Yesterday was pretty exciting for me because I not only had a good run, but I went further than I have been going, AND I felt good the whole time. Lately when I go out to run, I don't really go out with any intent or goals. I usually have a vague idea of about how far I should go, but I never have a real plan. I will have plenty of that coming my way in late summer with marathon training, so for now I just want to go out and enjoy myself without any pressure. For the last few runs that has translated to running 3 miles and walking 1 mile in the middle of that. As I set out yesterday I realized that one mile in I felt good. Really good. I ran 2 miles straight without stopping, then walked a mile, then started running my fourth mile. This has typically been my pattern, but I felt so good during mile four that I was asked myself, "Shouldn't I go a little further if I feel this good?"
So I did. I walked another mile, then ran my 6th mile. While I was getting tired by the end, I still felt great, and my lung capacity was good. I did notice twinges in my calves, cramp zygotes as I like to call them, so I will have to be mindful of that and get cracking on a potassium regime. I also noticed that the same hot spots on the bottom of my feet started flaring up slightly, so I guess I know my baseline for having to tape my feet up is 6 miles. SIGH. I hate taping. But the bigger news is that I felt good until the end and had my legs not felt so tired, I think I could have gone one more mile. My goal ultimately by the time I start marathon training is to be able to run 7 miles, completely or mostly without stopping to walk. I'm hoping this means I'm well on my way!
Towards the end I was thinking about how running a marathon has completely changed my brain and my mindset towards running and mileage. The first race I ever did was a 10k that I didn't even remotely train for, and I remember how I felt like that race was NEVER going to end. I thought it was the longest distance in the world and that there was no way that I could or would ever do a distance longer than that ever. Flash forward to yesterday where I basically did just short of a 10k distance, and honestly? It didn't feel like that long or that big of a deal at all. It felt like it went by pretty quickly even though it took me like and hour and 20, and I felt good the entire time. It's just funny, once you've done 26.2, any mileage in the singular digits is a "short" run. I don't say that to demean anyone starting out, because I remember the first time I hit 4 miles when I was seriously training, I wanted to throw a parade. Ditto on 5, 6, 7 miles and so forth. I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you keep plugging away and working at it, eventually you will have a moment where you turn around and realize that you're just doing it. You're making it happen without really giving it a second thought. "I couldn't" and "that's just never going to happen" becomes not only possible, but it's the norm. It's weird and a bit sad because you don't get those mini "ZOMG!" moments as much, but I won't turn down the feeling of things being easier and not an ordeal either!
Another thing? I realized that I just really don't give a rat's ass about my pace anymore. It's something I was thinking about during the run and then especially after reading a couple of blog posts from other runners fretting about pace and speed and this/that/the other. I used to feel bad about being slow and felt all bagiggity about trying to get faster, but I just don't care anymore. It's hard to explain, but at this point I feel like if I get faster over time due to consistent training/weight loss, then that's great. But I'm not going to actively work towards it or stress about it because frankly, it makes me miserable. And if being slow is the price to pay in the choice between enjoying runs and voluntarily wanting to get out there verses stressing and hating it and always feeling like I don't measure up...well, so be it. Maybe that makes me a lazy runner (which we knew I was anyway), but I don't really care about that either. It must be this getting older thing, I'm really putting my IDGAF stamp on lots of stuff lately lol. I should have an actual stamp made and deploy that thing like no tomorrow. ;)