Getting My Rear Back in Gear

Really, I tried to find a cool image like Dim does, but this was best non-copyrighted "gear" image I could find!

On my run last Friday, I had a realization that nearly stopped me in my tracks: I hadn’t done a tempo run in more than two months. Okay, so it’s not as life-blowing as, say, finally accepting I drive a minivan, but after months of weekly fast-paced runs this winter and spring, it was a substantial-for-me bit of time off. It didn’t help matters I had this minor epiphany right before I was going to urge my body to run sub-8:00-minute miles. So I did what any sane woman would do: I cranked Rihanna’s “Disturbia,” and kicked into gear.

I told myself I only had to run fast for 15 minutes. (My marathon tempo runs are typically two or three times that long.) I tried to get into the groove and not look at my Garmin every block. The few times I allowed my eyes to drift down, I pushed harder if it told me my pace had crept over 8:00. As I wiped sweat out of my eyes, I looked forward to slowing down.

Yet as I got warmed up, it became easier to move my legs faster than usual. My mind—and my muscles—were remembering the work I’d done during my not-so-distant marathon. Still, I eagerly awaited the 15-minute mark. When the time came, I stopped and checked my average pace: 7:57. Nice work. But my inner competitive fire had been stoked. Just as I was feeling slightly slacker for “only” doing 15 minutes, announced in my earbud he gotta feeling. And, I mean, come on: I dare you to slow down to the Black Eyed Peas! 

So I took off. This time I told myself I’d run fast as long as “I Gotta Feeling” lasted. Turns out that’s 4 minutes, 49 seconds. Oh, so close to 20 minutes of tempo total, so I kicked out another block. Checked my trusty pace-keeper again: 7:54.

As Mike Tyson says so wonderfully in The Hangover, “Niiiiiiice.”

What gets you fired up to do speedwork?

The make-me-move Peas

16 responses to “Getting My Rear Back in Gear

  1. david guetta “sexy chick”… that or trying to outrun something, i.e. the start of a show (a new modern family or grey’s anatomy-i try to forget i’m dvr-ing it!), my little one’s internal morning alarm so i have time to stretch, or the rising sun. no joke! southernrunningmom, i feel you on the heat! i live about 60 miles from the southernmost tip of texas, and heading into august, if i don’t wake up early to run, i don’t run! treadmill minutes tick by painstakingly slooowwwly.

  2. The song that keeps me pumped up that I go to when I need to put into a faster gear is “La Grange” by ZZ Top. That guitar and drum set at the start lets my brain and legs know that its going to pick up in a few seconds then I just hold on for the ride. I have done my fastest 1/4 mile intervals, fastest mile repeat and fastest 5k to this song and came in on the end of an 18 mile run at a sub 7 (my Marathon pace is right around 9) minute mile with this song rocking in my ears!

  3. ooo… never thought of nkotb… will have to get some to add to my running playlist soon! I like Cover Girl, but I think it’s a little too slow for running.

    1. Apropos of nothing: When my high school best friend was about two years out of college, she dated an older guy who was the ATTORNEY for NKOTB. They went to a concert together and got to go backstage afterward. My friend, then 24 years young, was asked by an adoring fan, “Are you one of the guys’ mothers?” Hilarious!

  4. “In My Head” by Jason Derulo is my go-to at the end of the run. Today after 4m of hill intervals, “Fighter” by Aguilera came on during my cooldown – which turned into a speed ending!! Love her!

    1. Jess–
      I am VERY late to the Aguilera-party, but I juuuuuust got her CD with “Fighter” on it off of eBay. Listening to CD in van this morning with Phoebe, 8, we were both bopping along to it, and I told her, “this is an AWESOME running song!” Indeed!

  5. Running with a friend who is slightly faster or slightly slower than me, both have a way of making me push a little bit harder. Pasta and a nice microbrew afterwords doesn’t hurt anything either.

  6. Oh, did I need this burst of energy, Sarah!!!!! You already know how un-freaking-believable hot it is in South Louisiana! My fast runs lately are on the TM. My hard work is paying off, though, because during a dusk run (with my 10 y/o PUSHING me from her bike), I was COOKING and it felt GREAT! I didn’t have my Garmin on, but I knew those TM workouts were paying my quads dividends! I Gotta Feeling I’ll be doing the Baton Rouge marathon again in December because I can’t bear the thought of a calendar year going by without a 26.2 checked off!!!!! I guess knowing a long haul is in my future is all I need to get fired up to do speedwork…well, the laundry doesn’t fold itself, does it? Gotta run…peace!!!

    1. Good work doing outside run, Mary. I ran during day (like 8:30 or 9 a.m.) while I was in CT the past two weeks, and the three H’s (heat, humidity, and hills) were forces to be reckoned with! Forget about speed, but I was pleased that I felt strong on the ascents.

      And in keeping with your, “laundry doesn’t fold itself,” I’d like to add: luggage doesn’t unpack itself. Sigh.

  7. New music definitely helps, but I will usually bribe myself with a “food treat” after the run is done. I usually throw up at the end of the tempo part of my run so I know that seems odd but nothing like the thought of a cinnamon crunch bagel from Panera Bread to kick my legs into higher gear!

  8. I’m not running for any purpose right now … just trying to get the “Go Run” checked off of my to-do list at the moment ….

    BUT having new music definitely fires me up for my 12 minutes of speed work … so does my mental “run faster than the guys in the gym” inner dialogue that plays constantly (since running outdoors isn’t a good option for me right now).

    1. I love your “run faster than guys in gym” motivational fire! When I was swimming regularly, I used to always “race” the people in other lanes–even when they were oblivious to my presence.

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