Hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!
Saturday morning I completed my last long training run before the Fox Cities Half Marathon this month!! I ran with the PaceSetters, which is a local running group here. We had 11 miles on the schedule and though some miles were mentally tough, I did it! At about mile 9 it really hit me that I’m doing this and I’m going to do it well this time. Last year’s half was a bit of a disappointment because of my body, but this year I have new determination to not only finish, but finish strong. I’m pretty excited about the race on September 22nd. I tend to get overly excited during races where I just want to slap high fives with spectators and yell to everyone around me, “We’re doing it!!! We’re almost there!” I wish I could bottle that feeling, that sense of accomplishment I get during races.
The best part of my run was meeting a new running buddy (keep finding new ones at every run :)), Debbie. We were both keeping a 9:30 min/mile pace and just fell into sync next to each other. We ran and talked the last three miles together. I learned that Debbie has been running for 20+ years and has completed 12 half marathons. She took second in her age group last year at the Fox Cities Half Marathon. I was guessing her age to be in the later 40s…only to find out she’s 61! I couldn’t believe how great she looks! When we finished our run, Debbie mentioned every run she writes down someone’s name and runs one mile for them, every mile except for that last one that is. Debbie said, “That mile is always for me.”
Running is so much more than running. Running gives you a connection to other runners, an understanding that you’re a fighter, you’re driven, you’re willing to put effort into something, you’re willing to keep going even if it’s difficult. A running mindset, that I can accomplish my goals if I just keep trying, can be applied to many facets of our lives. That’s what I love about running. Debbie noted running helped her through many difficult times in her life and I can relate. I had just met Debbie and already felt open enough to discuss my mom’s passing and she shared that she lost her mom when she was 20. We all have heard the phrase, “Running is cheaper than therapy.” True that.
After my training run, I took advantage of the physical therapists they had on hand. I mentioned to the PT that I have been having hip pain once I get about 6 miles into my longer runs. I have ben trying to strengthen my hips (i.e., Centergy classes) and increase my cadence. She questioned how I increase my cadence. Honestly, I just try to think about taking short, quick steps and repeat in my head to “pick up you feet, pick up your feet.” (Read more about cadence and good form running here) She checked my hip alignment which was good. Then she checked my glute strength. I’ve been so focused on strengthening my hips, I didn’t think about my glutes being weak. Sure enough, when she asked me to resist while she pushed, I folded like a weakling. I have a weak butt! She recommended resistance band exercises and doing plank jacks.
We spent the rest of our weekend at my parent’s cottage on the lake soaking up the last sun of summer.
Tomorrow is the first day of school for the kiddos, so I’m back to working full time. After a summer full of running, getting my body on track, farmer’s markets, trips, and seeing friends/family, I’m ready for the challenge of a new school year. I haven’t been present for a first day of elementary school yet, so I’m looking forward to the excitement!
Enjoy the rest of your labor day!