Last weekend I raced my third 5K of 2017, and while my experience during the actual 3.1 miles kind of stunk, for some mysterious reason I find myself still wanting to wax poetic about it. Don’t get me wrong, the race itself was great. I appreciated the fact that it was a larger 5K and that I felt some nice camaraderie with my fellow hoofers. It was well organized, the location and course were both good. It was a well designed loop, and I appreciated not having to go out and back as a change-up to my last two races. The post-race atmosphere was also fun. My performance, however, was the lackluster piece. I finished in 20:59, which isn’t terrible, it’s just not an improvement over last month’s time, really.
I spied this morning’s speed workout on my calendar last week, and was nervous about it. I attempted this workout 2 weeks ago, and while it wasn’t awful, it wasn’t great either. This morning’s weather wasn’t exactly encouraging; it’s unseasonably cold today (in the 30s when I headed out) and windy. Wind is never a friendly addition to harder efforts, or at least not when you’re running into it. The prescribed workout was a 3 mile warm up, 5 x 1K (5K pace) with 200m jogs in between, and a 2 mile cool down. The goal was also to run the 1K’s progressively faster. Last time, I failed to do this, but I think mostly because I hadn’t quite visualized the paces. I don’t normally run kilometers, and I guess it was a bit of a cerebral malfunction. When I viewed the repeats by the mile pace required for each it made more sense, so I knew what it would loosely feel like. I also wrote the times on my hand because I think seeing them helped with the visualization, and also helped me hone in on each split’s specific effort. Small things.
Well, let’s just call my daily writing challenge a fail and move on, shall we? It’s not so much that I am unable to sit and write every day, I actually enjoy writing quite a bit. I think I’ve created other, unnecessary, blocks for myself. I sit down to write and I realize I’ve failed to take any pictures, and sometimes taking said pictures, of myself anyway, requires stepping outside of my comfort zone. Does it matter that I don’t have image heavy posts? Probably not. Mostly I’m compelled to document and share my journey, and for me that means writing about it. Will I write more if I remove this self-created pressure? Maybe, and perhaps if I revamp my goal with this caveat (no pressure to snap daily running selfies) I’ll find a happy medium for myself. Okay, enough of the meta talk about blogging. I’ve probably written more about writing than anything else. Let’s talk running.
The past few mornings when I’ve opened the door to head out to run, I’ve been greeted by the sound of chirping birds, which has been a noticeable, and welcome, change. I don’t know how birds’ internal clocks operate. Maybe they can see some hint of the rising sun that I can not yet detect, and part of the reason I started to notice was that it was very dark and suddenly, oddly loud. At any rate, I’ve appreciated the newly soundtracked start to my runs and have started to get spring fever in a big way.
This could be the title of a post about any of my weekday morning runs, but this morning I was feeling especially nostalgic and sentimental about this favorite hobby of mine. It started when another headlamp-clad runner did the thing I love most, gave me the silent wave of solidarity that can only be exchanged between crazy runners in the predawn hours. It’s not so much a wave as a hand raised in recognition, much like I imagine a cheetah would do upon seeing another cheetah in the Serengeti after only crossing paths with elephants for three weeks. (I mean, right?) I was a little tired this morning, but still glad to be out and moving, and I was also feeling a little more adventurous than I usually do when choosing my morning routes. I found myself going in new loops, connecting favorite spots with new side streets. I started to think about all the miles I had already covered, the parts of town I had already seen, before my day had even really begun, and, I don’t know. It was a great feeling.
In the spirit of this morning’s slow recovery run after yesterday’s effort, I thought I’d take a few minutes to pause and reflect on my training last week. I keep forgetting that I raced only a week ago, which does not bode well for my perceived length of the past week, so hopefully this one will be a little less hectic. Here’s a brief run down of my runs:
Monday: 8 mile recovery run
Tuesday: 80 min. easy run
Wednesday: 7 mile easy run
Thursday: 8 miles total, 5 x 1K at race pace in the middle
Friday: day off
Saturday: 6 mile easy run
Sunday: 12 mile long run with some 10K effort surges
TOTAL MILES: 50
Let’s just get this out of the way…I’ve missed two days this week of my writing challenge, yesterday being another. While I’ve failed to write every day, I’m writing a heck of a lot more often than before, so that’s something. If in the end of this whole shebang I end up slightly under 30 consecutive days of writing, but I’ve still got 5-7 blogs posts here a week, it will be a huge success in still creating this as a much more active space for myself. Okay, phew. I feel so much better for having cleared the air. You? Now onto more exciting things, like mini golf and long runs.
You guys, I failed to write yesterday, which I suppose means technically speaking my 30 day writing challenge was a bust, but like anything else (especially running), I’m picking myself back up and keeping this thing rolling. This is day 12, but I missed day 11 (in case you’re keeping count too). Yesterday, well, I don’t even know. It was busy, I got home from work and was so relieved that this week was almost over and that I would be sleeping in this morning that I created my only little party. By that I mean, I excitedly curled up on the couch to stay up a little later to finish my book. I live on the edge. At any rate, taking a few minutes out of this wild night to blog completely slipped my mind.
This is day 10 of my writing challenge, and I’m pecking this out on my phone with a glass of wine, so you can judge for yourself how this day has gone. Some small frustrations, and one emergency turned avoided crisis, But hey, all is well now and I’m prepared to enjoy the rest of the evening drama free.
This is day 9 of my 30 day writing challenge.
Yesterday, I was reading a blog post about what to do when your performance stagnates, and after a laundry list of ways to shake up your training, the coach/author said something like “unless it’s time to accept that you’ve peaked and there are no more gains to be made.” Gulp. This hit me surprisingly hard. What if that is me? How will I know? Don’t worry, I don’t actually think this is me, and have concluded either way that I’m still going strong and want to try to kick it hard, so I brushed off this dismissal and went about my merry way. Going after a specific goal can be a vulnerable thing, no matter how loose or specific your goal is. It requires you to acknowledgement it in some form, even if it’s only to yourself, and then proceed as if you can achieve it.
The post did, however, make me think of all my own secret running fears, the things that tend to crop up after a bad workout or race, or also possibly when you’re tired, hungry, or having a plain old bad day. Perhaps some of them are more justified than others, but here are some things that commonly rattle around in my head.