Sunday, June 07, 2009

Everything Changes

I had a great run with CV on Sunday morning. I used to run with friends almost every day but now that I'm not working it's a lot harder to get a run in at all, let alone coordinate with someone else. So it was extra nice to run with her for the second weekend in a row. We met up at the park by my house and did about 12.5 together and I did about 13 total. We did two very challenging loops with a lot of rolling hills and then one mother hill that I ended up running 3 times. It was just one of those runs that I never wanted to end. I could have run forever it seemed like and the hills were treats that made me feel so strong. Even a couple hours later I still missed the run and wish I could get back out there! But, it was the last day of my down week.

Speaking of the down week, I decided that down weeks suck. And for that matter, taper weeks suck too. I much prefer the sensation of exhausted legs during peak training than the pinchy lazy legs of these lower intensity weeks. I know they're necessary and I know the crappy feeling means my legs are mending the muscle tears from hard training, but it doesn't mean I have to like it! I am so happy to start my second season of training!

Speaking of starting training, I started that yesterday! Woohoo! I am so excited. I feel like I am at a really good starting point. And even better, I feel eager to challenge myself and try some new things. I plan to keep all the hills I've been running, that's one big plan I have. I always hated hills, but now I just can't get enough and I can tell I am much stronger. It feels awesome to hammer up a huge hill. I never ever thought I'd be a strength runner, but low and behold I think I might be morphing into one before our very eyes!

Another new thing for me is ditching the watch as often as I can. It is so nice to just run and not worry about how fast I'm going. I've been doing that for the last few weeks for most easy runs and even a couple of long runs. I'd also like to try it for tempos maybe and even do some fartleks instead of track work when it's really hot or if I just need a mental break from the stop watch. It's really hard to let go and not worry about time, but it is so freeing and it helps keep running enjoyable. Sometimes during training for a big race, hitting targets and goal paces becomes really stressful and erodes the joy of running. More than any time goal for my marathon, I think my biggest goal is to preserve that joy and run Akron with a smile on my face.

Of course, that's a lot easier said than done. Fitness-wise, I feel pretty close to where I left off. Maybe not quite there, but that's probably those breast-feeding pounds that are hanging on. I guess the point is that I'm worried I'm stuck. A couple of my good friends have recently had breakthroughs and I worry I'm getting left in their dust. But then again I am thrilled for them and, although I definitely want to get faster, my over-arching goals for running this year are to enjoy it like I said above and just do MY best with my post-peanut body. I'm working with a totally different body than I was last time I trained for a marathon and I need to accept that! Plus, I don't have the luxury I once did to sit around and obsess about running anyway. Case in point, I started this blog post on Sunday and didn't have a chance to finish it until today. My body, life--everything is different. And I suppose my running, the mental and physical aspects, represent that.

In peanut news, we had our first swimming lesson today and it was super great!


E-Speed said...

It's funny how much we all worry about our friends leaving us in the dust. Trust me you aren't the only one that feels that way. After CVs 18:50 and our tempo last week I definitely had those "what about me?" feelings :) But we will all get there. I predict many breakthroughs for all of us this year.

DC Running Mama said...

It will happen! I believe it! I'm at the start of my two week down period and loving not feeling guilty for not doing enough training. I'm actually a little nervous to start "real" training with watches and goal paces. With the exception of my speed workouts on the TM or my recent workouts on the track, I really only have used a watch/garmin to assess my running after the fact rather than monitor myself on the run. I'm a little worried it will take the joy out of running.

Re: your comment that beating someone isn't a good way to assess your own progress. I totally know that...but the snark in me couldn't help but enjoy beating that other woman that I felt thought she had the race in the bag. I debated whether to put in the snarky race report b/c there might be a chance that she would find it some day, but the race was 4 hours away from where we lived, so I figured she wasn't going to be in my immediate racing community.