Yesterday was five years from the day I walked down to the park to start my first run/walk session of Couch to 5K. It was a day that changed my life.
How could I know that running, such a rudimentary activity, would introduce me to an entire culture of like-minded souls, that I’d gain friends from all over the world, a sexier healthier body, a free anti-depression drug, reasons to travel, an immeasurable appreciation for nature, goals to conquer and achievements to collect…and that’s just the main stuff.
The social part of running began just one week after starting C25k when I joined the Runners World forums. I stayed in the Beginners forum for the first 2-3 years, than found my snark buddies in MRT and never left. Opportunities to meet each other in real life are what make the whole forum thing (and now Facebook) so profound. If I hadn’t discovered RWOL, I honestly believe I’d have quit running early in.
But maybe I had an inkling of potential longevity since I bought a Garmin before I was even done with the run/walking business. The fact that tech goodies, logs, spreadsheets and graphs could be part of the sport if you’re into that stuff made it all the more alluring to me.
And the blog. When I started it towards the end of that first year, I figured if I was lucky I’d acquire a handful of middle-aged female readers who related to a 45 year-old beginner. I also assumed I’d only be updating it once a week at most since how much can you say about running anyway? Flash forward: I have a few hundred people checking me out daily and I can’t seem to shut up.
What a shocker to find that writing here would become as cathartic as the runs themselves. Not to mention that the more you write, the easier it becomes and you eventually find your “voice”, that writerly thing you’ve read about but didn’t think applied to you. Running gave me writing. How do you thank that? Ironically, there are no words.
Of course, thanks to running, I also became acquainted with the U.S. Health system due to two memorable visits to the ER plus an overnight stay in the cardiac ward, but hey…nothing like new experiences, right?
So I’m truly vaclempt to look back at these 5 years and appreciate with awe all that running has provided and I thank you, my dear readers, for letting me share this journey with you.
A Sentimental and Stupidly Mental Week In Review
|5@8:45||8@7:53 (3mi tempo)|
Twas a big week for me: 97 mi, which is a Mon-Sun first. It included some wonderfully happy runs, 2 “real” workouts after a long haitus (yay me) and some suckage. Thursday’s run was in the latter camp, tied to a lack of sleep. Yesterday’s tempo run was almost in the suckage category as well, until I realized it didn’t actually belong there.
It was 3mi tempo in an 8-miler. The tempo goal pace was my September Half pace but I managed to pick a day where I ended up smack in headwind for the entire tempo. I actually said “oh shit” out loud at the turnaround where I’d planned to begin the fast bit because I knew this would be ugly, and it was.
Through the whole thing, my thoughts focused on how horribly I was running, why am I so slow and omg, I’ve lost so much fitness, I suck, please make this end and what if this happens during a race I think I’ll die and… I pushed like hell to get on pace but simply could not – but if nothing else, I wouldn’t quit or save it for another day, that was one thing I was not going to hate myself for afterwards.
Turns out, I actually did much better than initially thought, taking the wind hit into account. Both Runworks calculator (devised off Dr. Jack Daniels’ calculations) and Coolrunning’s article on wind/running tell me the wind cost me about 35 sec/mi, which means I ran faster than I needed to…so I’m at peace about it now.
Still, this was indicative of where my brain was this week; my trademarked negative headspace that precedes every race season has re-entered right on cue and aside from the the thoughts themselves, I get so disappointed in myself for rehashing such demoralizing garbage. Thus, in an effort to quell the beast, I’ve ordered a couple sports psychology books, “The New Toughness Training for Sports” and “10-Minute Toughness“. I know, it’s silly that both have Toughness in the title but the reviews are positive and goodness knows, toughening up is exactly what I need.
So that’s it for now, have a great week and I’ll return in a few days. So much for “nothing to talk about”. Later, kids.