I know, I’m a terrible runner – today was my first run since Milwaukee on Saturday! But I’ve got some pretty legit excuses. On Sunday our flight out of Chicago got cancelled, and it took us forever to get home. And this week I’m totally swamped at work, so it’s a miracle I even got to run at all this week! I’m a job coach for high school kids with disabilities, but on top of my coaching shifts this week I also have to cover the schedule since both the scheduler and my manager are on vacation! The scheduler has to make sure that each student has every one of their shifts covered by a coach, which can be really difficult sometimes – some people only work with male or female coaches, and we had to train new employees, and then once you get the schedule perfect someone calls out and messes everything up. I’m exhausted just thinking about it! Anyways, I’m supposed to stay close to my computer to make sure that no one calls out, because if they do I need to find a replacement immediately. But 6:00 pm rolled around today, and I realized that no one had emailed me in a while so I decided to take a chance and go for a run. My local running trail is at Ridley Creek State Park in Newtown Square, PA, and I absolutely love it because I get to run through the woods and forget about all the city traffic that I drive through each day.
My husband and I didn’t want to deal with many other people, so we parked at a lot in the center of the park. He’s just starting out with running, so we always run at a separate pace and promise to just meet up on the trail near the car. I told him I was going to try to run 3 miles again and compare my times to the ones from my road trip. And here is proof that I love you all: I’ve decided to actually share my running times on here. I’m crazy slow and embarrassed to ever tell people my times, but if I really want to be honest with you all about my progress then I have to give times! So here’s the deal: At the Gring’s Mill 5k, my time was a little over 33:30. I actually don’t remember my exact time, but my Garmin does and I’m too lazy to look it up right now. That is the absolute worst time I have ever recorded for 3.1 miles. EVER. Like I actually cried while laying in the grass trying not to throw up after the race. So now fast forward to exactly 2 weeks later: my 3 mile run in Milwaukee clocked in at 30:15! If you add in the 0.1 miles that I didn’t do, we can still all assume that I’m way under that 5k time! So the big question is this – was the time improvement due to the flat, scenic road and the lack of humidity? Was I just super stressed, nervous, and off my game during the 5k? (I’m thinking yes to that, Pagoda Pacer races always intimidate me!)
So today as I set out on my run, I tried to see how far I could push myself. Two things you should know about the run today: it was the hottest it’s been all month (and HUMID!!!), and my course today was crazy hilly. I basically ran 1.5 miles downhill, and then 1.5 miles uphill, and I hate having to run uphill on the second half of my runs. From mile 1.5 to 2 I was literally doing that kind of jogging thing where you are basically walking in a running stance because you are going that slowly. And the negative thoughts were going crazy today! I was tempted to quit so many times but I kept thinking, “You have to run 13.1 in Disney next year, you can’t give up there!”. My brain was in overdrive trying to quit around mile #2, when I turned a corner and saw a huge deer on the side of the trail. He was eating grass and must be very comfortable around people because he didn’t even pay me any attention until I was pretty close. I, on the other hand, had noticed his huge antlers and was remembering all the scary stuff I learned in Alaska about moose charging people and killing them. Aren’t moose and deer related? My tired runner’s brain had no idea, but what I did know was that stopping and waiting for the deer to leave was going to seriously mess up my pace. So I yelled, “Don’t attack me, Deer!” and ran past him. He ran off into the bushes, and the adrenaline of surviving my near-deer collision carried me to 2.5 miles. At that point I ran past my husband, who was walking on the trail. He started cheering for me and screaming “It’s all downhill! You got it!”. I sprinted the last 0.5 miles and I felt so incredible when I finally heard my Garmin beep and realized I had done it! Then there was the moment of truth: how fast was I able to do my hot, humid, hilly run? 30:28! Only 13 seconds slower than my flat run in Milwaukee! I almost fell over from shock! It’s workouts like today that really remind me why I love running. I hate all the pain, how much it hurts my stomach when I push myself really hard, and all the negative thoughts that try to keep me down. But it’s soooo worth it when I realize that I actually am making progress and no matter what my brain tells me, I can go faster and I CAN finish my run in one piece. I definitely needed this confidence boost! Now I just need to get that time under 30 minutes and I’ll be happy!
Any other runners out there have a fantastic workout this week? I love hearing success stories!