I ran 7k last night.
I’m still absorbing this. Just two weekends ago, I ran 5k with no intervals for the first time. I just added 2k to my best distance in less than a month.
It was a Run Club night, and I was willing to give the 6.5k that was mapped a go. I told myself, and my running-mates,that if I had to walk, I would be ok with it. And we set off. Usually I walk a bit, but these ladies just trotted off so I scrambled along, starting my Runkeeper, setting some music up, and generally running like a duck until I was sorted out into my SPI Belt.
Now, keep in mind, as we settled into a pace, that I socketed in with two women who are a) taller than me and b) much faster than me. I’m ok with that. I sometimes need that push or I would dog along solo thinking I am the Roadrunner when in fact I am that old turtle from Kung-Fu Panda.
I like Run Club. A lot.
However, once the 4k mark hit, I was struggling to maintain my breathing whilst keeping that faster-than-my-normal pace. My body wasn’t complaining, but I knew my heart rate was really elevated, and I knew my breathing was getting gaspy and shallow. I had to slow down. When I lean forward and lose form, I know I am working too hard.
I really did not want to puke in front of new friends. Yeah… Ummm… That would be a massive Nay-Nay.
I slowly dropped back to my “forever pace” and kept the two ladies in my sights. I dogged along, letting my breathing come back, shaking out my shoulders and arms, which I had started to tense when the effort got harder. I was heel striking, so I checked my form as I ran, to get my mid-foot strike back.
Repeat after me: “Shoulders back, chest out, hands at heart swinging straight, step lightly underneath, use hips to push forward, not calves, run out, not up.” This is the checklist I go through as I work on my form (think repeating it in your head stacatto with your footsteps). Doing this funny little routine several times has saved my knees from a heaping helping of hurt. (Say that five times fast… heh…). I believe that fixing my form to mid-foot strike, and attempting a lighter stride, has made all the difference this time.
It also makes me feel awesome and gazelle-like when I have my bosoms all puffed out and am running from my hip. I am a machine! I feel skinny and mighty and…. I am… OK so I likely look a little different than I feel, but the empowerment when I get that “right form click” is really, really, made of win.
My breath and feeling of ease came back easier than I expected. By this time, my running-mates were out in front a bit, and in my sights, so I increased my pace again to see if I could stick with them to the end at that distance. It was also getting dark, both were in dark clothes, and I was not sure of where I was supposed to go. DOH!
I was glad for my random reflective things, and streetlights, and the map function on my NON-iOS 6 iPhone. (Seriously Apple, what are you thinking?)
I did keep them in my sights. I chased them, bobbing along, until we reached a bend on a street close to the finish. By this time, my Runkeeper had long binged 6k in my ear, and I was thinking that the route was longer than 6.5k. As I ran up the last incline, and saw the Park & Ride parking lot sign, I was feeling so elated at being nearly done, that suddenly, I got goosebumps,and this surge of crazy energy.
I wanted to keep right on going when I hit the last ten metres, but my Smart Self said “are you nuts?”. So I did, you know… stop (once I got to the lightpole at the parking lot). My whole body was vibrating with this energy I simply cannot describe, and it was making me want to jump around, keep moving, keep running. I was buzzing! (It also could have been the massive lights in the parking lot that were making that noise but hey… Let’s go with it) I just wanted to run, and run, and run! When I looked at my phone’s screen and realized I had just gone 7k, reality hit home and the buzzing of energy abruptly left my body as the shock of achievement registered.
7 freakin’ kilometres! Holy #@#^, Batman! The run, even with the bauble at 4k, felt awesome. I had not bonked. I had not died. I had not walked!
I feel like anything is possible right now. If I can keep myself injury and pain-free, think of what I can achieve! Today I am slightly stiff, my calves are massive rocks on my legs (strrrretch…). I’m worried I am trying to do too much right after my race, and I don’t want to injure myself. Today is rest day, followed by some simple pose stretching yoga tonight.
But the sense of accomplishment that comes with last night’s run was totally worth every ache and stitch today, and I want to just go right out and do it again, to see if those goosebumps will come back.