async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: Forward is a Pace

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Forward is a Pace

I want to keep on running.

After a little tough love talk from my very wise friend Marcia, I promised myself that I would start to train at an easier, slower pace. After running all these years, when I lace up and hit the road, my legs just go. Sadly, right now my heart doesn't want to keep up. Training these old legs to find a new normal, a slower speed, is much easier said than done. Dialing it down requires a focus on pace and diligence that I haven't used since training for my last marathon 4 years ago.

I'd have to call my week on the road a success as I finished all 3 runs with the distance I set out to do and feeling good.




The Week:
Sunday: Bike ride 15 miles
Monday: Run 4 miles and yoga
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Run 6 miles and yoga
Thursday: Strength train and bootcamp
Friday: rest
Saturday: Run 4 miles before the snow!

The 2 goals I set for myself this week were to drop the run/walk intervals and to run at a pace I could comfortably maintain for my entire run. On both of my 4 mile runs, I was successful. On Wednesday's 6 mile run, I ended up with 2 walk intervals, which tells me that I should have slowed that run down. Gone are the days where I can just gut it out and push hard to the finish, at least for now. I'm still mystified at where my endurance has gone so suddenly. I have a theory about that but right now that's all it is, a theory. Suffice it to say that as much as I love my rheumatologist, I am seeking a second opinion. I want to make sure that I'm not missing something. When you've been as highly active for as long as I have, it doesn't make sense for things to come to a screeching halt like this.


Anyways, I'm content with where I'm at right now. I'm moving and I'm not feeling like I'm going to die while I'm doing it. I've been treating myself by running on a different path each time I go. I've run so many miles and trained for so many races on these paths! Running slow gives me time to reminisce. Combined with listening to music from my younger days, I've turned into a bonafide old-timer, haven't I?


My strength session with Sammy Jo went really well too. We worked on hip strength and lat strength; then I got to play with the battle ropes, which is always fun! Bootcamp was hard for me. I made it through 2 rounds of the 20 minute AMRAP (which included a 400m run in between). I had hoped for 3 but I had to keep stopping to let my heart rate come down. Right now, whether I'm on or off the road, pushing myself is still a problem. You know I love to go full throttle.


For now, moving forward is enough. Forward is a pace.

A runner retrains her legs to slow down /via @oldrunningmom #curearthritis #runchat #running

Have you ever had to dial back your training and consciously slow down? Would you be content to "just run" and not train for anything? Do you reminisce about races and/or runs when you're on certain paths/roads?

I'm linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Rundown.

60 comments :

  1. You are a champion at both listening to you body and dealing with the hand you are dealt. Good luck with getting to the bottom of your endurance issue. Eager to hear any news.

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    1. Thank you my friend! I'm just happy to be feeling good again! Running is a bonus.

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  2. After running for a while, I started training by heart rate and it was soooo frustrating in the beginning. It's been soooo worth it. The beginning is the hardest part.

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    1. I have done heart rate training in the past and it's been helpful with keeping me in control of my pace. So here I am again!

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  3. I'm in the middle of learning this lesson right now. After fracturing my pelvis last May from overtraining and too many races in too short of a time frame, I've now been diagnosed with breast cancer. So there goes running for a couple of months.

    I really like that you titled this "Forward is a pace" and I will work to keep that perspective for myself this summer.

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    1. Oh my gosh. I am so sorry. What a rough time you've had. Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing. I hope you'll get back to running soon. <3

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  4. I'm still caught up on it's been 4 years since your last marathon...really? It's been 4 years since Big Sur? Wow how time flys!

    I had quite the running hiatus so I feel like i am starting over. In my mind I want to come back faster and stronger but i know what my reality is...haha. Yes forward IS a pace and we should all be happy to just do that!

    Have a good week Wendy! -M

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    1. Actually, you are right, Big Sur was 3 years ago. But because I was injured and did a lot of cross training, I didn't do speed work or any kind of focus on pacing for that race.

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  5. Quite a few years ago, when I was really battling IT problems, I had to slow down a lot (and you know i'm not fast to begin with!). If I ran slowly it didn't hurt. It IS a bitter pill to swallow. For me it was a temporary thing.

    I hope that your 2nd opinion gets you some answers. I'm sure your rheumotologist will understand.

    And yes, battle ropes ARE fun -- I do wish I had the space & $$ for them!

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    1. I hope that my slowdown is temporary. I don't mind running slower, but if I try to push it and sprint, my body sends out an alert that it doesn't like what I'm doing!

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  6. I know that feeling of "trying" to go slower when your legs have other ideas. I have often complained (to many silent ears LOL) that's it's harder to run slower than what feels natural than it is to run faster...at least it is for me. It's nice to hear you had all good things happening this week. Keep it up ;-) Thanks for linking with us!

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    1. It is harder to run slower! It takes control and patience, neither of which come easily to me.

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  7. Forward is a pace for sure! I am kind of in the same place after so many injuries this past year. I am just focusing on completing the distances on my plan and not worrying about the pace for now. Setting yourself up for success feels so much better and is the confidence boost I have been needing. Hope you get those same positive feelings from your runs this week. Thanks for linking up

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    1. My motto is finishing is winning--no matter how long it takes me to get there!

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  8. Sounds like you're making some good adjustments! I'm all about just covering the distance these days. I hope you have another good week!

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  9. Moving forward IS a pace! Thank you! My endurance took a vacation too... it was a long slow wind down. Sucks. I'm trying to inspire a long slow wind up. YOU inspired me to do run walk intervals and I can get in my desired 5 mile runs and this makes me happy. It took a lot for me to come to terms with run/walk; once I did I was SO MUCH HAPPIER. Thank you!

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    1. I'm so glad to hear that the run/walk intervals are working well for you! I'm trying to find a happy medium between runnning and walking. More running. That's the goal.

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  10. Forward IS a pace. I tell myself that all the time. I feel you pain at having to run more slowly than you are comfortable with. Just don't hurt yourself. You want to be able to run for a long time! A second opinion from a different rheumatologist couldn't hurt!

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    1. It's so weird having to work on pacing slower...but yep, I want to keep running so I'll do what it takes!

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  11. Slowing the pace is smart- good advice. I hope your second opinion is helpful- smart just to be sure!

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  12. Forward is absolutely a pace! I've had my running come to a screeching halt before (this summer). The best thing I did was shift my expectations - running was out of the question so what COULD I do? Pool run. Hike on a treadmill. Get hella swole at the gym. It's a tough pill to swallow when running doesn't come the way we expect it to, and changing expectations is hard to do. Sorry you're going through a tough spot.

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    1. It is hard! I trained for Big Sur doing pool running. I've been in this spot before. Except...this time it isn't due to injury. I'm kind of in uncharted waters. I'm in this for the duration...we'll see how things go.

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  13. I've been running for 41 years (yikes). I used to run every day and run races. After 2 knee surgeries I decided I was going to just run for the enjoyment of it, mostly on trails, but also hike, cross train, snowboard, etc. I started running in the first place because I liked it. I want to be able to run when I'm really old. I don't miss racing and the stress of putting in the miles at all.

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    1. When I started running, I didn't have a plan except to get out and run. Then I started racing. Now I'm kind of back where I started. I'm not sure how I feel right now. I want to stay fit and strong. That's the goal.

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  14. Marcia is definitely wise and I really like the advice that she gave you! Forward is mist definitely a pace - doesn't matter if you have to sprint, run, jog, walk, skip or crawl to get there (that's always been my motto, lol).

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  15. I reminisce a lot -- especially when I do the same race year in and year out. Between RA and the RA meds, it's more amazing that you are able to do so much than a mystery why you need to slow down. I know you don't want to make excuses, but you should give yourself more credit for everything you are coping with.

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    1. You're too kind...I feel like I should be doing more, but hey, it's better than nothing, right?

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  16. My new coach has me running for time rather than distance with no worries on pacing. It's all about effort. It's different but I kind of like not being tied to mileage right now. A switch in perspective is good. I took one year of not training for anything. I just didn't want that hanging over my head. It also taught me that I don't need having a goal race to keep on running and trying different things. Keep on moving forward lady!

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    1. It is definitely a new mindset for sure! But I'm just happy to be moving. I like your new coach!

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  17. Last year I ran just to run, no training. It was a really nice break.

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  18. I am so glad that you are getting a second opinion! I hope they can figure something else out and get you back on the road feeling much better.

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  19. I love those ropes, too, but we don't have them in our gym and I don't feel they'd be an attractive addition to the house!!!

    I love running without racing because running is too important to me to mess it or myself up pushing too hard. Then again I'm really uncompetitive and have very low expectations of myself speed etc wise, and in terms of my ability to "improve" which makes that easier.

    You seem to be doing very well with the mind-set shift but I agree that even with the RA, it seems a bit of a sudden drop, so a second opinion is a good idea.

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    1. I'm definitely on the upswing so looking back at what happened makes me wonder if I'm missing something?

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  20. I feel you! And I would absolutely get a second opinion. You are so tuned into your body and if you think something is wrong, you are probably right! I know you're not in a great place right now, and I know how incredibly hard it is to slow down (with RA of course so...!) but you're doing it and you're honing your mental toughness and trying to enjoy where you are now and not where you were or want to be and that is SOMETHING. Keep moving my friend!!

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    1. I am greatful for my tenacity--I think I would have just thrown in the towel otherwise. I'm just going to keep moving and hope for some of my endurance to reappear!

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  21. I think we've had this conversation. Unfortunately, slowing down is a normal part of, ahem, getting older. Combined with the RA, girl you have some obstacles to overcome. I really get how frustrating it is to not be able to keep up at the paces that you're used to. I don't enjoy seeing my average 10:30-11:00 minute pace, especially when I compare it to the 8-8:30s I used to run for the same distances. Believe me, it still bothers me. But, I still love to run. I still love the feeling of pushing myself, even if the result of that push is much different than it used to be.

    If slowing down is the difference between being able to run or not, it's an easy choice. Don't judge yourself so harshly, because it really has nothing to do with what kind of a runner your are. You are and always will be a badass warrior. (Sorry for the ramble, it's early :-) )

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    1. I totally get it, the inevitable slow down of aging--what's really stumped me is the sudden drop in endurance. I'm like you, I love to run and I'll do what it takes to keep moving. I'm feeling better now--hopefully I'll be able to go for some long runs, even if they are slow!

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  22. I think any runner with an injury or illness has had to slow down. They say "just be grateful that you CAN run." But any runner knows that that feeling only lasts so long...if at all.

    Every time I run for fun in a race, I still lament about being faster.

    What I have to do and stay at a race and watch the slower runners finish. They are the happiest in the race. I feel jealous of that feeling. They are really JUST happy to finish.

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    1. I got to witness that when I dropped down to the 5k at my last race. It was fun watching the runners come in behind me. But you know what? I don't think I'm ready to be one of them! Sigh.

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  23. Forward is a pace!!! Have you thought about just ditching the watch and running by feel for the day? That way you can judge your success by a different standard other than just the number? You are moving and are an inspiration, friend. I hope you get some answers with your second opinion.

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    1. I have been running by feel but ditching my watch? How will I keep track of the run? LOL!

      My second opinion is scheduled....for October 15! Geez. Glad I'm feeling better.

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  24. You are doing great with your hard work and resilience! I hope you are able to get a second opinion and find out what's going on. I have a hard time not training for something. Right now I'm working on convincing myself that I am training for something - enough endurance for labor and not losing a lot of fitness with pregnancy and postpartum. But the slowing down part is hard, no matter what the reason.

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    1. I won't get that second opinion for about 5 months. Fortunately, I work with a physician who is pursuing a fellowship in integrative medicine. She's freely sharing what she's learning with me. That should tide me over for a while.

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  25. I have dialed back for my own purposes. Sometimes you just need to slow it down and change things up again. IT can be hard to let go of running the old times that you used to run however. I hope that your second opinion is helpful!

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    1. It's really hard to slow down. Although I do have to admit that it's nice not to feel trashed after a run!

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  26. I've said this to you before, I love your honesty and the authenticity with which you write. I really hate that you are going through this right now. But this was a good week of running. Forward is indeed a pace. Keep moving forward.

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    1. I hate that I'm going through it too! But I'm not quitting. I love to run!

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  27. I can only imagine how hard this is for you right now, Wendy. I have to say, this IS my pace. It's always been my pace. I started running to lose weight (I was about 225lbs) so I never had the athleticism that you had. I was never able to just go out and run. It's been 10 years of a struggle really, which sounds sad but it isn't I swear! I'm just happy I can. I'm content to just run and over the moon during the phases where it goes better. I've either been too fat or injured since I started so I have no idea what it's like to be fast and furious. I do understand that you want to get another opinion! I have been fighting for someone to help me for years. It's kind of ridiculous. Now I've been "helped" and I'm not so sure I'm "cured"... so I'm now faced with effing chronic pain for the rest of my life - pretty excited about that.

    on a more positive note - you still are doing amazing things. you are a fighter and you are not letting RA win. That's awe-inspiring. never give up; keep kicking RA's a$$.

    I've been enjoying my walks tremendously, listening to my favorite tunes (like an old gal) and envisioning what running will be like again and me conquering Chicago. if I can believe it, I can achieve it, right?

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    1. I so love how you get me and I love your insight! Glad to see that you are pushing back too. You're just as much of a fighter as me! You definitely can achieve it! I'll be there to cheer you on.

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  28. That's a great idea to treat yourself with different running routes to enjoy! Good luck with the second opinion.

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    1. I have time to ponder it all since my appointment for that second opinion is in OCTOBER! sigh.

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  29. I decided that when I turned 50 last year that all of my PRs would reset. I can't match the paces I used to have anymore due to some lingering injuries, and I'm OK with that. A local runner here was telling her story of "overcoming" neuropathy. Is that similar to what you have?

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    1. I don't have neuropathy--that's nerve pain. My pain is in my joints. When they get inflammed, they hurt.

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  30. I can imagine how hard it is for you to train at a slower pace. Marcia didn't tell you that just because - she means well.

    I think next year when I am done with my 50+1 states goal, I will run just for run and not train for anything. But that may change next year. Who knows?

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    1. Oh, when Marcia speaks I listen! She has been my strongest supporter over the years. She knows what she's doing.

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