Sunday, April 18, 2010

Turtle Trot

I am by no means a fast runner. I've always known this, and it was proven again during a training run with Quigs and Special K on Saturday afternoon, where Quigs put on her hare feet and ran like her ass was on fire. While Katherine did her best to shout directions (we were practicing on the last leg of the Illinois Marathon course) to Kelly and keep her eye on me.

When I finished, I'd run my usual 11 minute/mile pace for anything over five miles. My fastest 5k time is a 9:29/mile. But I run 4-5 days a week. Somewhere in my head I think that this should somehow make me faster. I do the speed workouts. I do brick workouts in preparation for my mini triathlons. I do strength training 2-3 times a week and have been slowly progressing my weight increases so that I'm pushing myself but not injuring myself.

My Body Blast instructor, Melissa, said the other day that our bodies are far ready to take on most new physical challenges long before our heads are. And I wonder if my head is some kind of random barrier to improvement.

I'm comfortable at my pace. It feels natural and good to run at it. My body needs no recovery the next day. After Saturday's run, I got up, biked 9 miles in 36 minutes and then ran a mile and a half at 9:50/mile. I felt fine. Nothing hurts. I'm meeting my requirements to burn 2700 calories a week for my weight management program. I'm trying new and different physical activities. I'm trying to keep life interesting so I keep exercising at least 60-90 minutes six days a week. And I'm not bored.

Normally, when I'm not in a state of "self punishment" I'd call this a success and turn over and go to sleep. My goal is always to get my time in, have fun and hopefully improve. But for some reason, I'm bothered by my ineptitude this weekend. I feel like I'm somehow not doing enough and falling behind while also feeling like I'm doing all I can. It's frustrating.

Once I let Special K and Quigs get far enough ahead so I couldn't see them, I calmed down. I felt better. Maybe it's just because I'm so used to running by myself. Maybe this is more about feeling like I'm failing to keep up, rather than just recognizing the tremendous accomplishments I've already made in improving my health. Maybe running needs to be about me getting it done for me... rather than comparing my running abilities to other more fit friends. It's just -- hard to do -- this weekend.


Leah said...

"Maybe running needs to be about me getting it done for me... rather than comparing my running abilities to other more fit friends" - You're half right here. The first part is spot on, the second half is totally wrong. I don't know that either of them is 'more fit' than you are, they just have a different pace. Everyone has a natural pace that feels good. The first time Quigs and I ran together she was on something like week 3 of the C25K and I had long finished it. She SMOKED my ass, really pushed me and I was like 'zomg, I want to beat her into the ground, how can she be so much faster than I am?!'...she just is. Some people are naturally faster, some people can run farther. They can each strive to work on what doesn't come naturally, but it's not a failure to recognise your strength lies in 'slow and steady'...but more accurately 'not-as-speedy' rather than slow ;)

You've made great strides (literally and figuretively), never forget that!

Looseyfur said...

Thanks, Leah. It's funny that this is the theme on a lot of running sites this week:

Apparently, I'm just impatient. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Oh Dana, I was worried that you would feel this way. Your last line is quite wise: nothing is accomplished by comparisons to others. I think the main challenge of this whole journey of life is figuring out how to feel "enough" in our own being (if you know what I mean!). You are enough!

More specifically about running, here is the thing, your time only signifies one thing: how fast you are running. As Leah posted, everyone has their own pace, regardless of their fitness level. I know that when I try to run someone else's pace, it makes running really hard (and sometimes miserable). And when you start out too fast, I find it makes my run, as a whole, slower. The time spent running - both on any given run and the number of runs a week - is really the significant number. And you are putting in some awesome time! Keep up the great work.