March 23, 2020

I Ran Hard Today

The title of this post is extremely anti-climactic. But it's kind of a big deal for me--I haven't been running at all lately, even after running three times a week for three months in a row (October through December). My last run was January 3rd.

And my last HARD run? I honestly have no idea! I got so used to doing MAF training that I just didn't even remember what it felt like to run hard. 

I had absolutely no plans of running today. I wanted to get some work done, or at least just feel productive. My printer has been offline, which is driving me crazy, so I tried to figure out the problem with that. That led to making storage space on my computer, which led to sorting through photos (it's never ending). 

When looking at photos, it never fails that when I see photos of myself at my goal weight I am filled with a desperate feeling--I want to be back there, or at least close, so badly! I know exactly what I need to do, and I know that I have no *real* excuses not to just do it. I literally just don't have the drive or the discipline to stick to it.

When looking at the photos today, I thought that I really should go for a run. No plans other than that--I wasn't thinking about a specific running routine or anything--just run today.

I'd been doing MAF training for such a long time and I was so tired of focusing on my heart rate. From my knowledge of running, I truly believe that heart rate training is one of the best ways to train. But mentally, I just don't want to do it right now. 

When I first started running in 2010, I began by building my distance until I was able to run for three miles. (Here is a plan I wrote that is very similar to what I did.) Once I was able to run for three miles, I tried to make myself do it a little faster each time. Even if it was only a couple of seconds, I pushed myself to get faster. (Here is my running story in a nutshell)

It worked! I don't believe it's the best way to reach your maximum potential (I believe in the 80/20 rule--80% of the time spent running per week should be at a very easy pace, and 20% should be at a hard pace), but it definitely works until you reach a certain point in training.

Today, I decided that I would run by feel--I wasn't aiming for a heart rate or pace, but I wanted to run out of the comfort zone. I wanted it to feel uncomfortable, like I really wanted to stop--but then I'd continue to run for two miles. (I could've done three, but I haven't pushed myself to run hard in a long time, so I decided two was good for a start.)

I almost gave up before I started. I wanted to run on the treadmill, not outside. My iPad was totally dead, and I plugged it into the charger but it was taking a while to charge enough to turn it on. (I use it to watch TV while I run.)

While I waited for my iPad to charge, I grabbed a packet of photos that I'd gotten developed a few months ago. They are all photos that motivate me to want to try to get my weight under control again. My "thin" photos ;) 

I quickly grabbed six of them that I liked and I taped them to a piece of paper. Since I hate seeing the very slow going distance tick away on the console of the treadmill, I taped the paper over the numbers on the treadmill. And then if I felt like quitting, I could look at those photos and hopefully keep going.

It's kind of dumb, I know, but hey--whatever works!

Finally, my iPad was charged enough to start. Then, when I found the show 24 on Amazon Prime (which is what I'd been watching while running October-December) I noticed that it wasn't free anymore on Prime! I was super bummed. I had no idea what show to start. I like shows that are action packed when I'm on the 'mill. Dramas are too slow-moving.

I spent way too much time trying to find something--anything--to watch, but eventually, I settled on Bloodline on Netflix. I'd started that show when it first came out, but quit watching after a few episodes for some reason or another. 

I FINALLY started the treadmill. I hit 5.0 mph, but when I realized that felt kind of comfortable, I bumped up the speed (I think I ended up at 5.7-5.8, but I wasn't watching). 

It was hard!! I could've gone a little faster, but I didn't want to completely burn out before I hit two miles, and since it's been so long since I pushed myself, I wasn't sure when that would be. I was definitely very uncomfortable at that pace, which was my goal. I felt like I was working hard.

I wanted to stop, but I knew I could finish.

I have to say, it felt really good to breathe hard and sweat and feel like I was really DOING SOMETHING. I ran until the treadmill hit 2.00 miles (my Garmin distance/pace was WAY off, so I had to change the distance later). When I saw that my pace was under 11:00/mi, I was really happy about that! My heart rate definitely proved I was working hard...

My MAF heart rate is 142 bpm, and for this run, I was over 160 bpm for all but five minutes or so of the run. Overall I ran 2 miles in 21:36... a 10:48/mile pace.

When I was running 8-minute miles in 2016, I never thought I'd be thrilled to huff and puff through a 10:-something mile one day, but I'm actually feeling really good about it. I'm starting where I am TODAY, not where I was in 2016.

For the rest of the day, I've had what I affectionately call "runner's lung". This happens when I do a particularly hard run. It makes me cough kind of frequently for the rest of the day, especially when I take a deep breath. When I have runner's lung, I'm reminded all day that I worked hard. It feels good!

I have 30 weeks to train for the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon. I'm glad I have so much time--especially considering how hard it felt today! But today's run made me realize that I can't waste those 30 weeks. I can technically train for a half-marathon in 12 weeks, but I'm not in the shape to do that right now. I'm going to take advantage of these 30 weeks.

Today made me feel excited to do it!

1 comment:

  1. Way to go! I always gasp for air. My legs feel strong, but I have to really huff and puff. What I do is before I run I tell myself I don't have to do as good as I did last time. That this can just be an easy run. I usually end up pushing myself harder than ever and sweat is pouring out everywhere. I quit smoking 19 years ago but I think it permanently damaged my lungs. I wish I could run the 1/2 marathon with you. I'm looking for one I can do closer to Marquette. If I decide to do it, I would need to start increasing my distance. That could get super boring on the treadmill. Keep up the good work.


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