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



Today’s run was intended to be fast, easy, fun, and basically all around perfect.

I did the smart thing and took yesterday off from running/working out to motivate my body to get over this dumb cold that I’ve been dealing with for almost a week. So, waking up to howling wind a temperatures in the 30s was not the running conditions I was hoping for. However, since I had actually rested yesterday and iced my legs, I figured it would be no big deal. You just put one foot in front of the other…right? Well, yes that is technically right. But, it is actually a whole lot harder than you might think…especially when you’re not 100% healthy.

Of all the days to run 5 miles, this was not the best day. Yet, I will still take the freezing cold temperatures and wind over a hot/humid run any day. My legs were super fresh and light today, ready to tackle this run with all the energy any normal person can muster at 5:20 a.m. I felt ready to hit a new post injury PR and was confident that I could do it if I really pushed myself. That mentality lasted a whole 5 minutes or so.

From that point on, it was all about just completing the distance without stopping.

The one bright side of all this, was that there were some really fun moments, (when the wind was at my back) where I felt like I was literally flying down the road. Or, when the wind was coming at my from the side and I was zig zagging all over the place. On the other hand, for each of those moments, there were some really not so fun and painful moments. I guess it’s to be expected when you’re not used to running in colder temperatures like this morning’s. At times, it felt like every breath I took ended with any icy pain in my throat.

Then, there was the random moments during lap 2 (miles 3-4) where I got super hungry all of a sudden and a random pain in my left shoulder because I suck at running in windy conditions. The worst part, was obviously dragging ass up the mini hill and resisting the urge to take a break when I finally made my way over the hill and onto Main Street. I just kept reminding myself that I could and WOULD run through it…no matter what. Because, there are going to be a whole lot more runs like this one in the near future.

Despite forgetting how to run in less than ideal weather conditions, there were some high points in this trying 5 miler.

One, was just being aware of my form…even if I really didn’t have the energy to put into correcting it. I found myself super focused on using my arms (good), but not at all adjusting my form to account for the wind. If I remember right from my track days (many centuries ago), you are supposed to run with your head down, knees up when it’s super windy out. And, obviously pump your arms a lot. This is exactly what I was thinking at around the 1.5 mile mark when this cute dog decided to run down from his porch to greet me as I ran. I also thought to myself, “Listen buddy, you’re on 4 legs and I’m on 2, so there is no way we could have a fair race.”

Then, there was the fact that I saw way more cars on the road today then I normally do…and I really wasn’t all the self-conscious either. I mean, nervous about maybe getting run over because of running in the dark, but I definitely did not give a damn about whether or not anyone was judging my running. That is so freaking huge for me, because I know darn well that this time last year I would have been freaking the freak out if I were put in the same situation.

In the end, this specific run showed me that I tend to underestimate my effort…by a lot.

Regardless of weather conditions, distance, or how I’m feeling…I always think I’m running slower than I actually am. Take today as an example, when I hit 5 miles on the dot…I was 100% expecting to see 9:50-10:00 minute miles time for all 5 of my miles. Yet, I only had one mile in that range…the mini hill mile. Like, mid run I legit was getting upset at myself for not being able to cope better with running in these weather conditions, especially after I had taken yesterday completely off from running. Then, when I was on Main Street and saw that mile 4 was a 10:07 (without accounting for stopping for traffic), my anxiety was through the roof.

In that moment, I felt like a failure. A fraud. Like I was the farthest thing from a runner. Instead of letting these feelings of self doubt consume me, I used them as motivation to get through that last mile. To push myself to finish strong, even if I was feeling somewhat weak. And, you know what? I did finish strong. My final time was 47:24…just 4 seconds slower than my last 5 miler. My average pace was 9:29, and I did not once have to stop for a break.

You never truly know what you’re capable of until you’re back is against the wall. Until, you have no choice but to give something everything you’ve got. You won’t find out how strong you are, until being strong is your only option.