I am talking about running. My outlook on running has now changed for the 3rd time in the past 6 months. To recap, this past June, I blogged about my possible intention to run in a half-marathon. During that point in my journey, I was upset with myself because I took a 3-week break from running. I thought half-marathon training was the perfect solution.
I started Hal Higdon’s training program and marked all of the miles I needed to complete on my wall calendar. This training program consisted of three mid-week 3-mile runs and one longer run on the weekends. After I completed the third week, ending with a 6-mile run, I realized my body was not able to handle the impact from all that running. Then, I blogged about why I made the decision to stop running, which led to my focus on strength training. I thought that if I progressed in my strength training, I would continue to be able to run a 5K distance with ease.
About a month after I stopped running, I participated in the Hartford Scramble 5K race at the end of July. For a person who typically runs a 10 minute-mile pace, it took me over 35 minutes to complete this race. While I do understand there were stairs and steep terrain, there were points when I had to cut my pace to a walk prior to seeing any of the obstacles. To me, this felt very humiliating and demoralizing. When I realized how difficult it was for me to finish that race, I knew I did not make the right decision to completely stop running.
As a compromise, I made a renewed commitment to myself to run for 3 miles at least once per week. If it is too cold outside, I will run on my treadmill. If I have a race coming up, I will increase my running frequency to prepare for the race. I am hoping this plan will allow me to maintain my ability to run, give my body ample time to rest and heal, and allow my body the opportunity to continue making progress.
Part of my transformation process is figuring out by trial and error what works vs. what does not work. In reflection, I may have bitten off more than I could chew when I decided to go from a running hiatus to half marathon training in the same week. I do, however, feel proud of myself for giving this a try as I learned a lot about myself and what my body can handle.
I am happy to report I kept up with running at least weekly since mid-September. I am able to run less than a 10 minute-mile pace for most of my runs. In November, I achieved my personal best when I ran in the Runitlikeamom Race of the Month at the McKeen Law Firm Race to Fill the Pantry 5K. I finished the race in 30 minutes and 4 seconds and was in 17th place (out of 59 runners) in my age group. I found out these results earlier this week, and I am absolutely thrilled.
In reflection, I am very happy I experienced some shifts in my journey without stopping exercise completely, which is a behavior I know I repeated many times in my past. In order to figure out what works best for me, I had to experience some setbacks and modify my routine as needed. As time goes on, I appreciate these lessons because they are helping me continue to move my transformation journey in the right direction.
Photo credit: Glastonbury River Runners Running Club
Photo may not be used without permission