What a beautiful day it is, and a beautiful time of year! June is flying by though, soon we will be into July and the heat that I so love, no sarcasm here, I love the hot weather. To me it is a great time to be outdoors and not be restricted by the clothes we need to keep us warm at other times of the year.
I went for a great run yesterday, a much needed long one. It was mostly trails, almost 16 miles. The same trails I ran before my last post in April. This time I did it with four other guys, much to talk about, the differences between running alone and with a group. I will save that for a later post.
What I do want to focus on is that I am figuring out what is right for me with training, most importantly that I have found that resting is important, and as I will discuss, at least for me, very beneficial in improving performance.
In my last post I stated that trying for my best 2 mile time was a goal. I ran at the track and ran a 13min 12 sec. 2 mile. I was very pleased with this, although I thought I could do better in time. Shortly after, I think about three weeks, my wife told me there was a 5k race, just the next day, Saturday, to raise money for the teachers at he High School. I was excited to do a race and showed up the next morning ready to go. I had been running, just enjoying myself, not really worrying about mileage or time. So, with no real expectations, I ran the 5k and came in 4th overall, and got a ribbon for 2nd in my age group. There weren't many people running, about 100, but my time of 20 min 28 sec. was actually much better than I had hoped for. I did set a time to beat, just for the heck of it, of 21 min. The really satisfying thing was that at the 2 mile mark, I had beat my fastest 2 mile track time by about 3 seconds. It just goes to show what is capable in a race as compared with just pushing on your own.
My next race coming up was the Run to Remember half marathon, memorial day weekend. I did that race last year, and actually was the start of my getting back into running. It was going to be interesting to see where the year had brought me. With the satisfaction of the 5k to motivate me, I was ready to work hard and have a good half marathon. The previous year I ran it in 2hr 5 min, and following that, the Seacoast half, I did in 1hr 50 min.
What I then experienced with my training, was a bit baffling, and initially discouraging. I would be eager to get up in the morning to run, but, when I got out there, I would feel good, yet found that for some reason, I would fall short of the distance I was supposed to go. If I was scheduled for 8.5, I would stop at 3 and just "feel" like I was done. The next scheduled run, again eager to get out there, then the same thing. At first I thought, " I am getting lazy", then I figured, no, lazy would be not waking up at 4:30 to run at all.
I continued on like this, more comfortable with it though, telling myself to just listen to my body, and as long as I was enjoying myself and improving, maybe this was the right "training program for me". The proof was in the pudding so to speak, time would tell.
Half marathon day was quickly here, my daughter Jillian and I were doing the race together, she was doing the 5 mile and me the 13.1. The race is a good one and would highly recommend it. I set a goal time for myself to have something to shoot for, 1 hour 40 min. I thought it was possible, although I thought perhaps I possibly set the bar a little high, nothing wrong with that though. Well, I did it, 1 hr 40 min. exactly, crazy almost, to have hit it right on the money like that. I not only beat last years time by 25 minutes, but my best by 10. I guess the resting and listening to my body worked for me.
Like everything else in life, running is so different for everybody. I think it is what discourages people from sticking with it, that they feel that they are not good enough or measuring up to some standard. I would really love to see more people running, I think they would find it truly life changing if they found out what was right for them. My advice, take it slow, if you are not enjoying it, you are doing something wrong. Time to head out for a run, I have 5 miles planned, If it ends up being 3, I won't sweat it, and if its 8, oh well. Whatever the distance, I am going to strive to better myself, listen to my body, and enjoy the journey, because if you don't, whats the sense. Next event for me is July 27th, Run Around the Lake, I am doing the marathon, 26.2 should be a great run.