August 20, 2013

August 11

Total time: 10 minutes
Total distance: 0.84 miles

After another disappointing run at the lake, I had a hard time getting motivated to get back out there. It was almost a week before I laced up my shoes again and went out to attempt to run. I decided to return to my usual park, since I knew the trail really well, and it could accommodate a shorter run. If it was truly a mental block at having a long distance laid out before me, then returning to my familiar path should help that.

I had no grand ambitions of running for a long time today. I didn't even expect to try to run a full mile. I was going to run ten minutes - to the end of my turnaround point, approximately, and then I would walk home. However fast I could run it, however slow, I was just going to try to get back into the groove and get my legs working again. It felt a lot like starting over, which is always frustrating, but it's become obvious that I can't do longer distances right now, for whatever reason.

So I ran my ten minutes and then stopped. Back when I was at my peak a few weeks ago, I would run until I reached an arbitrary time and then I would stop - and I always felt good when I was done, almost like I could keep going and going. Lately, I've had to force myself to a good stopping time and when I was done, I felt done. If that makes sense? Maybe not. But today, when I stopped, I felt like I used to - that maybe I could keep going. I didn't, though. I didn't want to overdo it and I didn't want to be disappointed when I couldn't keep going. But the fact that I felt like I could, was encouraging.

August 19, 2013

August 5

Total time: 30 minutes
Total distance: 2.06 miles

After such a positive experience at the lake the previous day, I decided to head back out and give it another go. Part of me was pushing for doing another lap again, while the other part of me was toying with the idea of attempting the longer route. I didn't really decide until I reached the point where I would have had to cross the bridge, and then I decided to stick with the perimeter again.

I'm not sure what happened today. I'm not sure whether it was the fact that I was running two days in a row - which I've done before, though I'm not sure the distance was ever this ambitious... which leads me to my other theory, is that my brain got incredibly psyched out by said distance that it panicked. Either way, I was having a very difficult time. I was going slow again, I was ready to quit with every step, and suddenly everything was miserable and awful. I was eagerly anticipating the magic point that I had reached the day before, when the second half of the run seemed easier and smoother, but it didn't happen. It continued to suck, and I eventually came to terms with the fact that I probably wasn't going to make it the whole distance.

It was close; I at least made it to the thirty minute mark. But that's as far as I could go. My pace was incredibly disappointing, too - it hasn't been this slow since I was first starting out. I posted my usual post-run photo collage, with the heavy hearted caption: I am literally getting slower every day. Not even the power of the orange sweatband could help me this time.

My neighbor tried to suggest that it was the humidity, which was nice of him, but I think I'm just getting worse. It's pretty disheartening.

August 18, 2013

August 4

Total time: 35 mi
Total distance: 2.67

I decided to try something new today. There is a lake north of town that has a nice paved trail around it - if you do it right, it equals out to a 5K. I think the trick is to do the "Figure 8" and cross over in the middle when you get to the bridge. I decided to simply run the perimeter of the lake this time as I got my bearings with the "new" trail. I've been out here before, even run little bits of it, but usually it's for leisurely walks. I've never tried to run the whole thing, and I decided that my primary objective this time would be to do a lap and see what the distance was.

The first part of the run was a struggle - seems to be a recurring theme - and it took a lot of mental berating to keep myself going. I knew I was running pretty slowly again and it was just, well, hard. But then the second part, when I rounded the south end of the lake, suddenly felt different. I settled back into my pace, and it suddenly felt good again. It felt like I remembered. And it was significantly more enjoyable than my last few runs.

I stopped at the same place I started, a distance of just over 2.5 miles, confirming my vague recollection that the 5K distance required some looping. Even so, 2.5 miles is nothing to shake a stick at, so I was pretty pleased. Mostly because I finished what I set out to do, and because for the last ten minutes or so, it felt good to run again.

August 17, 2013

August 1

Total time: 25 minutes
Total distance: 1.81 miles

The struggling continues. I'm getting slower, too. I'm not sure why this is - if I'm getting psyched out by the distance (I had intended to do the 2-mile route) or if I'm just physically exhausted right now. I followed the trail as planned but I stopped at 25 minutes - usually, that's enough for 2 miles, but I wasn't surprised to see that it wasn't this time. I think I am going to have to return to simply running for time and ignoring the distance again, even though it was kind of fun to see how far I could go. My pace is slowing down too much to be able to reliably measure it.

Not sure what's happening, it kind of feels like it's in my legs. (And probably my head.) They don't hurt, but they feel a little bit stiff or rubbery - hard to explain. But I've been going slow, and while I was originally talking myself into "finding my pace" as a mantra, I think I overshot that goal and found a new, much slower pace. It was also a struggle to get to that 25 minutes, which is why I stopped there instead of finishing the route - starting to wonder if I imagined that whole "I ran for 4 miles a couple times" thing. Seems so impossible, now.

August 5, 2013

July 30

Total time: 15 mins
Total distance: 1.18 miles

It was kind of dreary all day, and me being the weirdo I am got pretty excited about that fact. I was overdue for a run. So overdue. And yet… and yet, my body wasn’t nearly as enthused as I was, because despite the perfect temperature, it was another disappointing run.

I was mentally berating myself for most of the second half of the run – I had run almost an hour last week, and now I could barely handle the idea of anything over fifteen minutes? Even knowing that I wasn’t planning on running a long time or distance today, my legs felt really heavy and sluggish. I felt slow. I felt, once again, like I was regressing.

I threw in the towel at fifteen minutes, resolving to be better at hitting the trail more often this week and build myself back to where I was. I was almost afraid to check my time when I was done, knowing that I’d been kind of trudging along. Surprisingly, it’s not the slowest I’ve been, but I was back to ~12.8 min/mile again. 

I guess that’s the problem with it feeling like spring again – I’m starting to RUN like it’s spring again. Starting over after a long break. 

August 4, 2013

July 25

Total time: 25 mins
Total distance:  1.79 miles

We’ve had an incredible heat wave lately. It’s been in the 90s, it’s been humid, and even when the humidity was down, it was still just hot. I still managed to get outside and run, and was just starting to acclimate to the hellish weather when something miraculous happened: it rained. And the heat never came back.

It’s barely been over 80 degrees, intermittently cloudy, absolutely perfect outside.

And I’ve been a huge bum.

Each day that went by without a run was a day that I kicked myself and got even more annoyed with myself. But I was busy, or had obligations, or, on some days, I was simply too tired and/or lazy to do anything.

Finally, though, I pulled myself out the front door. I could tell I’d taken some time off. I followed my newly-established “long route” that would get me close to two miles, and somehow or another I managed to run for 25 minutes, but it was the slowest 25 minutes I think I’ve ever run. Distance-wise, I didn’t make it 2 miles, but at that point, I didn’t even care. I was just proud of myself for sticking with it for that long, even though it kind of sucked.

August 3, 2013

July 21 - PR Run!

Total time: 55 mins
Total distance: 4.2 miles

One of my biggest pet peeves about running in the heat is that I get a lot of sweat in my eyes. I mean, I usally wear a hat and/or sunglasses, but it doesn't quite prevent the trickling. I lamented the fact that sweatbands had gone out of style, because frankly, I could use one of those... and then I decided, ah, who cares? And I got myself a sweatband. An orange one, for reasons I'm sure made sense at the time.

Feeling just the slightest bit ridiculous but looking forward to test-driving my new "gear", I set out for a run of indeterminate length. I think I was either hoping to go for a half hour, or, if I was really feeling good, something equivalent to a 5K.

I'm not sure at exactly what point I decided to go for it, but I was soldiering along nicely for quite a while. With the last 2 mile run I'd done with the BF, I'd extended my route by following the road that went behind the baseball field that was attached to the park - one full loop gave me almost 2 miles, so I decided to go ahead and integrate that into today's run. It's better than zig-zagging around and I hate reaching a point and then having to turn around, because that half second of turning feels like a tiny momentum drop. I was going pretty slowly, compared to what I usually do, but I was feeling really good.

So good, I decided to attack my PR.

And before I knew it, I had run fifty-one minutes - technically the new PR, but you know me and how much I like my 5-minute increments. So naturally I had to go another four. It timed out just right that running home from the park instead of walking home would bring me to my doorstep right at around my goal time, so that's where I stopped. Plus the BF told me that he would buy me some frozen yogurt if I made it all the way to my house, and I clearly had to take him up on that.

This also means that the next time I try to break my record, I'm gonna have to go for an hour. Eek!

August 2, 2013

July 19

Total time: 11:30m + 8m (19:30 mins)
Total distance: 0.98mi + 0.62 mi (1.6 miles)

I was feeling pretty good about how fast (ok - fast for me, anyway!) I'd been running lately, so I decided to test it out and stop myself at 11:30 since, according to my last few runs, I'd been running approximately that pace for a mile. ELEVEN AND A HALF MINUTE MILE OR BUST.

...I didn't make it.

That's what I get for being cocky, I suppose. I was so close - 0.98 miles! - but, nope, not a mile.

As "punishment" for falling short of the day's objective, I made myself jog home from the park.

August 1, 2013

July 15

Total time: 25 minutes
Total distance: 2.03 miles

Had some company on my run tonight – the BF rode his new bike across town to meet up with me before hitting the trail. We had waited until later in the evening for it to cool down a bit, because it had been rather uncomfortably hot all day, which in hindsight was a great idea. It was still incredibly humid, but at least the temperature had dropped.

My goal for the night was to run 20 minutes – I’d struggled so much after the 80s run that I didn’t know what to expect after this one. If I was feeling good, I’d maybe try to hit 25 which would hopefully give me 2 miles (I can no longer accurately predict this as my pace has been off and I was sorely disappointed last time). 

I started off feeling fantastic. My posture felt a lot better than it had, and I was jogging merrily right along for the first mile or so. I slowed down my pace a bit after that but it was a noticeable difference from this post-run run from the previous post-run run. Better. 

I went to 25 minutes (and did snag my 2 mile, woo!) and felt pretty good afterward. I don’t have another 5K on my calendar until November but I might look for something in September. August in Iowa is miserable, and anyway, it will be nice just to run for the “kell” of it for a while without having to worry about an upcoming race. I have proven to myself that I can do it, and that is an immense pressure off my shoulders. After fighting through the Color Run, I’m feeling pretty good about what I can do now. I know that if I set my mind to it, I can run 3.1 miles, without stopping, without dying.