I use this saying a lot when it comes to my weight loss. Every week brings with it different challenges to face and it is just not possible – or healthy – to lose weight every single week. There will be gains, losses, and some weeks where you just maintain. Progress, not perfection.
This also applies to running. There are some mornings I head out the door at 6am and feel like I’m running through mud and wonder what the heck is going on. Or there are days where I feel like I’m running on air. Every single time I get out there and run, I am getting a little bit better. It could be a matter of being one second better. It could be minutes better. I feel like I learn something new every time I run. It’s the times when I am not thinking about the actual act of running that seem to be the best. Why? Because it means I’m just letting it happen.
I ran briefly in 2006 for weight loss. So briefly, in fact, that I almost don’t count it. I ran again off and on in 2011. January 2012 became the start of this running life that I have grown to love. It was the year of my first official 5K, half marathon, and 8k. I faced sciatica head on and healed from it in time to run my second half marathon. I also did my first mud run. Progress, not perfection.
Yesterday morning, I ran my fastest 3 miles ever. My average pace for those 3 miles was 9:37. Was it easy? No, but it wasn’t so hard that I couldn’t keep it up or finish. I know what an accomplishment those three miles were for me and I started thinking a lot about how far I have come since that very first 5K I did in January 2012 and even the 5K I did this past February on my birthday. And that, makes me feel strong.
Despite how much I hate math, I really am a numbers person just for the simple fact that I love seeing patterns, improvement, and comparisons. So much so that I made this nifty little visual to share with you.
HUGE difference in my times since that first 5K, and even since February of this year. And while I know I am not totally comparing apples to apples here since my run yesterday was 3.01 and not 3.11, it’s darn close and still a major improvement.
Who knows what will happen on my next run. It may be closer to an 11:00 average pace. Will it lessen the thrill for me? No. It’s the way running is. But my body will never stop benefitting from me getting out there and pushing it. I have high hopes for my next half marathon, I really do. The difference in my running since the spring is evident. And it’s this difference that I see here in black and white that motivates me to keep going.
Progress… Not perfection.
How long were you running when you noticed huge improvements in your time, pace, etc…?
This morning started dark and early at the Memorial bridge in Clearwater for a nice run over the causeway. I enjoy running around my neighborhood during the week, but Sunday is probably my favorite because I have the time to take my run somewhere else. After finally making it back to the bridge three weeks ago, it has become our go-to spot on Sunday mornings before most of the world is awake.
There is something about running before the sun comes up over the water. Running over a bridge that used to intimidate the heck out of you. To run over it and feel strong and like you own it. Every week is different, some are slower than others, sometimes you wonder if the bridge grew taller since the last time you ran it, and sometimes you feel like a rock star.
I don’t listen to music when I run over the bridge. I used to need the distraction of music when I was running. Not any more. It’s just me, my breath, my thoughts, and the clarity that I have when I am running. Who needs music and distraction when you have this kind of view?
Since starting back at the bridge on Sundays, I’ve had to fight to get back over the bridge the second time. The first time hasn’t been hard, but running back over it has gotten the best of me and I’ve had to walk part of it. But not today. Today I ran over it both ways. That bridge will not get the best of me.
Not my best time, but still one to be proud of. Average pace of 11:10 with bridges and stopping twice for a couple pictures. I’ll take it. With every run over that bridge, I will get stronger. I will.
Sunday run day is my favorite.
What is your favorite day to run? Do you have a favorite spot to run?
I have not been out to Memorial Causeway to run the bridge since May. After the Iron Girl Half, we went out a couple times. After driving over the causeway the other day for work, I realized I missed running it and decided I would head back out there this weekend. I asked hubby last night if he’d go out with me before the sun came up this morning and being the supportive husband he is, he agreed.
We left our house at 5:50 this morning and were parked and starting our run at 5:59. It was so quiet out there and the bridge was was so pretty, all lit up. I admit I was nervous to run over it after no doing so for a couple months. Would I be able to do it as I had before?
I ran over it just fine and it felt great. Up and over the bridge I went at a pretty good pace. After passing the light that is about halfway over the causeway, I turned around to head back. I caught up with hubby who is dealing with knee pain and I walked for about a minute with him. As I approached the bridge, I said bye to hubby and took off running again, hoping to make it over as well as I did the first time.
I ended up having to walk twice as I ran up it. It was a good reminder of how important it is to keep up my bridge runs and build up that endurance again that I had before. Once I hit the top of the bridge, I ran down and finished up my 3.11 miles.
Even though I walked a couple times, I still finished a little faster than the last time I ran it. I attribute this to the fact that my running is faster and more consistent on flat surfaces now so I made up time there.
All in all, I’m very happy with this morning’s run and it just makes me want to get out there and run the bridge more often.
After some stretching, hubby and I went to Starbucks and enjoyed our drinks on the patio where Frank Sinatra music played. I could have sat there all day listening to it… It made me feel like my dad was there with us. On our way to the car, I couldn’t resist taking a picture of one of the dolphins they have downtown. I love dolphins and this one was so pretty. It even has ladybugs on it!
It was a very nice morning. Any time I can get a run in, burn calories, spend time with hubby, have coffee, listen to Frank Sinatra, and see a pretty painted dolphin is a great start to my day.
How often do you run bridges? Is it a part of your regular training?
On the 4th of July, hubby and I went to hot yoga class in the morning since we were both off work. They only had one class since it was a holiday and it was PACKED. When I was going before, at the most there would be 15 or 16 people in class. Everyone would be nice and spread out. Thursday’s class had 37 people. We were all close together to make room for everyone who came in. And of course, the more people in the room, the hotter it was even on top of the normal heat. Imagine a room full of 37 bodies, all breathing deeply, inhaling and exhaling, holding poses, and working hard. It. Was. Hot. But, I loved every sweaty second of it. I left there sweatier than I had ever left there before and promptly tweeted this picture. Poor hubby looks spent. I was proud of him for going with me!
Holy sweat fest. 60 minutes of hot yoga, 37 people in class. Juiciest class ever.
Of course when we left, I was immediately reminded how much I miss going. I have a LivingSocial deal I still need to use, I’m just trying to time it so I get the most use out of my unlimited month. It will just take some planning and juggling. I need to go. I want to go. Thursday was a very clear reminder of that. Back in February, I wrote a post titled Be Present, which I thought of during class. Somehow, I am able to let everything go for that hour, much like when I’m running, and live in the moment.
I was actually surprised at how smoothly I did in class. We were in the back row so I couldn’t really see myself in the mirror which has always been a good tool for me. It all came back to me and for the most part, I was able to do all the same poses I could before. I am down 8 or 9 pounds since the last time I went and that made a difference as well. One of my favorite poses in class, besides the obvious Savasana, is eagle pose (Garudasana).
Source: Yoga Journal
One day I hope to be able to wrap my foot around my calf like in the picture. I’m not there yet, but I love the stretch in the upper body and the strength in the standing leg. It is a strong pose. Before class, I was speaking with the owner Karen about hot yoga in the summertime and was reminded of the article she shared recently. There are many benefits to continuing your practice in the summer. Take a minute to read her article to learn about these benefits and read the tips she shares for a summer practice. Great Reasons & Tips for practicing Hot Yoga in the Summertime
Have you taken hot yoga in the summer? How do you feel hot yoga benefits you?
When it seems like everything is going wrong, or there is too much stress, it is easy to fall victim to negative thinking. I hate negative thinking and I try my best to not do it because you can always find something to be positive about. Today seems like a good day to share what I am currently thankful for…
- I am always thankful for my hubby. We both work so hard and sometimes our real time together is few and far between. Last week our quick getaway was perfect timing and very much needed. We need to find a way to do that more often.
- I am thankful for the ability to run. I need to run and every time I get out there, I am so happy to be able to. It’s been almost a year since my sciatica and those 6 weeks or so that I could hardly move, let alone run, were absolutely miserable. You know that saying…. One day I won’t be able to run. Today is not that day. One of the many reasons I run…. Because I can.
- I am thankful for the confidence I have found this year. I am naturally shy and this blog has really helped me come out my shell and not question my abilities as much as I have in the past. I have met some pretty fabulous people and I’ve done things that take me out of my comfort zone, like speaking at the WW Live Life Active event.
- I am thankful for coffee. It seems trivial, but I am being serious. Coffee is a wonderful thing and in my world, it’s absolutely necessary. No coffee, no workee.
- I am thankful for my strengths. I know that I am a strong-willed woman and I have goals and I am determined. My husband says I am stubborn, and maybe I am. But I am not afraid to stand up for what I believe, fight for what I want, and bust my butt to reach my goals.
What are you thankful for today?