Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wednesday Workout Update: Running - The Next Chapter

My medals, and the bibs from every single race I've ever done - I'm very proud of what all of this represents, especially as a former couch-potato who was overweight for two decades!

After restarting running in January of 2012, I've now completed my goals of running, running a 5K, and running a half marathon.  So what have I learned from all of this, and what is next?

What I learned:  Running is harder for me now than it was back when I started in 2009.  My best year of running was 2010 - I ran lots of 5K's, I improved my pace time, and I ran my first half marathon.  Of course, at the time I thought I was pretty slow - hah, little did I know how much slower I COULD be - but I was also comparing myself to other running bloggers who were A) naturally thin; B) much younger than me; and C) lifelong athletes, unlike this late-bloomer.  I read those blogs to get tips on running, but in retrospect, I would have been better off without the comparisons I put myself against.

So yes, running is harder now - things hurt once I hit higher mileage, like my right ankle, the top of my left foot, and weirdly, the toe next to my big toe on my left foot.  Alas and alack, I think this is just the way it will be for me - and it's something that I am willing to put up with, for now, in order to run.  But, I don't hurt as much when I only (only!) run 3 or 4 or 5 miles, and that is something very appealing at the moment - to run a decent distance and not end up hurting so much afterward.

I like running.  I like how I feel when I run, and I like the fact that I CAN run.  But I'm not going to lie - training for the half marathon(s) was tough - our schedule was very challenging, and it was hard on me both physically and mentally.  I am signed up for the BCS half marathon in December (Jeff and I signed up for the entire race series when they ran a special a few months ago), and I plan on running it - but I'll do the training for that race differently than last season.  And at the moment, that is the only half marathon I plan on running, unless we manage to book a trip to Maui in January, in which case, Jeff and I will run the Maui half marathon, because, hello - how can we not??? 

What's next:  Shorter distances.  A bit of exhilarating speed work. Lots of 5K races.  Running more often, but less mileage overall.  Less pain, hopefully.  No more slogging for hours through long runs.  I'm really excited about all of this - while I may not ever get back to Runner Shelley of 2010, I feel good about getting back to the fun of running.

And speaking of fun, we ran 4 miles on Saturday.  Four miles straight - no 2:1 intervals.  I even made it all the way up a long hill, running into a strong headwind!  Amazing how I can run, and keep running, when I know that all I have to run is 4 miles vs. 8 or 10 or 13.  What a welcome change!

31 comments:

  1. I can't tell you how much I like this post! You and me are the same when it comes to our running personalities. I understand what you mean, how you look at running is much more me, than all the other runner blogs out there.

    I'm almost sorry I've committed myself to a half in October because your shorter distances look very, very much appealing at the moment LOL.
    Especially since this horror Winter still hasn't left us over here and it's still cold.

    I've been "with you" for a long time now and I look forward to this next chapter in your running career as much as you do.
    And hey if that half in Maui isn't going to happen, I know a nice half in Amsterdam in October. I also know someone who wants to run it and loves to have a running buddy that day :)

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    1. My across the ocean running buddy! I would love to run with you - a race, or just a fun run...one of these days, it will happen.

      You are right, we are a lot alike with our running. I hope you can come to terms with your upcoming half - and run it YOUR way, so that you can finish feeling good about yourself!

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  2. I love this post, Shelley! As you know from my blog, I've been thinking a lot about transitions, changes and limits. Celebrating where we are now is a wonderful thing, and you are doing exactly that! And I'll keep saying it - entertain the idea of a triathlon! Short ones are SO doable - a short swim, 10 mile bike and 3 mile run. You could do it in your sleep!

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    1. Ack - I am just not a swimmer like that...and my cruiser bike would look pretty silly in a race (unless Pee Wee Herman was riding HIS bike, lol)!

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  3. This post makes me so, so happy. So glad you are finding the right balance to make running work in your life. Looking forward to more 5K race recaps; you always find the fun races! :)

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  4. That array of medals/numbers is impressive. You've accomplished a lot of goals and I understand the desire not to hurt anymore. It was one of the things that led me to stop running. Everything hurt. I wasn't smart enough to make the transition back to not-hurt. Good for you for recognizing what works for you! Congratulations.

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    1. Yeah, that whole "everything hurt" thing would stop me from running, too...I'm hoping these shorter runs will stop much of the pain for me.

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  5. first sentence
    final paragraph
    I ASPIRE TO THAT...

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  6. Thanks for this post. I just started running last fall and have done a few 5Ks and have a few more coming up. I signed up for and have been training for my first half marathon in June, because it seems like the "serious" runners move on to longer distances. I'm also pretty slow and not really loving the long runs. I've been thinking I might stick to shorter distances after the half is over. It is nice to hear from someone else with a similar perspective.

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    1. It does seem like the natural progression in running, to keep moving onto longer races - hopefully you'll figure out fairly quickly if doing halfs are for you. Nothing wrong with 5Ks, nothing at all!

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  7. Thank you for this post. As I embark on running (or at least attempting to do it) I think I needed to read your reflection. Thank you for your transparency!

    And I LOVE your display for your medals and bibs!

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    1. Thanks - the display is from Allied Medal Hangers - I love it!

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  8. Is it possible that I am more relieved than you that you are going to be running shorter distances? Pain = no good. A possible early warning system? Anyway, I'm happy that you are enjoying exercise again!

    And the comparisons. Eek. I've done the same thing, more in the eating/food/dieting arena. No good came from it, that's for sure.

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  9. The biggest threat to enjoyable running is comparing ourselves to others. I do understand that.

    Nothing wrong with 5ks. During our last two half marathons Chuck made it quite clear that he would be happy sticking to 5ks. Lol I think he was not so subtly giving me hints. ;)

    I'm impressed you can run 4 miles nonstop! That in itself is a great accomplishment. Glad you're running distances you enjoy. Sole sistah.

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  10. I'm glad you have a plan for running that will help you enjoy it more. I've always thought that if my exercise hits a point where I dread it, I need to change something. I won't stick with it if I'm not also enjoying it.

    I thought about doing Hawaii for my first half, but my husband wondered why on Earth we would want to run a half marathon while on vacation? I do plan to run while I'm in Hawaii next month (I'll be training!), but a few miles should do me :)

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    1. I ran a 10K in Maui a few years ago - it was fun to participate in a race there with the locals. Maybe there will be one going on while you're there - think of the cool T-shirt you'd get! :)

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  11. You should be so proud of your medals!! You earned each and every one of them. I love how you have embraced the shorter runs, and while running more often, but less distance, is all okay for Shelley 2013. That's awesome!

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  12. Reading this made me happy, too! I can feel in your words how much running means to you. Bling is good, but the joy from the inside is even better :)

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  13. You can still burn a ton of calories per week, by running 3-4 miles several times a week. You are doing great Shelley and be happy about how far you've come!

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  14. This is a very happy post Shelley!!! So glad you've found what works best for you, and puts you in your running happy place.

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  15. You're so inspiring, Shelley. I love that you have completed your goals, and are now planning to modify a bit. At the very beginning of your post, I wondered if you were going to say you wanted to train for a marathon. That would be great if you wanted it (and given your past accomplishment, you'd undoubtedly achieve it), but to what end? So it's great that your outstanding work(out) ethic has brought you to this place and you're able to feel good about it. Not like you have to do more.

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    1. You know, the more miles I ran getting ready for the half, the more I realized that NO WAY IN HELL did I want to run a full marathon!

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  16. Exhilarating speed runs? No comprehension.... :D

    Races and stuff are fun, but they do put that element of pressure in there that you don't always want for a sport you love.

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    1. The endorphins really seem to kick in with the speed work...and now that I figured out that I don't have to do it on a track, it's much more fun.

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  17. What a great perspective you have Shelley. I love that you have been able to do it and really stick to what you love and what brings you enjoyment.
    I think you have a great plan and I have no doubt that you will succeed!

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  18. Oh, with the comparisons!

    I'm curious to see how your injuries hold up as you introduce more speed. That's my big injury trigger.

    Maui in January is AWESOME. You must do the half! It does get hot, though. Jump in the ocean at the finish (I wish I had).

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  19. Good for you doing 4 miles straight

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  20. Thanks so much for stopping by on my blog and posting! I did it! I registered for the RR's Women's Learn to Run Program and it starts in less than 2 weeks. I have osteo arthritis that bothers me from time to time.....if I'm going to run, I need to learn form from the get go -

    Thanks for inspiring me!

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