I'm celebrating some running milestones today. The tide has (finally!) turned in my running life. I feel profoundly grateful. If you follow my Page on Facebook Catalysts to Connie's Wellness, you probably know that I'm in training for my very first Half Marathon. I have friends coming from all over the country to run with me and support me in the St. Jude HM on December 7th. My birthday is a few days after that so we'll celebrate my first 39th birthday, too.
About a year ago I started training for the Ovarian Cancer Awareness Foundation's first 5K, and my first 5K. This 2 time gyn cancer Survivor couldn't run for 30 seconds at a time. Last night I posted on FB about my run and then after I wrote it and laid down to sleep I had a deep thought. I didn't doubt my ability to run 5 miles. Not even a tiny bit. And I didn't put that in my FB post, because it was a given to me. This is MAJOR for me. In fact, I feel quite confident that I could run a HM right now, I just wouldn't fall into the race's time limits yet. Maybe. This is an overwhelmingly amazing and proud realization... Wow!
Today I joined the Breakaway running store's St. Jude M & HM training group at 7 AM for 5 miles. On a Saturday. After a really long and challenging week. I've never run with a group like this before, and I was intimidated and anxious because I'm one of those 'slowest winners'. I met up with a lady I met on FB and she made me feel welcomed.
I attended the St. Jude kickoff a couple weeks ago and learned from Coach Kevin to use long run days as experiments. So I tried out a new bright teal sports bra- and love it! I was going to try out a bigger water bottle, but decided this morning to stick to my usual outdoor running bottle and it worked just fine. I had trouble with my new favorite socks on my last long run, but that was on the 'mill. They work beautifully outside, and I'm thrilled!
I also experimented with my food fuels. I ate 1 piece of cinnamon bread with grass fed butter and drank a dark almond almond milk on my drive to the meet up. I pre-mixed my own post run electrolyte water (1.5 tablespoons organic maple syrup, 3 drops Young Living's orange essential oil and 2 drops of lemon EO with 1/8 tsp of Himalayan salt). I brought 1 baggies of organic bunny gummies for my halfway point and that worked really well and fits perfectly in my shirt pocket. So all my experiments were successful! Love that!
Apparently all the cool running kids have Garmins. I have a RunKeeper app, which works pretty well for me. I've never been a 'cool kid', and that's okay. I've learned to accept and love myself as I am right now and challenging myself to soar higher.
There were about 50 people or so running, some going for 10 miles and others for 5. We all started together at 7. I started my RK a bit early. After about 3 minutes everyone, and I do mean everyone, passed me. No one else was run/walking. It threw me off a little but I found my groove. Run a minute. Walk a minute. Repeat. Right Left Right Left.
Then I came to a fork in the Greenline and took the wrong path. They had the map available on the Map My Run app but that app baffles me. I was frustrated... but I knew that I would be okay. I had missed 2 runs this week due to allergies and sinuses challenges so I was okay with running extra today. Then I came to another fork and went the wrong way again, but didn't get too far before passing a nice lady who set me straight.
I have RK to set to give me feedback every 15 minutes, but I hadn't heard anything in what seemed like a really long time but I could see that it was on. So I pulled out my phone and checked, hoping I was at least a mile in. I was pleasantly surprised to see 1.81 miles! Astounding!! A couple minutes later I was blown away again when I earned a 2 mile personal best- of 32:07!! Holy moly!! All that treadmill work has been paying off!!
At 2.5 miles there was supposed to be a water truck, but my RK accidentally got stopped and I lost track of exact mileage. I went further than I thought it would be but never found the truck. It may have left. I was glad I hadn't counted on it and had plenty of water.
So I turned around... The Greenline is gorgeous and well shaded! And there's even a bathroom! I hadn't brought my iPod because I wasn't sure if there were rules about that when running in a group. I noticed that most people had them, though. So I ran without music or sound, and instead filled my head with positive affirmations. I was determined not to let negative thoughts sneak in.
I was shocked- absolutely blissfully shocked- when RK announced that I had just finished mile 5 at 15:23 pace. This is my fastest pace EVER!! And for it to happen on mile 5 is even more amazing... WOW! That pumped me up to finish the run strong.
I ended up with 5.77 miles. My RK split it up because it had gotten shut off in the middle. These are my BEST paces EVER and that's what matters for me. YOUR best paces are what should matter to you. Not what other runners are doing.. .they are running their own race.
Also for the first time EVER on a outside run I successfully did negative splits, meaning my second half was faster than my first. I really struggled with this before I started running the 'mill. That 'mill has it's purposes, though I much prefer running outdoors.
Mile 1: 16:33 (this is about 2 minutes faster than my usual 'mill times- crazy!)
Mile 2: 15:42
Mile 3: 15:55 (I took 2 longer walking breaks to eat my gummie bunnies)
Mile 4: 15:23
Mile 5: 15:56
Average Pace 15:50ish
In comparison on June 1st I ran 6.03 miles outdoors with an average pace of 17:53 with my fastest mile at 17:29. I'm totally blown away, full of gratitude and just amazed at how far I've come since then!
I'm not sure I'll do a lot of group running in the future. I like knowing that I'm not totally alone, but it's tough when everyone passes me and I'm left alone and miss the water truck. I did really enjoy the Greenline, but would feel safer running with someone.
For a long time I felt like I would never gain speed, and that I wasn't improving as a runner. But I kept going anyway. I slay negative self defeating thoughts with positive ones. I make up little fun chants to keep me going. Like- You Rock You Runner! I can't believe how awesome I am! It pays off when you least expect it. It's a sweet surprise. And it makes me push on, and keep on believing (cue Journey). Hope it's true for YOU, too!
Would you please take a moment and donate? Every little bit helps and goes to St. Jude. Connie's Heroes Team- Strong & Lean Ladies Thank YOU!
- 2 time ovarian cancer Survivor, Advocate for ovarian cancer awareness & research, Teacher of Zen Method Tai Chi, Blogger, sharing the wonderment and power of essential oils, proud fan of Cathe Friedrich's workouts, Reiki practitoner, A Course in Miracles student, paper crafter