Running, Lately

Whilst earning my Google Search Medical Degree, I read that the iron-depleted body absorbs the vitamin much more quickly. Whether or not this is actually true, I feel like my body responded very quickly to my increased iron intake (via food and daily iron supplements). I started to feel better after two weeks of supplements, and started to feel strong after 4 weeks. Now, I feel strong, eager and excited.

Two years ago, when my running was at its best, I loved the feeling of a hard tempo run. Grinding through 8+ miles at a hard pace left me feeling high for the rest of the day. I thrived on flirting with the red line. I ran up every hill as hard as I could. My easy run and long run days were great too, but the harder effort workouts were my favorite miles during the week. I’m realizing how much I missed feeling like that now that I am thriving on that grind again.

It happened on the Tuesday after the Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon. I set out to complete 6 miles before taking a strength training class at the gym. I felt good during the first mile, like too good. I hadn’t felt like this in a long time. I decided to just go with it and follow my body’s lead. I heard my Garmin beep through mile 1 and told myself to stay smooth and relax into it. Miles 2-3 were on the peninsula, and I felt like my feet had springs in them. My strides felt powerful and I estimated that I was averaging a 7:30 minute/mile pace. At this point, anything faster than 7:45 pace would’ve felt “fast.” I tested my legs and lungs by picking it up slightly during mile 4. They were both on board, so I turned cruise control on for miles 5-6. I didn’t want to check my Garmin and be disappointed to see that I ran a 8:00 pace when it felt like 7:20-7:30, but it ended up being 7:00 flat.

Though I was very excited about the effort, I knew the possibility of this being a one-off, so I decided to test myself again on Thursday after an easy run on Wednesday. I decided on the same morning workout: 6 miles followed by an hour of strength training. Admittedly, the effort felt slightly harder, but I ended up with a 6:55 minute/mile average pace. The thought that I used to run 2x that distance 15 seconds/mile faster definitely crossed my mind, but I was elated to feel like my body was back in working order again. A 19 miler with Cristina and Ellen marked the finale to an epic running week. I hadn’t run 19 miles in… a very long time!

That was 12 days ago and I’ve run a few more fast miles. One week after the surprise tempo, I completed a hill workout on one of my favorite hills. That was a memorable run because I was soaking wet before finishing my warm-up. It was raining, very windy, and cold, but I ran up that hill at an 8/10 effort twelve damn times. There was another brave woman running up and down that hill, and she exclaimed that I was pushing her when we passed each other at one point.

On Tuesday, Cristina and I ran 10 easy miles around downtown Long Beach. She was in town for a convention and I had the opportunity to take her on a running tour of my beautiful city. Watching her train diligently and put in some quality miles for the upcoming Boston Marathon provides me with much-needed inspiration. Her workout for last Wednesday called for .75 mile x 4 (.25 mile recovery) and I decided to try it with her. I certainly would not have done this workout on my own. I planned for us to do the workout on the peninsula, which is 1 mile long and lacking in heavy traffic. At 5:30am, we left my gym for a 2 mile warm up, then got down to business.  I was originally going to try for 4-5 x 1K, unsure as to whether I would be able to hang on for .75 miles, but decided during the first interval to just go for it. I wasn’t planning on trying to keep up with her for each interval, but felt better than I expected. The last .75 definitely felt hard and I ended up taking a 5 second break (paused my Garmin) at the half mile mark and then trying to sprint it in for the last quarter mile. For it being my first real speed workout in over a year, I was surprised to split 6:23, 6:19, 6:19, 6:15. Cristina crushed it with a 6:10 average, and had to put up with my breathing noisily right behind her!

I ran easy with C on her last day in town (Thursday), and ended up not running until the afternoon on Friday. I ran 2.5 from my house, met a friend for 4 miles, and then ran 2.5 back. I was feeling anxious, so I ended up running the 2.5 mile segments faster than expected (6:45/6:40). I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I am loving how good it feels to run fast.

I’m surprised to see how much different I feel in only 4 weeks time. I’m so excited to continue gaining strength and re-building my aerobic base, but staying aware of how quickly I try to progress over these next few weeks. Getting fit feels good, but trying to get fit and then ending up injured or over-trained feels terrible.

 

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