After my 3rd MAF test last week, I was really hoping to start seeing some improvements during my weekday runs. I was also looking forward to maximizing my last week of funemployment. As a result, I ran 3 days in a row – something I don’t usually do – and came up with less than stellar results. For example:
Tuesday: 5.3 miles at 11:19/mile (vs. previous week, when I ran 5.4 miles at 11:07/mile)
Wednesday: 5.18 miles at 11:35/mile
Thursday (Lake Chabot): 4.94 miles at 12:09/mile (vs. previous week, 5.07 miles at 11:50)
This is not the trend I was hoping for. I’m not sure if I’m truly plateauing or if I’m fatigued or what, but it definitely doesn’t look like I’m progressing. After seeing significant improvement, especially in the first month of MAF training, I became pretty “addicted” to consistently seeing faster times each week. I know it’s normal for the rate of progress to slow down, but I guess I felt like (and still feel like) I have quite a bit of ways to go before I plateau.
Anyway, all of this got me thinking about how, just a few months ago, I was run-walking and *hoping* to finish the San Francisco 1st Half Marathon before the cut-off. I’ve come a long way since then, but I’m already taking my fitness for granted. I got caught up in my ego and lost sight of the important things — that I’m back to running 1-2 hours at a time with no pain. I wrapped up September with 93 miles of running, my highest total monthly mileage for the last 5 months. I always say that I’m in this sport for the long run (pun intended), but instead I find myself focusing on the immediate payoffs. When will I get faster? When can I PR? When will I get back to 10:00/mile easy runs again?
My point is that I was getting so caught up in my lack of progress that it was actually sucking the joy and fun out of my runs. I had gotten very dependent on seeing weekly improvements that I forgot the important stuff. And for what? Running is my hobby, not a career. Yes, I’m dedicated to becoming a better runner, but at what cost? And I don’t even have a race coming up! What’s the rush? The answer goes back to my ego, my pride. It’s time to focus on the long-term goals – running healthy for as long as I possibly can, at whatever pace that may be.
One bright spot in my running week happened on Saturday, when I met up with friends at the Chabot Staging Area to check out Ramage Peak Trail, part of the EBMUD property. Cathryn, Jess, Angela, and I planned to run, while Layla and Kristen (with baby E in carrier) hiked. I had never been on this trail before and there isn’t much information about it. I found a very informative post from Sarah Lavender Smith’s blog — and I have to agree with her, in that I hesitate to write about this trail because I’d like to keep it secret. It’s so beautiful and isolated, yet easy to get to. We didn’t see any other people out there, but we did see a snake and one very large cow! Without further ado, here are the photos:
We did an out-and-back on the Ramage Peak Trail for a total of about 6 miles at a very leisurely ~13-14 minute/mile pace — mostly due to the ~1300′ elevation gain on the way out, where we did a lot of hiking. We also stopped a lot to take photos and chit chat. Altogether, a very relaxing and fun morning!
Update: Cathryn also posted a recap of the run with more photos and info!