In the past week, I’ve had the great pleasure of running not one, but two 5 mile runs. Even though I’m in those painful first weeks of getting back into running shape, I couldn’t be happier for getting back out and pounding that pavement.
The first 5 mile run was with Abbe, who is currently training for her first half marathon! After listening (not always by choice) to me and Lina obsess over running for the past 6 months, and after accompanying us to the Providence Marathon, she finally caught the bug and signed up for the Philadelphia Half Marathon in November. Not only that, she also signed up for the Rock ‘N’ Roll Phoenix Half Marathon in January 2014, and has convinced her boyfriend, brother, and friend from home to do it with her.
When I first started running with Abbe last summer, we ended up rarely running together because we had very different paces. Abbe had run a little bit here and there, but never did track or cross country in high school and therefore had never really run consistently enough or long enough to see any major changes. Well, I am here to tell all (3? 4?) of you that read this blog that with her half marathon training, Abbe has recently gotten a lot better.* She has not only brought her average pace down, but she is also able to have conversations while she runs. Up until recently, Abbe was (comically) notorious for plugging in and tuning out when she ran. Lina and I, as I’ve mentioned, see our runs as equal parts exercise and socializing, so now that Abbe’s pace is closer to ours (mine and Lina’s) and we’ve convinced Abbe to chat with us on our runs, I foresee us doing a lot more runs together. Mwa ha ha. We got her. 😉
*Digression: I am a HUGE believer in consistency. Every person I know that has made great improvements in his or her fitness has done so by being consistent. The most common mistake I see in people who are trying to improve their running is to go out way too hard or way too often, which results in injuries or burn out. The following quote by Robert Collier captures this sentiment perfectly: “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” Abbe is doing a great job of improving her running the right way.
My second 5 miler of the week was with Lina, and I was SO excited about it that I literally showed up to our meeting spot 40 minutes early by accident. Oops! We hadn’t run together since the marathon, ok?? According to the training plan, this run was supposed to be a ‘pace’ run, meaning we were to run it at our goal marathon pace. Considering I would like my average pace to fall somewhere between 8:30 and 8:50, I didn’t have high hopes for this run actually being a pace run because I ran a 3 miler two days ago and felt pretty miserable. Lina also ran a 5 mile run earlier in the week that ended pretty terribly, so the two of us had NOT been breezing through those first few runs like our day dreams had suggested.
But, it ended up being a nice, cool day (low 60’s, perfect) and to our great surprise, the run was a huge success! Both Lina and I battled some cramping, so the run certainly didn’t feel easy for either of us. But, old habits die hard and lo and behold, we just couldn’t help ourselves:
I’m really proud of us. We actually managed to run our first pace run as, well, a pace run! Yay! I’m looking forward to the days when that feels a lot easier, but for now, I’m totally stoked. I can’t emphasize enough how good it feels just to be going out on runs again.
I think my high level of contentment and excitement over this 5 mile pace run is partially due to being in contrast to how I felt yesterday. I was feeling really discouraged about this new training cycle because of the lingering pain in my foot. Also, at my physical therapy appointment my physical therapist looked me in the eye and told me not to run 5 days a week, and not to wear flip flops anymore.
I take issue with both of those instructions for the following reasons: First of all, I already feel as though I’ve eliminated the only non-essential run from the marathon training plan; eliminating any more makes me worried that I won’t be able to keep up with Lina in terms of fitness, and I don’t want to be a drag. I want for us to be able to push each other and continue being a good match running-wise. I’m still debating as to whether or not to obey my doctor on this one. Cross training is not my favorite.
The other issue I have is that it is SUMMER, and really, what else am I supposed to put on my feet if not flip flops?? Flip flops go with basically everything during the summer. And do you know what does not look good with sun dresses? Tennis shoes/sneakers. I realize that there are supportive flip flops out there, but I have yet to find a pair that doesn’t make me feel 30 years older.
Annoying as it will be to avoid wearing flip flops all the time, I am actually going to (mostly) obey my physical therapist on this one. I wore those new minimalist shoes (which I originally bought for running) around town for the past two days, and my foot feels a lot better already. I’m going to compromise by wearing more supportive shoes when I know I’ll be walking around a lot, and only wear my beloved flip flops when I know I’ll be sitting a lot.
In other news, physical therapy is going well and I haven’t had ANY weirdness or pain in my IT band in over a week, despite adding mileage. For that, I am extremely thankful. I also stumbled across this cute picture of my cat, Toast, while I was searching for pictures to spice up this post and I just had to put it in:
Isn’t she lovely?
Other than the runs, very little has happened this week that is worth writing about. I have plans to do some hot yoga and berry picking with Lina and company, so maybe I’ll get crazy and include stuff in my next post that is (gasp!) not about running. We’ll see.