I've been blogging for nine years (crazy, right?) and over these past nine years, I've talked about running. Sometimes consistently, sometimes not. Last year, I felt like there was a lot of negativity, not only online but also in real life, towards "slow" runners, or runners who didn't PR at every race, or runners who always ran at the same speed. I backed away from discussing my running specifically because I was annoyed with the commentary. For years and years, I ran inside on a treadmill due to where I lived and my working hours. I ran between 20 and 30 miles a week at the same speed (about 10 minute miles) and I was in fantastic shape. So why I am I back talking about running again? Because of my girls.
The face of running has changed significantly since I began running more than twenty years ago. More and more people are runners now and that's a good thing because it means people want to stay active and healthy. I'm sure the internet has played a role in the change and also to the increase in road race participants.
Rich ran the WDW Marathon in 2006 because, at the time, it was marked in the running community as a good race to run if you were trying to qualify for Boston. Not what you would think of the WDW Marathon nowadays. In 2017, there were 17,729 runners who completed the WDW Marathon with an average time of 5:36. Compare this to 2006, when 10,125 runners finished the marathon with an average time of 5:04. That's 7,000 additional runners!!!
The girls have been exposed to running not only through my running (and Rich's) but through extended family and our local community. There are a fair amount of 5Ks in the area. I was preparing to go for a run one night last week and Anna was giving me a hard time. She's been going through a phase where she's afraid I won't return home. I get it. I remember going through this too at their age. I've explained to them why I run or go for a walk, which I sometimes do on non-run days. I want to stay healthy and it helps me clear my head with alone time. Emily made a comment asking why I bother to go for runs if I never do any races. No, no, no. It's not about running a race. I do what I need to do for me. You do what you need to do for you. Don't let anyone tell you what you ought to be doing.
We should all have things we do in life for ourselves. I don't want my children to be so easily influenced and shape their lives around others. Be yourself. Sometimes it's not an easy thing to do, but it will make you a better person.
So how has my running been going? I find running during summer break to be a bit unpredictable. During the school year, I run when the girls are in school. Now, I need to wait for Rich to come home from work. Unfortunately, there are days when he doesn't arrive home until it's dark so I'm not able to run outside. I do also have the option of using the treadmill when I'm home with the girls. They are old enough now for that. I could get up at the crack of dawn and run before Rich leaves for work but that will never, ever happen. I am not and will never be a morning person.
After several breaks from running over the winter for various reasons, I was struggling this spring/early summer to get past two miles and back to my 10 minute mile pace. With each tough run, I told myself it would eventually get easier if I didn't give up. And it finally did. Two weeks ago, I was out for a run on my three mile route. At a mile and a half, I wanted to stop and walk. I pushed and made it to two miles and at that two mile mark, I felt a surge of energy. I kept going and felt better than I had a half mile before. I thought I could make it to three miles but I didn't want to overdue it, so I stopped a bit past two and a half.
Last Wednesday night, I headed out for a run at 7:00. Rich warned me to take it easy because of the heat and humidity. It was in the mid 80s with high humidity. I felt good and not only finished three miles but my time was 30:52. I ran about two miles on Friday and again Sunday and felt great for both runs.
I don't know if I'll ever get back to where I was twelve years ago before babies but I keep trying. For myself.
I'll end this with what Anna told me the other night because it was beyond adorable (and her way to attempt to keep me from going out to run.) "You don't need to stay fit, honey. You're fine."