All posts for the month May, 2012

What is Strong?

Published May 5, 2012 by Jasmine

I woke up this morning tired, sore, and I guess you could say weak. I knew I had 7.5 miles on the agenda, and honestly didn’t know how I was going to get it done. My quads (which are never sore) were sore from doing mountain climbers yesterday, and my calves were sore from doing hamstring curls on Thursday (how my calves are sore and hamstrings not, I have no idea!). My body was tired in general…prior to my long run I had completed 41.5 miles of cardio (running, walking, biking, stair climbing), and five days of strength training this week. I knew I had to do the run because I don’t have time to be “making up” a long run.  So I had to find my strong, put on my running gear, and get out the front door.

Since I seem to be injury prone I decided to start back running following the run/walk intervals in the Couch to 5k program.Today’s run was Week 6, Day 1 and was as follows: 5 minute run/3 minute walk/8 minute run/3 minute walk, repeated until I completed 7.5 miles. I always start with at least a half mile walking warm-up to get my body ready to run. Since starting this program nearly all of my run intervals have been in the 11-12:00 mpm range. My first run interval was 12:37 pace and I just didn’t know how I was going to make 7.5 miles. Based on my previous running this was an indication to me that my body was tired. I know you are all thinking this is her “long run” so the pace doesn’t matter, it is supposed to be slow. My rational side knows that, but irrational side seems to think that every long run should get faster than the last. I know that is not realistic, but I also know there is a difference between intentionally going slow and going slow because that is the fastest your body will move! I came to terms with the fact that this was just going to be a slower run, and reminded myself that it didn’t matter if I was running a 14 minute mile or a 7 minute mile, it was still a mile. I had to be proud that I was out doing something that many able-bodied individuals refuse to do because it is too much work. Damn right it’s a lot of work, and I would have much rather stayed in bed today but it wasn’t going to get me results.

I kept running, and wouldn’t you know it my pace eventually improved! They weren’t all great, but I still had it in me to be in the 11-12:00 mpm range. My running paces were as follows: 12:37, 12:19, 11:48, 11:49, 11:14, 11:56, 12:08, 11:54, 12:00, 12:31, and 11:43. The best part about today’s run is that I finally felt like I was finding my groove. It’s not always there, and may not even last an entire run interval but I found it! I’ll suddenly find myself running and just feel like I am in the zone, and it seems effortless. It’s is such a great feeling, and I look forward to spending more time with this new found friend.

I can definitely tell that I am becoming stronger and more fit. This time around I am really focusing on cross/strength training, and really feel it is making significant difference. One of the biggest indicators is my heart rate. I went back today and looked at my average HR for both the 10 mile and half-marathon I did this past October, and they were 170 and 171. Granted both of those races were a bit further than I ran today, but my average HR today was 156! I finally feel like things are coming together and I am on a good path. I am really happy with where I am at right now, considering I have been dealing with minor injuries since last July. I feel like I am in a really good place. I still have 8.5 weeks until the half-marathon, and can’t wait to see how much stronger and faster I can get in that time.

I have been working really hard. There are days when it is not easy, but the rewards are priceless. Strong is: perseverance; persistence; knowing when to let go and when to hold on; being fearless; doubting your limits; having confidence; pushing your limits; and what’s left when you’ve used up all your weak. Above all else, strong is a choice that you make every day!