You know those runs where you feel like you're running so godforsaken slow? Where it feels like with each step you're running through a pool of molasses? You're too disheartened to look at your watch, cause you're afraid to look down and see that you're maintaining a minute per mile slower than your average?
I had one of those runs yesterday morning.
I got caught a red light with about 1/4 of a mile left and I decided to go ahead and glance down at my watch, since I was almost finished anyway.
And I was actually running about 30 seconds per mile faster than I normally do! That was an unexpected surprise.
But, it got me thinking... that 30 seconds faster, was still only around a 9:15 mile. And I can't help but think back to earlier in the year, when I was running 8:45 and 8:30 on my shorter training runs. Hell, I ran a half marathon averaging 8:30 pace back in February. (For comparison, the 15k I ran in September, I averaged just under a 9:00 mile)
Now, I realize that I shifted my focus from speed to mileage, but if I'm being honest here... I thought that in the long run (pun not intended), that would actually make me faster! And, I think it will. But, I didn't dream that it would make me slower! But, I don't think it has... I don't think I've gotten slower, I think I've gotten lazy. I think I've just given myself the mindset (which is easy to do in the heat of TN summers) that... as long as I'm getting in the miles... who cares how fast it is? And that's fine. For LONG runs. But, I should be pushing myself a little more in general.
And, honestly, it doesn't bother me all that much. I truly do love running, no matter how fast or how slow I am. But, I gotta say... that this isn't the direction that I wanted to head towards. And I think I've identified the problem, because I've been in this same rut before and I shook myself out of it when I started running with Vandy-Montana last winter.
Sure, I have running partners now and they are all awesome to run with and they all have become friends that I can hang out with outside of running. They're perfect running partners. They slow down for me, when I need it, they join me for all of or part of my long runs. They encourage me and never doubt me when I come up crazy ideas. And they're all fun, cool people... more than running partners, they're friends. But, they don't kick my ass. And, honestly... it's not their job to kick my ass.
The difference, I guess, is that Vandy-Montana is one of my best friends. We bust each other's balls incessantly about everything. I know, without a doubt, that if we're running and I stop to walk... he's going to get pissed (not pissed in a bad way... pissed in a good way) and so I always push myself as far as I can go before I stop to walk. He keeps me from being lazy.
So, this is a plea*. A plea for an intervention. I know my running is my responsibility and I LOVE that my friends are so nice and understanding. And I know that I always give you some lame excuse**, but from now on... anyone who runs with me, please break the cycle. Stop enabling my slow ass-ness (because, let's face it... I'm holding you all back when we're running). In other words: kick my ass. Please pick up the pace on me. If I can run 13 miles at an 8:30 pace, I most certainly can run 6 miles on a Tuesday at 8:30 or better. Summer's over... I can't use the heat as an excuse anymore. Don't adjust your pace to run with me. I know you're trying to be nice (I do the exact same thing when I run with people with a slower pace than me), but I'm lazy when people are nice to me and I abuse and take advantage of the nice-ness. And in return for kicking my ass, I promise to buck up and not bitch and moan and talk about how I'm going to die, etc... as much as I usually do (or at least I'll try).
*I am soooooo going to regret this, aren't I?
**Except stomach excuses. Those are real, unfortunately. I never cry wolf on stomach issues.