5 MILES // SUNDAY FUNDAY
It’s been awhile since I’ve had so much pressure riding on a run and a workout.
In fact, it’s probably been a solid 6 months since I’ve really felt this type of anxiety over a simple 5 mile run and heavy leg workout. Back then, the focus was on listening to my body and immediately stopping what I was doing the minute I felt any pelvic pain. Today, things were a little different. I still focused on listening to my body (especially since this was my first full week back at the gym post sickness and my first heavy leg day in 3 weeks!!), but I was also focused on just making it through the workout in one piece. Pain was the least of my worries this morning. My biggest concern: cardiovascular endurance and self-doubt.
In theory, running 5 miles and surviving a 90 minute leg day shouldn’t be that hard. It’s something I’ve done countless times before. I’ve done it injured, sleep deprived, and in not so great weather conditions. So, since I was forced to run indoors today, the running part should have been no big deal. A piece of cake. You lace your shoes up, fire up a playlist full of new music, and you run. Easy as 1, 2, 3. Except, for the small fact that I hadn’t ran this distance, or anything over 4 miles since January 18th. And, I wasn’t entirely sure if my new playlist would be motivational or inspiring enough to push me past that mileage barrier.
As I trotted along at 6 miles an hour, I did my best to ignore everything around me and focus all of my attention on the lyrics of my music.
Luckily, both Ariana Grande and Cassadee Pope put out some new emotionally filled albums recently, so I had all the motivation I could have possibly wanted/needed. However, there were still plenty of moments over the course of my 50 minute run where quitting early so easy, so right. I mean, it’s my first full week back in the gym. I hate the treadmill more than I hate running on snow+ice. And, I’ve already accomplished so much just by making it to the gym 5 days this week. What did it really matter if I only went 3 or 4 miles today? Next week and tomorrow would be a fresh start; perhaps a better time to jump that 5 mile hurdle.
Between the new music, desperately wanting to hit 5 miles, and feeling okay to keep running at the 4 mile mark, I did it. Which, honesty surprised me considering just how much I had wanted to be done once I hit 3 miles. For some reason, that’s the distance that felt adequate. Average. Something that I knew in my mind was possible, and would help me maintain my current running fitness. On the other hand, the second I hit 4 miles I knew I could not step off that treadmill with only 1 mile left to hit my goal. 1 mile left to prove to myself that I was still a “runner.” Still someone who could run long distances and have all of the fun in the world while doing it.
Then, came the grueling task of getting through another leg day…doubling the amount of weight and effort that I had put into my last one.
It seemed impossible from the start, but after I had ran 5 miles I basically felt unstoppable. I had also impulse bought 2 of Halsey’s latest albums yesterday…the whole albums without listening to a single song. Needless to say, 5 minutes into my leg day I was already convinced I would be back to hitting and even surpassing my old PR’s in on time at all. Just give me a few warm up sets, all the female empowerment via music, and I’ll be good. Things were going great until I hit a wall with squats. I ended up having to stop at 125 lbs for back squat and 115 for front squat. Which, all things considered, is pretty impressive. Nowhere near where I wanted to be, but better than where I was on Tuesday’s leg day.
Believe it or not, it actually felt good to struggle. Good, to be drenched in sweat the entire time and to keep my rest periods to no more than 90 seconds in between sets. Heck, it even felt good to not have to where a lifting belt due to the fact that I just wasn’t lifting heavy enough weight to necessitate it’s use. Set by set and rep by rep, I found myself just incredibly happy and grateful to be in gym, feeling good. And, obviously glad that I had pushed myself to purchase and download so much new music before this intimidating workout. Overall, it just felt good to finally have fun in the gym and run long again.