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steadier footing

You are not here to sacrifice your joy or your life. You are here to live, and to be happy, and to love. If you can do your best in two hours but you spend eight hours instead you will only grow tired, miss the point, and you won’t enjoy life.
(The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz; story of Buddhist monk to practitioner)

Two runs to document. One was Saturday, and my legs felt so very much like bricks on Sunday, that I had to rest. (Okay, so I’m the worst at resting, and I did do a tiny bit of cross-training and a short bike ride, a little long but very gentle).

4 miles; 36.11
1: 9:05
2: 9:01
3: 9:03
4: 9:02

(I can’t remember the specific breakdowns of miles as far as thoughts. Looking back on it, I’m really proud of myself for consistency in pace, especially since it was my hilly route–both ups and downs. Look! No crashing during the last mile!)

This evening’s run:
3.29 miles;
1: 9:07
2: 9:21
3: 9:15
.29: 8:55 (mile pace)

Only felt like a 5k tonight, because I think I pushed my legs too much on Sunday. I have a race on Saturday (!), and although I want to get some good runs in this week, I’d prefer to keep them a little shorter.

I’m feeling a lot better since last post about my running. Being more intuitive, going a little gentler at the start made a really marked difference for me for both of these runs. Something I don’t usually mention is that I am rather spent at the end of the runs. Not the case for either of these. I finished tonight and just felt solid, like my legs felt better than when I started and my lungs and heart felt the work, but didn’t feel like they shorted out early on and had been struggling to keep up the rest of the length.

So, yes, I do occasionally get “runner envy”, seeing fellow runners out with their marathon tee-shirts, absentmindedly being hard on myself, thinking I’m not a “real runner” because I’m not at that level (yet?). But, tonight I remembered my “running priorities”. I don’t need a certain split. I don’t need to race a certain distance. I am happy to see these gradual, but definitely progressing changes in so much. Not just speed or distance but in mental clarity and mood (I’m so much happier when I’m active!) and just the challenge of running. I consider myself fairly athletic, but pure running is so challenging to me, and I love it. But I also know that my body isn’t ready for logging miles and miles and maybe never will be. If I can achieve the benefits of running at my current level (at this steady incline)… why should I compare myself to people who get out of running what they need only at those more intense levels?

Yes, I would be so proud to run in a marathon someday. But I also know that I have sustained injury from trying for too much too soon. And I have never ever enjoyed running this much (hell, I actively hated it), and I know that my more informed training is so influential to that.

I’ll get there… one gradual mile at a time.

P.S. Congratulations to my lovely roommate and everyone else who did amazingly at the Cherry Blossom 10-miler this weekend. I volunteered at the race, and the weather was just perfect! Now if only some of the trees had stayed in bloom…

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vanishing doubt

The twenty-five years I had lived since then, tapered to a palpitating point, and vanished. (Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov)

Well, first, smidge bit too dramatic, second, not yet 25, so doesn’t even make too much sense.

Let’s replace with, “the four miles I had just ran since then”.

(Hey, Nabokov would totally appreciate the slight mocking)

5 miles; 46:15; (9:13/min pace average)
1: 9:06 (so, I didn’t feel too much like running. More in a walking mood, decided to stick it out, and try but go slower)
2: 8:45 (just started to feel a little lighter in the legs; got more into speed)
3: 8:46 (honestly should have eased up and been more diligent about mindfulness in pace because….)
4: 9:56 (something happened… just nearly quit… I’ll detail more below)
5: 9:31 (I feel really proud of this because I persisted, I was running uphill and into head wind. Rock!)

During mile 4, I very nearly lost it. I had been feeling so solid prior… honestly, I was feeling a little too full of myself on mile 3. I can’t pace that fast when I’m trying for more than a 5k. Just cannot. I didn’t even initially want to be going that fast. I had an intention of reasonable pace from the start (for some reason 8:40-9:00 is the hugest jump for me. One is sustainable; one is not)

Started thinking about upcoming races (!! next week!!) and felt down on myself that well if I can’t even run a 5k, how am I going to do 10-miles. I really psyched myself out. Walked a bit. Sigh.

Realized I was being very ridiculous and hard on myself. Started a gentle run, tried not to let the head wind or the solid incline get to me. Ended feeling really great… but like I couldn’t run anymore.

I’m still nervous about these distances coming up. I just need to be a little more gentle on myself. Proud of what I am able to do, but humble enough to stop, walk, take a few breaths, when I need them. It makes me stronger! For me, the doubt is ever present (I just don’t feel like a runner), but I am learning to let it vanish.

as insurance

"the night is far gone, the day is near" (Romans; Christian Bible)

Anyone else biting their tongue, wishing for a little sunshine and warm weather, and being completely blown away with the hot, hot, hot?!

Sigh.

At least it is pretty clear that spring/summer has arrived. New life, maybe finally shaking off some of those lingering winter blues and heartache.

Felt a little blue to be trapped indoors, when the sunshine was so bright, yesterday, so I took the train after work to do a proper city run.

Mile 1: 8:47 (whee! So, I set up an alert on my watch to stop me from running faster than 9:00/min pace… needless to say I shut that off pretty quick)
Mile 2: 8:53 (pretty sure the tourists found me absolutely mad… My very pink cheeks and bullish determination)
Mile 3: 8:55 (…hello, I do not run this fast… ever. Crazy)
Mile 4: 8:56 (full disclosure, took train home after mile 3 and did mile 4 home, I am not that awesome at speedwork)

I was a little bummed out Monday evening, because the weather was gorgeous, but I didn’t have anything planned outdoors, so I went to bed early, bummed. Tuesday… I realized how absolutely silly I was acting. So, life isn’t as bustling at times as I might wish for… but that’s the time to make your own adventures. I loved my little self-indulgent train ride/run. It was wonderful, like a midweek treat to myself. I’m usually very content with doing my own thing, should the day find me without something structured to do; I just needed a reminder.

Not to mention, the 10k on my calendar for next weekend…and a 10-miler shortly after that… a HUGE reminder that a few quick miles make for perfect summer-y evening plans!

Cheers!

“My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.” (Psalm 62:7; Hebrew Bible)

So this will be quick, because I’m really loving no computer time at home. So nice to disconnect. It actually has me even more excited for Europe(!!) trip this summer because I’m envisioning lots of sunshine and walking and no sore eyes from work computer all day. Eek! That reminds me… should blog about trip… 🙂

Picked up new running shoes and did a quick 2-mile test run in them.
Mile 1: 8:50
Mile 2: 8:25

So far, so good. I think it was just in my head, but I felt like I could move faster and a little easier in these shoes. Awesome.

The endorphin high inspired me to sign up for … more running races. Oh goodness. A big huge historic 10-miler in the fall, real excited for that, and a neighborhood 5k. Excited for both of these… though I’m getting really nervous about my 10k and 10-miler this month. I’m definitely feeling stronger, but nervous about my knee!

Goodness, anyone who says that running is a ‘free’ sport… I’ve spent way too much money on running and races lately. Yikes!

Did a wonderful hour long swim today too. (Definitely doing the weekend warrior thing today, that’s for sure!) Must say, that in the spirit of disconnecting, I have absolutely no clue how many laps I did. Swam for about a half hour straight through, did 100m kicking, swam for another 20 minutes, and finished off with sprints off the blocks, which reminded me of high school swim practices. It’s kinda fun to end up with a little heart-grinding sprint!

Well, receding back to my no-computer cave (rather, the sun-filled outdoors!) Hope ya’ll have a lovely rest of the weekend and happy Easter to those celebrating and Passover too!

patience

Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere
(Romans 12:12, Christian New Testament)

Two runs to document:

(Two days ago:
3.25 miles, 29:00 min, 8:58 avg. pace
Mile 1: 8:04
Mile 2: 8:55
Mile 3: 9:35
Mile .25: 10:13 pace

This was one of those adrenaline-pumping, just wanted to tire myself sort of runs. Theme of this whole post is patience, or rather my lack of it. Here, I was clearly not patient with my pace… I just wanted to feel my breath constrict, feel my heart pump, my legs let go quickly. I get a little deluded, a little transfixed feeling my feet thumping lightly swiftly into the ground… thinking that I can maintain 8:00-something pace, when I can’t (and shouldn’t care about).

Nothing calming about. I finished gasping and pressing forward into heavy blocking wind into the hill I left for the last .75 miles. Bullish. Stubborn. Not patient. Yes, still a 3-mile run to log, with an excellent overall pace but not satisfying, not proper, not very productive)

Today:

3.62 miles; 33:05; 9:08 avg. pace

I deliberately wanted to be patient with my pace today. Build up speed gradually (well, technically tear down my time with negative splits).

Mile 1: 9:20 (pretty sure this is one of my slower first miles I’ve logged here, but it was nice; different route, started uphill, took it ‘easy’)
Mile 2: 9:03 (hills flattened into rolling. Turned my music on. More of a normal mile 2 for me, but so much different this time, starting to fall into cadence, but stronger speed and still full control of breath! Felt wonderful)
Mile 3: 8:48 (Favorite city bridge up and back. Gets me going everytime. I liked hitting it later in the run, and it definitely was a huge factor in my sub 9:00 pace)
Mile .62: 9:20 (Okay, I’m not perfect… was highly exhausted after bridge + running uphill. Includes my cool-down too, however)

Overall, so much more satisfying to have a little patience with myself. Yes, it irked me a bit in the beginning to consciously hold back, but essentially the same distance felt much stronger this time around. I’m still frustrated a bit with myself that I am always doing these 3-4 mile runs, without going further. If I hadn’t really upped my speed on mile 3, I possibly could have eked out another mile or two.

I am worried… I have two big races (well, for me!) coming this month… the 10-miler at the end of the month, and I just signed up for a 10k in a couple of weeks to 1. Keep myself accountable in running. 2. Not panic over 10mi. race.

Practice patience… I feel like I’m at the cusp of so many new things, yet still stuck with the same-old-rut for a little bit longer. Pushing myself in little ways, but I have to remember to be gentle and allow things to happen as they will…

And you, dear reader, thank you for your patience for reading this whole long post! Cheers!

mean reds

This is not my life. These are not my cobwebs. This is not the darkness I was designed for.
(Let The Great World Spin by Collum McCann)

Quick post (what, two in one day? what is this?) to document an evening run.

It was so necessary for my day, even though I swam earlier today. For a myriad of reasons…
because it is a Friday evening that I don’t have plans to fill the post-work day. And this is making me feel a little antsy
because I lost my apartment key.
because I felt a little let down today.
because I suddenly felt fully obligated to lock down ‘what-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up’
and what I am doing with my life now as a very recent college grad feels so so aimless

In short, the mean reds (Breakfast at Tiffany’s anyone?)

Distance: 3.51
Duration: 29:00 on the dot

Mile 1: 7:59 (fastest pace was 6:01! This is highly absurd. So indicative of my mindset)
Mile 2: 8:30 (hello, enter more ridiculousness. I have never run this fast, this sustained)
Mile 3: 8:55 (okay, more normal. Still amazingly fast for me)
Extra .5 miles at a 9:00 min. pace

Phew! My body just needed that quick jolt, a little reminder that I am capable, that I am strong. I honestly could have gone a little more, on that 9:00 min. pace (definitely not the sprint pace!), but I was already overdoing it with the swim + run. Just enough to feel empowered!

Hope ya’ll have a good weekend. I think the sun’ll come back out from the clouds tomorrow, which I hope will improve my mood!

springing forth

There are moments when the body is as numinous

as words (Robert Hass, “Meditations at Lagunitas”; poem)

Good week, busy week, tired week. I’m trying to spend time honoring my body and my mind, leaving my home computer off for days, since I spend a big chunk of my day in front of one at work. Long springtime walks (one unblogworthy run), lazy outdoor dinners and reading on the tiny little balcony by candle.

Like this quote because I’m finding myself lately drawn to a moving meditation/prayer where I use my movement and my general daily routine to find mindfulness. I guess this is documenting all of that, but I just became more conscious of it this morning in the water:

Warm-up (1000m)
600 warm-up free (warming up and felt like a good glide like picking up where I left off last time)
100 free kick x2
100 free pull x2

Honestly, didn’t feel like doing IM/Free intervals, and couldn’t remember any old sets I used to do from swim team… only thing that sounded interesting:

50 free from the middle of the pool, so 2 flip turns in a 50 instead of 1
Tread for 2 minutes in the middle of the pool

Repeated a few times. Felt sort of silly, so I stopped.

Cool-down: 200m

Only had a half-hour, so it was decent. I really think the key though for me is a longer duration–swim, run. I’m more endurance than sprint, perhaps. (Yes I am going to go ahead and consider 5-mile runs endurance … I’m trying to work on my distance!)

Palm Sunday and Passover both coming up– can’t believe spring is already here!

What’s your favorite springtime activity?