Life of a Runner: Love Yourself

Hello readers! It’s been another productive week for me. I’m really happy with how things are going right now, so I hope you enjoy this week’s entry.

Monday

1 mile, 8:25

Okay, so today I waited way too long to go for a run. By the time I did go, it was around 1:30, 82 degrees with a heat index of 88, and I was both dehydrated and my stomach was still a bit full from lunch. Just not a great combination of things. It’s just funny because I just got done telling you all last week that I had a plan to run 4 miles a day, and I’m not off to an excellent start. But oh well, we move on and try again tomorrow.

Tuesday

3 miles, 26:36 (8:52/mile)

I had a meeting about work today, so I made sure to get up early enough so I could run beforehand. I went through the streets around town for the most part, doing a tiny bit out on the gravel road across from the highway (don’t worry, I did take my pepper spray) for the last bit. I’m actually trying to get in the habit of taking my pepper spray with me again. I know my mom is probably shaking her head reading this, but I really am trying this time to make it a habit. I know I need protection with me when I run and so I am making an effort.

The run itself felt pretty darn good actually. I think possibly one of my students, or someone I know around here, saw and recognized me because a car slowed down randomly for a second. This run was a great start to my day!

Wednesday

Morning: 2 miles, 17:41 (8:51/mile)

I slept in. When I got up at 8, there was no way I could do 4 miles in the humidity, so I thought I’d try to split it up and do a good old fashioned double. I didn’t drink nearly enough water yesterday, so I was a bit dehydrated this morning, which did not help. The run felt sluggish overall. It was a slog through the fog.

Afternoon: 2 miles, 17:08 (8:34/mile)

This was also a bit of a test to see if I really am still faster in the afternoon than in the morning, and it looks like it! So I’m not horribly out of shape, just a bit slower than I used to be. I can still run way below 9-minute pace, so that’s good. I went at a little after 2 this afternoon, when it was about 86 degrees. In comparison, this morning it was 72 degrees when I ran. I’ve been looking more at the dew point than ever because I read an article (can’t remember the title, otherwise I would include it) about how humidity affects your running, and it was talking about how dew point is a good measure of how much you should adjust your workout and how difficult it will be to run in it. Most mornings, that I’ve seen so far, have had a dew point temperature of between 70–75 degrees. That, according to said article, is supposed to be difficult to run in. From 75 and up, that is called something like very difficult. Regardless, I feel really good about what I did today!

Thursday

OFF

In my new plan, Thursdays are my off day, at least for now. That just seemed like a good day to have off, since sometimes Thursdays suck. Plus, I just had a busy day of running around, a doctor appointment, and a trip to a few stores. I even stopped by and saw the parental units at work, so that was fun!

Friday

4 miles, 35:20 (8:50/mile)

Today I will consider a huge success. Originally, I had planned on doing my long run this morning, but when I woke up it was clear I wouldn’t be able to do 6 miles. At 6:20 in the morning, which is when I ran, it was already 70 degrees. I decided to make it 4 miles, and I think that was the best choice for a few reasons: 1) I didn’t eat anything before the run and really hadn’t had a lot to drink yet in the morning and 2) I would rather do a good 4 miles than suffer through 6 and also feel bad about how I did.

It turned out to be a great run. I went out on that new road (which turns out to be highway 78 and I just wasn’t paying attention) and I think I ended up doing almost a mile and a half total on there. It was funny because right when I got on that road, I looked down and saw a DVD disk for the movie 8 Mile with Eminem. I thought it was funny, at least. My slowest miles ended up being the first and third, and both were 8:56. I also chafed on my thighs because of the humidity.

I call this run a success because my overall pace was quite a bit faster than my longer run last week of five miles. It was 13 seconds a mile faster, and that is only with one mile difference. The other reason that’s a big success is because last week it was quite a bit cooler, almost ten degrees cooler, when I ran it. So this week I was a lot faster and it was not in better conditions, so yes I call that a big success! I just feel really good about it and I feel good writing about it. That may not seem like a huge victory to you readers, but it is something to be proud about to me.

Saturday

OFF

But not completely off. So, Brett came to stay with me this weekend, and he ended up having to work for half of today. While he was gone, I decided to (sleep in) mow the lawn. As probably all of you know, this weekend was supposed to be HOT. When I mowed the lawn, it was about 10:00 and it was 87 degrees with a heat index of 97 (this is where Brett goes, “I know! I was outside working in it the whole time!” as he does). It was not a cool day at all. I was dripping sweat only 10 minutes into mowing and it generally takes me about an hour. After I was done, I felt like I should do a workout so today was not a complete off day, so I did a couple of workout videos, an upper body and one for abs and core. That lasted about 22–24 minutes. I felt really good after, like I had accomplished a lot. The rest of the day was not as active.

Sunday

2 miles, 16:57 (8:28/mile)

Woohoo!! When was the last time I ran that pace? I don’t even know. I got up, and it was around 8:00. It was about 73 degrees with a dew point to match. I decided to go for a run before Brett woke up so we could make breakfast when I got back. It was not cool by any means outside, in fact it was quite muggy, but I felt absolutely amazing. The first mile blew by in 8:38, and I was surprised because it is morning, after all. Normally you don’t see me going faster than 8:45 pace in the morning (lately at least). But after that mile passed, I had a wave of energy and decided to push it a little bit. I did sprint the last 200 m. of the run, but besides that it really didn’t feel like I was working that hard. I ran it in 8:17. Maybe this is pathetic or sad or not something to celebrate, but I was so so happy after that.

It got me thinking, especially during the first half of the run, that I am no longer upset by the times I run during these weekly runs. I might still be a bit embarrassed to write them down on this blog, but I no longer feel bad about how I’m doing, how much or how little, or how slow. 8:50 pace no longer bothers me. And I think that’s progress in and of itself. Self esteem is something a lot of people struggle with and I am no different, but today I loved myself. I loved how great I was doing at running, not because it was the fastest I’ve ever gone or I had a new record, but because I felt great doing it and it shows progress for me right now. Because for me, right after waking up, 8:17 is fast. And today I did it easily. That makes me excited and motivated for all the running I’m going to do next week and the week after.

After the run, I stood outside and did about 30 calf raises on my porch steps. It was then that I realized how sweaty I was. It was beaded on my forearms, dripping down my upper arms, down my neck, down my nose, falling in droplets onto the wood. I came inside and left a trail behind me of sweat just falling off of me as if I’d just stepped out of the shower. It was amazing!! I know it’s weird, but that’s one thing I like about summer: the awesome sweat that happens! I only did 2 miles and it looked like I did 8. Anyway, after I dried myself off a bit on my shirt and turned on a fan, I did band exercises again. I’d like to get into the habit of doing these once a week (I think I said that last week). It just helps to stretch out my legs and hips while also strengthening them. At any rate, it felt good this morning.

I don’t really try to send a message or offer some kind of life advice in these, but if you find it somewhere in my ramblings, I’m glad. I guess if I had to offer a piece of advice this week, it’s that you should not let yourself get overrun by how you think you should be doing right now, just focus on what you did yesterday and what you’re doing today. And maybe plan for what you’ll do tomorrow. That’s sort of what I’m doing right now. Did I follow my plan for the week? No! I was about 7 or 8 miles short. But it doesn’t matter because in these past 7 days, I’ve had at least 2 really great runs that made me feel great about myself and the shape I’m in. I’ll take that as a win for now.

See you next week!

— Morgan

Teacher, Runner, Reader, and Writer. Destined for great things, I think.