Tonight’s run was a little odd in that I felt 65% AMAZING and 35% absolutely terrible. My legs were a little tired and there was a rock in my stomach. I kept having to retie my shoes in the first half mile or so. But against all odds I actually kept a really good pace. The last mile was a push again, but I did it in decent time (for me) and felt good.
The bronze used to be something that was a given in the first ten days or so of the month. But this month it was an accomplishment and I’m proud of myself. Tonight also, due to forgetting to restart my running watch after one of my shoe ties, was my first 5k back.
I’m still a little behind on my mileage goal, but I hit my mileage for this week so I’m not increasing the deficit. I’m going away for a family reunion this weekend so it may be a little tough to get the miles in, but I’m aiming to get out at least once or twice.
The Quiet Runner on the Plateau
I hit three miles tonight, which is the longest I’ve run since the injury. I felt strong and ran hard and I’m really proud of myself.
The first two miles were comfortable. The miles are feeling shorter and that is incredibly empowering. That said, the third was tough. And that’s exactly why I had to push to do it. I’m comfortable in the two’s. It’s challenging enough to be a satisfying workout. But it’s not where I want to stay. This next week or so is going to be about breaking the plateau, which is challenging in a good way. It is also fully within my reach. It was encouraging today that after struggling a bit in the middle of the third mile, the last quarter it got easier again. And I know a lot of that was adrenaline to push myself to the finish line (and end up falling well below a maximum pace goal I had pretty much given up on) but it’s also a sign of getting into the next level of runner’s high, which is great.
Three miles actually feels like a real distance, which is very rewarding considering everything. I’m starting to feel like a runner again. And so naturally I got all reflective on the walk home, remembering when I was doing my first rehab runs out on the track when the thought of running a mile felt impossible, even when two months before I had been running six. This wasn’t just a matter of recovering from being hurt, it was teaching my feet how to be feet after 20 years of fallen arches. It was literally making myself a runner from scratch. And it’s far from over. I don’t say I’m “recovered” yet. But I really, genuinely feel like I’m getting there.
I’m still running without headphones and actually coming to really enjoy it- I barely even notice it anymore. At the beginning of inhabiting this idea of the quiet runner I talked a lot about how my brain and my legs felt like they were working separately. In forcing them to work together, I kept imagining this image:
And I think it’s starting to work. Obviously I still spend at least some (sometimes all) of every run feeling that internal fight, but I am noticing that time decreasing more and more. I am slowly fusing these parts of me together and finding my runner.
This post feels like some kind of wrap up because it’s late and I ran hard and I got all introspective. But really, this is just the beginning. Once I can get myself to a point of really feeling like a runner the real work begins. And I’m getting there, so onward and upwards!
Sunday Double Down
Whenever people ask me if running has made me lose weight, my response is always the same: there is nothing that will make you love your body more than seeing how it can rise to the challenge of carrying you over hundreds of miles. And I really do believe that. Sometimes they say, “no, but has your body changed,” to which I say yes, I am definitely a bit leaner and the definition in my legs is pretty awesome. But as someone who has always struggled with being a little overweight, fitness is more of a feeling than a body mass. While maintaining a good weight is a part of why I run, it’s not my main concern.
After a week of feeling kind of heavy and sluggish, I was reminded to love my body today. I pushed hard and went far. I went to a higher level Vinyasa yoga class this morning, which was really challenging in an awesome way. I sweat harder than I have in I don’t even know how long and I could really feel my body detoxing, which was awesome (albeit a little gross) walking out of the class literally dripping looking like I’d been pushed into a pool.
After class everyone was talking about going home to sleep and recover for the rest of the day while I was thinking about being determined to get home and lace up my running shoes. It didn’t make me feel superior in any way, which was nice because competitiveness is the death of the yogi and the runner (especially when you’re like me and not actually that good at either discipline) it just made me feel strong.
Dehydrated from sweating my guts out, I downed some water and powerade and went out to run. My body was tired and it was tough at times, but I got two miles down. After everything I didn’t have a third mile in me today, but I know I need to break three this week. I’m getting too comfortable in the twos and I need to push myself further so I don’t start fear the greater distances and/or plateau with what I feel capable of doing. I also need to get on track with my Nike+ mileage goal. I fell behind this week after the quad pull, but the quad is back at 100% and I’m still determined to break the jinx.
So all in all I’m feeling good. Slowly but surely logging the miles.
Soccer & things
I defy you to find a bigger baby than me, walking around my house with a pulled quad looking for my foam roller which has mysteriously gone missing.
I played in an outdoor women’s soccer league tonight, which was my first time playing outdoor in a very, very long time. Everyone was nice and I really enjoyed it, but I managed to pull my quad in the first five minutes, which has me whining now. Beyond that I know my whole body will be sore as all get out tomorrow, which will probably make it a rest day anyway.
I had a really good day today doing a yoga class in the morning and then playing soccer tonight, but none of that logs miles. The yoga is very important to feeding the running, both mentally and physically, but the soccer isn’t the best thing for it. Especially right now when I am just coming back to playing so each time I play I completely wreck my body. And I know that makes it harder to get the miles in and running is very important to me. But I also know that I really enjoy soccer and it’s a good workout. And the fact that I’m so incredibly sore afterwards means it is hitting muscles and movements that aren’t served by running or yoga, which I think is a good thing in the long run (pun not intended, but appreciated.) But I am conscious of the toll it is taking on my running. But it occurred to me tonight that it’s not like it is going to get easier - while I’m hardly worrying about aging at 20, I’m not getting any younger. If I love this I should do it now, embrace the aches and pains while I’m adjusting, and accept that I am taking a greater risk of getting injured. But I’m also making myself stronger, doing something I enjoy, and getting to interact with some chill people.
That said, I’m going to go cry about my quad for the next 638262 hours. I’m icing and I’ll probably take some Advil to get through work tomorrow, but any suggestions on caring for pulled muscles would be much appreciated.
Running Hard & Sore
Today’s run was tough, no way around it. Soccer on Friday left me very sore - mostly in my back and core, but some in my legs too. I’m just not used to the pivoting and agility that comes with playing, but it’s a good for me. But anyway, the result was that my legs were SCREAMING today from the first step to the last.
I ran two miles in sweltering heat and fought for every step. The good news is that even the hard miles - and the second mile today was one of the toughest I’ve run - are getting easier. The repetition of running them is slowly making them feel shorter, feel more surmountable. And that’s a good feeling.
That said, I really questioned if I would make it through this one. But even when every cell in my body was fighting it, a very rational voice emerged in my head that very simply said: I’m going to reach the intention. One way or another, I’m going to run these two miles. And I think that calmed me down a little bit to face the road more rationally.
Oftentimes when I’m running hard, especially without music as I have been, a mantra will sort of emerge. Today it became let the road be its own meditation and then find solace on a road that is kicking your ass.
But I did it and I felt good about it. And now my legs are getting a whole lot of love, protein, foam rolling, ice, and stretching with a day of rest as a reward.
(Trying to) Break the Nike+ Jinx
Every time I’ve set a Nike mileage goal (twice) I’ve had it wrecked by injury - first with shin splints, then with the tendinitis (which, though I didn’t know it, was all one problem that’s now resolved, so fingers crossed.)
But today I set a (very conservative) mileage goal again. I won’t be jinxed. The goal is 6 miles a week for four weeks. That’s beyond doable, I just have to do it. And hopefully logging the miles into the goal will keep me just a little bit more accountable. In the past I’ve set them very ambitiously. This time I set it very cautiously, but I set it.
I logged into Nike+ for the first time in a while today. While the looming “Goal Ended” and red line from where my high mileage goal was brought to an abrupt end by injury still bugs me, it is nice to see that I’ve earned some new trophies and actually am making steady progress. I haven’t been actively running with my phone, but I have been logging my miles on Nike so I can keep track of my overall distance and tag my shoes.
I also broke into Nike Green Level, meaning I passed 155 miles logged. It took a lot longer than I’d planned, but that’s a really long way and I’m proud of myself for running every one of those miles.
Last night I walked probably around 3 miles and caught up with my best friend over the phone. At the end of the call it was getting a little bit late and I’ve been trying to go to bed earlier so I decided to just go home. I got home to discover that I had locked myself out of my house. I called one of my roommates who said she would be home in ten minutes. With ten minutes to kill I decided to do a mile.
I ran hard and pushed myself to make the mile really count. I did it in 11:25, which is pretty fast for where I am right now. It’s far from a PR, but I was proud of myself. I’m really glad I had the opportunity to get some run in and it proved to me that I really should have just sucked it up and done it in the first place. But it all works out.
Despite being a little nervous after the ankle twist earlier this week, I am very excited to play soccer tonight. I honestly don’t know how it will go, but I’m excited nonetheless.
People that can run without music should be equally admired and feared.
I had a really incredible yoga class today, which I was really glad for. I haven’t been able to find good yoga out here and it’s definitely been something missing. But I really liked the class and the studio, so hopefully I’ll be able to get back into it more. It’s just good for my mind and body and, though I’ve never religiously done both at once, a great counterbalance to running.
I went out to run tonight, thinking I would do a 2-2.5 depending on how my legs were feeling. I ran .26, rolled my ankle and completely ate it on the concrete. The ankle is okay, but I decided to forgo the rest of the run. I’m at a place right now where I can afford to miss one run and I don’t need to be pushing through ANY pain. I’m laying a foundation right now and that needs to be done slowly and carefully. Still, I’m sad to miss the run. But I fully expect that with a little ice and rest I’ll be fighting fit to get back on the road tomorrow.
Also in the xt category, I’m playing indoor soccer on Friday night for the first time since high school and I am excited.
So minor setback accompanied by a lot of awesome forward motion, I’m still feeling good.
I hit my 2.5 intention today, again in blazing heat and this time a little dehydrated, which wasn’t great. But I did it. For the first time in recovery I felt like I had run a distance that the average non-running person probably couldn’t cover, which feels like a step. My legs were heavy and the first mile was tough. The second mile was a blur of being very hot and pushing on. The last .5 was really feeling the heat creeping on me but being determined to finish. The thing about running in the later afternoon is that while the sun is slightly less intense, there is less shade so it’s a trade off.
At the end of every run I always try to run ten more steps beyond the distance I set for myself, just to prove that I can go further. I needed those ten steps today, but I’m proud of what I accomplished even in harsh conditions. For the next week I’m hanging out in the 2-2.5 range and then, hopefully, I’ll be able to slowly keep working up.
I’m feeling very cautiously very positive about everything right now, so here’s hoping that sticks.