Last night, I saw progress.
I felt it.
I destroyed my workout. The plan called for three mile repeats at 5K pace (actually 1.16-mile repeats based on my route) with 0.2-mile (approximately 3 minutes) recovery in between. I gave myself a 1.5-mile warm-up, running a little faster than 10-minute miles, and followed with a 0.75-mile cool down at 10:30 pace.
- 7:55 pace (quarter splits: 2:00/2:01/2:00/1:54 + 1:15)
- 7:44 pace ( " " : 1:56/1:59/1:59/1:53 + 1:06)
- 7:36 pace ( " " : 1:55/1:54/1:56/1:53 + 1:06)
It has been awhile since I've really taken a workout to task like that. As I ran the last straightaway up to my final turn, I felt myself flagging. I jumped on the words "Dream Big" that my friend and fellow blogger, Dorothy of Mileposts often says, and a visual of her strong running form popped into my mind. I held it together and accelerated through the finish of that repeat. I cannot believe how fast I ran it.
If you had told me a year and a half ago that I would run my last mile repeat at 7:36 pace...wait, no...if you had told me a year and a half ago that I would run someday, I would have laughed out loud to mask my anger and frustration and sense of despair. I'd like to tell you again why.
Four years ago, I was a depressed mess. Our family had had some very challenging issues to deal with and had just moved. Due to my bum hip, I had been in constant pain for roughly five years. I 'walked' with a pronounced limp. I couldn't move fast enough to escape an oncoming car or beat out a meter maid at an expired parking meter. If my toddler son took off down the street (which he did all the time), I was helpless as I watched him tempt imminent danger. It was terrifying, and it felt hopeless. This was not a diagnosed injury, but it was very much there. The situation was taking me to the scary edge. As I was 'hitting bottom,' I found my miracle-worker/physical therapist at SOLPT (see sidebar).
Three years ago, I was pregnant with my fourth child and struggling to maintain the increased mobility my physical therapist's hard work had yielded. The failing economy made regular visits less frequent, the pain returned, and my hip made little, if any, progress.
Two years ago, I had a new baby and had to relocate again. The economy still sucked. Life was still stressful. My hip still hurt but seemed to be in some sort of stasis. I was wondering if I would ever again in my life be pain-free.
Never lose faith.
Fifteen months ago, my son took off. He does that...just takes off...always has, remember? I chased him down and caught him. Wait...what? Yes. I ran for about one hundred feet! Pain-free! I knew it was time to begin. Within two weeks, I was slogging past three lamp posts (it took about three minutes), walking forty steps frontward, walking twenty steps backward... *REPEAT* four times in a row every other day for three weeks. It was a fifteen-minute regimen. It was a start.
Fourteen months ago, I was plodding for five minutes straight, walking twenty steps forward, walking twenty steps backward... *REPEAT* three times in a row every other day for two weeks. It was an eighteen-minute regimen. It was progress.
Thirteen and a half months ago, I was trudging my way through two continuous, slow, hip-pain-free miles a couple of times a week. Lumbering like a giant tortoise, I was out there...doing it. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't fast, and I certainly wasn't fashionable, but after two weeks of that, I graduated from trudging to shuffling! And I completed my first 'long' run of three miles :) Again, progress.
A year ago, I ran a timed mile. I ran it in 8:51. It was hard, and it felt like a step back because a month before, I had run my first timed mile since I had started running in a speedilicious 8:45. I was bummed. But I was not defeated. I persevered. It was mental progress.
I ran three mile repeats (the last one at 7:36 pace) last night. I'm running in a 5K on Thanksgiving, hoping to crush last year's time by many minutes. The RockNRoll Las Vegas Half-Marathon is December 4th, and I'm ready to take it on. I've bravely registered for a full marathon this coming Spring. I never thought these things would be possible.
All because I had the courage and faith to start.