I’m finally starting to feel like I’m getting my groove back! And I’m super excited that it’s happening just as I start marathon training next week.
Since February, I’ve been struggling with the running thing. To be honest, I’ve often thought of just quitting, especially after some really tough, mentally and physically difficult runs. My allergies, my lungs, my silly knee and IT band were all conspiring against me. Because I couldn’t breathe well for much of those months between February and well, a week ago, my performance really plummeted.
The two marathons I’ve run this year pummeled my confidence. In my head, I’m a sub-4 hour marathoner, but in reality, I’ve only been able to do that half the time. Sure, weather and physical limits had something to do with that average, but it still doesn’t feel good to not be able to live up to my own expectations.
I want to PR pretty badly in both the marathon and the half marathon. But I need to get stronger and faster before I can do that. I’ve also fallen into some bad habits of taking walking breaks when I KNOW I don’t need them. I never used to do that and now I do it more than I care to admit. This needs to stop and I’m going to start working on it, like now.
This week, I had two great runs in not so great weather conditions. I get up before the crack of dawn to beat the heat and to get in my workouts before my family wakes up and while I do often get to run before the heat of the day takes over, humidity is still a big component that early in the morning.
Most of the time at 4am or even 4:30am, the humidity level is high, or at least higher than what I’m used to. Like above 70%. I often feel like I’m running through a cloud and that I’m sweating more than normal but not cooling off. I drink fluids while I’m out, but the humidity doesn’t allow me to cool down as quickly as I probably need to and that’s why I’m hitting small “walls” at miles 4 or 5. It’s a pain.
But this week, it was different. I was really tired on Monday morning. My body was sore and I just felt out of it. But I wanted to get in a run and it turned out to be really, really good. The humidity was there again, like a wall of moisture, but I was okay with it. And I loved pushing myself to get the work done. I hadn’t seen this average pace in nearly a month! And the last mile was the fastest of the six!
Splits: 8:50, 8:39, 8:34, 8:38, 8:40, 8:16
Then on Tuesday, I went out for another run. I didn’t check the weather beforehand, but knew as soon as I walked out of my garage, that it was going to be a steamy one.
The air just felt heavy, but I felt good running. My legs and arms were sore from the previous days workout, but that loosened up after a mile warm-up. I hadn’t intended to run at a faster pace because I had run pretty strongly the day before, so these paces just happened.
Honestly, I was starting to worry that I wouldn’t be able to run consistently in the 8:30s again. And not feel like I was going to bust a lung. That’s the key: not busting a lung. Shockingly, I was able to run the last mile of this run even faster than the previous days’. And it didn’t feel overly difficult!
Splits: 8:53, 8:46, 8:49, 8:35, 8:31, 8:35, 8:02
You can see how sweaty I got on Tuesday’s run. It was insane! My hair was dripping wet, like i had just got out of the shower. I couldn’t even hold a plank for more than 2 minutes because the sweat was running into my eyes and burning. When I went upstairs 10 minutes later (after stretching!), my hair was still dripping!
But I felt amazing. And that’s the feeling I have been lacking for months. I’ve been in a funk and struggling to keep going, but I feel like it’s starting to turn around. Maybe my goals of PRing this year are obtainable? I sure hope so!