The Balance Between Running For Fun and Running For Time

Big news people, turns out I can run faster than I thought. Tuesday night is both my favorite and most dreaded workout of the week because I run with Chloe Lasseron's Lululemon Brooklyn run. Chloe focuses her weekly run on speed, tempo or hill work, the three workouts I notoriously ignore. Yesterday's run consisted of a .5 mile warm up to the Lululemon store, a 1.5 mile run to the track, a 3 mile progression at the track and then a 1.5 mile run back to the store.

What's a 3 mile progression? I'm so glad you asked because I didn't have a clue either -

1 mile at half marathon pace.

Recovery (Say as many F words as you can in 90 seconds).

1 mile at 10K pace.

Recovery (Direct as many F words directly at the person who's idea a 3 mile progression was for 90 seconds.)

1 mile at 5K pace.

I don't know my half marathon pace, 10K or 5K paces are so my plan of attack was to just push myself as hard as I could that first mile and go from there. (I'll admit I 100% expected myself to play the "I have a marathon in 3 weeks and can't get hurt card" and run easy after the first mile.) Here's how it went --

Mile 1 at 7:19/minute mile.

Then I spent 90 seconds dropping F bombs like they were going out of style.

Mile 2 at 7:20/minute mile.

Track Workout

My fancy watch is set to alert me whenever I run faster than a 7:50 minute mile so the entire time it was vibrating maliciously and screaming "PACE TO FAST!" After I finished mile 2, I turned to Chloe and said, "That's the fastest I've run since elementary school." Then I threw a bunch of F words her way.

I almost didn't go for mile 3. I was tired. I didn't think I could do it. I had already done 2 miles at what were miracle paces and I was telling myself, "This is to hard. No one is making you do this just run one last easy mile. A mile is a mile is a mile." But Chloe, who I now suspect is a mind reader, says "Just go for it and see what happens."

Then I did Mile 3 in 7:29/minute mile.

I know, I'm still amazed. I had no clue I was capable of running not only 1 mile at 7:19 but three miles around that same pace. Last week during a 6 mile run I clocked myself running an 8 minute mile and even then I was huffing and puffing like I'd never huffed and puffed before. So I assumed that was the fastest I could go.

THAT BEING SAID, I do not like running fast. I don't care who you are, anyone who says that running fast is fun is a damn liar. The reason I have so much fun when I run half marathons is because I run at a comfortable pace and I dance around like no one's watching. That's what works for me, I run because I simply love to run. Now don't get me wrong, I think it's impossible not to want to see just how fast or far you can run and push yourself.

This is the very first workout I ever logged with Runkeeper.

I've come a long way in the two and a half years since I started running and getting faster, stronger and ultimately more comfortable with my pace has all been apart of the process. I rarely set out to see how fast I can run. I'll always choose a leisurely run over hill repeats or speed work. Is that bad? No, it's just my personal preference. I think it's really admirable whenever I see runners posting their splits and how hard they attack their workouts. I find their drive really inspiring. I'm just not that runner. I'd rather take a break to dance or make myself laugh while I run.

We all run for different reasons and they do in fact change over time. This year I have set some intimidating goals. I am running two marathons (which for me is a really terrifying undertaking) and I want to break 4 hours at the New York City Marathon. That means in order for me to run a comfortable NYC Marathon under 4 hours I have to do more of the stuff I hate.

Here's what I've learned about pushing through the pain and discomfort, you have to run the moment you're in. Yesterday when I was on the track, each mile felt impossible. Had I sat there thinking to myself, "I still have an entire mile left" I would have just given up. Instead I focused on the straightaway or curve I was in. My inner monologue was a hot mess and got progressively angrier and foggier with each mile. Nothing terrible would have happened had I chosen to stop two laps into my final mile like I wanted to. I'm just really, really glad I didn't. It's an amazing feeling to be able to say, "Holy sh*t I cannot believe I just did that."

Yesterday I surprised myself. I didn't quit when I wanted to (and expected myself to) and I ran the fastest I've run since I was in the 5th grade. It wasn't fun. Yesterday was anything but fun! But sometimes I guess you do have to find the balance between having fun and doing the hard work.

I'm just really proud that I didn't quit when I wanted to. (I still can't believe I didn't quit.)

[Have I mentioned how amazed I am that I didn't quit?]

Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.