JUST KEEP BREATHIN' // 5 MILE FRIDAY
There is nothing more monotonous and aggravating than running the same distance, on the same route, over and over again. Nothing.
The only real benefit in it, would be if you somehow were able to drastically decrease your over all time and splits with each run. That was not the case at all for this weeks 3 peat of 4 mile runs. Granted, I did end up slightly altering the route on my third attempt yesterday…mainly because I was going bananas retracing my exact steps for the umpteenth time. I went from a 9:37 pace, to a 9:38, and ended with a 9:35. Not terrible. But, not super stellar either. I had my usual complaints that come with running in frigid temperatures and navigating running while not 100% injury free. With all of that in mind, I was determined to beat my 4 mile streak for good this morning.
If I learned anything at all during this series of nearly identical runs, it’s that I have a terrible tendency of starting out my first mile WAY too fast. Perhaps it’s just sheer adrenaline, or maybe the song selection. Regardless, it is not a good habit and also ends up causing problems for basically the entire rest of the run. One minute you’re flying down the sidewalk, not a care in the world. The next minute, you’re riding front row on the struggle bus; struggling to breath and just move in a forward motion. So, that was one key thing I wanted to work on today.
Just keep breathing. It seems simple enough, and, it is an essential bodily function.
On the other hand, I can say that when things aren’t going your way and your anxiety is on the rise, it’s anything but simple. Things started off easy enough this morning: barely any wind and a whole lot of confidence. 7 minutes in and I already felt like throwing in the towel. My hands actually ached and were incredibly stiff from the cold weather. It was less than 10 degrees out this morning, and somehow (after all this time) my body still has not acclimated as well as I would like to this cold weather. So, when I was having issues with my ear buds staying in my ears, I physically had to stop, fumble around with my now useless hands, and attempt to play things cool: nothing to worry about, just keep breathin’ (one of my personal favorite Ariana Grande songs).
3 miles in and I was feeling fantastic. I was vibing to the music, living in the moment, and ready to tackle the last 2 miles of this run. In that moment, I truly thought things couldn’t get any better. I was breathing normally and was in zero pain. Then right as I passed the 3.2 mark, things got even better. Anytime I’m running or working out and “Thank U, Next” comes on…it instantly lifts my mood and motivates me a ton. So, i was absolutely thrilled when that song came on right at that moment, when I was psyching myself up for 2 full laps around the twisty trail.
Mile 4 just so happened to be my fasted mile of the run, 9:29 pace. That song also ended up coming on again towards the beginning of that mile/end of my third mile. It made me want to push myself just a little harder, and forced me to believe in myself as a runner (and my ability to actually make it 5 full miles without stopping).
By far, the funniest moment from this morning’s run was afterwards.
After hitting stop, glancing over my splits, and stumbling across the sidewalk towards the warm oasis of the gym. I was in total and complete zombie mode. Thank goodness there was no one at the gym, because I was definitely not myself in those first several minutes post run. I was on an incredible high and struggling to come to terms with the fact that I had just completed 5 miles in the freezing cold weather. It just didn’t seem possible; it felt like I had only been running for maybe 10 or 15 minutes, not the 48 plus minutes that my run entailed.
I just kept thinking to myself over and over again, “I did it. I really did it.” It was a mixture of confusion and triumph. And, relief. A whole lot of relief that I was finally inside someplace warm and no longer dealing wiping away the lovely sweat/snot/tear combo that I had dealt with for so much of my run. That post run feeling, that OMG I SO SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO THAT BUT I DID, that’s why I run. That’s why I don’t mind getting up at an insanely early time to prance around in the dark and weather the not so enjoyable Iowa winter.