Running isn't about a destination. Runners are never finished. We're always trying to improve. Faster races, longer distances, new monthly mileage milestones. But frustration comes when it's been years and the journey seems to keep circling the same scenery. When race times aren't any faster despite putting in the work and when you're tired of the deja vu. And I've got a serious case of racing deja vu going on right now.
I know I'm faster than I was when I first started running, but I don't have the race times to prove it. My training paces are significantly faster and my speed work is much speedier. But I have had some abysmal luck on the race course over the past year leading to times that aren't any better the the times I logged after just a few months of running. And there is no way after 4 years that I'm not faster than I was after 4 months. I guess the race evidence is that I'm logging the same times despite being sick and not being able to really race. That's some sad-ass evidence if you ask me.
This past year - April 2015 through April 2016 - has been a particularly rough for me. Following pregnancy and maintaining surprisingly decent speeds through the second trimester, I ramped back up to pre-pregnancy paces pretty quickly and hit PRs in both the half and the 5K distances at the beginning of 2015. I was off to a great start and was sure my times would start dropping below my pre-baby paces at a decent clip.
But then allergy season hit and I don't feel that my asthma has been under control for any extended period since then. On top of that, my son started having massive sleeping issues that didn't resolve until around Christmas, and while some people can function on very little sleep, I am not one of those people. I had a full-time, demanding job on top of parenthood, my husband travels for work almost every week leaving me to do everything on my own for several days, my son wasn't sleeping, and I was constantly ill. It really took the wind out of my sails. My whole system was completely run down and has been for quite some time. And then the intense stress of recent months hit in January and it's just been one storm after the next on top of my sickness. At least my son is sleeping better, but that doesn't mean I am (stress does that, you know).
While I can't control all of my outside circumstances, I am trying to actively change things where I can. I've seen this place before in some form and this time, I'm taking a different approach to get myself out of it. It's time for a new turn in the journey.
And as for my asthma, the bottom line is I have an ongoing illness which is no different than a runner who deals with an injury. Those runners don't run nearly as fast when they're injured, and I don't run as fast when I'm sick, especially considering my lungs are what's affected. Breathing when running is important, right? But now I'm trying a different type of medication that is supposed to be a game changer for people like me. Hopefully this will change the course of my running journey, or at least get it back on the course it was on before last April.
- Monday: OFF
- Tuesday: OFF
- Wednesday: Barre class at Barre Evolution
- Thursday: Easy run/walk - 3.1 miles (9:09 pace)
- Friday: Easy run - 3.1 miles (8:50 pace)
- Saturday: OFF
- Sunday: Easy run - 3.1 miles (8:19 pace)
Total miles: 9.30 miles
Total runs: 3
Total yoga/strength: 1
This past week, while I pondered my next moves, I took it easy (just like I had for several weeks prior) in an attempt to rest and let my lungs heal.
I ran a few short, easy runs and by Sunday, my easy run pace was much better than it's been in over a year. I'm not completely well yet because the latest round of rescue medication will take a few weeks to really settle in and then I'm hoping my new ongoing asthma meds will keep me healthy, but Sunday's run gave me hope. Hope that maybe I'll see the times I know I'm capable of racing. And that maybe along with it, life will also start to get better.
My coach and I decided that the next few weeks will be about rebuilding and adding in a few short speed days before we start ramping back up. That should give me time to ease back in and get used to longer distances again.
I refuse to believe that the times I've been logging recently are even close to what I'm capable of. I refuse to believe these race times are my final destination. I refuse to believe my journey is one of going in circles. There's so much more scenery out there that I haven't found yet and I'm ready get going.