Sometimes Running is Really Hard
Which is what I said to my boyfriend Andrew after a recent interval workout as I was laying on my living room floor with a cold, wet bath towel covering me.
It got me thinking: do the top athletes go through the same pain during their workouts? Is running just as hard for them as it is for the rest of us? It would make me feel a lot better about how exhausted and worn out I feel after workouts knowing everyone hurts sometimes.
After taking a month off of running post incident and an additional month off of group workouts (I was allowed to do short, easy runs every other day), I am back running with my Angels full-time.
I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I really didn’t think it would be so hard.
The first workout I went back to I couldn’t finish. Mentally and physically, I just couldn’t do it. Its tough to get the drive to do intervals or a quick tempo knowing 1) you’re not at the fitness level you were just a couple months ago; and 2) you’re going to be very, very uncomfortable the entire time.
But it’s like ripping off a bandaid. The sooner you do it, the better off you are. I could barely run home from that workout and while I was trying to catch my breath on my kitchen floor (you’ll notice a pattern here), I thought to myself: I can be upset that I’m not in racing shape anymore or I can be excited that I’m getting back in the groove.
I chose the second option. As frustrated as I was, I am too competitive and know I am capable of pushing myself harder. My challenge now is not to get back to my pre-Boston fitness level, but to get faster while staying injury free.
That was eight weeks ago and just now I’m finally starting to feel strong again.
Like me, a couple of girls on my team are struggling with injuries and muscles that just don’t feel quite right. My coach has sent reminders about doing three strength sessions per week in order to get stronger for the fall race season and prevent injury. Before I joined the Angels, I didn’t do any strength work so I feel like I could become a body builder now. I don’t enjoy it as much as running, but I enjoy being injury free and the idea of becoming a faster, stronger runner – so I have welcomed it with sore arms and wobbly legs.
I’ve talked with a couple friends recently who have put off exercise for other priorities in life and are scared to get back into it for fear of how out of shape they think they are. My advice is to start slow and get your endorphins going. Endorphins are magic and make you feel so good! When I get back from workouts now, I find I’m looking up races for the fall and am now researching my next marathon (for next year).
A few other tricks of my trade:
1. Make a date to meet a friend to workout. Getting up at 5am sucks but abandoning your friend on the street corner will make you feel worse.
2. Pack your bag or get your workout clothes ready the night before. A friend once told me they slept in their gym clothes so they wouldn’t have an excuse to not be prepared in the morning!
3. Make it a routine. I meet a couple Angels every Tuesday at 6am for circuits. Counting on Tuesday circuits is helpful so I know I’m always going to be a little bit sore on Wednesdays 🙂
Back to food!
I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot with this salad. It’s easy to make, it’s colourful, it’s delicious and makes a ton. I’ve never seen Andrew go back for seconds of salad before I made this one.
Crunchy Asian Ramen Noodle Salad
- (16-ounce) bag coleslaw mix
- 2 (3-ounce) packages of ramen noodles, crumbled (you will not use the seasoning packet)
- 1 cup shelled and cooked edamame
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
- 1 mango, peeled, pitted, and julienned (or diced)
- 1/2 cup thinly-sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup thinly-sliced green onions (scallions)
- Asian honey vinaigrette (see ingredients below)
Asian Honey Vinaigrette
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil (or any cooking oil)
- 1/3 cup honey (or agave, to make this vegan)
- 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- pinch of salt and black pepper
(Optional first step: Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spread the crumbled ramen noodles and sliced almonds out on a baking sheet, and stir a bit to combine. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until the almonds and noodles are slightly toasted and golden. Remove baking sheet, and give the mixture a good stir to toss. Then return it to the oven and toast for an additional 3 minutes. Keep a very close eye on the mixture so that it does not burn. Remove and set aside.) Add ingredients (including the vinaigrette) together in a large bowl, and toss until combined.
Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. (This salad is much better eaten the first day, as the noodles lose their “crunch” the longer it sits, and the avocado may brown a bit. Still, it’s perfectly edible and enjoyable even after a few days!)