Just How Should We Feel When We Run?

I’m not going to mention any names, but here is a message I got from one of my Club members, a friend, and also an athlete I coach one-on-one:

” I feel really slow and . . . . I just always hurt whether I’m running a lot or not. I get through it, but not sure why I feel like that.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about what she said, and about how she feels.

I can relate to the “feeling slow” part — I ran yesterday on the beach, around 11AM.  It was sunny, hot and humid.  It was close to low tide, so there was lots of shells along the shore line and lots of people collecting them.  I also know, because I do like to go shelling myself, that lots of those shells still house living sea life.  So I try not to run on the shells.  The crunching sound bothers me and I feel like I’m killing something important.  So, I spent a lot of time dodging people and dodging shells — all of which meant I spent a lot of time running in soft sand and running on a sloped surface.  Of course, this is all just a bunch of excuses to answer for the Garmin data that I kept seeing — I was running around 11 minute pace.   And I thought about my athlete’s comments about her running.  “I feel so slow, things hurt.”

I do need to say that mid-way through my run I spotted a pile of shells that I just couldn’t pass by.  (And I’m grateful for the awesome pockets in my Coeur Sports little black tri top so I could carry my treasures with me!)


Here’s what I was wondering, just how are we supposed to feel when we are running?  I know I was tired yesterday, I ran 15 on Sunday, and biked 68 on Tuesday.  My legs were obviously tired, and I’d guess (as a coach) that I wasn’t fully recovered.  I also couldn’t get my heart rate or pace up so I know what that means.  And yes, I keep making more excuses!

I still feel good about yesterday’s run.  I ran and I walked 7 miles yesterday, and averaged for the run portion around 11 minutes per mile.  I enjoyed the sites — the Gulf of Mexico, the wildlife preserves, the people out making the best of the day.  I ran 8:30 pace comfortably the day before, and a half marathon at just under 9 minute pace last weekend.  And yesterday my run averaged 11 minute pace.   So, just how are we supposed to feel running anyway?  Running is hard.  Sometimes we feel great, and sometimes we don’t.

I have an idea.  For me, for my athlete, for all of us.  Let’s just take the pressure off ourselves.  Maybe sometimes we just need to take the watch off, the heart rate monitor off, and run because we can.  Forget about the pace.  Forget about the distance.  Just run, and enjoy it because we can.  What’s the alternative?  Those options make me really sad.

Thoughts That Never Get Posted

I read a long-time triathlon friend’s blog post the other day.  It rang so true for me and I’m sure many others of my friends who spend a good amount of their time living a full life.  It’s always comforting to me when I find someone else in the same spot I am.  Maria Simone, who’s blog is posted as Running A Life posted an entry entitled “Where the @#$%# have I been?”.  Well, talk about relating to a post!  I’ve often said I wish I could send texts, make phone calls, write blogs, emails, etc. directly while I am thinking about them, but that is usually during a workout or while I’m driving and I really try to keep the phone out of reach at those times.  If I’m with friends or family I try to stay in the moment and not “multitask”.  By the time I sit down, and am at a time and place I could actually send them my mind has already moved on to the next 1000 thoughts, and I also usually fall asleep pretty quickly at that point.

And blog posts?  Let me look and see how many unfinished posts I have — there’s “Kicking off the Season”, which I started when I left the cold of the Jersey Shore at the end of December.  There’s “Races and Open Water Swimming”,  a great discussion that my friend Suzanne Atkinson and I were having about our feelings about the changes in swim starts, resting platforms and the like.  I love talking to Suzanne, and I always learn so much from her.  Somehow the conversation and the blog post never got finished.  Then there is the unfinished report of one of many training camps that I’ve held up in Lake Placid “The Beauty of Lake Placid and the Benefits of Coaching”– I always love those trips and try to find the opportunity to write down a “camp recap”, but it never seems to get finished.

I did find one that is definitely getting finished though!  In my closed Facebook group for the Jersey Girls StayStrong Multisport Club there are a few topics that come up regularly throughout the year, one in particular is sports bras.  So, “What Do I Do About a Sports Bra?” — time to revisit the topic and gather the latest offerings and recommendations.

And thanks, Maria — it’s always nice to find out I’m not the only one who can’t keep up with everything.

“It takes courage to push yourself to places you have never been before… to test your limits… to break through barriers. And the day came when the risk it took to stay tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

― Anaïs Nin

An Amazing Week – Women For Tri

I’m having a hard time formulating the words to describe the experience at Ironman HQ this past week, as part of the Women for Tri Board of Advisors.

We have been given an amazing mandate . . . how to grow our sport among women.  This is what I have been trying to do for several years, and the benefits for me and so may others have been more than I can describe.

My experiences since becoming part of this board have not been optimal — there is a rabid group that has been trying to hijack the mission of the board.  I don’t quit, but the constant bombardment at times has made me want to walk away.  My reasons for participating are not self-serving, I have no need to add my name to the record books, to headlines, or to “history”.  I want to grow women’s participation in a sport that has changed so much since I first decide to become a triathlete.  There are equal opportunities today for just as many women to enter any race they want to enter as there is for men.  There is equal access to training — we can swim bike and run as often as anyone else if we chose to.   When we have as many female professional and yes even age group triathletes as men in a race then the percent of women earning spots to Kona will be equal to the men.  It’s a privilege to be earned, not something that is just handed to any of us.

Work for it, and you will grow what you want handed to you now.  And then, you will have earned it.

If we grow the base of women in triathlon then the rest will follow.   And it will mean something, because we earned it on a level playing field.

Some of the board at our first meeting.
Some of the board at our first meeting.

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