You know, I am the mother of two boys and it goes without saying that we've seen the movie Cars a million and one times. So anytime I say or think the word speed, my title phrase pops into my mind. I can't say that the topic has consumed me, but it's fair to say it's on my mind.
Just to clarify, I am referring to my lack of speed or maybe it's more of my loss of speed in the last few years. I fully realize that speed is all in the eye of the beholder. In terms of running & racing, speed is extremely relevant depending on who you are talking to or running/racing with. If you ask Ryan Hall about me, he'd likely say "WHO?" But if you ask Rob Buck he'd likely say "she is the best runner EVER". (ok, maybe not best ever, but he is quite the supporter & "fan", check out his blog!) More than likely those reading this will not know one or both of the people I just mentioned. So it's fair to say I'm no Olympic or nationally known runner, but I fair quite well within the local/area spectrum.
Anyway, I've been running since I was 10 or so. I don't remember exactly when I started. I was a kid. Who doesn't run as a kid?!?!?! I've just always been running. Anyway, I had speed and didn't know it. Or realize it. Or really didn't believe that me & my speed could do awesome things. So I sat in the backseat and let other peers do awesome things with their speed. There was a short period of time where I began to believe that I could really be good at running. All it took was a newbie freshman team mate who thought I was all that & a bag of chips. So I began to believe and try and work at this. I was right on the verge of becoming one of the best. In an instant though, all it took was a cutting remark from another team mate who told me "I would NEVER be a good runner" and it all faded away. (This is all part of a much bigger, soon to be released post, that details more of my personal history and why I am they way I am).
It wasn't until I left home & joined that Army that my potential was released. Heck ya, they believed that I was awesome. For the first time in my life someone believed in me & my running awesomeness. However, my choice to have a family outweighed anything else I wanted, running or not. And that is not a bad thing. I would not give back any one of my children to gain anything in the running field. So as quickly as my running began to take off, my life changed course and never went back to being the same. I spent my prime running years giving birth to many precious gifts from God and making my life with Jim. Not to mention with time I got *gasp* older. Neither is a ideal for improving my running skills. Surprisingly though I maintained my speed though out all those years.
As I mentioned in my previous post my running has drastically changed in the last 3 - 4 years. Everything from how, when, where & why I ran changed. My habits changed. My point of views changed. I would actually say I had learned a lot from those baby bearing years and had become a "mature" runner. (Not to be confused with being a know it all runner. Cause I don't have it all figured out or know it all!) Slowly, but surely I have seen MY speed slip away. (I put an emphasis on MY because I really am talking about comparing myself to myself. It is the only right & fair person to compare one's self to).
In many ways I am ok with getting slower. Sure some people can run a marathon just as fast as they can run a 5k and maintain that insane speed for 26.2 miles. Rest assured, I am not one of those people. So, the fact that I run 13.1 or 26.2 or 36 miles (my current longest run to date) at a slower pace than my 5k is O.K. with me. In fact, it makes perfect sense. So that means it would make sense that my training for such events would take on a slower pace. I saw a minute slip of my average time the first year. Now, looking back over this year I have seen yet another minute slip off my average pace. I'm not sure how to feel about this. Am I ok with this? Something tells me no. But what am I going to do about it?
Believe it or not, I think part of it is attributed to my ceasing of treadmill use. I actually think I need that bad boy to move me. To force me to move my legs at that faster speed. When I run outside I often run alone, I think that lack of accountability or someone challenging me has made it easy to settle back into my current pace. In fact, I know if I want to run at a faster pace, all I have to do is join up with some guys from a local running group & they will challenge & move me. Buuut, no offense guys, I like running with you, I really do, but I don't want to run with smelly male species that find amusement at how loud they can fart. I can only handle you so much. Now...give me a female running group that swaps birth stories, mothering tips and vent about their argument with their husband the previous night. Oh yeah. Bring it on. We do have some like that in our community, but they meet sporadically and not enough for what I need. So I'm constantly challenged in this area. Treadmill vs. outside. Running group vs. running alone. Men vs. woman. I'm not all or nothing in this area. I need a little bit of everything to keep me moving & challenged. Yet it seems to be a lot more all or nothing.
I've rambled on enough about my & my speed "issues". I'm trying to give you more insight of who I am. I'm not a surface type person. I go deep into who I am and if others let me, who they are. That's not easy to sum up in a few short sentences or paragraphs. So bear with me and I plunge deeper from time to time. I promise all my posts won't be this long & in depth.
Where my speed goes from here has me wondering. I have a planned 5k coming up. I'm interested to see if my whole I need a treadmill for speed theory will make a difference in this upcoming race. Until then, if you see me bouncing around, chanting things around speed, I'm just being my usual quirky self. Nothing wrong with that.