I’m alive. I swear. I might have gone missing for close to two years, but I am back and perhaps more determined than I ever have been.
Remember when I swore I would run a half marathon in 2014? Well, I didn’t. But I am making that promise again and this time I plan to keep it.
I used to be able to run fast and long. Well, long for me. Not the kind of long that I want to be capable of. Then I stopped running regularly and focused the majority of my fitness attention on lifting weights. I lifted, I lost, I kept lifting, I plateaued, I fell off, I gained a little here, I lost a little there, and so on. Oh, I also moved too… out of the country. I live in Grand Cayman with my boyfriend now; the same one that helped me lose weight when I first started this blog.
I have yet to find the perfect balance of running and lifting, but I am getting there. A little over a month ago I made the decision to just do it; to just start running again. I think what kept me away from it was the fact that I knew I had fallen off and was afraid of how hard the first months of training would be because I’d been there and I’d done that. And it wasn’t fun. But I knew that if I just dove in reminding myself that it is OK to run/walk at first, and it is OK to not run for time but for distance, then I would get back to where I was slowly but surely.
And it is slow. But it is also sure.
I have dedicated my Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings to running at least a 5K, and then filling in the remaining gaps with lifting and some yoga. Unfortunately, it gets hot enough here that if you don’t run bright and early or after the sun sets, you’re likely going to have a miserable time. So, I started by doing the majority of my runs on the treadmill (“dreadmill” more like it) at the gym, with the occasional dip into the heat. Each week, I would try to add another half mile or so to gradually build up my distance, until accomplishing the 5k distance became, well, easy. So far my longest has been 5.3 miles. I typically start around 5.8 speed and end up at 6.0. Not fast, but again, distance – not speed.
Running on the dreadmill can be an absolute drag, so I always cover up the screen with a towel to avoid focusing on the numbers. If I look down thinking “I must have run at least 3 miles by now” only to see that I have only gone 2.2, my mood will be shot. Staring at the numbers ticking away can break the run, so the habit of covering the time and distance has helped me a lot. I also never listen to my playlist in the same order so that I can’t estimate how far I should be, given the song I am on. I try to psych myself out by switching to the next one halfway through, or starting a song over before it ends, so that I eventually stop paying attention to how many minutes of music I must have listened to.
After the 5k got easier, I decided it was time to get my butt outside. Some people say that you’re always faster outside than you will be at the gym. So, one completely odd day, I ran 4 miles in the morning on the dreadmill and then decided to run again in the afternoon (do not get used to this). We have one car so I brought it to my boyfriend and ran home. To my surprise, I kept the 3 miles just under a 10 minute pace. 9:58/mi after already running 4 in the morning? I’ll take it.
After having a pretty successful start to my new running journey in March (25.5 miles run; 22.5 of which was done in about 2-2 1/2 week’s time), I set a goal of 40 miles for the month of April. Well, in less than three week’s time, I surpassed that goal with a total of 41.25 miles. I have 3 more distance runs to go this week, so I am hoping to add another 10 at least. But, if this week is anything like the last three weeks, I am guessing it’ll be a little more than that.
I went for my second outdoor run on Friday around 6:15AM. There is a golf course right next to our apartment that has the perfect 5K route, and a couple of side streets if you are feeling ambitious and want to detour to rack up a bit more distance. I completed 3.1 in 30 minutes, or, at a 9:41/mi pace. I was satisfied with that, though I would obviously have preferred a faster time.
There are two half marathons that I am eyeing: the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon in Brooklyn in October and the Rochester, NY Half in September. Not sure which one I am going to do yet, but I am determined to rack up my miles in the coming months to prepare for whichever I choose!
Let the training commence!