Never in a million years did I think that working on speed would lead me on the emotional journey I’ve been on, but here we are. Growing pains all around. Along with my struggle with dissonance and seeing myself as I am, I’ve also really been struggling to see progress in my running lately. I’ve been struggling to hit my paces, 5ks have been slower than I know I’m capable of, and it’s been bugging me. I’m putting in work and I’m trying and I just don’t see that I’m getting anywhere.
I had a heart to heart with my coach. I talked to my BRF. I tried to relax and trust the process. On Wednesday I did my tempo run on the treadmill so I could prove to myself that the paces are possible, and that it’s possible for me to push through and sustain them–which I did. Then on Thursday, it was the first Flash 5k of the season for SCRR, and while it was supposed to be my rest day, I got coach’s blessing to participate as long as I took it easy.
Ever one to follow the rules, I went into it with the plan to take it easy. I didn’t even bring my watch with me, I left it at home so I wouldn’t be tempted to push. I started the Strava app, put it in my pocket, and went. I did what felt good at any given point in time–sometimes I ran hard, sometimes I backed off, sometimes I walked–and I didn’t stress about it. I was out to have a run and fun with my friends. I came in around 33:47–which was my race pace last year when I was trying. I was pumped because I took it so easy. I wasn’t trying. In that moment I could see the progress that my coach and friends assured me was happening.
This was reinforced on Saturday. I did the Yinzer 5k, and I went in with the intention of racing it and going sub-30 again, but I was also aware that I had skipped my rest day and was working with tired legs, so I figured I’d give it my best shot and see what happened. I kept up with the 9:30s for the first mile, but then I started cramping so I backed off, got some water, walked a minute. I picked it back up for mile 3 and finished in 31:36. Just 6 seconds off of my PR from last fall. If I could do that when it wasn’t even my best effort…that’s progress.
Even yesterday when I was doing my recovery workout on the rower–when I first started I could do about 10 minutes on the rower before my back would start screaming at me, yesterday I did a solid 20 minutes and could have kept going. I love how strong I’m getting. It’s a good place to be going into another track workout.