I went back to the gym after a few months away to get back on the treadmill. I mean the dreadmill. No, just kidding, I love it.
When I was marathon training I did my maintenance runs at 10 minute mile pace, and did my speed training/interval runs at 8 minute mile pace. That was tough for me, but I finished my first marathon sub-five and thought maybe I would keep at the running thing. When I went back to the road for the nice spring weather, I threw pacing out the window and just did what felt manageable--usually starting out fast and gradually bottoming out from inability to breathe. It was not great.
To make it worse, I was training for a half marathon while traveling internationally and I was barely getting maintenance runs in. I felt like I needed to push myself to make gains and be halfway prepared to finish the half, but I put all hopes of a sub-two hour PR on ice, because I knew I just wasn't ready. I struggled to finish six miles the Thursday before my Saturday race.
Then the race happened and something clicked--I warmed up, I kept a consistent and sensible pace, I ended up averaging 8:35/mile and met my goal of a sub-two half while feeling fly. I was staggered by how easy it was. And when I went back to the treadmill this week, I started at a 8:00/mile and kept it there with ease for the whole 50-minute duration of my run.
I think I might be becoming a runner.
These are not things that I ever thought that I could do. Run a marathon. Set a PR goal for myself and meet it. Be able to run at a 8:00/mile pace and feel comfortable. I never thought I'd be logging twenty-mile weeks, or even be able to commit to running more than just once a week. I still hate running. Doesn't everyone? It is boring and it is painful. But it is downright addictive to watch your body get stronger and tougher, to experience the acculturation to the distance and impact and speed.
It makes me feel like growth is possible. I love House, M.D. and I so relate to the title character's mantra, "People never change." We have heaps of evidence that that is true, that humans are creatures of habit and that when change happens it often happens sloooowwwlyyy. But the act of trying something new and sticking with it and eventually seeing improvement, it is defiance to the bent of entropy, that maybe we can get stronger if we just try, and keep faith.
I'm not saying I'm a runner just yet, but I like the idea.