Tempo Run

So many of my last posts have been all about Alexandra and that makes sense because that’s where most of my time is spent and all of my priorities are. Today though, I had a really good run. Well, actually it was a great run, so I want to write about that.

I was disappointed that I had to cancel my last race because Alexandra was sick, but I knew without a doubt it was the right decision. It kind of left me with this feeling of uncertainty. I wondered if I should just be content this next year to just get runs in rather than set some unrealistic goals and expectations that would surely get me feeling down if I couldn’t meet them. I thought maybe I should learn how to run for the enjoyment of running, the stress relief and the general health benefits rather than run myself ragged going after some crazy goal while surviving on such little sleep and unpredictability. I didn’t like it. I’m not really one of those runners that runs only for the reasons I mentioned above. I run for those reasons too, but that’s not what really gets me out the door on a lousy day. I run to chase down dreams; those that are realistic, those that certainly aren’t (but are fun to think about or help you finish that last repeat), to push myself and see just how much I can do.

So today I had planned to do a 7 mile run and just yesterday decided to throw a 4 mile tempo in the middle of it. I didn’t check my work calendar before hand though and realized that I had a meeting from 11-12 and another one from 1-2:30 and I knew I had to pump breastmilk somewhere in there! I thought about running shorter and saving the workout for the next day but for some reason I really, really wanted to do the workout today. Maybe I needed it mentally, or physically or something. Last week was incredibly hard with Alexandra being sick. She didn’t sleep well at night at all which meant that neither did Tim or I. I was exhausted. When Saturday night rolled around and she went down for the night at 9 I thought that Tim and I would have some time to spend together and I couldn’t keep my eyes open past 9:30.

We were also getting used to a new routine that goes something like this:

after 1-3 feedings during the night:

5:00 am Tim gets up to go run
5:30 am feed Alexandra and put her back to sleep, get up and take shower and get ready
6:45 am get Alexandra up and ready for daycare
7:15 out the door (Tim to drop off Alexandra, me to work)
8:00- work
9:30 pump
11:30 run
12:30 lunch at my desk while I read emails
1:30 pump
4:30 pump
5:00 head home
5:45 get home and try to wash my pump supplies before Tim and Alexandra get home
5:55 Alexandra gets home, quickly take her upstairs and give her a bath (this is to try to get her over her current cold and wash other germs she may have picked up at daycare that day—it may be a futile effort but I feel better thinking I’m trying)
6:15 Tim takes Alexandra and I make dinner
6:30-7:00 Tim and I eat in shifts
7:00 I take Alexandra while Tim cleans up dinner and washes her bottles from that day, gets his running/work stuff ready for the next day
8:00 Tim takes Alexandra while I prepare new bottles for the next day, then I pack my workout bag for the next day and get my clothes for work ready
8:30 give Alexandra her Ranitidine for reflux
9:00 last feeding then put Alexandra down for the night

Yikes! No wonder we’re all exhausted. Notice how there’s not really any downtime for Tim or me until Alexandra goes to bed at 9 pm and then usually we’re so tired we just go to bed too!

So I think I NEEDED this run. I think I craved it. It was something that was just for me and allowed me to feel like my own person again instead of Alexandra’s food and comfort source. Not that I mind being those things one bit…but I KILLED today’s workout and it felt flippin awesome!

I was a little nervous on the warm up. My last workout was the Tuesday before and I got rained on and it started to thunderstorm so I had to stop and finish it on the treadmill so it just didn’t leave me with the satisfaction that comes with perfect execution. The week before I attempted a workout and couldn’t finish it. That was a huge letdown. It shattered my confidence. I was afraid that if I couldn’t do today’s workout it would shatter it even more and I would run horrible in Saturday’s 5K. However, I knew that if it went really well it would give me a much needed confidence boost going into Saturday so I decided it was worth the risk.

It was just a 4 mile tempo. After my warm up I started going fast and it felt hard at first but I soon found the right rhythm and was chugging along right on pace. It felt good. Comfortably hard, precisely what a tempo is supposed to feel like, though I admit when I thought about continuing that pace for 4 miles it seemed daunting. So I told myself to just focus on the current mile. Just try to hit the paces for this mile and that seemed easy enough. The second mile also seemed kind of hard but I surprised myself at the end by picking up the pace and finishing a little faster than I was supposed to. I tried to get back on pace in the third mile but I felt so good that I eventually just went with it. The last mile felt great and I was still ahead of pace by a good 15 seconds. I knew I couldn’t let it slip in the last half. It started to get hard but I pushed myself and I must say that it felt good!

I can’t look out into the future with certainty about how I think Saturday’s 5K will go. Much of it depends on what happens at home this week. But today, I feel great about this workout and I’m holding on to that. Maybe I won’t be at the level I was 2 summer’s ago, but I still have that drive and I will get there eventually. Oh yeah and my 7 miles only took me 48 minutes so I still had time to take a quick shower, stretch a little and eat a really quick lunch at my desk before my next meeting! I’m learning that life with a child means that it’s the little victories that get you through those trenches!

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