There have been several calls via social media and the like for 30 day writing challenges, and since this space has been largely neglected I thought I’d give it a stab. Even though I constantly narrate my life via running (mostly in my head), I haven’t quite cultivated writing as a habit. Sometimes it’s not easy to find an entry point, though not writing certainly is not one. So, I’m letting a poke from someone else be my entry point. Otherwise, every intermittent post here would be about where I’ve been and why I haven’t been writing, and while I’m sure that would make for some riveting entertainment (or not), I think we have more important things to talk about, namely running.
I’ve been really happy with my training lately. I’ve gotten more comfortable with speed workouts, and have done some really fun mixes of tempos and distances. I think I’m learning to trust the process and also that the effort on any given day is what matters the most. I’ve also tried to rely more on my intuition for paces, and less on my watch, which is to say that if a workout requires me to run 400m repeats at X pace, I generally know that X pace translates into a sprint, so I just try to sprint and then check in later to review specific splits. This, surprisingly, has almost always translated into the target time/pace. I’ve also gotten better at pacing progression runs, and knowing what it feels like to start around one pace and slowly work down to another.
This morning I did 8 easy miles, which definitely fell into more of a recovery effort around an 8:49 pace. I did 10 miles yesterday with an informal 4 mile progression in the middle (8:00 down to 7:30), which wasn’t too taxing, but what can I say. It’s Monday morning and yesterday was the infamous “spring forward”, a.k.a. daylight savings time, so I was thrust back into the void of headlamps and pre-dawn darkness. While I’ve gotten comfortable running in the dark this past winter, I don’t push the boundaries of where I’ll run too far outside of my established comfort zone, which is much more limited, of course, than where I’ll venture with a fully lit sky. I end up playing little games with myself to add distance and extend my loops, because there’s nothing worse than picking a loop only to realize you’ve only run 2 miles. Seriously, nothing worse, except maybe when you’re that same two miles in and realize you should have used the bathroom one more time before you left. Side streets usually do the trick, as to running loops out an back more like a “c” than an “o”…in case you needed me to spell that out for you.
This Sunday I’ll be running my second 5K of the year, and I’m very excited to see what happens. I ran last month’s 5K in 21:17, which wasn’t what exactly I had hoped to run, but was okay for an inaugural effort. I was surprised at how hard that race was, though it was by no means an ideal course or set up. I essentially ended up running out and back on a bike trail, but as there were no cones to help direct people, the second half of the race I was literally running into the back half of the race pack. It wasn’t a huge race, which can have its benefits, but sometimes the smaller races also lack that initial excitement that gets your heart pounding and your legs pumping. I knew from the start it was going to be a struggle. I’m hoping for a much different experience this week.
Well, I’m off to do the other things that are required of me and that help keep the lights running, but I’ll check back in tomorrow.