Will my knee be irritable? Will I add back all the time I’ve shaved? I don’t really know. But I do know that I’ll enjoy my run, and I’ll do my best, whatever that means at the moment. In the end, I can’t win in the past. I can’t win in the future. I can only win in the present moment. And so can you.