Saturday, May 28, 2011

It's all relative

This time last year, my total mileage for the week was 6. My "long" run of the week was 3.5 miles at 10:16 pace. And, I was about 15 lbs heavier.

This time last year, I had been thinking about how I used to run 8:00 miles and thought I'd NEVER get back there again.

Previous years, I thought I could never successfully train for a marathon. I thought I'd get injured; my body couldn't handle the mileage.

This week, I've put in about 31 miles, including mile-repeats at 7:30 pace, an 11-mile tempo run at 7:44 pace, and a 15-mile run at 8:38 pace.

This week, going out for a 15-mile run was an "easy" long run, a nice reprieve from last week's 22-mile run and my 20-mile run coming up next week.
A little over a month ago, running 15 miles was a BIG DEAL. Today, it was a nice outing. When I got home after being out for 2+ hours, my husband commented, "That was quick!"  You see, even HE is used to the longer runs now.    

This is how marathon training messes with your mind and even the minds of your loved ones!

Distances, paces, it's all relative.10 minute miles felt fast to me a year ago and a four mile run was a struggle. This year, I'm cranking out 11 miles at sub-8:00 minute pace! It's so, so very strange. I vacillate between being giddy with excitement and being absolutely terrified at the mileage and times.

I'm running better than I ever have and better than I'd ever hoped. So what does that mean? Does it get better or is this it? Do I dare try to get faster yet or is this all I can do? I'm scared to try for more. Surely, something will go wrong.

It's scarey to think about because I already have a certain mind-set that tells me "This corner over here is where you belong, this is what you're capable of doing." Don't try to do anything better than that.

It messes with my whole reality to be blowing up the little box I had put myself in.

Shouldn't the Furman FIRST (Run Less, Run Faster) training program offer free counseling to off-set the whole reality shift their program causes, when people suddenly start performing better than they had ever dared to hope?

Am I a freak? Wait, I shouldn't ask questions I don't want answers to.

Ok, how about this, have you had any breakthroughs in your training that made you completely re-evaluate your goals and self-image as a runner?


  1. I ran six miles without stopping about a month ago. I've NEVER been able to do that. Yeah, it messes with me. It feels like a cliff that I can fall off of at any minute.

  2. What a wonderful post! No, I'm not going to answer the question about being a freak...because of that whole "people in glass houses" thing. :)
    On the one hand, I do think there's a point where a person truly can't get faster, but I don't think you're there yet. Your accomplishments in just the last few months tell me that you have a long way to go before you hit any sort of wall.
    Feel free to bask in the glow of your current speed for awhile - you've totally earned it!

  3. I read something (can't remember where) about how your running performance improves over 7 years. So you're not even close to your peak yet!

  4. Very good. Good look in Marathon.
    Visit my blog
    Eduardo. Pelotas, RS Brasil

  5. omigosh I so had these same thoughts with the FIRST program. YOU are tearing it up!!! omigosh!!! 11mi @ 7:44 wow!

    GOOD LUCK ON YOUR 20 this weekend. Wanna come to Spokane and run with Mel and me?!! :)

  6. Great post! RLRF helped you, but you are just that good of a runner right now. You did it...

  7. I loved this post, it inspired me to believe I could hope to improve :) I have a feeling whether you improve some more or not will depend on how much energy you're willing to devote to running!

  8. You are amazing, what a HUGE improvement over the last year. I kind of feel the same this year, without proper training I was able to run 2 sub 2 hour half marathons and PR'ed in all distances. I wonder if I ever hit a point where I don't see any improvement any more. But for now, I just enjoy running :) Just listen to your body and have fun :)

  9. I must say I enjoy reading your blog! I look forward to it every day and am so excited when you have new material!!! I am a new runner(I am now able to run 4.33 miles NONSTOP--which is kind of a big deal!!), and I find your blog so inspiring and most of all motivating!!! Thank You!!!!

  10. I've totally had breakthroughs these last two months of running. After a couple years of running slower and a 16 month running sabbatical due to injury, yesterday I ran 16 miles with relative ease and afterwards someone told me I was fast :D
    Here's to breakthroughs in running!!!!!!

  11. Whoa, you've come SO, so far! In fact, the thought that I'll run with you when I make a trip up to Seattle is out the door now because you are too fast for me!

    I love how marathon training messes with our minds. :) I often think of how we leisurely run more than half marathons for training, and it's not even a big deal... yet, when we are training for a half marathon, a 10-mile run seems like such a long way!

  12. When I started running, I used to run about 10-minute miles. Now, I can bust out a 24-minute 5K. I set a new 10K PR today with a 50:07. I like running faster!

    Congrats to you! You've come a long way on your running journey!

  13. I am so impressed by your accomplishments! And thanks for the heads up on the Mom vs Marathon contest!

  14. I had a teacher in high school who always used to say "Dont let your present dictate your future."

    We always seem to say "I could never..." because at the moment, we can't, but that doesn't mean it will always be that way.

    I've noticed a weird phenomenon in the running world - the 30 yr old women are constantly outrunning us girls in our twenties. What is up with that? Does something magical happen on your 30th birthday?
    Do you blow out your candles and POOF - you're suddenly awesome?

    Keep on being inspiring and showing people that ANYTHING is possible!

  15. I know what you mean here. I was having my running "moment" like yours but then I had a baby and it all went away. What's great is that I was able to bounce back (after some time and hard work) and feel like I have the potential to be better than ever. It *is* a little scary to think that maybe I could go from a solid midpacker to whatever is just a little bit better than that LOL.

    I am quick to dismiss the possibilities with doubts at times because I don't have a "runner's body" and I'm 34 and I was never an athlete growing up. On the flip side, some of those are positive things because that means I am full of untapped potential and have years to get better. I've decided I'm just going to ride this running thing out and see where it takes me.

  16. loved this! youre rockn the runs!