There’s just something peaceful about morning running. Maybe it’s the quiet of the day or the darkness that hasn’t quite conceded to the bright glow of the majestic day ahead. There are not many cars around nor other runners where I am or even people walking dogs. It’s just quiet almost to the point that I can hear my thoughts out loud. I love that first breath in of fresh crisp air that purges my lungs of night air and fills my soul with brightness. It calls me to it, envelops me and makes me its own for 30 minutes of bliss. I can see the glow of a dawning day in the windows of my neighbors and see those who have started their day. I can smell those ambitious enough to cook something that appeals to my palette as I run on an empty stomach thinking about the pancakes and eggs I’ll make when I return. As dawn lights my way, revealing my form I realize this is the best run that I’ve had in many days. I enjoyed it a lot and am happy I didn’t wait until tonight to go. When I run in the morning I have no worries, no problems, no distractions. My phone isn’t ringing, I’m not tied to the internet and I’m not trying to organize anything. It’s just me, in the dark blending in with what remains of the night. Free as a bird and not weighted down by life at this very moment.
Today as I make my way through my neighborhood wondering who knows I’m passing by, my mind is on my race on Sunday. I’m running The Falmouth Road Race and thinking about how the race will go and whether it will be my race. It may not be. Because of the time of the month it may have to just be fun. I’m not expecting it to be a stellar race because I just don’t do well a few days before I get my period. 2-4 days prior, my legs are heavy, it’s hard for me to breathe and it’s just a struggle. Even if it’s a struggle, I’d like to beat last years 1:18. I’m much stronger this year in my core than last year which will be helpful. Nonetheless, if I go into it not expecting too much and not trying to be faster than last year I think it will be fine. Slow it down and I’ll have more fun. My friend who runs this race with me might like company for the entire 7 miles rather than being dumped at the starting line like I usually do. I well know how not fun running alone is so that might be the way to go I think. It’s all about the fun and the experience.
I have had a few goals in my time running and a few in my life. I read a lot about running and about other people’s running goals and trials, successes and failures. If we don’t set goals we don’t have a reason to push ourselves to improve and to step out of our comfort zone in order to achieve them. When I weighted 200 lbs and wanted to lose weight the goal was to lose weight simply by running. I did it. When I wanted to run a half marathon I signed up, trained and I did it because I set the goal. One thing I know about goals is that if you are afraid of them you should definitely put it out there for everyone in the world to see, tell your close friends and just do it! The thing about the running community is that we have all failed at some running goal at least once so if I fail I don’t feel like anyone would have anything but encouraging things to say. Runners are just like that and that is one of the greatest things about us. So I’ve talked about the big “M” for a little while now. Wanting to, hoping to, thinking I might but not quite yet because my son is still in High School and I feel like training would take away from the time I feel like I want to give him as I did his siblings. My time is coming make no mistake about it and I’m looking forward to it. At this point it’s about a year and a half before I could even make my first attempt. The improvements that need to be made in order to successfully achieve this are great in that I will have to work my ass off to get there. I’m willing and willing is all you need when you marry it with determination and Ukrainian stubbornness.
So a few posts ago, I told you about someone who told me “yeah, good luck with that” in retort to my statement that “anything you can do I can do better”. It’s been in my craw ever since just stewing and brewing and marinating itself into obsession. Don’t tell me I can’t because I will make it my mission to throw it in your face. So there it was like this horrible dangling participle floating in the air begging me to take it on. How can I not chicken out of this? If no one knows then I could just forget it for a while or even forever and no one would be the wiser! But what I would never want to happen is to get old and never have tried to do it. I can live with failing at it because at least I tried to and that is respectable. So today, I put that goal up on my wall to look at every day. To keep in the back of my mind every minute and to take with me in my heart on every run. It’s now up there for real people to see other than me. It isn’t a secret any longer and even though this scares the shit out of me, @KellyKKRoberts made me believe that trying is what we do and that to give it your all is all we can do. Fail or succeed to meet the goal is less important than having tried. So here it is. The 9:30 average paced runner, 2:14 half marathoner is setting a goal for the big M. No date yet but training and working toward this goal starts now. Hanging on my wall at work and now here for the world to see… my marathon goal times now on the proverbial record…
God help me!
I haven’t run a regular 9:15 pace in some time. I’ve accepted that I’m 20 lbs heavier but 30 lbs lighter than my lowest and highest weight. I seem to average 9:30 – 9:45 pace these days and on a given day as long as I’m not purposely going super slow that is ok with me. I ran a 5 mile race yesterday one town over from my hometown. I know the area and it’s not super hilly which is good for me. I ran this one with a friend. I didn’t actually run with her but just in the same race. We don’t have the same pace so we don’t stay together generally. As I ran this race I picked two runners that were running together. They were much younger than I but were keeping a doable pace that I thought I could maintain so I stayed with them. Mile 1 was 9:06 which I haven’t seen in a really long time. Mile 2 was 18:42 or something which was still way below the pace I thought I was going to keep. I wasn’t overwhelmed or exhausted but could definitely feel that I was pushing myself within a comfortable and moderately elevated range. I figured I would keep up with them as long as I could and if I had to slow down I would. We kept going and hit mile 3 somewhere around the 28 minute mark which was great. I wanted to turn around and wait for my friend a few times just to have my own company to run with but I knew she would get mad because every runner should run their own race. I just get lonely out there all by myself all the time in my races. Anyway, we were just about at mile 4 and I told the girls (who I wasn’t actually running with, just behind) that we were doing great. They smiled and then moved over to let me pass. I guess they were creeped out or maybe just didn’t want a tail. Either way when I passed the 4 mile mark I kicked it into gear. I wanted to run a fast 5th mile at something faster than what I had been putting down. No real reason other than that but I just set in, turned it up and kicked it into gear for the last mile. At the last turn I really pushed hard, encouraging one of the girls that won one of the age brackets to push hard in the finish. Maybe I was responsible for her taking 3rd place. Maybe. I didn’t win a medal but I did win in my mind because that mile 5 turned out to be an 8:26 mile. WOO HOO!!! I did it! I was proud of me and I think I have those girls to thank for pacing me. They might not have known they paced me but they did and I had a really good race because of them. Thank you whomever you were for not getting bent out of shape that I was on your coattails for 5 miles. It might not have been a “big” race but it made my day and sometimes that’s all that we need. So whatever your reason is, wherever you are find the ones that will help get you there and don’t leave their side. Follow their example and don’t quit and you’ll be successful in all that you do.
I really never put enough of a priority on having a strong core. I would rather run than anything and doing sit ups gives me hives. At one point I had a very strong core because I was cross training and swimming and running. This was just before my first half marathon which I finished in 2:02 and change. After that race I cut down on all my workouts and stuck to running only. I gained back 20 of the 50 lbs that I had lost which wasn’t all fat but it wasn’t all muscle either. My pace slowed down and I got lazy. It showed in how tired i was after a run, how slow I became (pushing 10 minute mile from 9) and how snug my clothes became. Recently I finally managed to work Tabata workouts into my running routine. I’ve worked arms, abs and butt. it’s only been 3 weeks but I now see it in my run stats. I am running faster without running harder. I thought that might be from running more but it is most assuredly from doing my core work and now I’m obsessed with a six pack again. I’ll take a 4 pack but getting a core of steel as much as I can at 47 is my goal. Sometimes you need to see it for yourself to understand it and believe it. Whatever it is, go get it and do whatever it takes to get there. You can do it!
I was all set to say I’m keeping a slower pace and it’s on purpose, which it was, until I got my new watch and now I’m putting in some faster miles. I’ve hit sub 9 in nearly every run except for a couple since I got my new Vivoactive. I don’t set out to run fast…it’s just happening and I know why. Those stupid dots on the cadence chart are to blame. I’m not mad because well, it’s nice to be up there or down there depending on how you look at it in terms of lowering my pace. I haven’t run fast for a while but between seeing a horrible picture of myself yesterday and my new toy, I need to make some changes and that will start with getting off my ass and running harder and will go hand in hand with less snacking. I don’t snack badly, I just snack a lot. Ask anyone that knows me and they will tell you that I love to eat and have introduced everyone at work to the snack drawer. Now my idea of a snack drawer is one filled with Wasabi peas, cliff bars, fruit cups, oatmeal and other great things for the body. So it’s not everyone’s dream, so what. I’m happy that I almost always have food when I want it. Most times I eat because I want to not because I am hungry. That right there is a habit not a need and a bad one at that. thank GOD I like carrots or I would really be in trouble. So today I was zooming, ate some hills in my 4 miles to start getting ready for my hilly race in August and am planning on revamping my menu a bit. It’s all for a good cause….ME!
I am not sure how much responsibility I can assign to my new Vivoactive and how much I should take in terms of motivation, but I ran mile 3 of a 3 mile run at 8:48 today! Part of me just felt good but part of me wanted to see some other colored dots on my awesome cadence chart:
My normal cadence
My cadence today
See all those great purple dots? I was hoofing it at the end. Maybe I’m juvenile but looking forward to seeing those elevated pink spots on a chart was very helpful to me in maintaining a faster pace. I really love this new watch and when I get my new Apple iPhone I will also get phone messages and be able to control my playlist from it as well as get the weather and play with my calendar all from one place. I love gadgets and doo dads and this one is by far my favorite. I like my Garmin Forerunner but not like I like this watch. I don’t have to wait for a stupid satellite link like I do with my Forerunner, I can see how I’m pacing as I go and when I press the start / stop button…imagine that it does it. It was a great gift from my husband for my birthday. So it will be interesting to see how regular I become with a faster pace with this new watch. Everyone has something that motivates them. I guess for me it’s dots LOL! I can’t help myself.
Consistency is key in the running world as is hard work and perseverance, healthy eating , good sleep and all those things that you read about. Sometimes however, it is about the singers and songs that you bring with you to power you through the miles whether they be 3 or 7 or 13.1, 26.2 and beyond. Today in the last mile of 3 I did the repeat thing to two songs that helped me up my current game in the last mile. Thanks to will.i.am and the Black Eyed Peas for I got a feeling and to the one who put out the song that embodies my fight to recover my life that nearly ended in sadness….Rachel Platten’s Fight Song might not have come out in the dark days but it came out and powers me on no matter the day. Today I hit a pace that I haven’t seen in a while because my music friends were by my side telling me to keep going and to push on faster because I could. I love days like this when I am strong and feel powerful. I love running and I hope that if you ever decide to become a runner by taking that first step, that you love it too.
On another happy note, my friend Barbara and I were selected to run the Falmouth Road Race in August. I’m excited about it. It’s a 7 miler full of hills that mean hill training. BRING IT ON because I eat hills! The Bad Ass Runners (that would be Barbara and I) will come by storm and make our mark on another challenge. I am healthy and strong and I can do anything I set my mind to…sing it Rachel