On Tuesday, as I was huffing and puffing through the first 2 miles of my 6 mile stroller run, a thought kept running through my mind – I really wish I didn’t care so much about my pace. My comfortable pace is a 10 minute mile, but I don’t want to run a 10 minute mile. I want to run faster. Why? Does speed make one runner better than another? I don’t think so. I still have it stuck in my head though that speed = success.
Through doing speed work while training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, I did improve my pace and I can comfortably run in the 9 minute mile range. I still want to do better than that. I’ll admit I am totally envious when I see people who do long runs in the 7 minute and 8 minute range. That amazes me. People who are faster than that are just crazy :). I secretly wish I could run that fast just so I could be done with my long runs sooner. I mean if I could run 20 miles in 2 and a half hours, I’d do it every weekend. Well, maybe not every weekend!
The thing is that I don’t think that other people that run 9 or 10 minute or slower miles are slow runners. I’m just hard on myself when it comes to running. During that 6 mile stroller run, my first 2 miles were above the 10 minute mark and I felt like I’d never warm up enough to go any faster. Then a funny thing happened. I had the stroller weather cover on because it was 35 degrees and Zain stuck his tiny little hand out of the cover vent and was waving it around.
He kept saying “happy, happy, happy!” Over the weekend, we celebrated hubby’s birthday. Zain didn’t quite get “happy birthday” down, but he could say “happy.” He’s been saying happy all week. When he started saying “happy” during our run, it was the perfect reminder of why I run. It makes me happy. While pushing the stroller is tough, I love running with Zain. I love his company and when he talks to me while we run. When he kept saying “happy,” it was just the reminder I needed. Running = happiness. It doesn’t matter what my pace is. What matters is that I’m doing it.
While I fretted about my pace those first 2 miles, I chipped away at my time as I went. I ran the next 3 miles in the 9 minute range and the last mile in 8:43. Yesterday, I ran a little over 5 miles with Zain and opted to run hills. Hills with the stroller are brutal, but I know they’re good for me. I ran those hills with an average pace of 9:44; I used to run hills with the stroller with an average pace closer to an 11 minute mile. One of these days, I’ll learn to stop stressing over my pace and pay attention to the small improvements I have made. In the meantime, I’m thankful that I have my happy boy to remind me why I love to run.