Monday, July 27, 2015

Weekend Running Lessons

This weekend and into Monday, I learned (or re-learned) a few running lessons that I will take with me into the future.  

First, at this age I can try to do all the precision-timed workouts I want to for 5K training.  But at the end of the day what tends to matter most is simply "have I put in enough miles".  For the first few months of this year, before I decided to run a marathon this fall and an ultra-marathon next spring, I  had decided that I would give my legs a rest and run only 30 miles per week.  I did just that.  It took a lot less time.  And I thought that by running shorter, I would wear my legs out less and run faster in 5K's.  What I learned was that this is not right.  I could have done that if I'd combined my shorter running workouts with some strength training workouts or some other cardio that used another part of the body.  Then I might have been able to increase my speed.  But just running a smaller number of miles without doing them more intensely or adding some extra strength training was not a way to train for fast 5K runs and my first three of the year were over 20:00.  Then, I had recently started going back up to 50+ from Monday through Sunday again and had some weeks of 60+ in a seven day period. Low and behold--I ran 45 seconds faster than any other race this year and hit 19:20, although it may have been just a wee bit short.  And I felt pretty good.  My friend, Lauren, said basically, "I told you so."  Props to my "running daughter" for teaching me a good lesson.

Second, that brought me to then running on Sunday--with Lauren and Joselyn.  Joselyn and I will often run our longest workouts (even 20+ miles) at a sub-8 pace.  With Lauren we ran 8:33 total over 18 miles.  Fifteen of those were with Lauren at an even slightly slower pace.  My legs were still a little tight after the hilly run through the rest of the day.  But I stayed in motion as much as possible.  When I woke up on Monday (today), I felt great.  I ran an eight mile workout this morning faster than I did the workout yesterday--averaging 8:09.  It is very rare that I run a workout on the day after a long run faster than I did the long run.  Of course, I couldn't tell you the last time I did a long slow workout truly slowly. (I am blessed to call 8:33 slowly.)  With that in mind, it is a lesson re-learned.  I can do a good day-after workout when I take the long slow run on Saturday or Sunday as truly a long, SLOW run.  

That brings me to the latest insight from my times and Bible stories--Proverbs 8:33--Listen to instruction and grow wise, do not reject it!  I need to recall not to reject from anyone--even someone 21_ years my junior.  I am lucky enough to hang out with some pretty smart people.  I should listen.

Last, another blogger and friend at So What? I run, wrote about her reason for not just an ultra but a 100-mile ultra.  When someone saw her after her 54 mile training run and told her he didn't think she could make 100 miles, she shared what she thought.  At the end of the day, she remembered that she runs for herself. Yes, she may use it to call attention to something.  Yes, she may dedicate a run to someone.  Yes, she may have reasons that focus externally in a variety of ways.  But when all is said and done, she wants to achieve for herself. It is a part of her.  It is a part of her spirit. It is a part of her being.  It is a part of her essence.  

And when all is said and done, I don't run exactly like anyone else.  I don't need to run exactly like anyone else.  Not the same form.  Not as fast.  Not as far.  Not for the same reasons.  Not for any reason in particular.  But for my own sense of being.  My own sense of accomplishment. For me.  For my well-being.  And for me to become a better person overall even if I am not perfect on any one thing.  As I continue to explore my vulnerabilities and reach for a goal that is just a little further and stronger than anything I've done before.  

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