Last week, during our run for Red Mango, it was windy. And there was a bit of a hill during part of the run. I was feeling pretty bad about myself because I just couldn't seem to get myself moving, much less keep moving, until we hit a straight part. Then, running was perfection. It felt like I could go on forever. Of course, the wind was at my back, which helped as well. But as we reached the end of that part and turned back into the wind and toward the hill, it dawned on me that I could get that same run - nice and flat, with no wind - on a treadmill. And hello, the gym where I go to swim has treadmills...in fact, they have all sorts of machines! You'd think that would be obvious to me, but please see the first sentence of this post...I go to the gym to swim. Period.
Long story short (I know, too late), I went to the gym for my Thursday morning run. Remembered to bring my headphones so I could actually hear the TV. I figured out how to get everything started - it's been over a year since I've been on a treadmill, so that was quite a feat for me. Anyway, I ran. Nearly a mile before I walked. And then I ran again - close to another mile. This was exactly what I needed - it restored my confidence in my running ability. I really can run!
Cut to Saturday. We had four miles on the schedule. I set Ricky Bobby for 4:1 intervals - run for 4 minutes and walk for one minute. Jeff ran with me, and we decided ahead of time that once we hit the 3 mile marker, we'd run the entire way to the finish. We set off and sure enough, I was feeling winded and ready for each and every one minute break. Honestly, I wasn't happy about that - where was my conditioning? I thought that after a couple of months, my cardio would be better than this! I made it to the 3 mile marker and we ran. I didn't care about my pace - my goal was to just run an entire mile without stopping. And I did it - even put on a little competitive burst at the very end to beat Jeff, lol! Afterward, he pointed out that all the stopping and starting I do with the intervals seems to make my tempo really jaggedy, and that's probably why I get so winded - I'm not running long enough to settle into a nice even pace...I'm just speeding up and slowing down constantly. Huh. When did HE become the running expert? (I can't be the only married person who has these thoughts, right?) Anyway, after I thought back to the times I've felt really good about running, it was always when I WAS running for a longer period. Dang it, he's probably right!
So my theme for this week is "forward momentum" - all I want to do when I run is to keep running. No more intervals. Pace is not important right now; I can go as slow as I want, but I have to run, period. Yesterday I went to the gym with the specific goal of running as close to two miles as I could before I had to stop and walk...I figured that since I'd run a mile outdoors, I could do more on a treadmill. And? I ran 2.05 miles (had to get in a little extra at the end - apparently I'm competitive even with just myself)! I watched TV, I changed channels a bazillion times, I sweated up a storm - but I kept running. And I felt fine! I wasn't gasping for air the whole time and my legs felt really good. This was a major mental milestone for me. MAJOR. I now realize that for the most part (jumping still hurts) I'm over my ankle injury. I've recovered from it. And I can be a distance runner once again. Hurray!!!