Given Kanye West's latest appalling behavior, I apologize for naming this post as I did, but it sums up how I've been feeling lately. Like realizing my hair went from all-over golden to having 3" grow-out overnight (honestly!), I suddenly noticed my regular running pace is speedier than it used to be. Without trying, my maintenance runs are now done at what used to be my marathon tempo pace. And my tempo runs are now sub-8:00, even with hills. What's up with that!?
On my runs, I keep debating what it is that's making me faster. Here's what I've come up with:
-Hill repeats. In preparation for Nike Women's Half Marathon, I've shifted several track workouts to hill ones, including one monster hill I tackle twice in an hour-long trail run. If you read about Dimity and me running the full Nike Women's in 2007, you know the hills were my nemesis. I know better now, and I'm prepping my legs for the challenge. Now I realize the hills are helping me on the flats as well.
-Yoga for Runners. I've been taking this class once a week at my gym since mid-summer, and my body is thanking me for it. I'm not a yogini by any means--I'm still far from limberl, and yoga usually makes me say, "yawn," instead of "om"--but I always feel infinitely looser and less achy after an hour of twisting and bending. Prior to committing to the class, my left glute used to groan most of the time, and my left Achilles tendon often chimed in with a painful hum, but now both areas are relatively silent.
-Core work. My rowing team has a new coach, an Olympic sculler, who is whipping us into shape. Part of the required regimen is four core workouts a week, totalling 1,000 core reps (variety of exercises). Like my oldest daughter, I'm a rule follower, so I'm crunching, planking, bicycling, and grunting after my runs or rows. I'm not expecting a call from the photographer for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue anytime soon, but I feel significantly stronger through my midsection.
Or who knows what may be making me for fleet-footed. Whatever it is, I'm liking it.