Hello friends, I'm back again to continue geeking about running.
In March, I first wrote about my running in this series' prologue. I shared my previous encounters with the sport, how everything was progressing at the time, and what my goals looked like moving forward. Today, I'd love to give updates on things I've learned since I last wrote about it, as well as new milestones I've accomplished.
At the end of January this year, I tried my hand at a 5k run. To reiterate what I've mentioned in previous posts, I've tried the whole running thing before. I did some interval runs when Covid first appeared, because I had gotten laid off from work and had lots of time on my hands and a park very nearby my last apartment. I used the Sweat app to guide me, but always had trouble keeping up. Well, the voice in my head wasn't as friendly to me at the time. I always felt out of breath and gave up pretty quickly, and always ended up preferring to walk. Nothing wrong with walking, but that wasn't my goal at that time.
And by the way, whenever I talk about running to people, I always find it super important to remind people that they don't need to run. I've enjoyed walking and hiking for years! Running has taken a while to fully stick with me, and I think my approach to running this time around was better because of the timing in my life, which is why I think it stuck. I wasn't doing it as a weight loss thing, I wasn't super pushy on myself. I started seeing both a dietician and a therapist and had been gaining a better relationship with my body and with my inner dialogue. I also just started experiencing more a lot more heavy shit in life, overall, so I needed something positive to gear my focus towards. My mother had been in the hospital for a month at that point and I felt fatigued and wanted to bring my best energy for her whenever I'd visit, so giving myself a goal to accomplish each weekend meant more exciting stories to share with my mom and an overall prouder sense of self.
So what's been going on since I last wrote about running? Well, in my prologue post I mentioned aiming for a 4-mile run. That was back in March. And then in May I wrote a general fitness update, not fully geared to running, but just sharing where I was with my schedule and nutrition and such, since I'm always trying to learn and grow when it comes to understanding and caring for my body. But in that fitness update post, I shared that I had finished a 5-miler. Well, folks, this month I finally completed both a 10k and a 7-mile distance. I've tried two 10k runs and one 7-miler. I think I'll just keep tacking on more miles as the months go on, just to keep things spicy.
My 10k runs haven't felt too bad! I'm always monitoring my heart BPM to ensure I'm not overexerting, as to avoid getting too tired to quickly. My goals are about distance over speed. I like my runs to feel meditative, so running on a beautiful trail with a podcast in my ears has been such a fun way to spend my weekends. I usually pick a weekend day to wake up extra early and drive to one of my favorite spots and just take on the run. I choose to run early, both to avoid excessive heat and to feel proud and strong at the very start of the day. It's like what Danny Gonzalez mentioned on Cody Ko's Insanely Chill podcast. Waking up early and working out feels like making your bed. You've already done something productive, and it makes you feel like you're starting your day on the right foot.
Speaking of "the right foot"...I mentioned in the fitness update post that I invested in true running shoes. These are the Lulu Lemon Blissfeel 2 shoes. Natacha Oceane, a fitness icon and scientist who I adore, swears by these shoes and by Lulu Lemon's product quality overall. I haven't given them much of a try in the past, but I knew that if I could trust anyone's testimonial, it would be Natacha's. And kudos to me honestly. I'm typically an impulsive spender, but I kept these in my cart since February probably, and didn't pull the trigger until May. That's some impulse control!
I have really enjoyed wearing those shoes because they do feel like they cushion my feet more when I land, and I can toggle between my Lulu Lemon shoes for running, and my original Fabletics shoes for standard visits to the gym. An even spread.
Another staple since we last chatted? My running vest. I also had this in my cart when I originally peeped the Blissfeels 2 running shoes. I was debating on whether or not I needed a vest, but now that I'm doing 10k and 7-mile distances in the humid summer heat, it's nice to have a place to store water, electrolytes, and snacks if need be. I can get away with being empty handed if it's cooler outside, but we've had some heat advisories and whatnot occurring, so being prepared is essential for me. Plus I'm an anxious person, so it feels nice to be prepared in general. P.S. I like having a subtle place to carry pepper spray if an emergency calls.
There's a major thing I've been trying to teach myself lately. Summer heat is no joke. That's been probably the most noticeable change in my running lately. My endurance and aerobic threshold both feel pretty good compared to when I first started, but my mileage is noticeably slower. At first, I was worried I was losing progress somehow. But what I've learned is that our bodies have to slow down when we perform in heat, since it's working in overdrive anyway just trying to cool down. Our hearts are likely to beat harder just by being in heat. So it shouldn't really be a surprise that I have to trudge slower if my heart is elevating, especially if I'm only half way through a long run. It's all about moving forward, and it's okay to slow down, or even to walk, if need be. And taking breaks to stretch and refill water and grab a snack is also 100% acceptable.
August is around the corner. I'd like to try another 7-miler and a couple more 10ks and 5-mile runs before jumping into that 8-mile goal. But you already know I'm trying to tack another mile on as we enter the new month. That means picking a morning, fueling well, hydrating well, and being a super friendly voice to myself to get the job done.
I mentioned this previously on my blog, but I truly do act as my best friend when I'm out there. It really is all a mental game, and I think being aware of phantom pains versus real pains is crucial. This cramp won't last, or oh, my knee feels sore? Better stretch. Fighting past feelings that might have made me give up in previous times in my life is what helps me feel most in-tuned with myself now. It's what makes me the proudest, week after week. Not just getting my mileage up, but being present with myself and guiding myself through another long run. Disciplining myself, showing up for myself. Forming a schedule and goals that work for me. It's something I can genuinely be super proud of, and it helps me build confidence in other areas of my life.
Before we go, I've love to share some influential people, podcasts, documentaries, etc. that always motivate me before I take on a new distance goal.
Cassia Tierney - Host of the 9 Lives Podcast and avid runner, Cassia is the sweetest soul I think I've found on Instagram. Her podcast is super sweet and relatable, and I love her openness about mental health alongside marathon preparation. She does a phenomenal job describing how well prioritizing herself, through running or whatever else, is the best way to feel connected to her true self. And I couldn't agree more. I highly recommend her pod.
Cody Ko - both his Cody Trains YouTube Channel and his Insanely Chill podcast. He uploads to his training YouTube channel every Monday. He was originally training for Iron Man, but he's since completed it and is training for an ultra marathon. His videos are always silly but encouraging! I love seeing the variety of sports involved in his training, like running, biking, and swimming. As for his podcast, I enjoy the episodes where he speaks with Danny Gonzalez, Jimmy Tatro, Jeff Wittek (those are more geared towards marathons and triathalons), and The Hardest Geezer (a man who's currently running the entire length of Africa. He just surpassed 100 days on his journey, of an estimated 247 days I believe). Lots of cool and motivating stories, and lots of goofing around as well.
Mark Lewis - an above average guy who shares different fitness challenges and insights on YouTube. I started watching him a day or two before my first 5k attempt in January. He's who inspired me to just give running a shot and to slowly watch my endurance improve. He's also super sarcastic and witty.
Courtney Dauwaulter - An ultra marathoner who's nothing short of phenomenal. There are a few documentaries showcasing some of her races on YouTube. She has a really refreshing view of the dreaded Pain Cave, where she encourages herself to reach that place of discomfort on her races and just sit with it and endure it. It only makes you stronger. It's better to learn to manage it than to try to avoid it.
Sally McRae - Sally is an ultra runner with a YouTube channel, but my favorite work that featured her was a Cocodona 250 race documentary I saw. She ensured so much pain and finished fourth of the women. She has such a sweet spirit and a ton of strength.
I hope you enjoyed this post! What goals do you have for this coming month? Keep on grinning!