Feed on

It’s twelve days now since my first ever 5K (3.1 miles), and I’ve run an additional 22 miles and counting. I’ve switched now from the No Boundaries Tuesday and Thursday group that met at Fleet Feet to the regular Monday and Wednesday fun run group. This experience has proven to be simultaneously humbling, confidence building, and expensive.

The Humbling Part:

My first venture out I had my tush absolutely handed to me. These runs are advertised as “for all distances and abilities”, but the truth is that it’s for toned and half-naked twenty and thirty-somethings who run 5 full, hilly miles in 30-40 minutes. One look at the shirtless guy contingent and the blond-ponytail brigade nearly sent me (no pun intended) running for the hills. These are not my people! Then, no sooner had I left the store the first night with two brave No Boundaries alumnae than the core group shot off at twice our speed. It’s not that we got passed. It’s not even that we got passed by someone who had to stop, let her dog poop, and clean up the mess. It’s that we got passed by such a wide margin that we couldn’t see where the group was going to follow them. So we laughed and did the 3-mile route I knew. We reckoned that being lapped was less embarrassing than getting lost.

The next night out, only Sarah arrived. She had her baby daughter with her, and the two of us committed to run/walking the full five miles. Before we left the store, we had the forethought to ask for a map. We ran about 3.5 miles and walked the rest. Everyone who passed us on the way back—and the key word here is “everyone”, as in everyone passed uswas very supportive, especially all the women old enough to have pushed strollers themselves. They knew how hard it was to push that sucker up and over the park hills and made us feel good about finishing regardless of our time or how much we had to stop and walk. Regardless of how well intentioned the cheering was, it almost made the experience more humbling.

The Confidence Building Part:

The following Saturday, my long run day, I was scheduled to do 3.75 or 4 miles.  But that “fun run” course was haunting me, so I put on my summer gear, threw caution and the 10% rule* to the wind, and determined to finish the whole course. I did, but the last half mile or so was hard. Then Tuesday I ran the entire course again, and the last half mile wasn’t so hard. Yesterday I did the same and had my best run ever. For the first time, I had no calf or quad stiffness the first two miles and no sore knees the next day.

So what made the difference?

The Expensive Part:

I changed shoes. Yesterday’s run was sponsored by Saucony, and everyone was welcome to pick a shoe model, grab a pair in their size, and take them out for a trial run. I chose a minimalist shoe because it looked cool and ran narrow, and I joked that I’d come back crippled. Instead, I had the easiest run ever, even though I ran the full five miles and pushed myself to pick up the pace for the last half mile or so. The only explanation that makes sense is that I feel the ground beneath me better in this shoe, get better arch support, and am running with a better form as a result. I appreciate its lightness, too.

How superior was the Saucony Mirage? So much so that, despite putting a moratorium on shopping, I bought its cousin the Kinvara today. The Kinvara is even more minimalist, which makes me slightly nervous, but it runs quite narrow and has the most comfortable lacing system. I’ll learn tomorrow how slowly I need to ease into them. Assuming all goes well, tomorrow will also mark my first 20-mile week, up from 10 only two short weeks ago.

Sometime soon, I have to decide what my next goal is. Do I stop at 10K and work on speed? Or, and I feel crazy even typing this, train for a half marathon? Frankly, both options are so out of character for me that I might as well decide if I next want to be an astronaut or a paratrooper.

*The general rule is that you increase your distance no more than 10% per week. This rule is considered especially important for runners over 40.

One Response to “No Boundaries: No Spending Limits”

  1. blg says:

    You go girl!!!

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