Thoughts on Running Faster

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  I know most people dread Monday’s, but even when I was working outside the home I kind of liked them.  It’s the start to a new week, new beginnings, and a chance to get back on track after the weekend fun.  Make today a great day, and the week will follow! 

I have been asked/had comments about why I’m running so much faster in such a short amount of time.  (Specifically from Sep of last year until now.  Last year was about qualifying for Half Fanatics, so I didn’t give pace much thought  until after the last half in Sep).  And, it got me to thinking Why am I running faster?  Since my goal this year is to PR every distance I run it would actually be good to know!   

Let’s be honest here, 9 to 8:30 minute miles (depending on how motivated I am) is not fast for some, but given that when I started running I was closer to 11:30-12 and for the longest time got stuck at 10, then yeah anything 9 or under is fast – For Me! 

 Sunrise from Saturday Morning’s run!
Here’s what I think:
Tuesday Night Run Group – It’s a fast group, and despite this being my fastest run of the week I’m still finishing towards the back, but it’s getting easier. 
-Tuesday Night/Wednesday Morning group runs – I torch my legs Tuesday night with speed then turn around and push the stroller Wednesday morning.  The two hardest runs of the week are back-to-back so to speak.  It probably goes against “proper” training wisdom but there is something to be said for pushing 40 to 50 lbs on already tired legs.  It’s a great workout!  
-Conventional training says that the first run after your long run should be slow and easy.  My long runs happen on the weekends and then the next run I do is the speedy Tuesday night run. 
-I’m inevitable going to get as fast as I naturally can just by running more.  Without speed work, or putting ton’s of effort or thought into pace I know that the more I run the more I naturally speed up.  
-Good Form Running has made a huge difference.  It makes it way easier to be comfortable being uncomfortable (from an exertion standpoint) when I’m pushing the pace.  
-adidas Energy Boost – Some people say shoes don’t matter, I’m here to tell you they do!  Now that I’m in the right shoe I feel like I can run as fast I want for as long as I want.  It’s not true…yet.  But, I’m a more confident runner in the Boost than any other shoe, and feel like I can hit my 1/2 goal this year!
-I have given myself the freedom to run alone.  In no way is this a reflection of those I run with…I know that every single one of them could run faster than I can on any given day.  The fact is there is some freedom when you run alone.  I can run how I want, the time of day I want, and I can focus on what my needs are.  I don’t have to worry about if someone else is having a good day, needs to take it easy, has an injury etc.  It may sound selfish, but I get to focus on me, my running, my pace and I can make myself as uncomfortable as I want to and not feel bad about it.  I have never done this before, but I’m picking specific races to run alone, and will do all the training runs alone.  Or, if someone does want to join me I will be upfront about the pace I’ll be running and that I won’t be adjusting my training or pace.      
-I’m a social runner, despite the previous bullet point, I prefer to run with friends or in a group.  So, while I will be pushing myself I will also be taking breaks here and there.  Right now my race schedule is more social than PR attempts.  I have a few fun/social races taking place during training for the 1/2 I’m going to PR…it’s all about balance and not losing my love of running!
-I foam roll, stretch, and get massages as needed.  I’m staying on top of injury prevention and when things do pop up I’m quick to get it taken care of. 
-It took a few years for me to feel like a runner, and I think I spent a lot of time underestimating what I’m capable of.  I feel great about where I’m at in my running life, I have a training schedule that I know works for me, and I’m enjoying pushing the pace to an uncomfortable level and seeing how long I can maintain it.  I’m stronger mentally with my running and just more confident overall.    
Are you a social runner, or solo runner?
What are your running goals this year?

Loving My Running Life!!!

I actually have a DIY project, and decoration challenge/solution to share, but first I must share the awesome little run I had today! 

Numbers are a love hate thing for me when it comes to running, and health in general.  On one hand numbers are the proof positive way to determine gains/losses, improvement/declines, strength/weakness, winners/losers etc.  On the other hand, numbers can lead to a lot of judgments and comparisons from others, and from ourselves.  

When I mention numbers it’s not really to say look how amazing I am, or how fast I am, it’s really just a reference point for how far I’ve come.  I started out running 12’ish minute miles (which was really hard for me) and felt content with that.  So, it’s shocking to look at the Garmin and see anything under 10 min miles. 

Today I saw sub 9!  Not only that, but I felt good, like I could keep going at that pace for much longer than I did!  I stopped after 2.3, because I was hitting the uphill section to get back to the house, and needed to stretch out the hip (it feels awesome while running except for hills) before taking on the hill from the lake back up through the college.

Since the first two miles were in the 8’s I thought I would take the last, mostly uphill, mile home easy and comfortable.  Ummm, since when was anything under 10 easy and comfortable?  Again I’m shocked to find that my comfortable, I feel like I can do this forever, pace is getting closer and closer to a 9 minute mile!  I’m loving this whole running thing! 

On to my nap-time projects from yesterday! 

Does anyone else have a huge, ugly electric panel just out in the open with no idea how to make it look nice?  We do!  It’s in the dinning room, and while our dinning room is super casual it’s still not nice to look at.  So I came up with this solution…

    Great use of 4×4 instagram prints!
Mark actually has a great idea to cover it up by extending the curtain rod/curtain past the window to cover it up, and make it look like the window is much bigger than it is.  But, I know it will take us some time to find new curtain’s and rods, so this is my solution until then. 
Any other A Beautiful Mess blog followers out there?  If you don’t follow them, you should!  So creative and colorful and just fun!  Check em out HERE !
I got the idea from THIS  post to mod podge my instagram photos to a 12×12 canvas!  I had run out of room on the refrigerator for all my instagram prints, so needed to figure out something to do with them.     
Vacation canvas above and Sky canvas below.

Since they print 4×4 a 12×12 canvas should fit 9 pics perfectly.  It doesn’t by the way, they hang over the edges a bit and overlap each other.  But in theory it should work.  Anyway, they didn’t turn out as awesome as I had hoped they would.  It looks ok, but I’m not in love with the final outcome.  Not sure how much I like working with mod podge, and how it looks painted over the pics.  I would maybe cut the borders off all the pics and if there was any canvas showing between the pics use colored sharpies to add jot’s of color between the pictures.  I don’t know though that I will try this project again to see if that would look good or not.  If you give it a go let me know!   

I do love this little project though…

…since I only had two black and white prints I got 4×4 canvases and mod podged a picture to each one.  There are miniature easels you can get for the 4×4 canvases for easy display.  So cute! 
Any DIY success or disasters to share? 
Running plans this weekend?
I want to get a 5 to 7 mile run in, but just depends on the weekend goes.  When I don’t have a race on the books I try and spend as much time with my babe and baby as possible.  We will be at Graces first finish line Saturday night!!!  So excited to see her finish her very first race!
Have a great weekend!