Week 3 of training got off to a very good start. I had a good run on Tuesday before work. Wednesday, T. and I got up early (before 6am) to get up and go running. I had a 4 mile run planned and we ended up actually running 4.5 miles. It was a really good exercise in rolling out of bed and just going. Having a running buddy meant that I felt encouraged to go (accountability and all that). I planned on going earlier to beat the rain that we were supposed to get; even as we ran down the Lakefront Trail and across the breaking wall between Osterman and Foster Beach we could see those dark clouds billowing up on the horizon.
And I was only supposed to go 4 miles but we went 4.5, all told. One thing that has helped my perspective on training is to remind myself that I don't "have" to go running, I "get" to go running. I also need to remember that I can, and should, look at the mileage goals for training as minimums rather than requirements. If I only want to go 3 miles, and that's what the day calls for, great! If I want to run further than that, go 4 or even 5 miles, I can do that, too! I have been running for years and I know how to listen to my body; I just need to remember that it's okay to push myself a little bit and challenge myself to run faster.
Because let's be real, that's the only way I'm actually going to become faster. It sounds like common sense but I think sometimes I get comfortable and I get scared to run more quickly than my usual pace. Running with T. has been great for me in that regard because he is a faster runner than I am, so I am moving to keep up with him. I have a little bit of experience in speed work but I have never really tried to commit to it, even though I know that's the key. I have also felt a little daunted and overwhelmed by it. However, last week I read an article on runnersworld.com outlining the different kinds of speed work in simple, easy to understand terms and it was kind of like everything sorta just... clicked.
My Thursday run, 3 miles, was incredible. I worked til 8, was home by 8:30 and running by 8:40. I took my usual route over to the Lake and down Sheridan where I ran out to Osterman Beach, on the breaking wall all along the shore, and then, out to the pier. The sun was setting but a glowing orange still vibrated on the horizon; the high rises twinkled, marking the delineation between sky and water. I was practically in Lake Michigan, out there at the end of the pier, the wind gusting in and the waves crashing up over the edge, and I just felt so damn alive. I was so happy to be there in that moment. I was so happy to be running. This is why I do this, why I am training to run 26.2 miles. I never thought I would be here, but you know, sometimes Life has other plans.
I rode the happiness of that run into my rest day on Friday, and was hoping to do a little Divvy bike riding on Saturday at some point to do some cross training. But while I was at work on Saturday afternoon, an hour before the end of my shift, I ended up with some rather sharp pain in my right hip. That never really went away. In fact it got worse, even as I tried to move carefully and stretch it out. One of my coworkers suggested it could be an IT band issue and it made sense to me, as I was experiencing non annoying tightness down by my knee. Going up stairs hurt. Going down the stairs hurt. Sitting down, standing up, laying down in bed, trying to move around. I went to bed on Saturday night feeling rather disheartened.
I was supposed to run 5 miles yesterday for my long run this week. I knew it wasn't going to happen and I took it easy instead. I decided to try and take it as an opportunity to rest up for one more day and then decided to run tomorrow (which would be today). I woke up today with a little soreness in my hip, but I think it is more from babying it the last few days than it is from anything actually wrong anymore.
I plan on taking it easy again today, since it is my day off, and then tonight after dinner, T. and I will go out and do 5 miles. I'm just switching up the plan a little bit; I have the freedom to do it and it's no big deal! And if I go out tonight and only make it 2 miles, at least I am trying, at least I am pushing myself. I don't think I'll have a problem, as I feel much better than I did on Saturday night. Reminding myself that I can do this; that I am strong and can handle any obstacles thrown my way. 3 weeks in the books. Hello, week 4!