In order to read today’s post, you must recite, from memory, as many lyrics to MC Hammer’s iconic song, Hammer Time, as you can remember. Bonus points for remembering, and performing the dance.
So, on Sunday, my running partner and I ran our Run Club Hammer 5k Run. We call it this because on the map, it looks like a hammer head. The best/worst part of this run is the long, slowly inclined hill at the end of the run that makes you work your $@% off to get back to the start point.
I love this hill because it really makes me work. I hate this hill because it kicks my %^$ Every. Damned. Time. I usually need a moment at the end to catch my breath and not sound like a wheezy accordion played by a spasmodic Howler Monkey.
Just take a moment and think about what that would sound like. It isn’t pretty, folks. thankfully, it passes quickly.
It was a great run on Sunday. My splits per kilometre kept getting faster, and my last split, which is up the hill, was the fastest. I am starting to see a pattern, where I take at least 2k to warm up, find a pace, and get comfy. If the mental demons win, I end up quitting around 3k. If I can get past them… Then it is game on, Sparky, let’s kick it.
♫ Na-NaNaNa-NaNa-NaNa, Can’t touch this ♫
So last night was Run Club, and we ran the Hammer again. As I finished my run, I was sure I was going to be slow, because I was stiff and creaky up until the last kilometre, I hadn’t felt good for the first half of the run and was stumping along. I felt sore, I was feeling the impact of each step in my calves and in my IT band. I was overdressed for the weather and sweating like a pig. My head lamp hurt my head. My lady town was complaining because I forgot to Body Glide before I put my tight pants on. The Jock Jams I had blaring weren’t doing it for me (up until the end, then the best songs came on. Of course).
I was altogether feeling what I hate feeling on a run… That it was too much work.
My Inner Critic was telling me there was no shame in quitting, just this once. We passed the end of the road that I could turn up to go back to the start and end my run early, but I turned my eyes away from the road sign and said with as much emphasis as possible (without sounding crazy), under my breath “No. No. No. NO!”. I struggled more, and then the hurty, sucky fog lifted and I started to feel better.
I figured that my negative split run from Sunday was not going to be repeated. This run was not the type of run that “felt” fast. This was not the type of run that would be a PR for pace.
When I stopped my RunKeeper back at our start point, and looked at my splits, I just about had to sit down, right there in the middle of the sidewalk, and squee uncontrollably like a fangirl at a Justin Bieber concert. I HAD repeated Sundays run splits, only faster by a few seconds each! And, just like Sunday, my last split was my fastest, and in fact, was the exact same time.
(Ignore the 6k split, that is just the leftover because it clicked over 5k with each run by a few metres)
I know they are just numbers, and I shouldn’t obsess, but this, right here, is a marker that I am getting stronger. That all this hard work is starting to show in my running. By the time I got home, I was so endorphin-full I was giggly and bouncing. I felt amazing, and I felt full of accomplishment. It was only September that running 5k was my long run, and really hard to do. Now, it is my regular run, and getting easier each time I go out.
This whole year, you have been following along with me on my adventure of (re) learning how to run. Every day I am amazed that I am doing this. I don’t think I will ever stop being able to achieve new milestones with running. There will always be new hills to tackle, so to speak.
At the risk of sounding overly melodramatic *cue sweeping music*, this one simple activity has changed my life, for the better, forever. *trumpets*