Running. Lifting.Blogging. and LiviNG lIFE IN THE hAWKEYE sTATE!!!

IT NEVER GETS EASIER, YOU JUST GET STRONGER.

IT NEVER GETS EASIER, YOU JUST GET STRONGER.

    Both yesterday's and today's workouts are a perfect example of this fact. It doesn't matter how many years you've been running, lifting, working out, etc., trying to push yourself past your predefined limits in order to hit a PR is still a mental battle. And after both Tuesday and Wednesday's epic run and lifting PRs, part of me would have been perfectly content to just go through the rest of the week taking it easy on my body. Maybe even consider having a day where I didn't run 6 miles, or taking a complete rest day to focus on foam rolling and icing. Heck, most people would consider doing either of those things the right/smart/best choice. Going all out every workout eventually leads to burn out and injury. So, I went into yesterday's run fully intending on going nice and slow, no need to try and do any better than I had on Wednesday's run.

    BAM! Before I knew it 3 miles had flashed by relatively fast, and I knew that there was the potential to beat my previous 6 mile treadmill PR. I was in the zone, and more than ready to push past the limits I had originally set for myself. During this run, going at like 7+ mph didn't even feel that hard, like it was by no means easy, but it was at least maintainable for consecutive miles. So, with that in mind, I spent the last mile of my run upping the speed each tenth of a mile. And I loved the fact that there were moments when I was going so fast I thought I might fly off the treadmill. This forced me to, 1. Focus on using my arms...a lot, and 2. Be okay with being in a little bit of pain towards the end of my run. When it was all said and done, I ran those 6 miles in 52:59 (average pace of 8:50!!!) And as I did my 30 minutes of incline walking afterwards, I couldn't think of how 6 months ago there was no way I would have been able to physically/mentally push my body that hard two days in a row. That was when it hit me that the phrase, "It never gets easier, you just get stronger" would be the perfect title for this post. Because there is nothing about the running/lifting/fitness lifestyle that is easy. However, as you progress over time and put in the work, you are able to push yourself farther, both mentally and physically.

    Today's run was the polar opposite of Thursday's bad ass, PR fueled run. The first mile, mile and a half felt decent considering how hard I had pushed yesterday. Then, it was like my legs finally woke up and realized holy shit we ran 6 miles yesterday at 8:50 pace...what in the heck are we doing running again already. On top of that, I did a shit ton of sit ups yesterday (170 to be exact) so my core felt super duper tight. Like, it felt like someone was stabbing my in my nonexistent abs the majority of the time I was running today. It would have been so easy (and probably smart) to just stop at the 3 mile mark and call it quits on running for the day. But, when I was just inches (and seconds) away from hitting the stop button I reminded myself that, "It never gets easier, you just get stronger." So, once I hit the 6.6 MPH speed I kept my pace steady and just focused on finishing strong. And, those last 2.5-3 miles were brutal. I felt like I was going way too slow. I wanted to be done so I could just focus on my arm workout. I felt weak.

    The minute I hit 6 miles and got off the treadmill, I felt just as proud/accomplished today as I felt after nailing that PR yesterday. Yeah running 6.0 miles in 55:20 isn't all that fast (9:13 average pace), but it's a miracle I was able to push through all the pain/self-doubt and finish at all. Besides, when you're feeling like shit and your legs aren't in the mood to go fast, any pace can be considered fast, or hard. If anything, making it through the shitty runs like these and not quitting early or decreasing my speed, only further prove that running will always be hard, even when I'm at my strongest physically and mentally. But, every time you push past your limits and refuse to give up on yourself, you get a little bit stronger...even when that increase in strength doesn't include a PR.

    Speaking of PRs, I decided that today was the day I would try to PR on barbell bench. In all truthfulness, I didn't know I would actually go for it until I was able to hit a rep PR of 95lbs for 2. At that point, I had to decide whether I was really satisfied with that accomplishment. Like yeah I was happy with it, but I felt like I had more in me and would be disappointed after the fact if I didn't at least try to hit a triple digit bench. However, there was one huge problem, I was lifting by myself and had no one to spot me. This obstacle could have (and maybe should have) stopped me from attempting to bench 100lbs. It didn't, obviously, because otherwise we wouldn't even be talking about it. I decided I would play it semi safe and put the safety bars on to see if I could even unrack the weight. I did. Then, I took a minute to breath and psyche myself up. I reminded myself of just how badly I wanted this PR and how much work I had been putting in since doubling the number of days I lift each week from 3 to 6 way back in November. I had the song "So It Goes" by T-Swift blaring on my Ipod...AND WE BENCHED 100LBS FOR ONE REP. (I know for some people this is not a lot of weight, but I haven't consistently barbell benched since high school...so this is a huge deal for someone like me who has struggled to get their upper body strength equivalent with their lower body strength)

    It was a rough workout today, but I made it through with three new PRs and a whole new sense of accomplishment. They say anything worth striving for is never easy, and that is so true when it comes to hitting PRs in the gym. It took every ounce of courage I had to go for that bench PR...and once I had done it, going for a couple of other PRs didn't seem all that scary or impossible. It wasn't easy, it was physically exhausting and mentally taxing. And those are the workouts and moments in life that make you stronger, faster, better.

   
BLAME IT ON THE ALCOHOL

BLAME IT ON THE ALCOHOL

WHATEVER IT TAKES

WHATEVER IT TAKES