Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Running is…Independence

Stars and Stripes

Week of July 1, 2012:

Tuesday: Evening bike ride for groceries

Wednesday: Morning run!

Happy Independence Day to all my American friends!  Weirdly enough, I took today off from being in the lab, mostly because I needed a breather at home after all the travel and jumping back into work on Monday.  Today I’m cooking, blogging, doing laundry, cleaning (maybe…), and hopefully doing some academic reading.  But the most exciting thing I did today was run.

I’m trying to keep up my new habit of earlier morning runs on days when I’m not at work.  Today I was up around 7 AM and out the door by 8.  I clocked 40 minutes of running, and my goal was to run easy but upbeat.  In other words, I was running at a very comfortable pace, but I didn’t want to slip into a slog, which would have been all too easy considering the heat and humidity.  (Let’s just say both are bad today, which is to say that it’s a typical July day in Texas.)

I love that I got a good run into my morning on Independence Day.  I know I wax poetic a lot about running even as I struggle to fit three runs into my week—I’m a running paradox, I know.  But truly, running has set me free over the past year or so.  It’s given me some freedom from all the other anxieties about my life, the stress and the heartbreak and the frustration of not knowing and not being in control of things.  To know that if I just put in the miles, I will be rewarded is a powerful feeling.  In the spirit of optimism and independence, here are my summer running goals for the rest of the summer.

1)  Maintain the base.  For me, a base is being able to run 60-70 minutes comfortably.  I would like to be fit enough in September to be able to do this.

2)  Get a little faster. Just a little.  I love speedwork because I love the feeling of running faster.  To keep things exciting, I’m going to try to do a little speedwork each week, whether it’s some all-out sprinting at the end of a work-out (say, 20-60 seconds 2-3 times), a few pick-me-ups in a longer run, or even a timed mile or two.  There’s an approximately 1-mile loop at my favorite park, and I’m entertaining the idea of running it to see how fast I can do it and then to see if I can perhaps use that ~1-mile distance as a test of my speed later in the summer.  We’ll see.  Mostly this goal of speedwork is to remind me to have fun with my running.  Running faster is one of those things that really sets me free and gives me joy.

3)  Run 3 times a week.  As I said above, I struggle with this.  Between work, errands by bike, cooking, and having some fun with my friends, I often don’t complete that third day of running each week.  Lately, I’ve been finding that if I tell myself, “Hey, if you leave now, you’ll be done in half an hour!” it’s easier to get out the door.  (Wine helps too.)  My goal is to do two short runs during the week (probably no longer than 40 minutes each) and one longer run on the weekends (ranging from 40-70 minutes).  Fortunately, I don’t run frequently enough or hard enough to have been injured in recent years, so there is definitely an upside to my laziness.  I’m such an optimist!

What are your summer fitness goals, friends?


  1. I like your goals, friend, and the fact that you are a running paradox! My summer fitness goals are pretty much nonexistent this year because of all the travel and the disruption of a major cross country move. I'd like to stay fit, though, by getting in those shorter runs and yoga practices as I can. Hopefully, I'll be in a better position to focus on fitness goals once the fall term starts.

    1. Aw, thanks, my dear! You are always so positive and kind. I think your strategy to focus on shorter runs and yoga is a good one. You'll maintain some fitness and get the wonderful mental benefits of exercise, which will make you feel calmer and more confident in all your other endeavors. And hey--fall running in Alaska! That sounds pretty awesome to me. I can't wait to hear more about your running adventures in your new town.