November 23, 2014

A huge confidence-boost

After signing up for the Turkey Trot yesterday, and worrying about whether I'd be able to finish in the required amount of time, I decided to do a "test run" today. I had four miles on the schedule, so instead of doing them at an easy pace, I wanted to try to run 8:50-ish per mile. That's the pace I would need to hold for a sub-55:00 10K.

Looking back on my training for the year, about 99% of my mileage was "easy". Even the races I did were just for fun, or pacing someone slower than me. The only race that I really ran hard was the Martian Meteor 5K in April. It was my younger brother's first 5K, and he just said he wanted to aim for sub-9:00's. I assumed that meant close to 8:59, but he made it challenging ;) I did my best to keep up with him, and finished in 26:11 (8:25/mi pace). Nowhere near a PR, but that was the last race that I really gave a lot of effort.

I am so glad I took a break from racing for 2014, becauseI just felt sort of burnt out after training so hard for the Chicago Marathon. On the other hand, I think one of the reasons I backed off of racing hard was because I knew a PR was out of reach. Having gained weight, my pace slowed from what it was 2013; and even running my best, I knew that I wouldn't PR. So rather than trying my best, I just took it easy instead. Not the smartest attitude to have, but it wasn't something I did consciously.

Recently, I have gotten really fired up to race hard again. I know that I won't be setting PR's right now, but I set some short term and long term racing goals that I'd like to aim for. Reaching those will feel almost as good as a PR. It feels almost like being a new runner again, which is a great feeling, because you see so much progress!

So today, I had a goal of sub-9:00 splits, but I was really hoping to hit 8:50's. I figured if I could hit 8:50 for 4 miles, then I *should* be able to hit 9:00-ish for the 10K on Thursday. Today was the perfect running weather! It was 45 degrees, overcast, and drizzling. If I could choose my running weather, that would be exactly what I would choose.

I went outside, thought, "Here goes nothing!", and started running. It always takes me a quarter- to a half-mile to get a good pace; I usually start out too fast, then my pace drops too slow because I'm recovering from starting too fast, and then I find a good balance. That's exactly what happened today. Once I settled into pace, my Garmin read 8:40. That was faster than I'd planned, but I just went with it anyway, figuring I'd slow down for sure after a mile or two.

I was really uncomfortable running at that pace, but that's how it's supposed to feel when you're racing (I was treating this as a mock-race in a way). My legs felt really good, but my breathing was tough. So I just tried to focus on the principles of the "Running On Air" book I mentioned--inhale for 3 steps, exhale for 2. I also tried to remember the running form tips that I learned from Golden (founder of Altra shoes). I was trying to focus on anything other than how uncomfortable I felt!

My first two splits were almost dead-even: 8:39.6 and 8:39.2. After I turned around (I was doing an out-and-back route), I kept focusing on just making it to mile three. Once I hit mile three, I knew that mentally, it would be a whole lot easier. Knowing I would have just a mile left would help me get through it. I hit mile three just a tad faster, at 8:37.6. I knew then that I would finish, but that last mile was so hard! I reached my house just as my Garmin beeped, and saw my last mile was 8:34.3.

I can't even explain how excited I was to have done it! This run wasn't an actual race, it wasn't a PR for distance or speed, it wasn't anything special at all--but I just felt really excited that I'd reached (what I knew would be) a really difficult goal at this point.

A run worthy of a Jerry-face ;)

When I got my fastest in early 2013, that was exactly how it started--just setting small goals for each individual run, getting a little faster each time.

It was the same with my weight loss--I would set my sights on all sorts of mini-milestones (my pre-pregnancy weight, my college weight, under 200, my high school weight, etc.). I'm going to try to have the same mindset with my weight loss as I do with the running right now. I want to get excited about each milestone again, instead of thinking about how much I gained this year, or how far I have to go until my goal.

Right now I just feel really excited to race again! This Thursday, I'm going to aim for sub-55:00 at the 10K. It's a super crowded race, so that may hinder my goal--but even if I don't hit that goal now, I'll just try again until I do. The weather was perfect today, but that may not be the case for Thursday (right now it shows cold and snowing), so we'll see what happens. But today was a HUGE confidence-booster in what I can do! I really needed that. :)

Don't forget, tomorrow is Motivational Monday, so if you have something to share, please email it to me ASAP :)


  1. Great job Katie, I know you'll do great on Thursday!! So if it gonna be crowded than try to line up towards the front and you won't get held back trying to get into a good groove!!

  2. Knew you could do it! You go have fun on Thursday and RUN HARD!

  3. wow, that's awesome! love the idea of mini goals. very smart!

  4. Great job! I did a 5k this weekend and came in right about 30 minutes so I was pretty happy to get that close to being a sub 30 again.

  5. Way to hit it hard! Good luck at the Turkey Trot on Thursday... you'll go sub 55, I know it!

  6. nice job on your workout and good luck this thursday!!! I have been having so many ups and downs with running these days.... i havent had a PR in awhile...Ive gained weight and got slower and slower over time which is discouraging. I recently decided that enough was enough...I needed to stop making excuses and stop sulking and just work hard. period. plain and simple. I got back on the wagon and am waking up at the crack of dawn each day to get my workouts in and I feel so good. last week I had a couple of runs like you had today...the...YES I can do this type of runs. I once felt like I would never break my PR from my marathon a few years back but now i know i can do it. and I will do it soon. and when that happens i may cry of tears of joy haha. its having workouts like these that you keep you moving forward and motivated to your goals. Great post. good night!

  7. Fantastic, Katie! I have my first TT Thursday. I signed up for the 5K because I'm not sure how my foot will feel (nerve impingement) with the new orthotics. I'm excited to get back out there and race again.


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