So… even though I have not written about running lately, I have been. Running, that is.

Of course, I am always changing my mind when it comes to training and the level of training. Before my last race and while I was in the midst of feeling so much physical difficulty, I said I would back off after my birthday run and really give my body a chance to rest. HA.

As you recall, if you have been a reader of this blog, I had a disappointing (understatement) marathon training segment this past summer. Several factors played into what happened to me physically and mentally, but at the end of the day, it was just flat out disappointing. I felt slow, exhausted, never good enough, and wasn’t really having any fun. I was also on a vegetarian nutrition plan and went quite a while with no alcohol or sweets. I felt consumed with training and yet, I was not getting the results I wanted and again, I really wasn’t having any fun. I now also realize I was completely discounting how much some other things in my life were affecting my training. Work had been extremely stressful and some personal stuff was also difficult this summer. So… i had a perfect cocktail recipe for a tough time with no balance and we know that a life out of balance is a perfect recipe for disaster. Physically, i felt like a disaster and of course, I hated that feeling. I like to feel fit, healthy and “ready to go”. I’m only now realizing all the things that played into the “disaster” and how it all got created.
Making that decision back in September to drop from Marathon to Half Marathon felt excruciatingly difficult…as if my life depended on it…Of course, it didn’t, and some people may even wonder what the big deal is. Like anything else, when something is important to you, perhaps only you truly understand your decision making process and the feelings associated with it. Of course, it was not the end of the world. Life went on and I went on to run a respectable half-marathon.

Since that race, I have definitely cut back on the amount of training. I am only running 2-4 days a week and I have not focused much at all on the number of miles. I have mostly focused on speed and I have felt better than I have in a LOOOONG time. I have been having some of my best runs in terms of TIME/PACE and most importantly, I have been thoroughly enjoying myself. I have been pushing my pace and been loving it. It’s been so awesome to feel my legs turning over faster, my arms pumping faster and my breathing deeper. My lungs have been burning and my quads have been aching from my faster paces. I have been running hilly routes and not losing my stride. I have been pushing through and then zooming on the downhill sections. SO FREAKING FUN. Fun like I am cycling down a fast, fast hill and I am flying down it. I feel free.

And today’s run was kinda a snapshot of the ones I have experienced lately.
I went out thinking I would go 5 or 6 with only a few very moderate incline/declines along the way.
I had run a “fast” 3 miles last night at 5pm, and today’s run would be done less than 24 hours after that so i wasn’t sure how my legs would respond.
I parked in Virginia-Highlands, slipped on my iPod, and off I went on a crisp late morning in Atlanta.
The instrumental version to “Empire State of Mind” by Katy Perry was the 1st song that played and I was in my moment. AAHHHHHHH —
I ran on and found my stride. By 2nd mile, i could feel my legs getting a little tired. I took some water and trucked on up the hill and was super focused. I ran through Inman Park and into The Old 4th Ward. Mile 3 passed. Flat stretch and a little downhill now. Just hoping to hit the green lights and I did. Faster, faster. 4 miles done. Realized I was only gonna run 5. Dug in and stepped it up. Found a deeper gear. Mile 5 done.
5 miles at 8:56 pace per mile. Faster than I have run in a few years, at least. Felt fucking awesome!
I’m so looking forward to my 10k race next Saturday.

It’s worth noting that during this time of faster results in training and feeling more joy in the process, I have not been nearly as “focused” or as much of a stickler on my nutrition…i.e.. i am eating red meat once a week to help with iron levels, i am taking a multivitamin, i am drinking when I feel like it and i am enjoying my cookie cravings.

When I completed my run, I had to walk about half mile up the hill to where my car was parked. Alicia Keys’ version of “Empire State of Mind” came on the pod and I was singing loudly as I walked up the street. Then, I kept throwing my little water bottle up in the air and catching it and then throwing it and running to catch it…a la football. It was pure joy, I tell you. PURE. I wish I could have seen my face or taken a video clip of this true, simple, and joyful moment. I was so full.

Running… one of my life-lines.

Zoom Zoom.

3 Responses to “Life-Line”

  1. I completely get this. I felt it during my race yesterday. It was just a 10K trail race, but it was hard and when I finished I felt a combination of dead tired and completely alive and joyful.

  2. I love your posts!!! So glad to hear you are having fun again running. Keep running, LW!!!

  3. great story! what a feeling to be enjoying running again! congrats on a great run and have a fun race this weekend! i could take some lessons from that post and learn to relax a little bit – not being so strict with yourself has to help defeat the stress of life.

    i’m also still thinking about the life boat post. very interesting exercise.

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