Monday, March 7, 2011
It never gets easier, so suck it up buttercup
Here I am again probably coming down sick once more (kids are germ machines I tell you) and it got me reflecting on how it never seems to get easier. They always tell you when you start running or working out hey it will get easier eventually. That or we try and fool ourselves into thinking that and I am sure it would get easier if we stopped trying to obtain new heights and always pushing ourselves further and further.
So yesterday was supposed to be my first 40 mile running week ever, I had already put the 25 miles in leading up to what was supposed to cap the week off a 15mile long run. Saturday night sitting on the couch chilling my son walks up to my wife who is sitting on the other couch and throws up on her and the couch. So I am already freaking out about getting sick again as I hate being sick and have already been sick twice this winter. Despite being a little tired and feeling a little under the weather I veered out for my long run determined to not let it beat me. The first 5 miles go ok nothing great as I have been fighting lead legs the last few days already. Knowing I want to switch to gatorade half way through the run I decide to run my 2 mile loop in reverse as I have a gatorade stashed in the bushes. This is where the wheels fell off the bus. Seven miles in I feel like I have nothing left in the tank but I refuse to give up but not being able to face the uphill on my three mile loop I also decide to run that in reverse as well.
Big mistake, while the first mile is all uphill going normal it does then turn into a nice two mile downhill run after that. Going in reverse only enjoys me a quarter of mile of downhill before having to face some serious uphills. About a mile in and running all uphill I am done and like a dog with its head between his legs I head back home enjoying the downhill I just ran up. Still determined to not be beaten I attempt my 2 mile loop in reverse again and only get a half mile in before giving up and heading home. All told I managed 10 miles of my planned 15miler which is quite the accomplishment with how bad I felt after the first seven miles.
It's been a very rough month of struggles first recovering from my half marathon and muscle spams then getting sick and having to recover from that to only be hit by allergies as soon as I recover from being sick. Then of course to finding myself getting sick once more. It almost makes you want to give up but then I got to thinking about it never getting easier and realized it has gotten easier I have just made it harder and harder as time went by.
This time last year I ran a 39 minute 5k several times a week with the other days just being two mile runs in about 25 minutes. That 13 minute mile wouldn't even be close to my slow recovery pace as my regular runs are at or just below 10 minute miles and my recovery runs are at 11 minute miles. My race paces are sub 9 minute miles as I have run several tempo runs at a near 8 minute mile pace several times the last month or so in training for my upcoming 5k. Not to mention my normal run is now 5 miles a day and usually under 50 minutes. I am sure if I were to run one of those 39 minute 5k's it would feel vastly easy and almost not even like a workout. So it has gotten easier but I have made it harder.
Last week I was surprised at what had happened to the person I had become. I got home from a bicycle commute from work and went inside put my bike away, kissed the wife hello, grabbed a handful of peanuts to eat and instantly left to go for a 5mile run. Two years ago I could have never imagined being that person who could so easily go from a 5mile bike to a 5mile run and not even need any rest in between. Or the fact that it had become so common place that I didn't even need to think about it anymore.
It does get easier but we always want to improve ourselves so sometimes we lose focus and get frustrated and lament why isn't this any easier. We forget we are no longer that 13 minute mile runner and that because we want to better ourselves we are always striving for new heights and new achievements.
If your doing it right it will likely never get easier, so suck it up buttercup and keep pushing yourselves because you may never know where you might find yourselves.