Just Run Faster
After a few months of heart-rate training earlier this winter, it seems like I’ve been just waiting and waiting for my speed to come back to me. I’ve incorporated casual speed work once or twice a week even – intervals, progressions, hills – often just to escape the treadmill doldrums this winter. But I’ve been lazing about at a close to 10 minute pace, when my average in the past was closer to 9:15.
This morning I was completing the week’s entries in my running journal and reflecting on how the week went. My first run of last week was on Monday, alongside a very speedy friend and head coach at In Motion Training here in Mashpee, MA. As I hoofed it to keep up with Nicole for 5 miles at an 8:30 pace, she was talking about the women she coaches and the extreme joy – both theirs and hers – of seeing them reach exciting new goals. I don’t even know what it was exactly, but she said something related to “just push harder and find what you’re capable of.” We still had a few miles left and I just let that click in with me. I pushed harder.
The next day I had 8 on the schedule, and it was a beautiful sunshiney end to a dreary day! Knowing this was a bit longer distance, I held at about a 9:15 pace for the first five, and then chilled out with my Tuesday night run club friends for the final three.
Wednesday was a rest day (which means yoga!), and Thursday I rocked it out for a 5-mile progression run around Barnstable Village! I didn’t really plan on it, but almost exactly went from 9:30 – 9:15 – 9 – 8:45 – 8:30 in my pacing. It felt amazing to just be charging forward – and more sunshine! I was really truly seeing myself take charge of the situation and JUST. RUN. FASTER. That’s what all these months of training are for, right? To learn what motivates you, to challenge yourself further, to grow as a runner for the next big challenge! This isn’t just any old race, this is the Boston Marathon!!
Friday was where I laid it all out on the table. Whoa. I joined Nicole and our colleague Matt for a 20-mile run of the Cape Cod Marathon course in Falmouth. I insisted on parking my car at our end point too, because I was sure I’d never keep up with them for 20 miles. As we got closer to Friday, I went through stages of panic and dropping out to then thinking “heck, I’ll hold it for 10 miles at least”. I knew they were aiming for a pace around 9:15, and as far as I was concerned, I’d only been doing that for a week – THIS week! And not for 20 whole miles! Maybe something was already paying off, though, because I stayed with them and felt comfortable… for 5 miles, then 10 miles, then 15! I started dropping back in the infamous Sippewissett Hills area around mile 17 or 18, but I could still see their butts in front of me. They turned around and finished at 20 miles with me. I couldn’t believe I had really just hung on for three hours with them!! My average pace was 9:21! Unheard of for a long training run, and trust me, I know my next 20-miler needs to be a very slow and easy one. But DAMN this felt good!
Also, what is with Cape Codders and their FIREBALL? We counted 42 bottles over 15 miles of this run – just on one side of the road!
I skipped a 17 mile long run while on vacation in February, and ended up skipping a long run last week when I switched my schedule around to join Nicole and Matt. I was starting to get pretty worried about my training, and both dreaded and was excited to get to the 20 mile mark. This weekend was pretty huge for me mentally! What followed was the Boston Yoga Mala event on Satuday – that’s 108 sun salutations over two and a half hours, non stop! – and a 5K run and marathon fundraiser for our friend Daunielle in Boston on Sunday. Feet up and R&R (with popcorn) on Sunday night!
Do you have a hurdle in your life or in your running that just needs a little push? I bumped into this great article last week: “Stalling Out – 5 Tips to Get Out of Your Own Way,” on sisterhoodofthetravelingmats.com.