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A Changed Runner
It’s a beautiful day in NYC — the last beautiful day of the week, most likely, before we enter a crazy heat wave.
Good thing I got an air conditioner this weekend.
Good thing I haven’t installed it yet…
Really good thing I have many friends in the area who already have AC units installed and will let me sleep over.
Right, friends? I will provide treats…
My day yesterday flew by, and before I knew it 5 pm hit and I was off to the gym for n evening of cross training fun. I took a Chisel class, which was meh (meh is a word, for real, and it means “kind of lame” — I’m not sure if it is accepted by the Scrabble dictionary yet, but I can check), and chased it with a dose of Cardio Tai Box.
I realized something during that kickboxing class: It’s really only fun when you’re angry.
I’m not an angry person, but yeah, over the past few months I’ve had a few angry days where I wanted to visualize someone (oftentimes multiple someones) and punch, jab and hook the hell out of his/her imaginary face.
Last night I was in an excellent mood, though, so kickboxing didn’t do it for me.
You know what did do it for me? Getting 16 Handles afterward.
So, on to today’s topic: I am a changed runner.
As I enter Week 6 of Hamptons Marathon Training, I can’t help but look back over the past few months and analyze the ways I’ve changed.
It wasn’t too long ago that I refused rest days, ran every day and didn’t necessarily know what I was doing. I was hurting myself without even knowing it. I’m so deeply grateful that I get to work with Coach Cane as I train for my first marathon. Having a training plan outlined for me beyond just “run 5 miles today” has been hugely effective.
Every week Coach Cane gives me a detailed plan for my daily workouts.
Today, for example, I was given these instructions: Nothing but easy miles this week, but we’ll throw in a few striders to keep you sharp. This way you feel some speed but don’t go into the weekend tired. (I’m running the Mini 10K on Saturday and I really want to PR.) 5 miles today, with two striders per mile on miles 2, 3, 4.
Striders are my favorite.
Admittedly I got out of bed late today (again!) so I had to run fast in order to make it to work on time. Talk about excellent built-in motivation.
I was thrilled with my pace, though it wasn’t my main focus during the 5.5 miles in Central Park (which, by the way, was freakin’ packed with exercisers this morning).
My pace isn’t super consistent, but leave me alone.
Sorry. I didn’t mean to get hostile. If you have tips on being a more consistent runner I’ll take them.
Back to my point: I am a changed runner.
Without a doubt the most crucial change I’ve made thus far hasn’t been a physical one so much as a mental one.
Physically I still have lots of work to do. Coach Cane says I need to stop running with my phone in my hand (“I can spot iPod arms from a mile away,” he
once chided affectionately told me), and I know I can push my pace even more so that I’m more consistently racing under an 8-minute-mile pace. (A girl can dream, right?)
Mentally, however, I’ve accepted that every run has and needs a purpose.
Every day that I lace up and hit the road, I’m doing it for a reason. Whether I’m working on speed, training on hills or tackling a long run, I understand and respect that way every single training run will help me improve and will benefit me on race day.
At this time last year, I was running 5 miles every single morning. I never changed my route. I never altered my pace. I just did the exact same workout day in and day out. I enjoyed the consistency of the routine.
Now I am in love with the way Coach Cane has me constantly changing up what I do. It keeps my mind alert and my body challenged.
This morning, as I wrapped up my run, I was completely out of breath. I had pushed hard and I felt like I worked for something. I know that on September 24, I’m going to look back on today’s training run, and so many other training runs, and know that they benefited me.
I’m a better, stronger runner these days, and I can’t wait to keep improving.
Do you know what else I am?
Semi-inappropriately dressed for work.
OK so the outfit looks pretty tame in the photo, but in person you can see a hint of bra strap, and if I move too quickly, the V-neck you see goes from conservative to Cleavagetown before you can say, “Did you bring a sweater with you today?”
Yes, I did bring a sweater.
But it’s 80 degrees outside.
So on that note, I’m off to work. Today includes lots of list-tackling at the office (plus a hummus sandwich for lunch) followed by some spinning, then dinner with a wonderful old friend who I haven’t seen in roughly forever.
Have a great day!
TELL ME: Over time, how have you changed as a runner?