Greetings from the other side of the weekend, also known as Monday! It’s a rainy, dreary day so far, and I think my mood has followed suit, even if I didn’t mind the gentle, not-too-cold rain while I ran this morning. Some Mondays just feel especially Monday-ish, or perhaps after a long and tiring week last week I needed some extra weekend-ness, though as far as weekends go it was pretty perfect, weather included. It was warm enough to sit outside, but there was a little hint of fall in the air and the leaves have started to turn and blanket the ground. I will miss the warmth, but I also appreciate the seasonality. The forecast assures me that the warmth will be very short-lived.
Do you ever get so stuck in your normal routine that you sort of forget that it’s okay to move things around? You cling to one allotted time for, say, running, and then you hit an errant day in which it’s not really ideal (at all) and you scramble to try to rearrange everything else that is much less pliable than you and your running shoes. If you’re lucky, before you set your alarm for some ungodly hour you’ll realize that it might be okay to run after work instead, just this once, which coincidentally would mean a less treacherous run in actual daylight with your favorite tunes, versus a somewhat terror filled slog in the dark requiring an alert eye and ear for various dangers. In this not-so-hypothetical-fable, I ventured into the unknown this week—the land of the evening run.
I’ve been feeling the itch to write lately, and I remembered this little space of mine sitting here neglected, so I blew the digital dust off my login screen and am sitting here wanting to say everything and nothing (but mostly everything).
First thing’s first, I’m gearing up for a half marathon and training is going swimmingly. I am loving my workouts, I am hitting my goals, and I am getting more and more eager to see what happens on November 4th, with the appropriate amount of nervous energy also starting to accumulate. My grand 5K experiment last spring resulted in a PR, though not until August when I was starting my half marathon build-up. It took me awhile to get the hang of 5Ks, and I learned many times over that they are not easy and, oh my, they do not feel short. I had some fantasy of them feeling like the first 3.1 miles of a half marathon I started too fast, which is to say I wanted to feel like an winged goddess for an effortless 3 miles and then stop. As it turns out, you can also start a 5K too fast and that least lone mile can feel like a small eternity. The silver lining was figuring out what it really felt like to run hard, and discovering that it feels, well, really (really) hard. It’s been nice to return to longer forms of speed work, and also to be hungry for a longer race. It’s possible I’ve confirmed, for myself at least, that my propensity is for longer distances, but I’m glad I shook things up and tried something slightly uncomfortable and new.
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.