Posted by: Ingrid | March 17, 2010

Treadmill Transition, Tempo Triumph

And now, somewhere out there, someone is throwing up from all that alliteration.  Sorry.

I’m finding that the farther away from where I want to be the less I want to blog.  I want my life all nice and neat and orderly before coming on here and writing about things like running, as though the only way I could possibly have something to say would be if it were an effortless pastime that required no thinking on my part.

But it’s not.  Frankly, the last three and a half months have felt like a long regression in the wrong direction.  Here I am, in March, and I am farther away from the ellusive image of the 115-120 pound steady 7 minute mile runner who I aspire to be than ever.  Too many extra pounds and too many extra seconds and not nearly enough motivation in February.

The good thing though, is that I started a training plan in February, back when I thought that maybe I should just give up running forever, and am in week five.  I have even been successful (and this is huge for me) in completing the speed and tempo workouts on the plan, even last week when I got sick and had a very low mileage week.  At first this was daunting, partly because it meant facing the treadmill since the track was covered in snow and there was ice on the ground and partly because really, I don’t know my half marathon pace or anything else.  Most of my events from the last year and a half were done when I was pregnant or just after.  That doesn’t give a good baseline for determining pace and leaves me guessing when the training program would tell me to do a certain repeat at my halk, 10K, or 5K pace.  I mean, I would like to say that my half marathon pace is 7:30 and my 5K pace is just under a 7 minute mile, but is it really?

That’s where the beauty of the treadmill (and I never thought I would use beautiful to describe a treadmill) came in.  I had only to get up the nerve to stand on the machine, punch in numbers, make sure I was at a 2% incline, and off I went.  The worst that could happen would be me flying off the end of the belt into our pantry shelf.  While embarassing, that didn’t leave too many possibilities for injury.

I’ve been proud of myself for doing speedwork, but apprehensive as well as the days have gotten warmer and the snow melted.  I knew in the back of my mind that no event that I sign up for will ever take place on a treadmill.  At some point, I would have to take the running outside, sans treadmill belt, and push myself.

Today was that day.

I was nervous.  I almost talked myself out of doing the run.  I was supposed to warm up for a mile, run 6 miles at half marathon pace (which I ambitiously decided woult be 7:30), and then cool down for a mile.  I realized that I needed room for error, so I decided on a range between 45 and 47.59 minutes for the 6 miles.  My best 10K time was aroun 47:50-ish, so that seemed relatively sane.  Out I went to run.  When I started the tempo part of the run I looked at my Garmin and, despite what felt like Herculean effort, couldn’t seem to break 8:20.  It was fascinating to me to see what happened as I got into the run and kept pushing.  At 1 mile I was 2 seconds under an 8 minute mile.  By 2 miles I was 12 seconds under.  Mile 4 I was shocked to see a brief dip down to 6:45!  One hard thing about running outside is that sometimes I feel like I’m pushing and I’m going slower than I think and other times I feel so slow but I’m going much faster.  I finished the 6 miles in 45 minutes and 45 seconds, which felt amazing!  I think a PR in the 10K could happen this year!

I’m proud of myself, even though I’m not where I want to be yet.  I think that a lot of times we runners (or moms or women in general) don’t stop to notice the day-to-day accomplishments because the goal is still somewhere off in the distance.  But this is where I am today, and that run felt pretty specatular.  And for now, that’s good enough.



  1. Nice work on the running! It seems like quite a few new mums go through a disorganised/unmotivated/hectic phase sometime in the first 6mths after birth…it might turn out that having that unmotivated (recovery) spell will benefit you in the long run – and now that you are getting a feel for your ability you can tailor your training to it – keep it up!!

  2. […] Treadmill Transition, Tempo Triumph « This dreamcrossed twilight… […]

  3. I am right there with you – totally unmotivated after a couple of months of injury/winter break. Transitioning back outside is tough (it feels like running in cement!), but I am learning that a lot of it is related to emotional/psychological/ even spiritual well being. I’m not well 🙂 but getting out there again and trying . . well, that’s pretty much over 50% right there. It seems like you’re on track! A but of sunshine can’t hurt either 🙂

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