Tales from 9 Runs: Run 3

The third run which coincides with the 1/3 mark of this journey was a 10K Gold Star Run for Honor-CPL Scott Procopio.  It was a little discouraging, but that will hopefully be fuel to push me further and harder.  My tweeted reaction was: "#running went well...1 hour exactly for 10K...1 year ago I would've said I couldn't do it...now, all can think is: #ICanDoBetter"  My time was 1 hour and 3 seconds, which averaged about 9 minutes, 40 seconds per mile.   Ok, slightly better than 10 minute miles which I couldn't have done last year, but still want to do more this year.  However, less impressive than the HAWC Run which I did 9 minute miles for (and was only about 1 mile shorter).   I hit two slumps where I needed to walk for about 50-100 yards and that certainly injured my time.

I found it hard to strike a good rhythm and maybe that was because it just wasn’t a familiar place.  Thus far, the first two races were in places I’ve either run before (in the case of the HAWC run) or where I live (and know roughly the distances—as in the case of the Patrick Downey 5K race).  But this race was in Saugus and I know little of it or the route.  Thus, I think for future races, I really do need to look at the map ahead of time and get a sense of distance and maybe even drive it, just so I can visualize and pace myself better.  There were a few hills in this which actually weren’t back, except that I pushed too hard, too early on one of them, not knowing how much longer of the run was left.  Lessons learned, I supposes.

The other interesting observation I experienced was the pre-run jitters.  These aren’t the same as the jitters I get prior to teaching a new class.  These jitters start from the moment I get up and get into my routine to prepare for the run, up till the point at which I’m actually running the race.  These jitters generate a mixture of doubt and futility.  I find that inner antagonist telling me that I should not bother or I should just go back to bed.  After all, no one will notice my absence.  It pulls and tugs at me, telling me to not bother and don’t worry about it.  Obviously, I managed to ignore it, but I wonder how many other runners and would-be runners hear this same little demon challenging them.  Granted, I know in my own personal history where that voice comes from.  It comes from every run I’ve ever done from elementary school to college where I came in dead last, usually by a good 20+ yards for the shorter runs (1-2 quarter-miles) or 1-2 minutes for the longer runs (1 mile or longer—though there were so very few of these given my proclivity to avoid them).  This failure at running became part of my narrative about running and certainly encouraged to not run for so long.  Despite proving that I can run, it clearly still echoes my mind yet not substantively enough to keep me from running, which is the most important thing.   It just amazes me how the narratives of the past still creep and haunt us in our present endeavors despite overcoming substantial obstacles.

So here I am.  One third of the way through.  I’m not feeling that I’ve hit my stride yet (pun intended).  This past week, I did do a 7.2 mile run and I felt rather good about it.  However, I need to start doing that regularly and not just once a week.  I think more likely, I need to find an actual program to follow to help me work my way up.  The run is 13 weeks away and I’m at 7 miles.  I need to add 8 more miles to my routine in order for me to get to a point where I can run it entirely (and we’ll worry about “time” either at a later date—say the second time I run it).  Anyone know of any good training run programs out there.  A friend recommended this one and said it was successful.  What about others?  What advice can you give a newly minted runner trying to build up to a successful first 15 mile run?

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