A Better Run

For as crappy as last weeks long practice run was- that’s how much better this weeks run was. The more I run the more I can see myself evolving into liking different things, and getting different things from my runs.

My back story as a runner is minimal, I would classify myself still as a novice-to-intermediate runner, as I am still in the process of finding out what works for me. I began running out of boredom after I graduated college- I lived in a college town, that all of my friends moved away from after graduation. As I did my internship/masters degree I still ran on the treadmill, and worked out. It took me another full year to acquire the courage to do a 5k- the hot chocolate. I had a lot of fun doing it, and my friends that came to visit me for that race all did the 15k, and I said to myself- “I can run farther”. So At the start of the 2012 I started running more, and registering for more races- and that following fall did the Hot Chocolate 15k- and a half marathon two weeks prior.

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View of the skyline from the scenic Lakefront trail- around Shedd Aquarium

I tried to follow training programs, and use apps, but as I ran more I realized those things frustrated me because if I got busy or I was too tired I would do circuit training, or wouldn’t work out- therefore skip a run- therefore become frustrated with myself- and frustrated with running.

When I am training I try to run three times per week- two shorter tempo/speed runs, and 1 long distance run. Then I try to add in strength, and yoga as well- mainly because if you are per-say doing a half marathon- and you run a 10 minute mile pace consistently you will be done in about 2 hours and 10 minutes- that’s a significant amount of time to be upright and moving- having a fairly strong core helps that out. The yoga comes with stretching, and personally helps me as I feel very tight sometimes after a long run, and I am also very poor at stretching myself- even though I know I need to.

As I’ve evolved over the last 2 1/2 years I have definitely changed- for instance I used to love to train and run on treadmills- now I really dislike it, and will not run more than 3 miles on a treadmill

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This is a underpass between Shedd Aquarium and Solider field. The above area accommodates foot and vehicle traffic between the Planetarium and Museum campus and lakefront trail goes underneath.

I used to hate running and did it to get exercise- now I genuinely enjoy the the challenge and enjoy it…although some days I need more motivation for distance runs than others

I used to hate running with people- because I knew how slow I was, and didn’t necessarily like to push myself… now I enjoy that, and I do enjoy running with others to continue to push myself- however I still cannot and will not talk while running.

So I did do my 9 miles on Friday with one of my friends right after work. She was more willing to run with me and it worked out really well. For me- personally when I run alone I am more prone to make mental excuses e.g.: “My shoulder hurts”, “my knee aches”, “it’s sprinkling”, “oh there’s a puppy I want to pet” etc. When I have company on my runs I am less likely to give in to mental weakness and stop running.

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These mile markers on the trail are sometimes a blessing and a curse…depending on the day 🙂

Personally it has taken me long term to really see the benefits of my consistent running. I have noticed over years the differences in my legs, and hips, and the development in strength in my lower half, as well as my core, and my endurance- as well as my speed.

I used to average a 12-12 1/2 minute mile when I first started running. Now I average about 10 1/2 minute mile pace, and some runs I even do as well to get down to 9 1/2 minute miles. That’s not very fast to some people I am sure- but hey it’s progress.

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