It’s no secret that I have a love/hate relationship with running. I still feel like a fraud because I’m so damned inconsistent with my running. It’s been hard to get back in the groove since Ragnar and Live Ultimate with Wild Boy but wow, did the run the run that ended FitBloggin‘ 2014 change my world.
Every FitBloggin’ ends with a run – a 1 miler, a 5K or a 10K. Last year, I met one of my favorite people, Carrie@FamilyFitnessFood, during the 5K. We were both taking it a little slow and wound up chatting most of the way so in my mind, it was a successful run. I planned on running the 5K this year until it was announced that the 10K route was going to be over the Savannah Bridge (I love me some bridges) and was going to be paced by Jeff Galloway!
Yeah, that Jeff Galloway, the Olympian, official Training Consultant for the runDisney race series, Runner’s World columnist and developer of the Run-Walk-Run method. Jeff gave a pep talk to all the runners before we set out to do our runs and took pictures with everyone who asked.
Leading up to the run, I was nervous. I tried to get Shannyn@FrugalBeautiful to join me on the 10K but she chose the 5K instead. I did get her and the lovely Kelly@NoThanksToCake to take a quick selfie with me before we all went on our separate runs though.
The 10K started with a large group but those quick ladies like Allie@VitaTrain4Life, Sarah@RunFarGirl and Jesica@rUnladylike left a small group that got to actually run (well, Run-Walk-Run) with Jeff and his lovely wife Barb for an entire 10K distance.
Stephanie@FoodFitness4Real and I were absolutely geeked out at our good fortune to actually cover a distance with the Galloways. I had never purposefully done the Run-Walk-Run method (vs. the run and then take walk breaks when I can’t keep up the pace) and I’ll admit that I was a bit hesitant to try it. Running has always fueled a “don’t stop” attitude in me that makes me feel bad when I need to walk. However, when Jeff told me that he has been using Run-Walk-Run without injury for over 30 years, I figured there must be something to it (especially with as many times as I’ve been injured).
Our Run-Walk-Run intervals were for 15 seconds each. I was surprised that the short bursts of power alternated with periods of light recovery allowed for what felt like greater sustained effort for a longer period of time. The sustained effort certainly came in extra handy when the Savannah Bridge offered this course:
I’ve done my fair share of bridge runs but this one was definitely steep. I felt the intimidation creep in when I saw that the top of the bridge was touching clouds (look at the photo again)! It certainly didn’t help matters that it was ridiculously warm and swampy humid at 7:30 in the morning.
I kept at the Run-Walk-Run pace and at one time I was running in step with Jeff and asked him for his advice about running up hills. He said to try to almost not have your feet touch the ground, to glide a little. We chatted and ran and chatted and ran. As we ran, I heard Kate Bush singing in my head “be running up that road, be running up that hill“.
Savannah’s a beautiful city and I’m so glad that I got the chance to see some of these amazing views while running up the bridge (why I didn’t take any coming down, I’ll never know).
I ran a good portion of the way back with Jeff’s wife, Barb, and we talked about running, our children and about the research about how regular exercise (including running) has proven positive effects on the brain. I don’t often get the chance to run with someone and I forgot how much different it is to run and have a meaningful conversation with another person (I talk plenty to myself while I run).
Before I knew it, we were back at the hotel just about 6.2 miles later. When I looked at how much time elapsed, I noticed the time was slower than my normal 10K – but not by much. What was different though was the way that I felt. I felt great! My back was a tiny bit achy but that was it! It sounds ridiculous but a tiny ache was nothing compared to my recent after run feelings (crap would sum those feelings up nicely).
I got back inside the hotel for breakfast and I couldn’t contain myself. I was overwhelmed with how good I felt. Maybe it’s a little too self-congratulatory, but I was ridiculously proud of myself for not only completing this unexpected 10K (in the crazy heat and humidity – thank goodness for cloud cover) but for finishing it strong! I was a jumble of emotions that I actually had to go to the bathroom and cry a little bit. I‘ve been known to cry on my runs but not necessarily after them.
This 10K has changed me. I went on a modified Run-Walk-Run 5 miler after FitBloggin’ and I felt great! For a long time I’ve been battling some running demons and maybe adopting a Run-Walk-Run style will be the shift I need – both physically and emotionally.
There’s a half marathon out there waiting for me. I’ve trained for 4 half marathons in as many years and injury has given me a DNS for all of them. Maybe 2014 will be my half marathon year, you never know.
What’s your running ritual that keeps you motivated?