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When It’s Not Easy

After my glowing post about completing the first of four races in the OneHRC House Marathon…the 5k…I thought, “Hey Auburnchick, you’re really rocking this running thing.  Go out on Sunday after church and knock out your 6k…the second medal.”

If only things were that easy.

First of all, it was 81 degrees when I set out.

I really shouldn’t have ignored my early-morning alarm; it would have been much cooler if I’d gone out before church.

Second of all, I decided to try a new route.

My goal was to do at least four miles, which would ensure that my fitness watch and Charity Miles app would record at close to the distance I was aiming for.  They can be off a bit, so I always overachieve and reach for more.

With my new route in my head, I set out.

The first mile wasn’t too bad.  It’s almost a half mile until I get out of my neighborhood.  That’s easy.  The second half mile took me past the kids’ former high school and to a stop sign.

I turned right.

And then…oh golly…the l-o-n-g-e-s-t stretch of road EVER.

Distances can look deceptively short, let me tell you.  When you’re diving said distances, they go by quickly.

Not so much at noon on a Sunday with almost-hell-like-temperatures.

It was brutal.

There weren’t any trees.

I had no idea how far this stretch actually was (I had a general idea), so I kept an eye on my watch.

Oh, and did I mention the actual running part?

It wasn’t happening a lot.  In fact, I figured that out shortly after leaving my house.  I just didn’t seem to be able to run for long spurts.

Those of you who are more experienced runners than me can probably answer this for me:  Is this normal?

Earlier in the week, I’d had a conversation with a science teacher at my school.  She runs more regularly than I do and has even completed the Disney Princess Half Marathon…an eventual goal for me.  She suggested that I use Jeff Galloway’s method of timed interval running.  I need to order one of his books because the plan on the website doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

What did make sense was her explanation.  She told me that the point of the walk intervals is to take in more oxygen, which then feeds the muscles and prevents lactic acid buildup.  That acid is what causes the pain in the muscles.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh.

A light bulb went on for me.

There’s a reason why everyone says she’s a good teacher.

😉

BUT, I like finishing my runs quicker.

She answered that as well.

When you’re regularly feeding your muscles with oxygen, you actually run FASTER!

Ok, that made sense, but still.

I like DOING THE MOST and saying that I ran the whole way of such-and-such run.

Ahem.

Hello, I am Auburnchick, Overachiever Extraordinaire.

So yesterday, when I found myself hitting a wall repeatedly, because I am stubborn that way, I finally decided to time myself.

I began running one minute intervals…one minute walking followed by one minute of running.

An interesting thing that I noticed was that my heart rate stayed up because there wasn’t a lot of rest time, but my legs did feel better.

That’s pretty much how I did the last mile and a half of my run.

I finished sweaty, educated, and happy that I’d earned that second medal.

I’m still going to aim for longer run segments, but I am going to extend grace and good old science to help me in that process.

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!

Bandage Up and Go

Y’all, with my renewed focus on running, thanks to a backlog of medals that have been sitting around my house the last few months, I am discovering some of the unpleasantness that accompanies pounding the pavement…

Blisters.

Oh goodness, but one of my toes has a raw spot from where the toe beside it digs into it, and the nail has rubbed off the skin.  No amount of trimming and filing will help.  I ran into this problem last fall when I began doing Piyo.

Then, two days ago, I must have either jammed the tip of my toenail or created a blister on the top of my toe when I ran.

As a result, I gave myself yesterday afternoon off.  I thought that things would be better this morning.

They weren’t.

A couple of things are fueling my current running mojo…the stacked-up medals and calorie burn.

I am all about burning calories, let me tell you.

I decided to stop being a baby about the blisters and bandaged up.

I covered up the tootsies with my fabulous socks from Gone for a Run (love, love, love this company) and prepared to run.

My goal for the day was to complete a 5k…the first in a series of four mini races within the big OneHRC House Marathon race sponsored by the Hogwarts Running Club.  It’s comprised of four distances and four medals.  The 5k is the shortest run.

The morning was crisp but not cold…sunny but not hot.

I had my route already in mind.  It’s funny how, now that I’ve been running more regularly, I can tell you which routes equal out to which distances.  I am forever keeping tabs on my fitness watch during my runs…monitoring my heart rate and the distance I’ve traveled.

It’s also funny how, now that I’m running different distances, that 3.1 miles doesn’t seem like it’s very far.

I usually start my runs with a half-mile walk, but I am not one who likes to waste my time.  I wanted to get the job done quickly, so I went ahead and started off running.  Not fast mind you.  I am definitely not fast.  I wish I was.

In fact, I was thinking about my speed last night when I attend my school’s football game.  It was a BIG game against our arch rival.  The place was packed.  Teachers lined the track that surrounds the field for an up-close-and-personal-view.

The game went back and forth with both teams scoring constantly.  It was so much fun to watch and a bit unnerving at the end.  My school came up with some incredible plays and wound up winning after a very tense final 30 seconds when the other school had the ball, and we stopped them all the way through their fourth down.

One such play was a fast sprint down the field.  I said, to the administrator standing beside me, that I wished I could run like that…that I wished I had the player’s height and long legs…that I could cover some major ground quickly.  At 5’3″ tall, I have short strides, and I’m definitely not a sprinter.

The administrator and I are friends…have been ever since he coached my kids in middle school and taught Rooster in one of his classes.

He told me something that kept replaying in my mind this morning when I ran.

He said that I had endurance.

He and I are friends on Facebook, and I suspect that he’s seen my frequent fitness posts.

His words though…they encouraged me so much and reminded me not to focus on what I lack but on what I’ve developed over time and through persistence.

So I surprised myself by running the entire 3.372 miles (according to my Charity Miles app..slightly different from my Garmin app).  I ran from the moment I left my house until the moment I returned to it.

All.  The.  Way.

This is the third outing in a row when I have run more than three miles straight.

Proud, I was of myself, as Yoda would say.

I represented both my Rooster /Airman boy and my Auburn Tigers while displaying the medal I earned today.

Each Hogwarts house has its own race and medal.  The medals will be put together, once all races are run, to form a large medal representing the entire Hogwarts school.

The message on the back…

Here’s a closeup of the frame that my running club sent out to hold the pieces together, even though they are magnetic and will connect once joined.  There was a problem in the manufacturing, and some of the medals weren’t connecting, so the running club came up with the idea of the frame as a fix and sent each participant one free of charge!  Is it any wonder why I love my group so much?

If those three empty spots aren’t reason enough to get motivated, that I don’t know what is!  I cannot WAIT to place each remaining piece!

Stay tuned.

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