The Balance Between Running For Fun and Running For Time

Big news people, turns out I can run faster than I thought. Tuesday night is both my favorite and most dreaded workout of the week because I run with Chloe Lasseron's Lululemon Brooklyn run. Chloe focuses her weekly run on speed, tempo or hill work, the three workouts I notoriously ignore. Yesterday's run consisted of a .5 mile warm up to the Lululemon store, a 1.5 mile run to the track, a 3 mile progression at the track and then a 1.5 mile run back to the store.

What's a 3 mile progression? I'm so glad you asked because I didn't have a clue either -

1 mile at half marathon pace.

Recovery (Say as many F words as you can in 90 seconds).

1 mile at 10K pace.

Recovery (Direct as many F words directly at the person who's idea a 3 mile progression was for 90 seconds.)

1 mile at 5K pace.

I don't know my half marathon pace, 10K or 5K paces are so my plan of attack was to just push myself as hard as I could that first mile and go from there. (I'll admit I 100% expected myself to play the "I have a marathon in 3 weeks and can't get hurt card" and run easy after the first mile.) Here's how it went --

Mile 1 at 7:19/minute mile.

Then I spent 90 seconds dropping F bombs like they were going out of style.

Mile 2 at 7:20/minute mile.

Track Workout

My fancy watch is set to alert me whenever I run faster than a 7:50 minute mile so the entire time it was vibrating maliciously and screaming "PACE TO FAST!" After I finished mile 2, I turned to Chloe and said, "That's the fastest I've run since elementary school." Then I threw a bunch of F words her way.

I almost didn't go for mile 3. I was tired. I didn't think I could do it. I had already done 2 miles at what were miracle paces and I was telling myself, "This is to hard. No one is making you do this just run one last easy mile. A mile is a mile is a mile." But Chloe, who I now suspect is a mind reader, says "Just go for it and see what happens."

Then I did Mile 3 in 7:29/minute mile.

I know, I'm still amazed. I had no clue I was capable of running not only 1 mile at 7:19 but three miles around that same pace. Last week during a 6 mile run I clocked myself running an 8 minute mile and even then I was huffing and puffing like I'd never huffed and puffed before. So I assumed that was the fastest I could go.

THAT BEING SAID, I do not like running fast. I don't care who you are, anyone who says that running fast is fun is a damn liar. The reason I have so much fun when I run half marathons is because I run at a comfortable pace and I dance around like no one's watching. That's what works for me, I run because I simply love to run. Now don't get me wrong, I think it's impossible not to want to see just how fast or far you can run and push yourself.

This is the very first workout I ever logged with Runkeeper.

I've come a long way in the two and a half years since I started running and getting faster, stronger and ultimately more comfortable with my pace has all been apart of the process. I rarely set out to see how fast I can run. I'll always choose a leisurely run over hill repeats or speed work. Is that bad? No, it's just my personal preference. I think it's really admirable whenever I see runners posting their splits and how hard they attack their workouts. I find their drive really inspiring. I'm just not that runner. I'd rather take a break to dance or make myself laugh while I run.

We all run for different reasons and they do in fact change over time. This year I have set some intimidating goals. I am running two marathons (which for me is a really terrifying undertaking) and I want to break 4 hours at the New York City Marathon. That means in order for me to run a comfortable NYC Marathon under 4 hours I have to do more of the stuff I hate.

Here's what I've learned about pushing through the pain and discomfort, you have to run the moment you're in. Yesterday when I was on the track, each mile felt impossible. Had I sat there thinking to myself, "I still have an entire mile left" I would have just given up. Instead I focused on the straightaway or curve I was in. My inner monologue was a hot mess and got progressively angrier and foggier with each mile. Nothing terrible would have happened had I chosen to stop two laps into my final mile like I wanted to. I'm just really, really glad I didn't. It's an amazing feeling to be able to say, "Holy sh*t I cannot believe I just did that."

Yesterday I surprised myself. I didn't quit when I wanted to (and expected myself to) and I ran the fastest I've run since I was in the 5th grade. It wasn't fun. Yesterday was anything but fun! But sometimes I guess you do have to find the balance between having fun and doing the hard work.

I'm just really proud that I didn't quit when I wanted to. (I still can't believe I didn't quit.)

[Have I mentioned how amazed I am that I didn't quit?]

Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.

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Kelly Roberts

My name is Kelly Roberts and I am a 25 year old New York City resident. My story made headlines when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the NYC Half Marathon. My blog, is bursting with humor and personal stories that lend an insight into the world of running and lead you to believe that just about anyone, regardless of their fitness level, can and should fall in love with running. Though currently an avid runner, I never would have predicted I would run marathons. I was the kid who used to hide in the bushes or play dead to get out of running the mile in school. I HATED running. But running has given me a purpose. It’s shown me that I really am limitless. In the two years since I started running, I’ve run multiple half marathons, 10ks, and 5ks, and two full marathons. My mission is to inspire others to find the courage to say yes to themselves all the while making them laugh hysterically because laughing is the solution to everything.