let’s do this one more time

Yesterday’s “easy three miles” of running was more like 3.5 miles. I had that rock-like feeling in my calves and shooting up my right leg for most of it, to the point I felt like I was limp-running at times. But I maintained an 11:28 minute/mile pace. This was only a few seconds off from my last run: seven miles at an 11:39 minute/mile pace.

While yesterday’s work out didn’t feel “easy” at all, Karen and I were able to have a good chat about running for speed versus endurance, and we both agree we’re stronger at endurance. My body does not like running fast within the first two miles of any run, which has me a bit fearful for this weekend, as the total run is only three miles! However, to respect calm confidence week and the MIM tri just three days away, I must acknowledge that I have come literal leaps and bounds in my running. I ran SEVEN MILES last Friday, for heaven’s sake.

My loose goal is to complete the run portion of the tri in 33 minutes, with a maximum  pace of 11 minutes/mile. (When I say maximum, I mean that’s the slowest I want to go, the most minutes it should take me to complete a mile. Not sure if this is the right phrasing.) My goal may be completely unrealistic, but I’m hoping that I’m so pumped up by the time I hit the run, I can just fly. It’s hard not to become obsessed with last year’s results for my age group and compare. Most of those gals finished the run in well under 30 minutes. But I just started running regularly three months ago, and I have some poundage on me that makes it more difficult to run, so I can’t beat myself up or set unrealistic standards.

During my solo seven mile run last week–my first run of that distance and longest to date–I worked to maintain “race pace” during the last two miles, per the instruction of my coach. I started the last two miles sprinting, which brought an immediate and energizing runner’s high. At the 5.66 mile mark, my sprint dissolved into a struggle even to stay under the 11 minute/mile pace. That’s what I get for sprinting 2/3rds of a mile! Around 6.74 miles, I knew I wanted to finish sprinting, and I turned to my music to help me out. Sadly, headphones are illegal according to USAT rules, so I will not have them for the tri. But, I have a song this week that’s inspiring me anyway, and which carried me through my last quarter-mile out of seven.

Nicki Minaj is ridiculous and ballsy, and I rather love her for it. “Starships” is her current single and my theme song for the run portion of the tri. It’s carefree and fun and has moments of loud, chaotic cheering in the background. Perfect for my finish line sprint, if only I can engage that mp3 player in my head.

**Video is definitely NSFW due to lots of bikini clad gyrating and some F bombs.**

Tip: Having a Spotify account has really served me well as a runner. I admitted to myself in the past five years that I really do love pop and dance music, and it is especially well-suited for a pumped up running soundtrack. With Spotify I can make playlists of somewhat disposable songs that I’ll listen to for a month while running and then never again. And I can still use the Spotify account to work in normal music for non-exercise, when I need a Beach House or Teenage Fanclub fix, and bubble gum pop won’t suffice. This isn’t an ad or anything, just advice for getting running music without buying a lot of crap you won’t listen to forever. A Spotify account is $10/month.

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