I don't know about you, but I have found in my own running and in working with my running clients that everyone sort of has a hump when it comes to training. That is a distance or a pace that takes a little more time and effort to conquer. Before I got pregnant, I had paces I was targeting, but none of them took very long to reach if I stayed focused. It has been quite a while since I have had a distance "hump," but pregnancy changed that. After having Eloise, running became a whole new thing as I tried to build my endurance back from pregnancy and child birth. At first it was the 3 mile hump. Running over 3 miles was tough, but it was early and my body was still recovering. Sleep was harder to come by in those early weeks, too, and I was adjusting to this brand new thing called "motherhood."
Eventually the temperatures cooled off, Eloise slept a bit more, and I got into more of a groove. I became consistent with my running and conquering new distances became easier... that is until I bumped up to 8 miles. For some reason that distance felt a lot like a long run and I was very tired at the end. The first time I did it was in mid-November, and it was tough. I backed down to 6 and 7 milers for a while before trying it again. About a month later I ran another 8 miler and while I was able to go the distance it still felt like a long run. So back to more 6 and 7 milers I went, determined that I was going to get over that 8 mile hump.
Well, with the help of a dear running friend and a little patience, I think I got there. Yesterday I had the pleasure of getting to run with my friend Katie, a running friend I have not run with since early pregnancy. It was so nice to run, chat, discuss baby raising with another mom, and have her company for a longer run. We were a bit pressed for time so I took us on a 6.5 mile route, thinking I'd either get 8 miles in another day or tack on the mileage later. When we got back to my house she said we could finish the run and I thought she meant we had time to get to mile 7. So we picked up the pace and when we reached mile 7 I stopped. Katie asked me what I was doing and I said I thought we were done. She said she meant she could finish the 8 miles I needed for the day. I laughed as I started running again and told her we might have to slow down a bit for me to add another mile. She said she only had 8 minutes so we couldn't slow down.
This is funny because it is typical Katie and it reminded me of past runs with her when she would very matter-of-factly tell me I had to keep up with her. I may not always be able to, but I certainly always try. It felt really good to push a little and I was excited to be able to push at the end of an 8 miler! I accidentally took us too far out so we ended up with 8.3 miles. Not only was it my 3rd and best 8 miler since Eloise was born in August, it was my longest run since then as well.
It felt GREAT and that was a big deal for my "hump" distance. Was it the good company and distraction? My excitement over running with a friend for the first time in ages? Was my body just ready to get over that hump? Maybe all of the above, but whatever it was I was pleased and grateful for such a good run on such a gorgeous day.
Hopefully Katie and I can work in more of these runs together as my long runs get longer and as I start pace work in a few weeks. Her company and that extra push she sometimes gives me will help me get over any more "humps" in my half-marathon training, and I am grateful for such a wonderful running partner and friend.