Why Do You Run? + 17 miler Success

One of the questions I get asked most by non-runners is Why do you run? followed by What do you think about while you run? I’ve always gone into a long explanation about how running makes me happy, challenges me, gives me some “me” time.  These are all true. But I never have felt like it’s the complete reason. Something felt like it was missing.

How can I possibly explain in a sentence or even a paragraph why I run every day? Truth is, running means something different to me each day. One day it might be that hour I need to clear my head after a long day.  When I was deployed it was most often the time I needed to make me a bit less homesick. Another day it might be a stepping stone to reaching one of my goals – a sub-3:10 marathon or completely my first Ironman. The next day it could be that I’m in the mood to sweat and put myself through a bit of pain. Whatever the reason for that day, how do you put that into words for somebody who never experienced it before?

The other night as I was lying in bed, I thought about how peaceful my easy run was that morning.  I didn’t listen to music yet I felt like I was able to tune out everything around me. And the lightbulb went off in my head.  All the reasons why I LOVE to run stem from the fact that when I am out running, the volume gets turned down. It’s like everything around me gets muted out. And it’s just me. My body. My mind. My world.

quiet

Why do you run?  

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Now on to last week’s workouts.  Hit 52.4 miles for the week. Highest mileage for me in years!!

Monday: 6 recovery miles: 8:04 pace: 8:21, 8:11, 8:06, 8:07, 7:52, 7:44

Tuesday: 6 progression miles: 7:49 pace: 8:08, 8:03, 7:52, 7:47, 7:39, 7:23. Spent almost the entire day outside with the boys – the weather this past week has been INCREDIBLE!

outside fun outside fun2

Wednesday: 2 mi warmup, 5 x 1 mile repeats (with 3 min active recovery), 2 mi cooldown. Warmup: 8:41, 8:09. Repeats: 6:44, 6:40, 6:42, 6:41, 6:35. Cooldown: 8:38, 8:09. I thought these paces would be easy. They were not. It was a struggle from start to finish.  My legs felt tired during the warmup and I never really felt like I was in the zone. I walked away from this run neither happy nor confident in my current running ability. After a discussion with my coach, I’m feeling a heck of a lot better about where I am at and the paces/distance I am running. More on this to come soon =)

Thursday: OFF

Friday: 7 easy miles (on treadmill): 8:16 pace. Legs felt fresh and ready to run but I forced myself to not dip below an 8:00 min/mile pace for even 1 second. I wanted to save my legs for Saturday’s long run. In some ways, it feels easier for me to take it easy on easy/recovery days. I know the hard days will be hard and I want to feel as ready for them as I can.

Saturday: Plan called for 17-18 miles with 6 at MGP. However, I either am losing my memory or can’t read right and thought it said 17 with 5 at MGP. Oh well. First 5 were meant to be a warmup, then MGP miles, then remaining 7 miles at easy pace again. Splits: 

splits3

Some thoughts on the long run:

  • My pace seems to naturally gravitate to 7:40 on the long run. It’s the pace my body wants to run so I have been just going with it. 
  • I fueled twice during this run – right before the MGP miles and soon after (4.6 and 12.4). I also drank water twice. I despise running with water in my hand so I kept my water bottle on the hood of our car. I made sure I was running by our house just before the mile repeats and then returned home just after. I grabbed the water bottle as I ran by the house, ran up and down the block as I sipped water, put the bottle back and continued on. I took the gel just prior to drinking water.
  • Breaking up the run into 3 parts (pre/MGP/post) made the run fly. I never thought I have 14 miles left or I am only half done. Instead, I found that I focused on whatever section I was in – so at most, I only had 7 miles to think about. Before I knew it, 17 miles was over.
  • For the first 1-1.5 miles of the MGP miles, it was a struggle to keep a steady pace. My body was naturally slowing down to 7:40. After 8-10 minutes, I found a steady rhythm, was able to zone out and ran without obsessing over my pace.
  • The 5 MGP miles felt amazing. And by amazing, I mean comfortably hard. I was definitely working but not all out and easily could have run more miles at that pace.
  • I wasn’t sure how the last 7 miles would feel after the MGP miles, but was happy to see how good I felt. I actually had to pull myself back from the pace many times because my legs kept going back to the 7:15-7:20 pace.  Miles 11-15 were faster than 1-5.
  • I felt so great at mile 15 that I made the last 2 miles a fast finish. I wanted the first one to be back at MGP and the last one to be the fastest. 7:13 and 6:45 – the fastest finish to any of my long runs to date.
  • The run gave me a huge boost of confidence after a few average interval and tempo runs the last few weeks. 17 miles at a 7:28 pace. On untapered legs.

Sunday: 6 recovery miles. I had planned to do this run in the AM but after a fun night at my mom’s for my sister’s engagement party and a rough night sleep (we slept over my mom’s), I just had no motivation to go running. All I wanted was coffee.  The run happened later that afternoon after a short nap and lots of water. I opted for no garmin since it was really windy out and I didn’t want to force a pace that would hinder my recovery from the run.  Kind of loved not worrying about my pace.

engagement party

I think walking around in these shoes for 6+ hours didn’t help with how I felt on Sunday

Have you done a RnR race before? Have you run the Philly half?

Mile repeats? Love them or hate them?

I don’t post here every day, but I post all of my workouts (and other happenings) on Instagram on a daily basis {NYCRunningMama}.

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    19 thoughts on “Why Do You Run? + 17 miler Success

    1. I keep running because I love the after feel. After a run I feel strong, healthy and happy. But like you it means something different each day. Sometimes its a way to fit into my jeans better. Sometimes its my therapy. Sometimes its just fun :)
      Runner Girl Eats recently posted..Falling and pumpkin candyMy Profile

    2. I’d definitely echo the comments of running in the middle of the road at RNR Philly. I ran it last year, and the road was arched and cobblestones. Afterwards the outer part of one of my feet hurt. So I would definitely encouraging middle of the road running on this one!

    3. Great post Michele and great running week! It’s so cool that we all have different reasons for why we run. Over the past year or so, my running has really taken a different place in my life. And, I think its super cool that our running lives evolve over time with us.

      Mile repeats are the best. But, I have to admit, I just run 3-4 miles as fast as I can rather than running recoveries in between. I just like to get the work done. Kinda silly but that’s me!

      Good luck in your race!!
      Danielle recently posted..Love One AnotherMy Profile

    4. I run the Philly marathon or half every November, and ran the RnR Philly half last year…be careful in the last couple of miles; the road is very pitched and makes me pretty achy if I don’t remember to basically “ride” the middle line! Running makes me feel fit, gives me clarity, calms me, makes me happy, lets me zone out, lets me focus on something to think it through, and makes me feel like an athlete…depending on the day! Enjoy Philly!

    5. I love what you said about running meaning different things to you on different days. YES! I love that. It is so true for me. Sometimes my run is all about the work. Sometimes it is a meditation. Sometimes I’m running for the families of CHaD. Different every day, but that’s why I love it! I can totally relate to that tempo run, where the paces felt hard even though they were in goal pace. I had that today. Four tempo miles at goal, but they didn’t feel as easy as I thought they were gonna feel. But I know that i’m doing something and putting in the work.
      Sarah @RunFarGirl recently posted..A Night to Be A HERO Benefit Night and Silent Auction for CHaDMy Profile

    6. I think I said it last week, but…I think you are right where you need to be right now for Phila. The peak will hit at the right time. Nice job on all the weeks’ miles!

      I LOVE mile repeats. My absolute favorite workout. Why no, I have not done the Phila half before, but…!!!
      misszippy1 recently posted..Team Treasured ChestsMy Profile

    7. You are right…there are so many reasons why I run and they change depending on the day!!! But in the end I like the way it makes me feel about myslef..even if it is a bad run, I still got out there and did it!
      That was an awesome 17 mile run!!!! and a super cute dress!!!!
      I kinda like mile repeats actually! Although I need to switch to active recovery I think and that seems to be hard :)…I mentally really really like the walk break even if it is only 2 minutes!
      I want to come do the Philly 1/2 with you!
      Jen @ milesandblessings recently posted..When life knocks you down….My Profile

    8. Such a great explanation of that “why do you run” question! As someone who NEVER ran until a year and a half ago, I get asked it a lot, and I understand why people ask it. I never used to get it either. But now, I just can’t imagine not having running in my life! And exactly like you said, my “why” changes every day too!!! Great post!
      Kate recently posted..Confessions of a Tapering RunnerMy Profile

    9. 1.) I really don’t know how you wear those heels! I’m so whimpy when it comes to shoes…HA!

      2.) Love 800 and 1600 repeats! Probably because I was an 800 runner in high school.

      3.) Nice job on the long run! I love those confidence boosting runs. Speaking of, I could use one or two of those right about now! HA!