THE LONGEST RUN YET // 7 MILE SUNDAY FUNDAY
I really cannot say enough good things about this morning’s 7 miler and the epic leg day that followed.
7 miles is such a huge distance for me, since it’s the last run I had back at the end of August before finally having to scale back all things running to heal my broken lower body. That last 7 mile run, more than a month ago, was absolutely awful. It was hot and humid. And, I felt like crap pretty much the entire time. Out of breath, in pain every step of the way. Not a great or fun run to look back on. I was also slightly hungover and had a bit of a headache. But, crazy me still felt like I had to run the entire distance because that’s what I had on the scheduled.
Flash forward to today’s run. It was like 45 degrees outside and misting. Basically, the ideal weather conditions for a long run, especially one as intimidating as your first 7 miler post injury. I had a whole lot of thoughts swirling through my head during the first half of this run. Can I really do it? Should I settle for 6.5? Will I end up slipping and sliding in the mud (having my first “fall” since that whole curb check episode)? How the frack am I going to get that far of a distance ran without adding in any extra hills at the end?
Basically, I was intimidated as all get out. Determined to give it my all, but unsure of exactly how things would end up playing out.
At the start, things were sort of all over the place. I took off like a bullet, because for some reason that is just my thing when it’s freezing cold out and I decided to run in a t-shirt. I wasn’t even halfway through lap 1 when I realized just how challenging/different this run was going to be. Puddles and mud…everywhere. Aka, running on the sidewalk in the dark wasn’t going to be my go to option, especially in certain areas where I knew the mud was going to be a safety issue. You wouldn’t think running on the street over the sidewalk would make that big of a difference…but it does.
Maybe it’s just my cheap, low quality ear buds, but I swear my foot falls were 10 times louder on the street this morning. At times, they nearly drowned out my music, which is a HUGE problem. I need to really jam out/get into my music on the majority of my runs just to make it through. And, obviously to go for PR’s/super fast times. For some reason, this issues didn’t seem to phase me. I just kept on going, about a billion thoughts swirling through my head. Not of how hard things were or that I wasn’t going fast enough/running with the right form. Just enough motivation thoughts/quotes to fill an entire self help book.
Which, is a new one for me. Usually during longer runs like this, I either zone out completely or end up having a hard core jam sesh. Welp, not today. By the two mile mark, I had already had to take my glasses of because of the rain. So, I was running around not really seeing exactly where I was going but the streets are familiar enough that it wasn’t a safety issue. At that point, I had to remind myself of how strong I was. How much work I had put into self improvement/personal development just this year. That, despite all the ups and downs that 2018 has brought, I was still here. Pushing myself everyday to be the best version of myself.
Those positive thoughts are exactly what I needed to power through this run.
Especially, when I had reached Main Street and was only at 4.5 miles. Part of my wanted to panic. Cut things short at 6.5 miles or even 6. Stop while things were going good, and I was in zero pain. Chalk this one up to running smart. Running safe and avoiding any chance of re-injury. But, I couldn’t do that. Not when I had worked so hard, come so far from those May/June/July runs where pain was pretty much a guarantee at some point every single run, no matter the distance or pace. So, I got my shit together and did some mental math on how exactly I was going to get these next 2.5 miles ran.
I am extremely proud of how fast I ran those first three miles today. 9:20 pace. And, while the second three were significantly slower at 9:45…I was still equally impressed and proud of those miles. Those were the hillier miles. Miles filled with uncertainty and exhaustion. Miles that could have ended up breaking me, but instead just motivated the hell out me. Motivated me to go just one more block. The final mile was probably the funniest, mainly because I was just running in circle, frantically checking my watch between songs. Hoping to hit that magical number and curious to see just how good/bad things had went.
That’s the thing about longer runs like this, it’s hard to tell in the moment how things are going. You could be running decently fast, but still feel like you’re trudging through quick sand each and every mile. So, I had to go, Go, GO that final mile. I ran and ran and ran as fast as my legs would let me. At times, I felt like I would be running around the same square block all day, just to get to the 7 mile mark. Until, suddenly, I was there. That’s when looking at splits and average pace didn’t seem all that appealing. I had ran the full 7 miles with a smile on my face (for the most part) and had zero stops. So, who cares about the numbers?!
Obviously everyone cares about the numbers. I know I do, particularly when I’m trying to make as much progress as possible before treadmill running takes over.
9:09. That’s how fast I ran mile 7. My average pace was 9:30 and I had to dig deep in my running log to find a faster 7 mile time. April 4th, that’s the last time I ran 7 miles faster than I did today. I am back on track, my body is actually getting stronger. Oh, but the strength gains didn’t stop there. Although, I would have been more than happy if they had. I had a MAJOR PR on back squat this morning too: 175 lbs. x 1. Which, is weird considering how tired my legs should have been. It’s funny just how much our bodies are capable of, if we only believe in ourselves and push our limits.
October running/lifting goals? Get back up to 10 miles by the end of the month. Stick to 2 long runs a week, 1 on Fridays and 1 on Sundays. Continue to work on form and getting faster at the shorter (3s, 4s, and 5s) distances. Squatting? I’m shooting for a 150 front squat, and a 185 back squat. Not sure how attainable those goals are, but we’ll put in the work and see what happens. Remember, with goal setting it’s more about the process of chasing your goals than actually reaching the goals themselves. Although, reaching all of those goals would feel pretty amazing.