This week running has pushed me to new levels, given me time alone to think, pray, and reflect, challenged me, given me an opportunity to be there for a friend going through a hard time, given me time alone with Josh, and given me lots of fun. On top of that, I am SO excited to watch track and field in the Olympics starting today!!
This morning's run was the last hard run in a tough training week.
I was excited for the challenge, and even though I was a little nervous looking at the schedule I was confident I could and would finish it. I decided to take it just one day, one run at a time.
The mileage was in the low 80's which is not the highest I have done, but there was a LOT of intensity. My shortest/easiest days were 10 miles at an easy pace. I had a fast 14 miler, a double run day (one run of which was a track workout), a 10-mile tempo, and then this morning's 18 miler.
The days of long, slow runs are gone for me. Today's long run plan was two miles of warm-up, eight miles at goal marathon pace (7:15), four miles 15 seconds faster than marathon pace, and then two miles 30 seconds faster than marathon pace, followed by a two mile cool down.
Splits were - (8:20, 8:09), 7:08, 7:07, 7:16, 7:10, 7:06, 7:05, 7:08, 7:03, 6:52, 6:53, 6:50, 6:54, 6:40, 6:51, (8:32, 8:34) cool down.
The only fuel I used (and needed!) was Fluid Performance. (And my stomach was better than it ever has been on a long run). If you have not checked out Fluid yet, I encourage you too! You can find it on their website, and it is also sold on Runningwarehouse.com and Roadrunnersports.com
I enjoy long runs. I went into this one as well-rested as possible at the end of a tough training week, well-fueled, and excited for the challenge. Josh rode his bike along side of me for the last 10 miles, and with the exception of the last mile and a half, I felt really strong and good the whole time. That last mile and a half was a grind, but I got it done. I enjoyed this run. My body, mind, and soul were happy.
Even when it's hard - even when it's REALLY hard - even when my body is screaming for a break - I still love running. I enjoy the challenge. I embrace the hard. I love it.
Recently I saw a quote that said something along the lines of "Don't complain about the results you did not get from the work you did not do". I usually don't like things that come of snarky like that, but lately there does seem to be a lot of people who are unhappy that they haven't magically gotten faster, thinner, stronger, etc. I have had people tell me that I am "lucky"that I am fast and fit. There are many, many reasons I consider myself lucky in life, but losing 80lbs and being where I am at with my running is a result of three years of hard work, commitment, dedication, and persistence.
The truth of it is, that you aren't going to get thin and toned from eating well for just a couple of weeks or from doing a "cleanse" or taking a pill. You aren't going to become a faster runner with inconsistent training, or without pushing your body continually past what is comfortable. It takes consistent hard work and commitment, day in and day out. To lose weight or to improve in running (or at anything) you have to want it, and you have to be willing to do what it takes to make it happen.
I love the Olympics. I love seeing the passion in the athletes and see them achieve greatness in the sports they love. I love reading/hearing/watching about how hard the athletes work, and how much they put in to their training. I especially love seeing how other moms (and dads!) do it. I know I will never be at that level of performance, and yet I know to reach my own goals and my own best, it will take (continued) consistent hard work.
I enjoy it. I love it. That's why I get up every day at 4am. That's why I ensure that I am eating healthy foods and putting good fuel into my body. That is why I value the rest that my body needs and take my recovery after each run seriously. That's why I do my core and strength training, and why I always stretch and foam roll. That's why I continue to push myself and strive to be better. That's why I get excited instead of intimidated when my awesome coach tells me that he is going to give me a super challenging training week. That's why I welcome the challenge and embrace the hard.
One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite movies is from Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own.
"If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. It's the hard that makes it great."
The men's marathon is on Sunday! Check out this wonderful video that shows a typical day in Olympic Marathoner Meb Keflezighi's life. (I ran on Meb's team for the NYC Marathon last year and got to spend some time with him and his family. I literally bumped into him in Boston, and have stayed in touch with him and his brother, Merhawi. They are two of the nicest people you could ever know). Go Meb!!
Happy Friday everybody! Good luck to everyone racing this weekend and I hope all of your runs are good ones.