Five and a Half Miles

Another big day is in the books. Week 7, workout 3 of Active’s 5k-to-10k requires a 5 minute warm-up, 55 minutes of steady running, and then a 5 minute cool down. If you’re unaware, the workouts present in this app have you working more toward a time than a distance. It provides you with great tools to measure your distance and compare it to your previous runs but overall, it’s mostly concerned with “running for time.” And that works great most of the time. I mean, I’m still not in 10k shape, so to speak, at least not “10k in 60 minutes” shape, so timed runs are nice, even if they don’t end in as long of a distance as some more seasoned runners would reach. Enter a bit of running philosophy:

If you’re running it’s entirely possible that you can exercise every day and never intend to run any races. In fact, I don’t have any races scheduled as of today. Not even a “I’ve reached my goal” 10k. Is it great, and should you be encouraged, to schedule races with regular intervals? I’d say hell yes, mostly because keeping a 5k within a month or two of my last race is a pretty good way to ensure I stay in well enough shape to run 3.1 miles throughout the year. Is it required? Absolutely not. I was talking to one of my trainers at Title Boxing Club last week who had also participated in this year’s Covenant Health race of the half-marathon variety. He mentioned how while he realizes these events are, indeed, races, his main goal is running at a pace, however fast or slow, that he knows he’ll be able to stay at it until he finishes. And I think that should be the ultimate goal. Time PRs are great, but for someone just getting started and in training, finding that pace and sticking with it until you reach whatever your goal is – be it distance or time, running, walking or even sprinting – is a great way to train and even race.

Speaking of PRs and distance goals and back to the original topic, my run today was merely 55 minutes of running sandwiched between two 5 minute walks. A seasoned runner can likely squeeze in a healthy 10k in that time but I’m not there just yet. After hitting 5 miles last week, though, I decided today I was going to hit 5.50 miles even if that meant more running after the app’s workout was complete.

So that’s what I did.

What a lovely day to run, too. Hot enough that the devil would’ve been comfortable despite it being early-mid-morning, but the morning sun in Knoxville is a wonderful thing. I’ve also found a lot to appreciate in the space I’ve been doing my long-runs lately. Along the stretch of sidewalk running alongside a busy street in West Knoxville I’ve found the changing landscape, rolling hills, trees, passing cars, and yes, even garbage and roadkill I have to swerve and step over, is beautiful in its own way and a great way to keep my mind off of the fact that I’m running, I’m tired, and I want to go home. Since I had an actual distance goal today I decided I would run north along Ebenezer for 2.75 miles – exactly half of my goal – before turning around and running back.

I made it to the turn-around point before I started realizing how tired and hot I had become. My shirt was so soaked with sweat it was plastered to my stomach and chest while I ran. I was suddenly aware of my fatigue, of the heat, and of how far away I was from my car. All things that contributed to my decision to do intervals back to the car. I finished the final 2.75 miles with run/walk intervals. I wasn’t super happy about it but I’m getting better, still growing as a runner, still getting in better shape with time. Despite the fatigue and seemingly blistering heat, I did enjoy a point about halfway back. I can’t say it was the “high” everyone talks about, but there was a moment when there were no cars on the road. There had been steady traffic all morning but for this 20 second stretch there were no cars. In fact, there was no sound to speak of. Just the silence together with my breathing and the steady clomping of my feet as I began a descent. I have no words to describe the feeling of that moment other than saying it was strangely zen.

I told Erin this afternoon that running has taught me the true definition of love/hate. It sucks badly but I hope it’s something I do for the rest of my life. Next week, week 8 of the program, will take me to 6.2 miles, a full 10k. I’m nervous, I’m excited, I’m dreading it, I’m ready for it.

I complain about running a lot. Despite it being one of my favorite things on the planet, I also complain about going to the gym a lot. I sometimes complain about having to get up early 7 days a week. I sometimes complain about having to go to bed early 7 days a week. Lots of griping. But when I achieve distance PRs? It’s worth it. When I buy skinny jeans from Old Navy (and wear them comfortably)? It’s worth it. When I wear white t-shirts confidently? Well worth it.

Signing off with the current countdown to 300 Miles. Expect a post on why I won’t wear Under Armor later this week. Happy Sunday, everyone!

Time Period Total Distance
Couch-to-5k (8/14-10/14) 64.59 Miles
Runtastic Runs (10/14-4/15) 115.04 Miles
5k-to-10k to-date (4/15-present) 68.08 Miles

Total Miles Ran To-Date: 247.71 Miles

Miles Left Until 300: 55.29

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3 thoughts on “Five and a Half Miles

  1. Well done! I ran 10k today and also couldn’t do it in 60mins. In fact, the average woman my age should do it in 72 mins. I find it a bit frustrating that the couch to 5/10k apps all seem to have running for 30/60 mins as their goal as that’s unrealistic for most new runners and just sets people up for failure .Keep going, you will feel amazing when you hit that 10k!

    Liked by 1 person

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