Be Better by Getting Better

Be Better by Getting Better

I lamented my slow running time to my husband who suggested I do some different training routines.

“Ah,” I corrected him, “but I want to BE faster.  I don’t want to GET faster.”

It does feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle… and running in Pittsburgh is literally an uphill endeavor.  But more broadly, I am running against the clock, running against that big FORTY that’s looming next year.  Three years ago I started running and I lost a ton of weight and looked AWESOME in 8 weeks.  Since then I’ve run more and more and have looked rounder and rounder.

I’m not proud to admit it, but more than my disappointing half marathon time, what caused my post-race gloom was seeing how not hot I looked in bathing suits after having trained my butt off (although, apparently, not literally).  I worked SO hard for that race and it was disheartening to see, in the harsh fitting room lighting, that it really was not evident.

It goes without saying that when I look back at pictures of myself from last year at this time, I can recognize that I did in fact look pretty good.  I just didn’t feel like that at the time.  The hard work had actually paid off.

So — when I was planning my run last night, I decided to investigate my husband’s idea of doing some sprints in with the longer runs… fartleks.  Which are worth doing just to say it.

Instead of doing what I have been doing this spring — trudging around our hilly neighborhood and lamenting my 14 or 15 minute miles — I drove up to the flattest place, the Highland Park Reservoir.  I fired up my little Workout Trainer free app on my phone and did the Fartlek Sprint workout.  My fastest minute was an average 8:11 minute/mile and my overall pace was an average of 11:58 min/mile!  I’m happy with that.

Just running around the track is boring but giving me something to concentrate on made it better.  And the water fountains were on, hooray!!!

I think if I do this type of thing once or twice a week, at least one shorter run once a week, and then a longer run once a week I will see the results I want to see in my speeds.

And I am going to be bold and talk about the races I want to register for.

I haven’t been in an organized race since the half marathon.

I want to run the Montour Trail Half Marathon on September 7 and Great Race on September 29 (the 10k).



This does, though, speak to the larger point of my difficulties with being a grown-up.

I remember in school, when I’d learn about the important scientists and thinkers and politicians and artists and I wondered which of those things I would be?  What would be the method by which I became famous?

I just always felt like I would happen upon something and BE GOOD at it.  Like, really good.  Like, so good at something that I can’t imagine pursuing anything else.  But that never happened!  I have been moderately good at any number of things.  And some things, I have to work really really hard to attain adequacy.

I don’t mind hard work, I just mind it not really paying off.  The trudging around my neighborhood never getting any faster falls under that category.  Sometimes I just have to work harder AND smarter.

Tomorrow I’m babysitting for one of my favorite children and I’m excited about that.   I bet me and Little C can do some yoga… his mom is a Pilates instructor so surely he’ll go along!  I would also love to get the weeds pulled so that might be my activities for the day.  Weekend plans include a mystery date with my wonderful husband (I secured the sitter and he’s planning the outing) and going to see a play on Sunday with my daughter  and her Brownie troop.  Maybe a longer run can be squeezed in too.


  • Running: about 2.5 miles and I felt good about it!
  • Words written: 700+
  • Weight: 145
  • Deck Check: Divided Sky, Phish (Junta).  This is definitely one of my Desert Island albums.

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