Running is hard.

So how is everyone’s Monday going? Given my mid-week weekend work schedule, today is my “Friday”, so I’ve been just trying to get through my day. I have fun plans to see a Giants v. Dodgers home game tomorrow night at AT&T Park. The division is getting close and I know the game is going to be awesome.

Yes, I like baseball, but I hate football. Deal.

A few days ago I registered for the Komen Race for the Cure San Francisco 5K. I felt like I needed to have something to keep my sights on now that I have my first 5K race behind me. Since my second race is only a couple of weeks away, I knew I had to get back out on the pavement and try to get some miles in. I only ran once last week, so it was important.

I promised myself that I would go 5K today, no pressure. I decided up front that there would be no guilt or shame for walking, taking water breaks or having a very slow pace. I  just needed to get out there and start racking up miles. I was good for the first half of the run, but then I started to derail. I always get some pain in my knees after activity. I’ve been considering a brace for my left knee, but can’t decide if I need one for sure. At any rate, the knees started aching a little. It wasn’t pain, but discomfort. Then my breakfast started to beat me up. I had eaten a couple of hours before, so I thought it would be okay to run on my oatmeal and coffee, but it was not. The acid started burning my esophagus. As I trudged around the Panhandle, I started to wonder, “Why on God’s green Earth am I doing this to myself?”

Um…cause I wanna?

I think what was stronger than the stomach or joint discomfort was my mental exhaustion. I always feel great until about 1.5 miles, and then suddenly, the ONLY thing I can think about is stopping. I finally did take a walking break. I felt beat. I actually started to think that maybe I should turn back and try again on Wednesday. After all, on Wednesday I could try to hydrate better and eat a lighter breakfast. On Wednesday it would be better. Or would it? I actually started to make the turn to go back early, but stopped myself. No. I said I was going to do 5K today, even if I had to walk it. So I finished it. Very slowly. With drinking fountain breaks and walking. But I finished.

It’s only the third time I’ve EVER gone on a run/jog of that length. One of those times was my race. I’m having a really hard time getting past this distance. I don’t know if it’s that I’m physically not ready to do it, or if it’s just a mental block. I need to figure out how to approach this so that 5K doesn’t seem so long and that I’m able to run it without stopping when the adrenaline is pumping at a race, as well as during non-race situations.

I’ll keep on trying!

When I got home I was wiped, so after I had a quick shower, I made a green monster. It was really thick, so I decided to make it a Smoothie In A Bowl (SIAB). It totally hit the spot and eliminated my plans of fro yo on my way to work. Who needs fro yo when you can have a SIAB?


SIAB consisted of:

3/4 cup nonfat milk

1 cup baby spinach

1/2 frozen banana

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

1/2 scoop of Pea Protein powder

1 tablespoon of Scharffen Berger Sweetened Natural Cocoa Powder

1/2 Kashi Trail Mix cookie crumbled on top for chew


Now I’m going to go back to work and get ready for my “weekend”. I will leave you with a few running questions:

Did you hit any plateaus in your training when you were first beginning to run? Were the blocks physical or mental? How did you overcome them? How did you transition to running distances farther than 5K?

9 thoughts on “Running is hard.

  1. As you know I felt stuck at 5k for upwards of 8 months. I’m slowly working up from there in prep for my 10k.. But I think the most important thing you need to keep in mind is that 5k doesn’t automatically get easier as you improve and increase your distance. Running is running. There are good runs and bad runs, and (to a point) the distance is incidental to that.

    I’m gearing up for a 7.5k tonight, but finishing that is not going to make my next 5k any less of a struggle. That is down to my physical condition, environment, and luck on that particular day. You can’t wait until you are comfortable to move on to the next level or you’ll never get there.

    1. True. Which is why I made myself at least finish the 5K today. But I feel like at some point, the 5K should get somewhat easier, you know? Like how I used to not be able to even run a mile, but a mile is what I would consider easy at this point.

      I also think a lot of that is mental. I need to figure out how to mentally get over the idea of 3 miles being faaaar and think of it as 3 miles is my workout. Just like I look at 30 minutes being my workout on an elliptical. I’m sweaty and tuckered out after my workout, but I don’t think of it as loooong.

      1. For me it is almost entirely mental. 5k seems easy if that’s not the distance I plan to run that day. If I’m doing a longer run then getting to the 5k mark seems to come more easily than when I set out to run 5k even. It’s the same with timed distances, if I set out to run a solid 30 minutes, then getting past 15 feels easier than if I set out to run just that 15. My brain seems to anticipate the end and send the signal that I am tired relative to that.

        I’m guessing running one mile didn’t get easier until you were were regularly running longer distances. It will probably be the same with 5k..

  2. That is one yummy looking SIAB. I’d take that over froyo and that is saying A LOT. Awesome job on your progress. I like to run, but I don’t have any groundbreaking advice. Just listen to your body. If something hurts or your really just aren’t feeling it, then go easy. If you KNOW have it in you to go harder, but are just being lazy, force yourself to push yourself….you’ll be glad you did. Really, there is nothing worse than taking the time to run, but finish knowing you could have done so much more. Good luck with it!

    1. Thanks for the reply. You’re right about nothing being worse than realizing you could’ve done more. I think I beat myself up worse for that than I do when I miss the gym all together.

  3. Congrats on making it through the 5k!

    I have my first one coming up in a month, so I don’t have much advice to offer. My mental block is the length of time I have to run for… 30 minutes seems so long! But I’ve noticed a slow and steady pace does wonders for me.

    Just keep at it! 🙂

    1. I’ve been working at allowing myself to stay slow. Even if I run a 12 minute mile, I don’t care, as long as I don’t have to stop. In the race environment, however, I ran a 10:44, which I was really happy with. I just wish I could do more of that in daily workouts.

      I don’t have a problem with the time…like, 30 minutes, no problem. It’s the distance. When RunKeeper tweets in my ear…”1.75 miles…” I just start to have a meltdown. Even without RunKeeper, I pay attention to distance intuitively. My brain sucks!

      Good luck on your upcoming race. It is so much more fun than I thought it would be!

  4. Hi, my name is Maddie, and I AM a plateau.

    🙂 No, but seriously, I know where you are coming from. I have good form, good breathing, etc., but I can’t run for more than a few minutes without getting so short of breath I have to walk.

    I DON’T consider myself out of shape. I was a dancer in high school and I can do an intense dance routine for 20 mins with a 5 min break in the middle. I was winded, but I could do it. I can do 30 day shred. I can elliptical at high speeds. I can fly to the tops of tall buildings…alright, no. But you get the idea. And I dunno what is stopping me from running farther, either!

    I’m sorry this comment is no help, but I’m cheering for you!! And when you figure it out…TALK TO ME! Lol. Have a good day 🙂 🙂

    P.S. WOOHOO that you like baseball and not football. Boo football. Gag.

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