Lately, I’ve been running.
This seems like an odd thing to say on a running blog but it needs to be stated.
I’m running on a regular basis and my running has changed.
Before I go further, let’s do a little fall back and get some background laid out first.
I ran 12 races in 2012. My motivation was to go from an asthmatic women with knee problems who was slow as hell and HATED running to someone who could just go out there and run and enjoy it!
It worked! I did each race and then some after that year. It became an addiction and while my big goal was completed for that year, I continued to sign up and run race after race.
Then I got injured and it set me back. On top of that, I stopped taking my birth control. I took it for more than the usual reasons. I was diagnosed with PMDD and my cycles could be pretty severe from the physical, painful cramping to the extreme ups and downs emotionally. Birth control helped maintain a level of normalcy I didn’t get naturally.
When we decided we wanted to get pregnant, I had to stop taking it, of course. But after two years of struggling to push through the ups and downs, watching my weight balloon out of control even when I’m working to keep it off, and not being able to stick to anything due to the ever changing moods I experience 3 weeks out of every month, I’m kinda putting two and two together that the pill I was on was a godsend and if it wasn’t for me wanting to get pregnant again and expand our family, I’d be back taking that pill in a heartbeat!
Enough about that. Back to running…
So I haven’t had a running routine that has stuck with me for years now. I just can’t seem to get on the ball and run. I think I lost my mojo more than once and never really wanted it back, to be honest.
For some reason, I’ve mentally broken down the wall that was blocking me from running without intervals. I could do it during a race (as my husband so lovingly reminds me ALL THE TIME!) but not on a daily basis.
When I went out to run, I’d run a 4:1 or a 3:1 when I was feeling sluggish. I felt that I NEEDED that walk. I needed that minute of not running to improve my running.
I don’t know what was holding me back. Or why, for that matter. Was I scared of improving? Was I worried I was going to fail? Did my injury hold me back? Or was I afraid of getting reinjured?
I can’t say exactly what it was that held me back but I clung to my intervals with a death grip. I wouldn’t let go and it kinda sucked the love out of running.
Then I went on a run without my phone. No way to log it or track it or to use my intervals. Instead I ran instinctually. I slowed down if I was feeling any pain and I sped up if I was feeling the need to pick up the pace.
And it worked. I ran without any issues and I felt freer than I had in a long time. That’s when I turned it all off. Everything.
No more audio cues telling me how far I had gone, how long it had taken me, and what my pace was at that moment. Instead I listened to a podcast or a playlist and enjoyed my run without thinking too much about it.
Through this I learned to just run.
Odd, isn’t it? After a year of learning to run and race, I never thought to just…well…run.
Even though I use an app to track my mileage, I only look at it after I’m done. I keep it in a pouch where it records my run but stays quiet the whole time. After each run I’ll post a little something on Instagram using a screen shot of my run. After a few days of running this way, I took a second to stop and compare the three I had.
I was surprised by what I found!
If I didn’t have the proof from my recording to show how my pace improved in just a few days of running this way, I wouldn’t believe it. But there it is. Slowly but surely I’m running faster and I’m adding distance.
There is a small part of me that still doesn’t believe this could be true but that’s my low self esteem talking and I need that voice to hush and go away because the proof is right there in front of me. Once I turned off the voices (both mental and literal) I started running better and improving my speed.
For the first time since I started running, I’m actually doing just that. I’m actually running!
Today is my rest day. We have some errands to run and some projects to finish at home. Tomorrow I have a 1.5 mile run on the schedule but I may extend that out to 2.5 or 2.75 to push myself and work on finding my limit.
So far I’ve gone 2.3 miles with no intervals and felt fine but I’m getting curious to see how far I can actually go. Kinda like taking out a new car for a test drive and getting the itch to open her up and see how fast she really can go.