FINISHING STRONG // THE LAST RUN OF 2018
It’s finally here. The end to what, for what seems like countless people, has been the worst/most stressful year thus far.
I’m not going to sugarcoat things, 2018 has sucked a whole lot. There have been far more down than ups, and way too many tears cried over people/things that just weren’t worth it. There were setbacks, struggles, and obstacles galore. At times, it felt like things would never get better. This couldn’t have been more true 4+ months ago when I had to take a gigantic break from running, significantly reduce my mileage, and call it quits on half marathon training just weeks before race day. Throw in a whole lot of emotional turmoil in my personal life, and you get arguably the most stressful part of 2018. Even more stressful/heartbreaking than going through your first breakup…which also happened this year.
However, a lot has changed since I made the conscious decision during recovery from my hip+pelvic issues to stop taking running for granted and enjoy every mile to the fullest. I’ve gotten so much stronger physically and emotionally. I’ve learned to love my new, far less hillier running route. And, perhaps most importantly, learned that you are more than your mileage, average pace, and mile splits. So, without further ado/rambling on about how challenging and transformative 2018 has been, here’s how the final run(s) of 2018 went.
These days, being able to run 4-5 miles without any pain or immense struggle, has become the new norm.
Now, running those miles at a super fast speed throughout the entire run…is so not a guarantee or even a realistic expectation. Take Sunday’s 5 miler for example. Nobody wants to run that far on a heavy leg day…NOBODY. But, since the weather conditions on Friday were extra slick…I didn’t have much of an option but to postpone my 5 miler until Sunday. Things started off great. A 9:24 mile 1 and I was feeling on top of the world thanks to another new and improved running playlist. By the time I had gotten in 3 miles, I was starting to feel/regret that uber fast first mile.
I knew the last 2 miles would be anything but easy. Still, I reminded myself that all I had to do was get the mileage in, and that the actual time wasn’t even remotely representative of just how much effort I had put in (both physically fighting the wind and being a little tired from the previous night’s festivities). Even though I was tired and feeling sluggish, I was determined to make the most of those last few miles, knowing that my freedom to run outdoors would soon be impacted by the less than ideal Iowa winter weather. In what felt like no time at all, I had hit the 5 mile mark with a final mile time of 9:18. I managed to shave off a whole 36 seconds from last week’s time.
This is the part of the blog post where I obviously have to give credit to the new music I’m running to, because today’s 4 miler was pretty spectacular.
Lately, I’ve been dedicating Monday’s to running 6 miler. For me, getting in 1 long run at the start of the week just makes thing so much easier. It sort of sets the tone for the rest of my runs/workouts. However, I was extremely hesitant to go that far since I had just tackled 5 miles yesterday. So, I opted to just run as far as I felt I could without overdoing it. Once I had 1 full lap below the tracks in (like 1.5ish) mile in, I made the decision to “just” go 4 miles. I was going way too fast to have the energy or cardiovascular endurance to make it much farther than that. By the time I had summitted the mini hill, I felt like just running a few more blocks would be impossible.
Then, right on time, Lil Peep’s IDGAF song came blaring through my ear buds. All of a sudden, I had all the energy in the world. From then on, I knew there was no way I would be stopping or slowing down, not until I hit 4 miles. I absolutely crushed my fourth and final mile in a time of 8 minutes 54 seconds. I was almost sad that the run was over. I ALMOST felt like I could have handed a couple more miles. While I didn’t set a PR for this distance or shave off a bunch of time from last week’s 4 miler, I am still incredibly proud for pushing through the tough moments and finishing strong that final mile.
To say I’m nervous or scared about what 2019 will bring would be a huge understatement.
Because, in all honesty, during the first month and a half of 2018…I was 100% sure it was going to be my best year yet. Everything was going perfectly and I couldn’t for see things changing as much as they did. So, I’m going into 2019 excited, unsure, and a little bit hesitant to take any steps whatsoever outside of my comfort zone. I mean, they call them “comfort zones” for a reason…right? Regardless, I am beyond ready for a new chapter and a fresh start.