Thursday, June 5, 2014

Progress + Happy Birthday Mom

As a runner, I thrive on progress. Yes, I enjoy competition, but when I compete, it's primarily against myself. Occasionally I'll use a person in front of me in a race or on the bike trail during a speed session as a competitive figure head to drive me forward, but to me a PR is a win.

It's been three years since I've set PRs (uff, that hurts to type a little bit) and it's safe to say that my decreasing speed, and increased school load contributed tremendously to me losing my love of running over the past couple of years. I'd get a wild hair to run, or train for something, and I'd be so discouraged by how slowly and painfully I was moving, that I just couldn't get the l-o-v-e back.

Sometime after the Madison Marathon, or possibly during the training for it, I finally stopped comparing myself to the runner that I used to be. Instead of focusing on the training paces I used to run, or the PRs that I haven't come close to hitting, I started searching instead for progress. Of any kind.
  • I didn't want to die on a long run! Progress.
  • I took 44 seconds off my half marathon time in 6 months (lolz). Progress
  • I was able to complete a long run without walk breaks. Progress.
  • I was able to start adding speed sessions to my training. Mega PROGRESS!
  • I took 12 minutes off my half time in six weeks. Progress!

And in doing so, I've slowly but surely started to feel more like my former runner self. I'm still not where I was prior to starting grad school, but I can see that runner not too far in the distance.

Two weeks ago I hit my fastest mile repeats in over two years. When I look at my mile repeat paces from a couple of years back, it's easy to be discouraged by my "new" fast time. But I also would've thrown in the towel two years ago on a mile repeat workout in the temps and humidity that I completed them in. So, I consider that progress. Of the mental kind. which I've always desperately needed. Wahoo.

When I was doing my May in Review post, I was excited that I spent 90 minutes less running in May than I did in April, and ran roughly the same miles. Which prompted me to look at my other months of running this year. I did some rough calculations, and came up with the following:

Month Mileage Time Avg Pace
Jan 60.5 11 10.91
Feb 80.2 14.66 10.97
Mar 52.2 9.25 10.63
Apr 65.7 11.33 10.35
May 61.5 10 9.76

To go from an 11 minute overall pace to a 9:45 pace in the past five months, gives me the much needed inspiration to tackle my marathon training cycle in a week and a half. Bring on the progress!

And now to switch gears completely:  Happiest of Happy birthdays to Mama Bear, the biggest Team Green fan on the planet!

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