Yesterday I wrote about commitment, and how I was trying to psych myself up to do my long run on a weekday before work. Well, I did it! And I am super proud of myself and had a complete blast.
Over pints of tasty beer last night, I have to admit that I briefly considered skipping the long run, or maybe pushing it to after work so I wouldn’t have to get up as early. But to be honest, I thought about how I had taken the time to research a whole post on commitment, and how embarrassing it would be if I then completely flaked… so I dutifully set my alarm while I was still on the bus from downtown to home. However, even with those flickers of doubt, I think deep down I was kind of excited to run, because I definitely woke up a few times in the night worried that I had overslept my alarm. When it eventually did go off, I got out of bed pretty quickly. Let’s do this!
On the drive to my run (reason for that to come), I thought about the training plan I had made for myself, and how different it was from the super-short plan I put together in the spring when I was gearing up for the Colfax Marathon. This time around, because it’s been so long since I’ve run long, I’m building up very slowly – basically adding just one mile every week. Meanwhile, in the spring, I only had a month to prepare so I did just three runs of 10 miles, 15 miles, 20 miles, and then race. That was definitely a lot easier to only have to stick with a training plan for a month! And that kind of super-short (admittedly risky/daring/insert your “stupid” synonym of choice) training plan is exactly why I feel guilty when people are impressed by the number of marathons I do. It’s a lot easier when you don’t go through a full training plan, and instead just kind of half-ass it! This time around, I’m committing to my training plan for three months, which is a lot more daunting to think how long I’ll be doing this.
While I could have run on the trails right behind my apartment, I had decided to head over to Roadrunner Sports Westminster, like I usually do on Saturdays for my long run with my running group. Even though I wasn’t meeting the group, I thought I’d use kind of the same route that we did last Saturday, because it was so pretty. However, after I had gotten past the Westin hotel, I veered off toward the soccer field. This would give me a chance to say hello to my friends at Metabolic Maniacs bootcamp (which I was sad to skip), and would also tack on some extra mileage that would get me to 10 miles instead of the 9 I ran last week. Sure enough, they were circling the half mile loop for a run as I came by the other direction… except they were carrying big bulky medicine balls! Oh, man, I was really disappointed to miss that workout, but I knew it was for the best that I wasn’t skimping on my long run.
I then headed down the Big Dry Creek trail, pleased to see that my watch said I was about one mile ahead of where I had been on Saturday at this point – so I had added on exactly the right extra mileage. I noticed that my pace was significantly slower than on Saturday – I was doing about 10:15/mile rather than 9:20-9:30/mile – but I didn’t much care. The point of a long run is to get in the mileage, not to worry (too much) about pace. However, the fact that I only dipped below 10:00/mile on one mile of my run made me realize that I really need to start doing more speedwork. Okay, actually, I really just need to start doing any speedwork, because I am currently not. Saturday morning, though, I’ll be in Dallas and am planning to take a Tread class before I fly out to Mexico, so hopefully that will help remind me that speedwork actually makes me feel accomplished and awesome when I finish!
The morning was a beautiful one for a run – I was so glad that daylight savings had started and it was light enough to run without a headlamp.
When I got to the one long steady hill of the route, I switched from podcasts to music, and got really excited when I picked the artist “Fun” on Spotify and had it come on with exactly the song I was thinking of (“Carry On”) without me having to do any track skipping. And then after that, my favorite Fun power song came on – “Some Nights.” It was like the stars were aligning for this run to be amazing! I was grinning like an idiot as I ascended the hill, and for pretty much the rest of the run, I was smiling and just feeling great.
When I started closing in on the final mile to get back to my car, I found myself really disappointed that I couldn’t keep running further – I would have loved to do at least another 3-5 miles. (Definitely a no-go since I was doing this on a weekday and needed to get home and ready for work.) Maybe my pace hadn’t been the fastest, but that had actually been pretty easy! By the time I got back to my car, I had such a runner’s high that I was thinking all kinds of crazy thoughts about doing this ten mile loop every single morning – it just felt so fantastic!
I know that I’ve run more than double this distance over a hundred times, but all day, I’ve been pretty damn proud of myself for running ten miles. It’s my longest distance since June! (And I will get to say that each week of my training plan since I am continuously adding rather than having any stepback weeks.) I have always said that running achievements are highly personal, and I think this is a perfect example of a running achievement that may not seem like a big deal to anyone else but is one that I am incredibly proud of. People frequently come up to me and are sheepish about being proud of running their first 5K or 10K or half marathon, thinking that I’m not going to care because I typically run longer. But that’s not true at all – I’m really excited for anyone who is excited for themselves. I was thrilled to no end the first time I ran a mile, even though obviously most people run that easily. If you are proud of what you did, that’s really all that matters – not what you’ve done in the past or what other people are doing.
My day today has been incredibly productive – one of the best I’ve had in a long time. I definitely attribute that to my long run this morning, and it made me think that maybe I should try to do all my long runs on weekdays instead of Saturdays? (Though that may not be feasible when I start getting up into the 18-24 mile range, when it will take me a lot longer to cover the distance.) Contrary to what I thought when I was in the car on the way there, I’m actually really excited that I have such a long (for me) training plan ahead. That just means more mornings that I have to “make” myself get out there and run, and then reap the benefits of a great mood and increased productivity after.