Over the past few months I have had a love/hate relationship with running. Most of the time I hate it, but I want to love it in the worst way. After struggling through a series of miserable runs I decided to take some time off. I knew I would grow to truly hate running if I pushed myself through it. With triathlon training starting this was the perfect time to take my running hiatus. I still did 1-2 runs a week but I didn't worry about distance or pace.
With only three weeks until my first triathlon I knew I needed to step up my running game. I was planning on running on Friday but had no plans for how long or fast I wanted to run. As the day progressed I felt more and more like doing a hard run. It had been months since the last time I really pushed myself during a run so I felt ready to see what I could do.
I settled on three miles hard and even made a playlist to motivate me to run fast. The playlist started out slower and finished with music that would get my booty moving. Since I hadn't done a hard run in so long I had no idea where to expect my pace to be. I know that my overall fitness level is high but I wasn't sure if that meant my running fitness was also high.
I made sure to start off the run conservatively so I wouldn't burn out. There is nothing I hate more than positive splitting hard runs like this. Must be my Type A personality. Anyway, I settled into a pace that I like to call "easy speed." I was cruising along but not huffin & puffin yet. I felt like I was flying but I really wasn't sure how I was doing. I was quite surprised when I checked my watch for the first mile and saw 8:26.
I have only ever broken 8 min once before but I wanted to do it again. I picked up the pace during the second mile but made sure to keep everything in check so I would still have enough energy for the third mile. When the running got tough I tried to focus on keeping my cadence high. My cadence is still relatively low but this was definitely a good distraction. Before I knew it I had finished the second mile, and in 7:42! This was a new mile PR for me! I was so excited that I didn't even care if my third mile was slower just so long as it was still fast.
The third mile where was things got real. I started to develop a side stitch and I was terribly out of breath. But I knew I having a crazy fast run. It was during the third mile that I decided to change the run to a 5K. I ran a 5K time trial during my first week of training and wanted to be able to compare my times.
The third mile was a much of a mental challenge as a physical one but I finished it in 7:33. At this point I was already incredibly happy. But I still had .1 left. I wanted to quit so badly but I pushed through and finished the run in 24:27 for a new (unofficial) 5K PR! When I did my 5K time trial back in the end of March I did it in 25:41 for a pace of 8:18.
What made me even more ecstatic though was that I beat my 5K PR from when I swam back in high school. I don't count that time as my 5K PR because I was swimming 20+ hours a week and in much better shape. It is not realistic for me to count a time that I did years ago with that kind of training. For me my glory days were when I was swimming. I was really good at swimming, qualifying for nationals multiple times, but was forced to quit due to injury. It means the world to run a time that I did as a swimmer. It means more than I can even explain but when I saw that my time was 24:27 and my swimming PR was 24:29 I burst into tears!