The difference a run makes….

I have to admit, I haven’t felt much like a runner recently. That is probably why I haven’t been posting much. I didn’t realize this until my run today. I mean, I ran a 30 day streak. How could I not feel like a runner?

Due to weather and lack of enthusiasm, I have been running all my miles on my treadmill (I got a new one, more on that later). It has rather reached the point that I don’t even want to go outside for my run, the treadmill is just so much easier. I have always been an outdoor runner, the treadmill was only supposed to be backup. How did this happen?

Fortunately, today was in the mid-30s. I had to go to town for all my normal weekend errands, and I decided to run on the Rail Trail while I was there. I figured it was mostly flat (easy) and they plow it (they don’t scrape down to the pavement, I discovered), so how hard could it be?

Mostly snow, a hint of pavement and a wee bit of
ice

It was probably my first outdoor run since October. Early October. And the miles outdoors are never as quick as the miles on the treadmill, which pretty much makes you run at the set speed regardless of how your legs feel, or what you are looking at, or if your lungs are blowing up. If you don’t keep the pace, you get your face rubbed by the belt. But outdoors, I have a hard time keeping a consistent pace. I tend to lollygag while sightseeing.

I really wasn’t sure how I was going to feel, so I didn’t have a real plan on speed or distance. Imagine my surprise when my app informed me my first mile was 9:43. Not bad considering I ran a loop around the lot, then dithered before stopping at my car to grab my gloves before heading down the trail.

I felt pretty good at that point, so I decided I would go out far enough to do a three mile run. But, of course, then I had to go out further. OCD is a bitch. I turned around at the two mile mark and made my goal to get back with a time under 40 minutes. I just made it (39:21).

But I feel like a runner again. Why?

I felt great the whole run. It was something I was enjoying, not something I had to do. I love nature, so being out in it relaxed me in a way the treadmill just can’t. The last mile had the most uphill grades, and the wind was pushing against me, and I had already put 3 miles behind me, but it was my fastest mile. I realized I could still do that, go out for longer runs (3.5 is the longest I have run since summer), on uncertain ground, push hard and truly enjoy every moment. That is why I run. And that is what I needed to remember.

Weekly Rundown 4/8-4/14

Well, the calendar said April, but Mother Nature disagreed–or just didn’t care. We had two days of snow to start the week. I had to clean my car off 4 times. I am so done with that! Also, it prevented outside activities for the most part.

Monday: off–big smiles! Until I went outside and had to warm  up the car while brushing off snow.

Tuesday: AM 1 mile run with a brief  warm up and cool down in 11 minutes. I followed up with my Yoga Challenge and was reminded why I don’t like yoga in the morning– I was so very unflexible! And halfway through I remembered I was supposed to add a breath with the new week. Ooops! I added that on as I finished. I did my stair drill at work during my break: 14 flights but I didn’t jog this time. But my legs were feeling it when I went back to my office. And, oh yeah, it flipping snowed again!!

Wednesday: I had planned yoga and a brisk walk, but I was feeling just a bit whupped from work. I did do the yoga, but had absolutely no balance in tree. Four breaths seems really long when your leg is wobbling under you. Still, felt proud and relaxed that I had done it.

Thursday: Planned an outside walk with Daisy, but the snow had left a mucky, muddy mess behind. I did do a brisk walk on the treadmill, 1 mile in 12:52 with 12 Burpees (with push ups) after.

Friday: Daisy and I did a brisk 2 miles in 33 minutes early before the mud had all defrosted. Then I was off to town to get all my errands done, so I decided to run the Rail Trail while I was there. Ran bridge to bridge, satisfying my need from symmetry 🙂  Running from the Augusta bridge to the Hallowell Bridge and back was a nice 4 mile run. I started with the idea that distance, not speed, was what I was going for.  Of course, on the way back I decided I could do a little faster, and the last two miles knocked a bit of time off the first two. I am really only competitive with myself! After finishing my errands, I went home and did my Yoga Challenge. I had been hurrying through it all week, even with the same amount of breaths. Amazing how much longer it can take if I relax into each pose and take deep, slow breaths.

Saturday: My outdoor plans were shot to heck again, but at least it was rain and not snow. Did I mention that April is not my favorite month? I did a fairly brisk walking mile on the treadmill (13:48) and 1 x 20 rep of weights. Since I was cheating on the reps, I made sure to do each move slowly and in good form.  I finished with 15 minutes of my Yoga Challenge, which felt wonderful.

Sunday: a nice walk up to the top of Blinn hill with Daisy. We did just a hair over 2 miles in 36 minutes.

Then I decided to clean up the barnyard by digging some irrigation channels to drain all the rain. I thought I was using my legs and core, but after sitting down for lunch I realized that I had not. My back was quite stiff, and rather unhappy with me for the rest of the day. I did do my Yoga, which helped stretch out the muscles, and followed up with some ice and couch time. The dogs thought that was a marvelous idea!

Mileposts

I have a bunch of running goals I want to accomplish, hopefully before snow sets in this winter. Today I conquered a big one.

Milepost 1

I ran 6.5 miles on the Rail Trail from Gardiner to Augusta today. It was awesome!

I decided I wasn’t worried about time, I just wanted to make it from end to end. I haven’t run this trail (in its entirety) since the summer before my accident. And only the once.

So my stomach was a mass of butterflies as I drove to Gardiner today.

The longest I had run this summer was 5 miles, and that was a month ago. I was truly intimidated by the length of run. The plan was to meet a friend at the other end, then have coffee and shopping before she took me back to my car.  I knew that she would have picked me up anywhere along the route if it had been needed. So that wasn’t the issue, I was just concerned that it might be necessary. I had already decided that if I needed to walk, I would. That took some pressure off too. But of course I didn’t want to walk. Not to get too philosophical, but I decided the only thing I could do was take a deep breath and run one step at time.

So I went to the start of the trail, took that breath and stretched, then took that first step.

I definitely wasn’t going too fast to start, as I was worried about lasting all the miles. But I worked on getting a nice, consistent pace and kept taking those deep breaths. By the time I finished the first mile, I had relaxed into a rhythm. The nice thing about the Rail Trail is that it is a rolling path, with up and down grades instead of huge hills. And the only two big hills are coming the other way (I’ll be doing that next), going the way I was this morning meant I got to go down those hills. Gotta stack the deck anyway you can 😛

By the time I finished mile 3 I realized I could do this, and by the time I finished mile 4 I felt pretty dang good.  That feeling continued when I finished and looked at my splits.

The last longish run I did was 3.3 miles, and each one of those miles was 11+. Because of that, I have been doing drills and speed workouts on the treadmill. Apparently that helped, as based on my perceived effort, I thought I was doing 11 minute miles. Turns out that I was doing consistent 10:30 minutes, and mile 4 was actually  sub 10 minute.

Today’s total run was 6.5 miles in 68 minutes

I am very happy with that.  And ecstatic about how very good I felt doing it.  My knee did ache a bit during, but not badly enough that I felt I ought to stop, and it didn’t hurt at all once I finished, even though my friend and I went shopping so that I spent the following hours running around stores. It was a little stiff after I came home and sat for a while. I guess we will see how I feel tomorrow!