Last year Charlie and I trained for and ran a local half marathon. It was a hard, long, and eye opening process. And I never ran alone. Always with him, or a friend, the miles felt too quiet and too long and too tiring with only my stomp-stomp-stopm. The dedication to put in the weekly maintenance runs was really hard, and I lagged at the end. The long weekend runs were a treat and a break and often spent with a dear, and inspiring runner friend, but I struggled toward the end because I slacked on my training.
When race day came we did it. We raced like newbies and had our fastest 10K yet but dragged through the 7 miles after that. When the race came to a close we pushed across the finish line with nothing left. Nothing. At one point, during mile 12, I stopped and wanted to walk (for the first time during the race) but walking hurt more than running so we kept going. And vowed to each other that we would NEVER RUN EVER AGAIN.
About a week after the race, when we had both semi recovered, we went for a run around a local lake and vowed to do the race, and do it well, the following year. I made the goal to run it 15 pounds lighter and 15minutes faster. Well, I’ve amended that to be that I’ll run the race at whatever weight I am, and 30minutes faster (though, I think I am around 10 pounds lighter currently, so it could be that goal might happen on happy accident). But this time I am doing it differently.
I’m not just training for a half. I am cross training my body. And training my brain too.
I am running alone, well… with the girls and dog but basically alone, and in my head. And the running part feels like mental training more than anything else. Miles of foot to trail, and my own thoughts. And my brain feels calm and healthy in those miles, not frantic and exhausted. It’s a gift. And one that grows when I nurture it, so I keep running.
But for my body… I am changing it up. Last year I just ran as training. This year I am weight lifting and doing a lot of HIIT (high intensity interval training) and getting my miles in slow and steady. But it’s amazing, my body feels SO good on runs. I can power up hills because my squat weight is climbing. I can push through that last mile, hard, because my calf lift is on point.
I am using a website (fitnessblender.com) to find workouts I like, and spend probably 4-6 days a week doing a 30-45minute workout. And it’s working! And changing my body and mind.