Monday, January 27, 2014

The struggle is worth it

Yesterday on my run, there was a lot going on.  I had a lot of feelings, a lot of thoughts, a lot of physiological battles.  Still, it was a great run.  A run that gave me so much hope that this year... this year will be the year I see some sort of success with running.

Yesterday, I started off strong.  Really, really strong.  I was maintaining a 4 min running, 2 min walking interval.  And even with that ratio, I still managed to do my first 2 miles in 10:25, a full minute and a half faster than my training pace in previous half marathon training cycles.  I felt so on top of the world.  Nothing, and I mean nothing could stop me.

Until around about the 2.5 mile mark.  And all of a sudden, shit was hurting.  Bad.  My lungs were on fire.  My liver had that searing pain.  And I got passed by 3 runners chatting merrily away while pushing a baby stroller.  Those baby stroller runners are the fastest way to demoralize a girl.  I mean, I am struggling over here to run faster than an 11 minute mile, and someone with a jogging stroller blasts by me like I'm walking sedately down the sidewalk with not a care in the world.

Mile 3... 10:50.  I don't know how I managed it at that point.  I mean, that was one flipping hard mile for me.  Making it in that time felt like a miracle.  And at this point, I just wanted to be done.  I had a mile and a half left to go, and the thought of those extra almost 20 minutes was maddening. 

At 3.3, I had to walk before my scheduled walk interval.  And that was even more demoralizing than being passed.  I only had to walk for about a minute before I picked it up again, but I made it happen.  Painfully.  Achingly.  I wanted nothing more than to just walk the rest of the way in, but that felt a lot like cheating.

It was about this time that I started with the grudging pep talks.  I thought about all of the running and fitness bloggers who are faster than me, and I reminded myself that they started out slow too.  Nobody decides to start running one day and immediately knocks out consistent 7:30 miles.  That's just not how it works.  You have to put in the time and effort to get there.  I reminded myself that all runners get passed, even the ones that can pass ordinary mortals with a jogging stroller.  Whether it's tomorrow, a week from now, or next month, someone else will pass them when they're out on a training run too.  There is always someone faster, stronger, better.  That isn't a reason to get down on yourself, it's just the way that life shakes out.

And then I started thinking about half marathons.  And how deep down, I don't feel like I've "done" one yet, because that whole situation has not panned out twice now for me.  I started thinking about how angry I am that my body hasn't yet been able to carry me through 13.1 miles in under 3 hours.  It's not like I'm asking it to do a full marathon in that time... I just want to be able to not feel like a haggard old woman at the end of ONE half marathon.  It was a really sad, negative, bad thought process  And it was right about then that I snapped this gem of a selfie on a quick walking break... because really, who in the world would believe me that I'd been out running if I didn't document appropriately?

There were totally people around, and they were totally judging me.  I didn't care.  It was brutal.  I wanted a picture that would serve as a reminder to me that hard things don't defeat us... they shape us, guide us, and generally make us better people in the end.  Also, I don't look nearly as red as I felt.  I was certain that I matched my shirt by this point, and it was a huge victory for me when I realized that I didn't.  It's the little things, I tell you.

Mile 4... 11:36.  A LOT slower than before.  But I was surprisingly happy with it, mostly because I was fairly sure it would be slower, somewhere around the 12-13 minute mark.  According to all of the cool calculators, my long runs should be somewhere in pace between an 11:41 - 12:20 mile... so to still be beating that time felt pretty dang good to me.  Also, once I hit mile 4, I just wanted nothing more than to be done, and I reminded myself that the slower I went, the longer it would take.  Nothing gets you to the finish like that thought right there.

And that's the story of my fastest 4.5 miles to date.  As I walked to my car, I realized that I would take all of the struggle, all of the suffering any day, if I got to see positive results.  And that was the moral of yesterday's run for me... that the struggle is worth it.

This week I'm starting my Half marathon training in earnest.  These last few weeks were building weeks, so that when I started I didn't immediately keel over.  The plan I'm using can be found here, and is 13 weeks, but I'm starting a week early and adding a week just before taper... I'm planning on a 12 miler that week, just to ensure that my body is fully prepared.  Since I have a training plan, I'm not going to bother making a cheesy graphic... sorry.  But I'm pretty stoked about the fact that I'm seriously cutting miles this week from what I did last week.  It is nice to have a reminder that I'm not quite as out of shape as I may have thought.

What do you have going on this week?  How are your fitness and health goals coming along?


  1. Good for you Kristen! John I have been out running twice this year. It has been painfully slow. John gets so mad. I don't. I just keep reminding myself that at least I'm doing it. And I know it will take awhile to get our speed back.

  2. You are awesome. Have I told you that lately? Because it's totally true. I think it's about time I get started training, too. Let's hold each other accountable, okay?? I need to somehow get to the gym and run this evening, but I'm going to do what I can. We can do this!!

  3. Right there with you. I really should post more about my running struggles. Especially being in Colorado where erybody is a runner!


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