Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Doing What I Can Now, To Do What I Love Later

I just finished a lovely run in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin next to Lake Michigan for National Running Day. It wasn't an easy run, but it wasn't too difficult either. I'm back on the training saddle guided by my coach, Caleb Masland of Team Wicked Bonkproof, after a 2.5 month hiatus to finish my master's degree. So it's nice to not worry about what type of training I need to do and just trust in coach to put a plan together for me. The goal for today's run was the following:
  • 20 minute easy running to warmup 
  • 5 x (2min assertive pace, 2min easy pace)
  • 20 minutes easy running to cool down
I managed to hit 6:25min/mi-6:30min/mi pace for the assertive section, which felt very smooth but a bit more difficult than it should have been. This is normal since I've only been doing easy running for about 2 months now, so it's time to slowly shock the legs back into fast running to prep for October's half marathon. (My brother's HOT and HUMID apartment, 18 hours of driving, and dehydration probably make running difficult, too.)

During the run I couldn't help but to think about my upcoming races. On June 15, I'll be racing a road mile and the goal is to get as far under 6 minutes as I can. In training I've run 5:49, but that was with a 3-4 second rest at a busy intersection.

And this made me think. My ultimate goal is to run really fast on the trail (relatively speaking), but I'm training to run fast on the road since I currently don't have access to the type of trails I used to run in New Mexico. So why run fast on the road?

Before I answer this question, I should mention that it's an exciting time for me right now. I just finished a master's degree in theology from Boston University School of Theology, which culminated in a Summa Cum Laude designation and a 134 page master's thesis. I currently moved from Boston and all of my belongings are at my future housemate's--and future medical school classmate--parents' house in Ohio while I spend the next week living in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin until I can move to Cleveland the second week of June to start medical school in July.

My ultimate goal, as of right now, is to be an academic physician at a teaching hospital conducting research in the social sciences and humanities and treating patients in underserved communities. I have more "ultimate goals," which I do not wish to rehash here, but needless-to-say, a lot of people originally questioned my desire to pursue cultural anthropology for my bachelor's degree and theology for my master's degree before beginning medical school.

I had a vision of what I wanted my life to be, and it required spending a few more years of education in fields other than the natural sciences to make those future dreams possible. And as I am about to matriculate at an amazing medical school affiliated with the #4 hospital in the country, it's fantastic to look back on those decisions over the years and to see the work doing "other stuff" paying off.

So what about running?

I don't have the opportunity to run in the mountains right now because I haven't lived in the mountains for 2 years, and I won't be living in the mountains for the next 4-5 years while I'm at medical school. (Though there are some really nice trails nearby.)

Instead of complaining about the lack of mountains where I live and feeling dejected, my "short term," or 4-5 year, goal is to get fast on the road and nearby trails because I know that this speed will translate to faster paces in the mountains (as long as I keep throwing in hill repeats, get in trail time, etc.).

So today I ran 2' on, 2' off for 20 minutes, and later this week I have a 60min progression run on tap. A week later, I race a road mile. It may not be a mountain 50k race, but I know that the hard work now will translate to running fast in the mountains later, which is one of the few activities in which I feel truly alive and, for whatever reason, understand my place in the cosmos.*

I should also thank Kyle Kranz of Skora Running for always providing helpful reminders about slowly building up to reach longterm goals. He's currently training to one day make the 2022 24 Hour U.S. National Team. To do that, this year he is aiming to go sub-17 minutes in the 5k and sub-1:18 in the half marathon. Love the longterm focus!

Do you have similar experience? Please share below! 

* While I derive profound joy from running in the mountains, I should also mention that there are few things I love more than running fast on the road. So, it's a win-win!

I'd also like to announce at this time that I have been named a Brand Ambassador for Skora Running!! I do 90% of all my runs in Skora, and I could not recommend them more. If you're interested in Skora, contact me via the contact page for more information. Cheers!

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