The training continues on and I’m back in the full swing of things with running after a must-needed week and a half off running to let my Achilles recover. This past Friday I solidified this return with a relatively impromptu 5K that I ran with my good friend Jamison. A bunch of state employees and credit union workers put on an annual Run@Work 5K Day down at the Saint Paul state capitol — attended by a couple hundred runners and walkers — providing an opportunity to get out and run/walk and get a little exercise in on their work day.
My original plan was just to run it easy since this weekend’s training regiment is more aggressive than normal with a big run on both Saturday and Sunday (big for me anyway) — five miles Saturday and six miles Sunday. I had all the best of intentions to just take it easy and run about 12-minute miles — but all of those plans went out the door when I felt that surge within me to push myself further, thinking that it might be fun to try for a new personal record anyway.
My first mile was quite surprising to me, with a time of 9:43 I was running at a much more aggressive pace than I’m used to. Typically I run 12-minute miles when on my own, maybe upper 10s when I’m in a race. But I blame that pace on herd mentality, trying to keep up with the crowd and not wanting to be left behind.
Coming up to mile two, my brain started reminding me that we’re running really fast here and that perhaps a walk would be in order. But at the same time I was also thinking about my results on Strava, thinking about my friend John’s comments on my last 5K starting out too strong, and that I really wanted to try and just keep running strong. So I pushed out of my mind the thoughts of walking, kept my eyes on the sidewalk [yeah, they had us running on the sidewalk], and kept pushing on.
Finally we rounded the bend near the Saint Paul Cathedral with the State Capitol in sight and the finish line not that far off. At that point it was all about trying to pick up my pace as best as I can and finish strong. I was actually quite impressed with myself having successively faster splits — but on the same token it was all up hill that first mile and a half and the rest was either level or down hill.
Crossing the finish line (and eventually the official 5K point since their course measured slightly under 5K) under 30 minutes was huge for me. I have never run a sub-30 5K in my life, and it felt fantastic! Swelling with pride, I walked back to my cubical just glowing (and sweating pretty good) with confidence and a much more optimistic outlook on the months and years to come as a runner.
There is one other personal record that I also feel quite happy with, and that’s my new weight loss record. Saturday morning I weighed in at 189.5 — the first time that I have been sub-190 in a very long time. I’m pretty sure that I haven’t been that weight since well before my daughter was born, sometime early on in my marriage — I have been married 15 years now. Of course with a bit of excessive eating and drinking on Saturday and Sunday, I blew myself back up into the lower 190s, but I know that weight fluctuates a lot. But I hit sub-190 — and it’s just a matter of a couple weeks before I am solidly in the 180s with 170 in my sights.
For the first time in my life, hitting the 170 mark and being fit and at a healthy weight actually means something to me. For far too long I’ve just looked at my growing waistline and shrugged it off with an unhealthy contentment, saying to myself that I’ll get around to this eventually. And while that is true, for about a good three or four years I kept kicking the can down the road until I really had to stop the cycle and do something about it. This past March I finally was pissed off enough at myself to start doing something about it — daily logging my calories into MyFitnessPal and adding exercise into the mix to help build up my fitness level. For me it was running with biking as my cross-training.
And here I am six months later — breaking my own running personal records and achieving lower weight levels that I haven’t seen in a long time. I want 170 so bad. So. Very. Bad. It’s time to dig down and work even harder to reach that point before the holidays. I’d love to reach that point before Christmas as a great Christmas gift to myself. But I know it’s going to be hard as the weather gets cooler and colder, and snow will eventually be thrown into the mix.
We’ll see what I’m made of over the winter and if I can keep this up through the long grueling months of a Minnesota winter.