Last week I was struggling on my runs. I felt tired and even easy runs just felt hard. Looking back, I realized that the daily stresses in life can impact my training. There were some stresses I was dealing with which I don’t care to divulge, but needless to say, I had a lot going on the past few weeks and I was feeling it on my runs.
Last Thursday, I hopped on a plane to Nashville to meet my sweet new niece. This was the second trip I had taken away from my toddler and the first time to travel alone in nearly two years. For those of you who don’t have kids yet, traveling with kids requires a lot of work and gear and can be quite challenging! So, when I checked my bag and had some time to leisurely read my book and sip a cup of coffee in the terminal, everything felt strangely peaceful.
Spending time with my sister and her new baby was so nice and relaxing. We watched marathon episodes of Americas Next Top Model, Project Runaway and several other mindless tv shows that I never take time to watch. We read our books, got a pedicure, and I had time to run every morning while the sun was out. Normally, I’m finishing up my weekly runs as the sun is coming up. So it was nice to actually have time to run during the light of day.
My sister lives in an extremely hilly part of Nashville. Normally, I do my best to find flat parts of the neighborhood and run the same loop to avoid those awful hills. However, I decided to mentally break through the rut I was having, embrace a new challenge, and tackle the hills. I needed to prove to myself that I could run them. So, I did. I normally am constantly checking my Garmin throughout my runs to keep my pace in check. But this time, I decided only to look at my watch at the end of each mile so I knew how much further I had to run. I wanted to step back, take on a new challenge, and run without focusing on the numbers or my speed. When I checked my watch at the end of each run, I felt great about the pace I was able to maintain, all the while tacking the hills!
Friday: 5 miles/39/7:50 average pace
Saturday: 7 miles/56/8:01 average pace
Sunday: 3 miles/33/8:11 average pace
When I returned to New Orleans and was greeted my the smells and humidity of the city, I realized that sometimes I just need a little change in scenery, or perhaps just a little change in the schedule, to stay motivated on those daily runs. Running can be a bit of a monotonous sport but sometimes I need to step back, get away from the numbers, and take on a new challenge.