Anyone that has read my blogs will know that I haven’t been a fan of running. At times I have downright hated it and myself whilst doing it. I begrudged every single step. Kilometre after kilometre was filled with tears and mental arguments. I entered events and was dreading the day coming around.
I ran because I felt like it was what I had to do. Everyone else was doing it. I wanted to fit in with my friends and with the wider group and also everyone I looked up to ran. My goals weren’t really things I felt passionate about achieving, they were things I thought I should do.
I had to do most of my running training alone. I was 1000km from my trainer and we rarely ran together even when we did catch up. I would go out and do the training I had to do and gradually built up my distances but it gradually wore me down. I joined a run club when I moved to Sydney, but I felt like a fraud and that I didn’t belong there. I was the slowest of the slow group and no matter how hard I tried I never improved.
It got to the point where I had enough and was over it so I decided I wasn’t going to run anymore. No more events, I would keep doing run club as a training tool and that was it. Then things in my life changed and I wasn’t part of that anymore and withdrew from the run club. Apart from everything else and how hard it was during that time I was relieved about not having to even train at run club anymore. I could just stop running.
Now herein lies the flaw to my carefully crafted plan to avoid running……………..Crossfit. Yes good ole Crossfit had other ideas. Just about every day there is a run of some sort. Whether it be a 400m warm up run or runs as part of the WOD. I am the slowest in my box, hands down.
And it has begun to frustrate me and I hate arriving back after the warm up run miles behind everyone else or if there is a run in the WOD either being scaled or again miles behind everyone else. So I made a decision. I had to work on it.
This round of 12WBT for me is about consistency and working on things I suck at. Top of the list running. But I felt like there was no pressure because after all I wasn’t going to be entering a marathon or running up a bloody big mountain again. I just wanted to improve over short distances up to maybe 3k. Get my speed and also confidence up. Simple, clean & easy goals.
I needed help with this because I wanted to do it right and I also needed to feel accountable to someone. So I contacted a friend who is a PT & a very talented runner and asked if they would train me. Took me a few weeks to build up the courage to send the email, I kinda felt that my goals were a bit silly and really anyone should be able to run 400m. But I sent it and I am glad I did. Tash replied enthusiastically and we arranged a time to sit down and chat about what we could do.
She reassured me that what I wanted was more than reasonable and achievable and certainly not unimportant. So we started working together.
We train together once a week and she also sends me through programs to complete in-between our sessions. Our first session together was sprints. Now I consider myself very much built for comfort and not speed so I found this session a challenge. But to be honest I loved it. I loved pushing hard and getting feedback & support from Tash as we went. Unfortunately my body didn’t love it as much and it took me a few days to recover. Some biomechanical imbalances i.e. I have a lazy butt literally, caused some issues but after a few days rest and rehab from my physio I was back up and, well, running.
In the days where I could not complete the sessions I found I really missed it. I wanted to get out there and get through them. I wanted to work hard. Every day this week I have powered out of bed and been keen to smash out the programmed session. This is not me when it comes to running. But I like it.
I have to say on not one occasion last year when I was running did I ever experience the much talked about runners high. I didn’t feel great after any session. I picked apart my efforts, I compared with others, I tortured myself. Never did a run and felt pumped or ready to take on the world. I was usually sore and tired and just plain miserable. I never looked forward to a session with excitement, more so with dread of how hard it would be.
Yesterday for the first time ever I think I had that good feeling. I actually honestly also felt a sense of achievement as well, which is rare for me to allow myself to feel. The closest I have come is with my achievements at Crossfit because I recognise I have had to work hard for all of those gains.
Tash & I met up for our session, and as usual I had no idea what was planned but trust her so am prepared to do whatever it is she asks. She said we’d be doing a longer slower run and just see how far we went. The first part of the loop was about 1.2k so in my mind I figured I’d be lucky to do 1k and we’d probably do intervals. Off we went. I have been working on improving my breathing when I run as to be honest it’s usually like the sound of a mongrel dog panting on a summer day lol
I can’t breathe through my nose so means I can’t do what running people traditionally tell you to do. A couple of weeks prior Tash had suggested a different technique she had been taught so even when I am just walking I have been practicing it. So during the first part of the run I was thinking about how I should be breathing. We chatted occasionally but it’s hard for me to talk much when I run.
Soon enough we’d done the 1.2k loop and I was still running. The body felt good and my mind was just chilling out. I was worried at first during our early sessions that I would feel self conscious running alongside Tash as she makes running look so easy. But I don’t and I actually enjoy the experience. We kept going along the loop and I clearly remember when Tash asked had I guessed what distance she had in mind for me. I kinda sighed and hoped I was wrong when I answered with 5k lol She replied Yep with a big smile and we kept going. I think I said at that point what part of my goals about only wanting to run 400m did this fit into lol. But we kept going.
When I got the confirmation that it was indeed 5k immediately my brain woke up and was like ‘hell you can’t run 5k’. I wouldn’t have ever thought I could or would. I hadn’t run that far continuously since C2S last August. I knew there was no pressure on me to run the 5k. If I had been under physical stress and my body quit could have stopped and walked and would have been fine. That’s the one thing I am finding it that it’s ok to be me and do whatever I can.
In a rare event for me I managed to shut my brain off. I thought to myself just keep going. Do what you can. I sent my brain back to work thinking about my breathing and I kept running.
As we got closer to the end I realised that I could get an great time (for me anyway), I said to Tash I would tell her something when we finished (didn’t want to jinx myself re the time), and so with a couple of hundred metres to go I picked up my pace. Tash said that I could finish sub 40m and I replied well I’d better leg it then and sped up some more. Stopped my Garmin at 5k and 39:56 on the clock. I was stoked!! Told Tash it was a pb by 5mins and first time sub 40. Big smiles and big high fives followed.
I was tired but oh so freaking happy!!! For me this felt like a marathon and to get that time was awesome. When I was doing my stretches beside my car to cool down I had a few little happy tears roll down my cheeks as I just couldn’t believe it. I had such a feeling of confidence and achievement.
Had the stereo in my car cranking and yes one of the songs was Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen which I sang loudly. Might be dorky but it made me feel good.
No running scheduled today and I kinda miss it lol. But will have one scheduled for tomorrow and I can’t wait to see what it is.I used to run to get away from things and to fit in with the crowd. It didn’t work because the stuff I was running from kept up with me & tortured me, and I never really felt like I fit in. Now I’m running for me, because I choose to, for my goals