Running Through a Fulfilled Life


A Little Speed Goes a Long Way

The secret to running faster is simple.  You must run faster.  Idiot.  Duh.

However, this is a lot easier said than done.  Training your body to enjoy that “I think I’m on the verge of puking and my lungs are about to explode into a colorful array like a pinata and my legs may simultaneously fall off” feeling is not easy.  In fact, it’s downright awful.  I like being comfortable. I enjoy wearing pajamas at any hour of the day while eating a 2 pound chocolate bar while snuggling up with my heated blanket while watching all the seasons of Gilmore Girls in a row.  I hate the uncomfortable unknown.

My goal this season was to become faster.  And that meant I had to suck it up, toss my chocolates aside, and buckle down into a zone of being uncomfortable.  My short lived running career has been a battle with overcoming this.   Case in point, my “Best Times” for a 5K across the years (thanks Athlinks):

  • 2005 (as a soccer player that hated long distance running)–24:18 (7:49/mile)
  • 2009–24:26 (7:52/mile)
  • 2010–23:15 (7:29/mile)
  • 2011–22:57 (7:23/mile)

Over this time, I ran 41 5K’s (yes that is disgusting and I don’t want to calculate how much I spent on my semi-expensive hobby) and of those, 14 were >25 minutes, 17 were in the 24’s, 8 were in the 23’s, and 2 were a smidge under 23 minutes.  I knew was capable of more.  I just hate making things hurt unnecessarily.

But this year, I invested in speedwork.  I made it happen every week.  I did 1600’s, 1200’s, 800’s, 600’s, 400’s, and 200’s.  I fartlek’ed.  I tempo’d.  I ran fast on the treadmill.  I ran fast on trails.  I ran fast on the roads.  I ran fast when I was running between patients in the clinic.  I ran fast in my sleep.

Who is this girl that knows how to run a 3:15 800? What have you done with the real Eli?

And it paid off.  When I looked back across my races this year, I noticed today that I really made steady improvements.  Not just with my times, but how I feel about each race when I reflect back upon it.  I can honestly say I give a full effort.  I don’t hold back anymore.

The face of a person confused if they should be running a 5K or vomiting while the super fast Matt Folk acts not impressed.

 I have learned to embrace the pain.  And embrace wearing compression sleeves.  *#&W@^@*($ Calf Strain.

I was going for the look of a “running bruise” today

Happy Running!