Slow and Steady

It’s no secret that I’ve been out of my groove for a while now. You can see it in my training log. You can see it in my kitchen. You can see it around the house. And you can see it in this space.

I could rattle off a ridiculously long list of reasons excuses for this. But rather than burden you with those details, I’ll just share the one common thread:

I am plagued with impatience.

As soon as I get an idea in my head, I have to have it. Now. Nevermind the dedication and hard work it takes to be ready to run a half-marathon on a moment’s notice; to plan a week’s worth of scrumptious home-cooked meals, much less cook them all; to make healthy food choices a way of life; to re-design a blog; to decorate a house so that it feels like home; to carve out a rewarding career path; or to sustain meaningful relationships.

When did this happen? How did I get this way? Why am I still surprised by it? I resolved to make being present my theme of the year. Yet, here I am back in the mindset of wanting to hit fast-forward and get to the perceived “good part.”

Fresh out of excuses – and pants that fit comfortably – and with several races looming – it’s time to roll up my sleeves and get back to work. Last week, I dusted off my sneaks, charged up my Garmin, and set out on a mission.

On Thursday morning, I ran a 5k in the ‘hood. I started off nice and easy, checking in with my joints, my shoulders, and my breathing to make sure all systems were a GO. “Hey, I know how to do this!” my body said. So, I decided to crank things up to my good old “easy pace,” around an 8:50-9:00 minute mile. My body laughed at me. I dialed back the pace until I was in my easy heart rate zone. (You remember my love for HR-based training, right?) In the end, my 3.1 mile run took me exactly 31 minutes.

Over the weekend, I got in some trail-running miles. One of my favorite things about the trail is that I don’t even bother looking at pace. That I’m slow is a given. But, dang, it’s a serious workout! You’re always going up or going down, and with a whole host of obstacles, there isn’t a single second that you can zone out. It’s exhausting. And, some most days, I have no idea how I’m going to be ready for a 20k next month!

This morning, I ran 4 miles. I could tell that even just the few runs I’ve done recently are helping. By mile 2, I actually felt good and was verbal thanks to my running partner. (Go Team Bedell!) It took 40 minutes. Are you noticing a trend on pace? Sheesh!

Once upon a time, I had trouble justifying a 3-4 mile run. “Why get up early for less than 30 minutes?,” I’d say. Now, this thing that used to come so easily and was such a part of I am is a real challenge. And knowing that can be disheartening. But I also have the benefit of knowing how great I feel at the end of a 10+ mile run or a 40+ mile week. I didn’t get to my prior level of fitness overnight, just like I didn’t get to my current state of non-fitness overnight.

Impatience has no place here.

I will stop being discouraged. I will stop being embarrassed. I will stop letting the need for hard work hold me back.

Slow and steady may not win the race. But it’s the only way to be ready for race day and claim your reward.

 

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About Beth

Wife, daughter, big sis, aunt, friend, attorney, runner, cyclist, amateur chef & aspiring photographer. Thanks for keeping up with my life on the run!
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