Project Greenshoot

It’s been 43 days since I started this run streak — There have been walks There has been bitter, bitter cold. There has been days I just don’t want to; days I’m sick of being cold all the time… But I’m still at it.

I’m trying to temper myself and remind myself constantly that I need patience. In the winter, my runs are slow. I’m slogged down by running gear, layers to keep me warm25659461_10101151823515090_6002449403895101980_n, cold air, snow that feels like running on sand, ice, etc. On a good day, I post a 14:15 minute mile. And god, does that feel fucking awful. I’m trying to remind myself that this will translate, once the snow melts, back to my usual 12:30 mile. It always does. Always.

Training for the half is fine. My new goal of 15 miles a week will help me reach my yearly goal of 700 mile – my biggest year yet. My first “long” run is Saturday, with 4 miles on the chart. Back before the snow, I tallied up a 5 mile run because I was bored. Right now, four miles feels painful.

I’m getting close to my favorite part of training — the ability to run to the local park. When I get to the 6 mile mark, I’ll be running to the park, around the largest loop, and back home. Something about that always jives with me. Right now, I run around my neighborhood on the 1, 2, or 3 mile paths I know very well. It’s all boringly geometric, but it’s what I have right now. I can’t wait to run down the path on Beach Road and reach the trail head. That will feel like such an accomplishment, given where I started back on the path to running in October.

I’m tired of being slow. I’m tired of feeling like this is all so much work… I know there will be a payoff at the end, but man being patient is hard. I keep reminding myself of my reward – that PR at Run the Bluegrass will feel great. I’ll get my name on the PR board again at Etheral. And I will get a new tattoo.

I should probably put some work into deciding what that tattoo will be… Running themed? Astrology themed? Something to represent my love for my home state?

First comes the work.

Advertisements

It Doesn’t Get Easier

I’ve committed myself to running 10 miles a week. This feels like such a joke, seeing as that was a typical weekend run this time last year. My, how things change.

Running, thus far, has been a bit of therapy I had been missing. It’s not easy right now, plodding my feet down over and over again, feeling sluggish and slow. It’s not easy getting myself to go out the door when it’s freezing out. It’s not easy to not hate myself a little bit every time I feel like I SHOULD be harder, better, faster, stronger. It’s not easy getting myself to understand this is GOOD for me and I SHOULD be happy to do it. meme-7

It is, however, getting easier to sleep at night. It is getting easier to make better choices with my food, seeing both water and meals as fuel for my runs rather than an outlet for my emotions to be stuffed into my face and buried deep, deep below the surface. It is getting easier to deal with some of the thoughts I try to push away daily, sorting them out neatly while I am alone outside, breathing fresh air.

I’m approaching the time where the focus returns to a training plan for April’s half marathon. December means I should be on a four day a week run schedule, steadily increasing my distances. I’m both dreading it and looking forward to it, considering these November runs mini training.

Running for me is not easy right now. I want there to be a day where it is easy; where I can run a 10 minute mile and keep that pace steadily through a race. I want to be someone who can run a 10k in less than an hour. I can’t get there without this hard stuff, first.

I think that’s the hardest hurtle in my motivation. You’ve got to crawl before you can walk before you can jog before you can run. It doesn’t get easier unless you keep doing it.

It’s time to keep doing it.

Welcome Back, Runner 5

So let’s go back in time about 6 months to when I gave up on running. And you know, it’s really ironic that I gave up on running at that point, because I was just starting to see progress in my pace.

I don’t know what happened. Maybe it was a full moon. Maybe it was mercury in retrograde. Maybe it was depression or defeat or the dawning of the age of Aquarius. I just kind of stopped.

I lost my joy in running. It became work. It was no longer something I looked forward to. I felt myself slip into anxiety attacks as I set off, often not being about to catch my breath or regulate my breathing for the duration.

Running was not fun.

The one thing that keeps pulling me back is the Zombies, Run! community. And the running community as a whole.

I had the opportunity to meet a friend I met through Zombies, Run! and see him run the Chicago Marathon. Being around runners I felt a little like an impostor, but also I felt drawn to plant my flag and declare myself a member again. I chased him around the course, feeding off the energy of the other spectators there to see their favorite runners accomplish something awesome. Then I realized…

I wanted to belong again.

I wanted to be a part of it.

So I’m back here, setting new plans and new goals for myself, trying to find my motivation. Because my 5amily is the best. Because runners are amazing. Because even if I’m slow, I’m still moving.

So here is the plan – My third Run the Bluegrass in April. Setting a PR goal of 2:45:59, and if I make it, I get a new tattoo. The idea is already there, so if I want it, I have to earn it.

Then the 5amily wants to meet up in 2019 for the Edinburgh Half Marathon. Travel you say? Vacation you say? Friends you say? I’ll be damned if I can’t find a way to make that happen. Which means I need to start paying myself for my kilometers run again to try to save up. I’d like to spend a week over in Europe surrounding the race if I can, so piggy banking everything will be a must.

How’s that for motivation?

And all the while, I am going to try to keep documenting my time here, if I can.

Raise the gates.

 

Time Runs On

Time has seemed to run on without me, and while I’ve done much in the last two years (nearly), I have not documented any of it. I am finding my way back to my running journey and in the midst of that realized I had not yet posted my race review from the very first Run the Bluegrass… and now I’m nearly starting training for number three.

SO HERE IT IS! Two years late! But, the culmination of this who dang blog. And motivation to start writing about running and life musings once again, as I gear up to head back out on the pavement in pursuit of a personal best this year.

Stay tuned.

Let’s Look at the Numbers

I thought it would be fun to post some info-graphic type data from my training, which began on October 31st — the day I decided I’d run a half marathon.

Number of days trained: 149

Coldest temperature I ran in:-5 (not including the windchill that day)

Number of times I was caught without a port-a-potty and became good friends with mother nature: 4 (including once on that -5 degree day)

Number of runs during training: 58

Times I felt like quitting: 3

Times I felt invincible: 55

I have run 279 miles, or just over the width of the state of Wisconsin.

WI

I have run 4010 minutes (67 hours), or just about 3 and a half Harry Potter movie marathons.

Harry

I have burned approximately 44,416 calories, or about the caloric value of 15 large cheese pizzas.

Pizza

I am still really nervous about the hills on this course. My average time with some hills is about 13:45. Max time for the course is 3 hours and 30 minutes (16 min mile pace), so I am going to really push to not burn out and keep an even 14 minute pace for my whole race. Walks and runs seem to be my best method, taking my mile time from 14 min a mile to 12:45 on flat terrain.

Deep breaths. Relax. You can do this. You’re a rockstar. You trained for this.

One Week Away

Well, it’s official. I am one week away from running the half marathon that inspired me to start this blog that I so rarely write in anymore. I am a mix of excited and nervous. I know I’ve trained. I know I can do the distance. I’ve just hit that point now where I am anxious to actually get on the course and just… go. I’m afraid I’ll be disappointed in my time, but I am also excited to see what I can do. Everyone keeps telling me the point is to go and have fun. Yes, it indeed is. But I also want to kick on serious booty on the course. Well, kick serious booty for me, that is.
img_0436
I watched this little peek at a part of the course and I immediately began dreading the hills – but instead of worrying about slogging the hills, I am getting excited for all the zooming down hills I will do.

I am nervous because it is in my nature
to worry about the unknown. I am also trying to be better about that. The unknown is a terrifying thing to me. As Nikki Limo says, I just want to do a good job. And as Grace Helbig says, in general, I just want to be a better human. This training and race have been big steps in my life. I’ll yammer on about that in my race recap in a week or so… But for now, I’m going to take deep breaths and walk forward into the unknown with JOY and EXCITEMENT and do my damned best to love the crap out of this race, no matter how much my anxiety is making me want to accidentally oversleep and casually just call is a vacation and not a destination race.

We’re gonna do this. And we’re gonna kick ass. Ok self? Ok.

I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

img_0431

Let’s get one thing out on the table…

I don’t know what I’m doing.

I started running after hearing about the Warrior Dash in 2011. Want to know how much running I had done before signing up? Pretty sure my last sprint was in high school… in 2000… for a fitness test. And I hated it. I hated every minute of it. I logged an 18 minute mile in high school, shuffling along as best I could but running a block was a nightmare.

My husband patiently taught me how to use a treadmill. I was terrified of it, and the first time he got me set up on it, I almost started to cry. I remember arguing with him about how I couldn’t do it. It was moving too fast… how was I ever going to stay coordinated enough to not fall on my face? I mean, I’m not the epitome of ‘accepts new things willingly’, so this was way harder in my head that it actually was in person. New things frighten me and send me into a flight response. I have a lot of anxiety when it comes to not knowing exactly how something will work and what to expect from in… so this treadmill was like that walking naked into a test I hadn’t prepared for dream everyone has.

Still, I kept at it.

Still, I hated it. But I wanted to run the Warrior Dash so bad!

I decided to try running outside. The app Zombies Run had just come out, and I gave it a go. It made the time pass quicker, and it made going for a run more exciting. I wanted to run, because I wanted to know what was happening in Abel Township. Still, I walked most of my miles, and my pace was only slightly better than high school, averaging to 16ish minutes.

I remember telling a friend I ran a 16 minute mile. Their response was “you must be doing something wrong, that’s not very fast”. I remember being proud of my 16 minute mile, knowing where I’d previously been, but this comment crushed me. They told me to come running with them and they’d help me get faster. Cue the anxiety girl again. I felt like I wasn’t good enough, suddenly, and running with friends became something I actively avoided. I didn’t want to be made fun of or criticized, and pushing myself made me feel faint and sweaty and awful… so I made excuses to keep running alone.

Going it alone is something I resort to, a lot. And in this case, it probably wasn’t my smartest choice. I’ve been fairly stagnant, thanks to trying to just run how I thought a runner should run – but what the hell did I know about running? Literally nothing other than right foot, left foot, don’t fall down.

It’s been quite some time, now, and I have just been running however I feel like running. Sometimes it’s intervals. Sometimes it’s slow and steady for distance. Sometimes I push myself as had and as fast as I can. Still… Not much has happened in the “Kat Getting Faster” camp. I now run about a 13:30 fast pace, but a 14 minute long run pace. And I want to be faster. This is where the struggle comes in.

I don’t know how to get faster.

People tell me “interval” or “do fartleks” (hehe, fartlek), or whatever have you, but I can’t seem to figure out how these things work for me. So I just… run. I have yet to find someone who tells me ‘this is a plan I have used to get faster, follow it’.

What I have learned I that I can’t be trusted to just do it myself. I have to have a plan. While training for the half marathon, I followed my plan and that was easy. It was less scary to me to know there was a path laid out, and all I had to do was follow it. It wasn’t advice coming from someone who doesn’t know what running with a heart murmur is like, or advice from one of those people who just naturally run fast… it was just a piece of paper telling me “go 8 miles today”.

I have learned that running is not an easy sport. Running is hard. It’s challenging. It’s mental AND physical, and it can break your spirit one day and raise you up the next. What I want to do is have a better relationship with running… with clear goals and a plan to get there. So here is my plan:

After the half marathon, we’re working on speed. Somehow. We’ll figure it out. We’ll develop a plan. And we will do our best to take advice and stop going it alone…

 

PS: I know I’ve been pretty awful at regularly posting – consistency in blogging hasn’t ever been my strong suit. I’m working on that!

You Never Know…

The other day I was loading up all my running apps (read: being a data obsessed runner) and  waiting for my GPS to pick me up. I was just locking the front door when I saw my neighbor returning from her walk with her dog. I waved and said hello; she smiled and waved back.

img_0430As she got closer to my driveway, she called up to me “You always make me feel so guilty! You get out here and run almost every day and I’m down here freezing my face off just walking the dog a block!”

My first instinct was to laugh and tell her I don’t run every day. Or that I run really slow so it doesn’t really count… or to put myself down in someway. Instead, I laughed and told her you warm up a lot when you run, and to not discount walking her dog every day — that’s exercise, too!

She laughed. She tried to put herself down again by saying it’s more for her dog than for her, so I said “well, I decided to run a half marathon – I set a goal, and it’s what gets me out here. Maybe there’s a goal you can set, too!”

She thought about this for a moment and said thank you for motivating her. It felt really, really nice to be someone else’s motivation – especially when I’m not elite athlete. Not by any means. I’m just some gal who goes running because she likes it. I’m not fast, I’m not skilled, I’m not anything special. I’m just another runner…

But I inspired someone.

Moral of this story (aka TL;DR). You never know who you’re inspiring. Just keep at it. Someone out there is looking up to you and you may never even know.