Guest Blog: As temperatures rise, my expectations have dropped!

So back in high school I was too busy being boy crazy to think about running.  I met a girl who liked the same boy as me.  

Marion and I before we shared the love of running.

Marion and I before we shared the love of running.

Twenty five years later, her and I still have the same love… but it’s something we can actually share (and I think it loves us back.)  

bh

Marion started running a few year ago with a beginner’s running class and then a Couch to 5K program.  Now she’s got three half marathons in her pocket  (and I did all three with her!)  I always enjoy making friends with runners, but it’s so much more special when my friends become runners.  A few weeks ago, I convinced her to meet me for margaritas by promising a 7 mile run before our liquid lunch.  In the past, the margaritas would have been enough to sway her.  I am so proud of my friend.  Most recently we completed the Rugged Maniac  in NJ.  There were a few obstacles (monkeys bars) that I skipped, but Marion tried everything.  When I told her that I was impressed, she was more upset that she had tried and failed.  I am still impressed that she tried.  She is an awesome girl so I wanted to share her thoughts with you…

xox

Jen

Before Rugged Maniac (with my friend Janet)

Before Rugged Maniac (with my friend Janet)

Thank you to Jen of Mom’s Gotta Run, my dear old friend who I’ve known way before running became a significant other in either of our lives- although Jen found him first and has gone much further with him – but continues to inspire and motivate me.

Anyone who is close to me can attest to the fact that I am my own best friend, as well as my own worst enemy.  It is not that I lack self-confidence, I just happen to be hard on myself in all areas of my life.  My relationship with running is as humbling as it is empowering.  For instance, while I was training for my first half marathon, I registered with an estimated finishing time of 2 hours and 45 minutes.  I was averaging around 12-13 minute/mile at the time and wanted to give myself some slack if anything went wrong.  Fast forward to the finish line of the Long Branch Half Marathon in New Jersey- 2:13:09.  My first reaction was of joy and amazement that I finished .  I was also relieved that I was not dead last, which was always a fear of mine.  The very next thoughts went something like this- Wow, so close to a 2:10 finish, really?   Why did you walk through the water stops?  What if you pushed just a bit harder?  It seems that regardless of how well I do, I always find soemthing that I should have done better.

Outside of half marathon training, my normal running regimen is 6.2 miles every other day.  Or so it was like for a long time.  It is the standard to which I hold myself up to — very similar to when Linda Evangelista was quoted in a Vogue interview saying, “We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day.”  To me going out for anything less than a 10K just didn’t seem worth it.  Why?  Let’s face it, for the first mile or 2- me, myself and I are in a pretty heated battle over whose bright idea it was to do this thing called running in the first place.  They all come up with every excuse in the book as to why we should turn back around right NOW and just stop.  It is too cold, it is too hot, my legs feel achy, there is laundry to fold,  I can’t breathe right, this list goes on and on.  Running is my one and only form of planned exercise, to dedicate anything less than an hour just doesn’t seem like enough time. (This is coming from my former 60+ lb heavier self)  So a 10K allows me to get into a groove that I can actually enjoy myself and I feel like I’ve put my workout time in.  Plus any extra time spent out on the road alone is a bonus!!!

So why the change in mileage?  As the temperatures and my running shorts have gotten higher, I have had to drastically lower my expectations.   My pace, which isn’t so fast in the winter (10:30-11min/mile), slows down by 2+ minute/mile sometimes.  All of a sudden, I  have to start taking multiple walk breaks and my runs soon turn to “wogs” or crawls.  I sometimes feel like I am auditioning as Zombie #312 on The Walking Dead.  Also, due to schedule changes and my daughter being out of school,  I no longer have the same window of running opportunities that I enjoyed all school year long.  Instead of hanging up my sneakers until the Fall, I’ve been trying to find ways to balance my former expectations with my current conditions.  I have come to embrace 3.1 miles.  As busy as the day can be, it is pretty hard to not be able to squeeze 30 something minutes for something I truly love.  I run in the early evenings, often between 7-8pm.  The sun is no longer blazing and sometimes I might be lucky enough to catch a breeze.  I have thrown my expectations of pace out the window for now.  I’m out there and I am moving, case closed.  Don’t get me wrong, I still silently berate myself when I know I’m covering a turtle mile or I have to stop and walk, but I’ll take that any day over not running at all.  I try even harder to live in the moment of every run.  The most exhausting part of my day is also the most exhilarating.  It is when I am running that I find true happiness and inner peace.  The time alone is something that I deeply cherish.  For me, running is as humbling, as it is empowering.  I might not be going far and I definitely am not going fast, I still try to get out there as much as I can.  The times that I can’t make it out, only make me appreciate my runs more.

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Marion and her daughter running a local NJ race.

So tell me please that I am not alone.  How does summer effect your running plans/schedule?  How do you find a balance between your expectations and the realities of life?

Comments

  1. Jennifer says

    I have been running for only three years, and every summer I seem to forget how bad the previous one was…paces that I could normally hit fairly easily are now a struggle and I even find myself walking (something I never really do) during fairly short runs. Than I remember that I was discouraged last summer the same way and just hope that everything will get back to normal in the fall. You are definitely not alone!

    • Mair123 says

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment Jennifer! With all of the benefits of summer- being tan, long days at the beach, frozen drinks, etc… It is VERY easy to forget the havoc that it wrecks with our running! Like you, I get frustrated with every walk break I need to take, but in all honesty, what is wrong with walking??? There are many who follow the Galloway method as normal training. Wish I could permanently shut that voice in my head up— but I think that is what fuels our runs too. Happy Running/Wogging!!! ;)

  2. Rachel says

    Love love love your blog Mair! I conquer the summer by running at 5am. It’s really my only option all year long, but it helps to be done before the sun is really up. I too lower my expectations for pace. I also love to run with my munchkin in the BOB, which I can’t do in the winter ;)

    • Mair123 says

      Awww…thanks for reading Rae! I give you and all other pre-dawn runners SO much credit. As much as I LOVE running, I think I love my sleep just a bit more. Even if I was an early bird, Matt is leaving for work by 4:30am, so that doesn’t work for us. I’m not comfortable leaving Sophia home alone, even for a short run. How does your munchkin like being in the BOB?

  3. says

    You are definitely not alone…my groove is definitely not the same all year. I find that I will always take a short run and cut myself the slack when time is short…because a run is a run. I also sign up for all these events so I have a goal to work towards…sooooo see you in the hamptons :)

    • Mair123 says

      You are so right Tara- a slow run/wog/crawl is so much better than nothing! Having a few races to look forward to is a great way to stay motivated! I have not registered for the Hamptons Half yet, but it is definitely in the back of my mind as I struggle with my mileage. Hope to be with you at the start!

  4. Deanna says

    I have only just started running in April to lose baby weight (3 years late!!!) But I grew up in the Georgia humidity so here in England the UK summer isn’t too bad. I really notice the difference in 80 degrees though and wasn’t hydrating enough and getting stitch. I also wasn’t allowing myself to slow pace and should have- I was doing 5k in about 33 mins in all weather’s. I got shin splints and now have to stop :( for a bit but have learned my lesson!!!

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