HUGE CONFIDENCE BOOSTER
I only ran 9 miles last week. And, I was only able to run yesterday's 3 miles at a 9:15 pace. Noticing a theme here?!
While I thoroughly enjoyed being able to just run outside and not worry about pain or hills or gel stops or how I was going to get x amount of miles ran...I was still disappointed in myself for slacking during mile 2. And, for not having that kick of speed/energy that I typically have at the end of my 3 mile route. I started out so strong, so determined to knock a few (or A LOT) seconds off my previous 3 mile time of 27:26 from Friday. Yeah, I know that is such a good/fast time all things considered, but I was still hungry for more.
Running in the dark, even on a super familiar route, is still tough. I definitely noticed myself swerving all over the sidewalk at times, not really able to see super clearly where the sidewalk started/ended. Then, once I got to what should have been the easiest/fastest part of my run, I found myself slowing down to avoid a full on slip and slide through the mud. It was like, okay you can go fast, but not that fast because the conditions just are not feasible today. Still, the shin splints seem to be just a distant memory, and I was looking forward to destroying my leg day after that less than satisfactory run.
I had no idea how my legs, hips, and pelvis would hold up through the remainder of my workout. You never really know if you've gone "too" far or pushed "too" hard until it's too late.
This is especially true these days when it comes to leg days, even more so on heavy days like yesterday. All I could think was, do your best and stop when it hurts. Which I know is super vague because like training legs always hurts/gets super challenging at some point. Somehow though, probably due to the reduced mileage, my legs felt perfect. So, I just went with it and told myself that today would be the day I PRed on back squat. It had been like 3ish weeks since my last PR...so it was obviously totally fine/safe to go for it despite this whole injury dealio.
I was even super safe and started using a belt once I got up past the 135 mark. Things were going really well, and for once, front squats didn't suck that much. Still, I was obviously a little nervous when the time came to load 165 lbs onto the bar. 5 pound more than my previous PR. No one to spot me or make sure I was actually using good form. Lovely. By some miracle, I was able to safely squat that gigantic amount of weight for 1 rep. Then, as if this wasn't already a good enough accomplishment, I decided to see if I could match my prior PR on front squats immediately after. Crazy, I know. But, I'm not used to feeling this good post run on legs days. Welp, I was able to get 135 x 2 on front squats. And, that is just the confidence boost I needed.
Naturally, running on the treadmill today didn't excite me a whole lot.
If anything, it terrified me because know I knew just how fast I was capable of running for 3 straight miles. So, running indoors meant being constantly aware of speed and having to force myself to up the speed even when I really didn't want to or wasn't sure my body could hold that pace. It takes a whole lot of mental strength to do that, especially when running that fast for that long used to be impossible. Scary even. Still, I welcomed the challenge, the opportunity to push myself without having to worry about the mini hill or stopping suddenly for traffic.
I started out running at 6.3 mph for the first 1/2 mile. Everything felt good, normal if you wanna use that word. Before I knew it, I had ran a mile and the clock read 9:30. Not bad. A little slow, but at least I had another two miles to bring my time down. I continued to follow my normal routine of upping the speed j by .1 at half mile intervals. I'm not sure exactly what the clock said when I finished mile 2, I just know that I was dreading that last mile and how fast I was going to have to go. The last mile is when the real fun begins, upping the speed every tenth of a mile. Trying not to fly backward off the treadmill. Oh, and lot's of sweat flying everywhere, heavy breathing, and mentally dropping f bombs every 30 seconds or so.
It wasn't easy, but it wasn't immensely difficult either. It was just another day of giving everything I've got.
I knew that if I really wanted to put up a good time, I would need to get my speed up a whole lot faster than I was currently doing. So, the last 1/2 mile I upped the speed by .2 every tenth of a mile, which had me running over 8 mph by the end of it. And, one of the few things that made this process bearable was thinking back to that scene from The Office where they have that speed radar outside and Michael is racing everyone through it, showing off just how fast he can run. I just kept pretending that that was me, trying to go my fastest and impress everyone.
I did it. I ran 3 miles in 26 minutes and 55 seconds. My average pace was 8:58 and I am so damn impressed by just how hard I pushed for those 3 miles. I didn't give up or give in when things got difficult. Or, when I was just really over treadmill running...which was pretty much after like the first 5 minutes. This is what I needed, to prove to myself that I am still just as much a runner now, as when I was logging those 35-40+ mile weeks outdoors. I am strong. I am capable. I just have to wait another thousand years before my body will be ready for a legit "long" run.