But then I start reading. I've been so inspired by all of the bloggers out there who are challenging themselves and reaching for new heights. Whether it's in running 3 miles for the first time, completing a hard speed workout, qualifying for Boston or training for their first ultra, it seems everyone is reaching higher. I think that's natural for runners. We're not content with the status quo. We want more. We want to be better than we previously were. I truly believe, and more so each day, that there really aren't limits to what this amazing human body can do.
With that being said, there are some limits to what my body can do without being injured. It's part of running smart so that I can run for a lifetime. And I ignored what I have learned time and time again through bitter heartache. I ran through pain. Thankfully, I'm learning a bit faster and no permanent damage was done. But it was a wake up call to me- again. Two weeks ago I ran my first speed workout in about a year. It felt great. I didn't really know how fast I could go or how long I could sustain it. I did mile repeats and it felt great. However, the next day I noticed some pain in the top of my foot. It wasn't bad though. It ached through my tempo workout on Thursday and some during my 16 miler. Last Tuesday during my next speed workout, it hurt. I had done 2 x 800 meter repeats when I finally listened to my body, kicked off my gorilla feet and just slowed it down and finished out the miles barefoot at an easy pace. But it ached all the rest of the day and through the night. I didn't do anything Wed. In fact, I was a bit scared and slightly bummed that I had been so careless. A stress fracture is the last thing I need. But by Thursday it felt much better. I ran in place cautiously and decided it was good. So I put on my socks and went outside and took it easy. Friday I felt good. So like an idiot, I looked at the training program again and decided to try my scheduled tempo workout. I ran in my socks on the treadmill in case it started hurting, but it was much better. And I nailed that tempo workout. It felt good to hold a pace that was hard. Friday night the foot pain was there. Not bad, but there. Now I never said I was the brightest in the bunch so you can see why I still did my long run on Saturday. And I took my Garmin for the first time since last June. I had looked at the training program and saw the pace and wanted to see if I could do it. My route was not easy. It consisted of 7 x 1.15 miles of uphills and the same downhills. I was focussed on my speed, my arms pumping to the back, and my feet landing properly. I was able to maintain a good pace but it wasn't super easy. During the 5th downhill the top of my foot hurt. I stopped immediately and walked. I started up again slowly and it was o.k. By the 6th uphill portion I was fading. My body felt like it was on a long run. My shoulders, calves, hamstrings, and butt felt tired. I was having to talk myself into finishing strong. But when I got to the last uphill portion something clicked in my brain. I started remembering how good I had felt on a couple of previous long runs. These were runs that I wasn't focussed on speed, where I was concentrating on relaxing everything. These were super enjoyable runs where my body didn't feel tired. Running was fun. So I told myself to stop worrying about speed for this last uphill. I relaxed everything. I tried to pretend I was barefoot. I enjoyed the sun that was out and shining. I tried to smell what was around me- the dirt and almost spring smell that was in the air. Even my breathing relaxed and suddenly everything was better. Just for fun I glanced at my watch and my pace was exactly the same as it had been before.
I really thought about it yesterday. I talked with my good friend, Heather. I have come to the conclusion that I have gotten away from what I originally set out to do. It's not that I don't enjoy challenging my body. Because I do. I liked seeing those numbers. But I am injury prone. I am tired of starting over because I have to take months off. I am learning to run a different way. It's not about speed. It's about enjoying the run. It's about relaxing my body so that I don't injure it. It's about being able to run for the rest of my life. This may not be my fastest marathon. And I will be o.k. with that. I'm not running with my watch anymore. I'm going to run according to how I feel. The speed will come. I know it will. I keep forgetting what I loved about the book Born to Run. Start with easy. Then make it light. Practice making it smooth and by the time you master those, you won't have to worry about speed because it will already be there. That is my new master plan.
Monday: 5 mile run outside in Evo's
Tuesday: 5 mile run on treadmill (3 miles in gorilla feet, 2 miles barefoot), full body weights, cycling class
Thursday: 5 mile run outside(4 miles in socks, 1 mile in gorilla feet), cycling class
Friday: 7 mile run in socks on treadmill, full body weights
Saturday: 15 mile run outside in Evo's