Although I will admit that as I was planning this post I immediately started to think of all the techy things I would love to own or fancy gear...it wasn't until I was running today that I thought of my real wish.
I wish I had started loving running earlier in life.
Growing up I was always an athlete. I played soccer, basketball, softball, volleyball, and was a competitive equestrian for varrrying lengths of time. No matter the sport though, I hated running. If we had to run a mile I dreaded it. Sprints were no better. I spent every minute running wishing it was over.
I really don't even know when I started to run other than when I was being forced. I think it was probably the summer of 2011 right after I graduated college. That fall I got more enthusiastic about it but more as a means to an end. I wanted to get rid of my college weight and I didn't have enough money to join a gym..so running it was. It wasn't until last November that I ran a race. That one was all it took though, and I was hooked.
I know it all sounds good and well, but the reason I wish I had started to love running earlier is that I would have had so many more opportunities to learn. I could have run in high school and college; I could have had coaches. And perhaps I would not have my mind so set that I am a slow runner.
I have always been open to the idea of trying new things, but a little (okay a lot) more hesitant when it comes to actually doing the new thing. I have already decided not to put out too much effort because I probably won't be very good and I don't want to look like I am trying too hard while I am doing poorly. For this reason, I have always avoided trying to be a "fast" runner because I was convinced that I would never be one. I finished by 10k a few weeks back feeling great and barely out of breath. I knew that meant I could have gone faster, but I also knew that it meant I finished without looking like I was struggling.
Luckily I also have a very competitive streak. I knew I could improve my time and that I even had time to improve my estimated pace for the marathon I am running in November. But I had no idea how. Sure I had seen things about sprints and intervals and training methods, but they were way outside my comfort zone. They were nothing I had tried before. They weren't for "slow" runners like me.
Today, however, I was out for my run and trying to beat the rain. About a mile and a half into the run I arrived at the track. There was only one person on it (a small miracle!) and she was walking so I guessed she couldn't judge me for my slow running too very much. So I went up there. I ran a slow lap then decided I would run a faster lap. It was a decent speed but nothing crazy. In this process I realized I am the type of runner who is always saving their energy for what comes next. Anyways, about 3/4 of the way around the track on my slightly quicker lap I changed my mind and started walking. It was hot, I was tired, I had no idea what I was doing. It was time to call this experiment off and just run back to my car at a comfortable pace.
Then I thought about the marks I was seeing on the track. Again, I wish I had started this adventure earlier in life and knew what any of them meant. I am assuming what I was looking at was the 100, 200, and 300 meter marks. So I decided to walk to the start, run to the 100, walk to the 200, run to the 300 and see what happened. It felt alright but I certainly wasn't moving any too quickly. What if I run funny? What if I look like I am trying to go fast and still going really slow? What if I look like I have no idea what I am doing?
After the first repeat of this, however, something clicked and I decided to sprint the distances. My stride opened up and for the first time (possibly in my entire life?) I ran and felt like I was flying. I didn't think about any of the other people on the track. I didn't think about the people driving by. I thought about using my entire body to get me from point A to point B as fast as it could. When I got to the walking part I thought I would puke, I thought I couldn't possibly do it again...but I wanted to!
I suppose I should have counted how many of these repeats I did. But I didn't. I ran because it felt good. I ran because it made me happy. And I ran until I heard the thunder rolling in.
I did a nice, slow, cool-down jog back to my car thinking how much I wished I had found that feeling earlier in my life.
Maybe I wouldn't have appreciated it as much if I had. All I know now is that I will be doing it again!
Now, if you have stuck with me this far I can get to the pictures and fun things :)
I didn't get out of bed early like I meant to...but I did wear Hank out on our walk at lunch! He likes to come in and lay right next to the A/C vent as soon as we get done.
I made a not-so-photogenic quesadilla for lunch with leftovers from yesterday. My snack in the office this afternoon was much prettier. I am very much hooked on all these things!
During my run I encountered a peg-legged duck. The one in the back was walking funny and I realized he has no foot! He seems to do well though so I guess it just goes to show you how amazing nature can be.
The storm was rolling in on the other side of the lake as I crossed the bridge. I wanted to avoid that, but I made a pretty view!
My favorite thing to have waiting for me after a run! I work a little harder on days when I have a cold one waiting because I feel like I need to earn it.
And that was the craziness of my day!
Let me know: what is your favorite track/speed workout?