Slow Runner

Lately, I have really been struggling with my runs. Starting, completing, they all seem so hard. (heavy emphasis on the whine!) It has become a little annoying. I know part of it is that I am not sleeping well at night, so I’m just plain tired. But part of it is I am struggling to maintain a decent pace in the heat. Which is, of course, totally stupid. So, I decided to slow down, which bothers me in a I really need to get over myself kind of way. I liked being able to run a 9:30 and I loved when I checked my phone to see I was pacing around a 7:35. (For the whole two minutes it was there.)  I would tell myself to slow down, but really I was thinking “I’m fucking awesome!!! Look at me, I’m Shelly Athlete!” Okay, I didn’t say it to anyone, but I was soooooo proud! And I never ask others about their times, not that I think mine is better. I don’t want to know that it isn’t something special. In Shelly Land, I am rocking it.

By the way, I have spoken to real runners, you know The Boston Marathoner’s and their times are amazing. My husband’s cousin, who has run Boston twice, told me she ran the Philly Marathon and maintained a 7:25 or something ridiculous like that for the first eight miles or so. And then she bonked and by the time she finished she was pacing just under nine minute miles. For her that is bonking. Seriously? If I could pace just under nine minute miles for a serious length of time I’d anoint myself Queen Goddess of Running. (By the way, she wasn’t bragging, I did ask. I always like to know what Boston Marathoner Types are doing, and how I compare, so I can tint my world with a teeny, tiny speck of reality.)

So, I decided to slow down. And to work on what I am eating. I have noticed that in the past six weeks or so, my eating habits have really slipped. Part of this is due to a heavy schedule, part to more parties and such and part because I’m just not taking the time to maintain the healthier habits. So this week I worked on researching running foods and recipes. I am gathering them on Pinterest and creating menu plans for the week from them. Sometimes this is difficult, because not everyone in my family wants to eat this way. But, screw it, as long as I am doing, the planning, shopping, cooking and cleaning, they can eat like a runner.

And, I have slowed down. Recently, I have started to read more about the benefits of slower running.  I already knew it was important that most of your runs be easy runs. But, like any advice that doesn’t fit with my present point of view or what I want to do, I instantly disregarded it. My ego wanted me to run faster. You know, so I could feel like a real athlete. I crack myself up! However, as hard as it has been lately, I wasn’t going to finish even a five mile run if I didn’t slow down. And it is easier and more enjoyable when I run at a slower pace. But in addition to it being easier, it really does have benefits for your body. For instance, it helps your body create more capillaries around the muscles so that there will be more blood flow, which will bring more oxygen to your muscles. And it eases your body into the stress of the longer distances which helps to prevent injuries. Something I could use some help with.

So this morning, I ran on the treadmill, my old nemesis. For some reason, if I have trouble running outside, inside on the treadmill just seems ridiculous. Especially since not all of the sports channels have realized that football season is pretty much upon us, so they are talking about – well who the hell knows what they are talking about. I only check in when I notice football. But this morning I couldn’t even do that because my headphones chose not to work with the treadmill at the gym, so I just listened to my runner’s playlist on my phone. Something I really need to change by the way. Anyway, long story endless, I did slow down. Since I was doing it after thirty minutes of strength training (yeah, I know that it is backwards but it works for me.) I didn’t feel the need to warm up for any length of time. After two minutes of walking I picked up the pace to five miles per hour or a twelve minute mile. And it was fun. I was running, and bopping around to the music and singing, under my breath, and really just enjoying it. After about a mile and a half I cranked it up a little to an eleven and a half minute mile and then finally for the last half mile just under an eleven minute mile. The best part of the whole thing is that I was having a blast. I didn’t want to stop, which is saying something on a treadmill. But, I had to come home, so I let it round up to thirty seven minutes, right after Boom, Boom, Pow and went to cool down.

So, the numbers are ugly, but I feel great!

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