Progression and Regression

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I didn’t really start running until January of 2012. I had tried running in high school and it just didn’t really click and I didn’t keep trying. I tried again in college and it was maybe a little bit better, but I still didn’t improve at it and so I didn’t stick with it. I don’t really remember what it was that made me decide to try it again, but this is the time that it actually stuck. Now I’ve talked about some of my struggles and triumphs with running before and guess what? I still have both of them! I’ve been working on my running for almost two years now and I still have plenty of days that totally suck. The great part, though, is that the number of good running days has increased and I’ve still been making progress with my running distance, time, and speed. I mean significant progress too. I haven’t just steadily improved though, I’ve definitely had some big ups and downs, but overall I’ve still been trending up and that is such a great feeling for me. I’ve still got a lot of work to do, but I haven’t quit.

In the past few months I think I’ve run more than I ever had in the rest of my life combined. I had been running pretty inconsistently over the summer (even though I had a triathlon in July, you think after a few of those I would actually start training for them more…), but what I did figure out is that I actually really like running in the morning. When I got back to Iowa and was running with my mom again we started running in the morning 4-5 days a week. We were actually running in the morning because it was way too hot to run in the afternoon. With my school and work schedule, though, it was actually pretty perfect to keep up with morning runs. We usually run 3.5 miles 3-4 days per week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday) and then a longer run, usually 5-6 miles, on Saturdays. We’ve been pretty consistently keeping up with that schedule since the end of August and it’s been great. I also try to fit in some rock climbing and some other workouts at the gym when I can. For a while I was doing 3 workouts per day and it was actually really great. I usually did about 30 minutes at a time so it was still only about an hour and a half but it’s nice to stay active throughout the day and do a few different things. I’m actually going to try to get back into that a little more again just because it makes me happy.

So just to sum up a little bit of my progress in the past couple of months.

Klompen classic 5k May 1st 2013: 30:12, 38/116 in my division. This was a few minutes faster than I did it the previous year, big jump.

John Deere 5k August 24th 2013: 29:13. That was my first time breaking 30 minutes in a 5k (some people do this so easy, but it’s taken me a while)1184865_697295403618660_1141060295_n

Me and my mom went out for a long run on a Friday afternoon before a 5k on Sunday and ended up running 7 miles. Our time for 7 miles was about an hour and 7 minutes, it used to take me almost that long to run 5 miles! That’s the first time I’ve ever run 7 miles and it was probably the best run I have ever done, ever. It was a beautiful day out, we going going at a really good pace, I got a great second wind right around 4 miles, and I just generally felt amazing. I think that is the most I have ever enjoyed running in my life, I was just so happy with that run. Then we had another great run at the…

Halloween Hot Chocolate Race November 3rd 2013: 27:57, 8/40 in my division and 55/414 overall. That was my best time by far and my best finishing place (at least in my division). I felt great for that race also, a little bit colder that day but still pretty great. I pushed my mom super hard since she was running with me because I really wanted to break 29 and I knew we could do it. She was feeling a little rough, but she did it (and somehow her time was a second faster than mine…) and she got first in her division!

A few of my friends that raced as well

A few of my friends that raced as well

So that was all of my progress, now for the regression part. The day after that 5k we went for a run and it was fine, but no where nearly as good as the two runs previous. That afternoon I went and gave blood because we were already planning on taking the next day off from running. Ever since then my running has sucked. For the first few days I think it was related to my being down a pint of blood. I did the Turkey Trot 5k two days later with some friends at school (not a race, just a fun run) and I had to walk up one of the last hills because I was feeling pretty rough. I kept up with my usual running though, it just was not going nearly as well. There was also a big decrease in temperature around then that really hasn’t helped. Despite the cold and crappy running, though, I had still been doing it. Last week I only ran a couple of days because on Saturday (November 23rd) I did the Living History Farms Race. This is a 7 mile off road race complete with creek crossings, pulling yourself out of ravines with ropes, and about 7,500 other runners. Oh and that day happened to be one of the coldest days of the month so far. It was about 10 degrees out with a 15mph wind. It. Was. FREEZING. I struggled a whole lot through this run and had to stop multiple times and walk because I couldn’t keep going. Let me rephrase that. I didn’t feel like I could keep going. Physically I think my body could have done it. Mentally, I was feeling like a failure and wanted to give up. Fortunately, this race is more for fun and the craziness of the terrain than about running fast. We finished the run in about an hour and 38 minutes, so just over 30 minutes longer than it took me to run the same distance about 3 weeks before, which actually isn’t bad considering the conditions.

So cold

So cold

I haven’t run since Saturday, I’ve been totally slacking because I was freaking out about my comprehensive exam yesterday and honestly running in the last few weeks has been causing me more stress than relief and I just wanted to take a few days off. I’ve had my break now and it’s time to get back in my routine before I lose it. I also need to get my run in to make up for all the food I’ll be eating tomorrow. I know what I’ll be doing tomorow morning…5 miles maybe?