Last weeks running was certainly something special. Especially considering I haven’t been feeling well for the last week and a half. The germs my children bring home from school have permeated my body, I managed to escape them all winter long but they have finally caught up with me. Anyways, with the idea in my mind that I was feeling less than stellar, I went into all my runs with a “whatever happens, happens” mentality and apparently, that was the way to go. My schedule last week was 5-8-5 and then a 12, meant to freshen up my legs after the almost 40 mile week prior. I’ll admit, I might have skipped the first 5, as after my 19, I was feeling like I had just been hit by a moving vehicle. So I showed up for the 8 with Allison, Jan and Alan nice and fresh. The first couple of miles were a warm up, since Alan decided to take us up Mount Everest for shits and giggles and then on an ice path, like, no joke, 1 mile completely covered in ice. I could have killed him. But by the time we came out from the frozen tundra, I was ready to go. I had forgotten what this route was like, seeing as though the last time we ran it was back in December. It was hilly, especially the second half. But I was relaxed and at mile 5, I told myself to just put those shoulders down, breath deep and get my ass up those hills, which I did. I rarely ever talk about running fast because fast is a relative term and there are zillions of people faster than I. However, for three miles, I ran like a fucking gazelle (to me). I bombed up those hills, effortlessly. It felt like nothing. It felt beautiful. My stride felt perfect, my gait was on point, everything seemed to align just as it should. Even my breathing, felt easy. Hill after hill after hill, each one faster than the next. My watch went off at 8 miles and to be honest, I didn’t want to stop. So I kept going for another .20 and then I decided to stop as the hill leading to Alan’s house would probably kill me. If that hill wasn’t before me, I think I would have just kept it up, it felt so natural, so organic. That hasn’t happened to me in a LONG time. Usually I map my routes and I’m HAPPY, THRILLED EVEN to be done at the exact mileage. To want to run more, just felt crazy. Crazy good.
My 5 miler the next day had to be on the treadmill as I was once again, home with a sick kid. Treadmill runs don’t bother me as much because I’ve learned how to incorporate them as a training tool. No, nothing is ever as good as outside but I can make it work. It was a fast 5, pulling in sub 9’s while pushing in a little incline. I can always go a little faster on the treadmill. Probably because it does some of the work for you. But I tried to think of a common route I run and use those hills as guidance for the varied incline. It felt hard but it felt good. I was happy to stop but confident in my performance.
On Saturday it was time for the 12. Easy, right? First of all, I can’t even fathom that I am at the point in my life where I’m relieved by 12 miles. I can remember training for the BAA Half and thinking that a 12 mile training run was NUTS! I had lined up a running buddy, Mrs. Meg but I was sure there would be others joining. And others did, which is always welcome. I ended up with the wonderful company of Kristin, Meg, Dave and his daughter. I wouldn’t say Meg chose an easy route, maybe it was easier than some but it still was no picnic. There were some hard hills in there. But there was a good mixture of laughing, chatting and being quiet which makes things easier. We had a good warm up mile which I always need but it was warmer out and we started at 7 so my body was already in a better than usual place. By mile 3 we were hitting good numbers and I was excited at how good I felt. Parts felt tough, yes, but when that happened I just backed it off a sec and let my body take a minute before pushing once again. It ended up being a really great run, in fact, I felt like I could have gone harder once I was finished. I needed a run like that. Long and a little challenging. It gives me confidence that I am in a place where I can break 2 at Race the Runways. (Because let’s be honest, if I end up with another 2:00:09, I might just throw my shoes into the road). I think I’ve learned to not be intimidated by running with those that are faster than me. You do what you can, when you can, and you don’t when you can’t, or don’t want to. And that’s that.
I have some real decisions to make about races this fall as I have already signed up for more than I can probably physically handle. So it becomes a matter of really being smart. Doing the races that I feel the most passionate about and of course, listening to my heart, and my body. The Distance Medley was a race series in Boston that I really wanted to come back for. I hated every minute of it. I have zero good memories of the three races, except for crossing the finish line with Allison at the half marathon. But that’s where the allure lies. I didn’t train AT ALL for the 5K or the 10K, I was just a lazy blerch of a person. And when I saw my times, I was all like: “ohhhh, how’d that happen??” I want to come back this year as a strong runner, someone who has put in the work and see what one year has done for my body. The 5K, I can’t really push, as I have the Boston Marathon 2 days after but the 10K I have big goals for. My PR for a 10K this year was 55:52 and I know I can beat that. I’m still looking for that faster runner. This year was the foundation, now it’s time to build the house.
This weekend is my last and final long long run of the training cycle: 20 miles. Holy crap. Then it’s a 12 and an 8. And then it’s over until Boston. I can’t say I have quite done it yet but I’m pretty darn close. I’m hoping that last weeks greatness will be rivaled by this weeks running. But with the good days, come the bad days and vise versa, that’s just how running goes.
But that’s why we love it, right?