IT TAKES TIME...AND MORE TIME
It shouldn't be easy. It's going to take some getting used to. Don't be so hard on yourself. Results don't happen overnight.
Just a few of the thoughts that went through my head as I navigated my second outdoor run back from being injured. I'm still not at 100%...which shouldn't come as a surprise. You don't just take off an entire week from running and then hit the ground running the same times/distances you were previously accustomed to. Still, I can't help but feel like things shouldn't be THIS hard. And the weather, quite frankly, SHOULD NOT BE THIS HOT/HUMID/GROSS.
I am still finding myself going way too fast during those first several miles. Getting way too excited about the fact that I can physically run with little to no pain. It doesn't seem to hit me until like the 3.5-4 mile mark just how hard I pushed myself during lap 1. It's like one minute I'm trotting along just fine, and the next I'm shuffling down the road struggling with every step. Fighting the urge to give up. To walk home, lay in the grass, and give up on half marathon training. Because, IT'S JUST SO MUCH HARDER THAN I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE.
Even today, just being able to run 5.38 miles at 9:38 pace in this God awful heat didn't feel like enough.
Like, somehow I wasn't putting in enough effort. I already had my two shorter runs for the week on Thursday (3 miles) and Friday (5.26). So, today was supposed to be the day that I ran 6 or more. The day that I overcame the heat/humidity/pelvic pain and finally got a decent long run in. Screw being careful and easing back into running. I want to go back to running 7-9 miles 4-5 times a week. I LIVE for those runs where you just lose yourself in actual act of running. You forget about how tired you are or how far you've already ran. And, somehow, you forget to be self-conscious about all your many imperfections.
Basically, I am more than willing to put in the effort, but I need it to feel effortless. Like, I could run around in circles all day if I had to. And still manage to have some fun and crack a smile every once in awhile. But, right now, my body+mind just are not there. It took my what felt like forever at the beginning of summer to get accustomed to running outside in general and then to running in the heat. Now, I have to pretty much start from square one with that.
And that fact honestly pisses me off. I have been working my butt off running wise since March to get in half marathon shape. To build up my endurance and mental strength. I've already completed 1 10 miler and like 5 or so 9 milers. I SHOULD NOT BE STRUGGLING THIS HARD TO FUCKING RUN 5-5.5 MILES. This is bullshit. It sucks and it's a definite blow to my confidence. What's even worse, is knowing that time is the only thing that will make things easier/better.
At the same time, I'm still making progress strength wise.
I was able to back squat 150 lbs. x 2 for back squats today and then hit 250 lbs. x 6 on calf raises. The irony is that 6-7 months ago when I got back into squatting...my max was somewhere around 85 lbs. for back squat. I NEVER in my wildest dream would have thought that I would be where I am at today with that exercise. Yet, here I am, hitting PRs on a fairly regular basis and loving every minute of the sweat and tears that goes into it. I can actually do tricep dips with the skinniest rubber band at the gym too.
All of these strength gains seemed to come out of no where. Yeah, I was putting in the work. But, I wasn't hyper focused on making sure every rep, set, and workout went perfectly. I just focused on trying to do a little more each week. And, most importantly, I believed in myself. I told myself, you've got this, before every max out. Every time I went to do something that I couldn't have done a month or even a week before. And, then I ended up doing it with ease.