Friday, April 20, 2012

Redefining Normal

Well, here I sit.  It's kind of late, and there is nothing on TV - well, the six channels we have.  I have nothing to do but contemplate life, and I am loving it.  I wasn't going to write anything today, but since it's just me in a quiet, sleepy house, what the heck.

So, what am I thinking about tonight?  Well, mainly how normal keeps redefining itself. About how things that I once must have thought were odd suddenly seem like they belong.

One of the biggest examples of redefining normal, of course, is having kids.  Anyone who has seen the Johnson & Johnson commercials of old knows that having kids changes everything.  Whether those changes are good or bad, I will not argue here.  What is true, though, is that once one goes through that "change," that redefinition of life as we know it becomes the norm.  Was there a time when I could actually use the bathroom without intrusion and angry shouts of "he said, she did?"  I dunno, I don't remember.  See?  It now actually seems normal to have to referee fights from a shower.  Who knew?  

Now, this redefinition of normal is creeping over into my running life - once again.  Did the idea of running 20 miles for no real good reason - other than to say I could - seem "odd" once?  Yes, of course.  But with two marathons under my belt (and 20 of Hubby's), I adapted and now that seems normal.

Somehow, though, Hubby, a.k.a. Distance Dude, has brought a redefinition of normal into our space yet again.  He is gearing up to go on a 35-mile training run tomorrow.  Thirty-five miles,... that's 3-5, people.  It still boggles my mind.  I mean, that is nine miles longer than my longest GOAL distance to date - and it is a training run.  The strangest thing about it to me is that he thinks this is completely normal and makes sense.  Even stranger than that, though, is that I think it is normal, too.  We should probably both have our heads examined.

On a personal scale (which is much smaller than Hubby's), my running life seems to be redefining itself, too.  Prior to a few months ago, running a 5K or 10K race somewhere between a 9- and 10-minute-per-mile pace was amazing to me.  Running a group run longer than four miles and being able to hang with the group the whole time was cause for wild celebration.  Suddenly, though, with the turn of one 5-mile race - where I managed to maintain an 8:41 pace for the whole race, normal was redefined.  I thought it was a fluke, but the past month and a half have shown me it is not.  I am now regularly racing in that range.  Group runs are not as much of a struggle as they once were either.

Normal is being redefined.

Today I had the best impromptu group run ever, I think.  I wasn't even planning on running with a group, but the opportunity presented itself and I grabbed it.  I ended up doing 6.4 miles - of hills, no less - in 1:03.  That works out to an average pace of 9:49 - with my LAST MILE being the fastest at 8:59.  And, there was a lot of walking in there, so I know the running wasn't slow.  In fact, as long as I was moving forward, I kept the watch going.

So, there is a new normal in town; a plateau has been busted.  I don't know that I can really explain why this is happening now, of all times, after having been running for eleven years regularly and when I am coming off of an injury that has really confounded me.

But I'll take it.  I'll enjoy it.  I'll revel in it.  Until a new normal - faster or slower, longer or shorter - is defined.

Happy Running!

Have you had a new normal defined for you lately?  Please share!


  1. 35 miles! Amazing! I love that you both run. Still trying to convert my husband.

    I'm already mourning the post-marathon resting after next weekend. The new normal is training every day, and I'm sad to lose that. But my legs need a rest. Or do they?

    1. Maybe your legs don't need a rest! I don't know. I have gotten used to my six-day-a-week schedule, and I like that. I do other things besides running, though, so I feel that gives the legs a bit of a break. Maybe you are ready to join the running streak club?

      Yeah, 35 miles. I don't get it either, but different strokes for different folks, as my dad is fond of saying. :)

  2. 35 is amazing! I'm sure your Ultra Hubby will tell you that walking hills is normal!

    Feeling that speed change is amazing, isn't it? It hit me on a short 2 mile run the day before a 6k trail race. I was hoping to do the race at an 8:30 to 9 pace. I did the training run at an easy pace and did it in 8:30 a mile. I felt "springy" is what I remember telling people. I finished 3rd the next day! I then hit 21 and under in 4 5k's through the spring and summer, even setting my PR on a Weds and then Sat 5k after doing a really tough 1/2 the Sunday before. Something just clicked.

    Kids? Yeah, they change us, too. If I didn't see them eating and wanting the junk I was eating, I never would have changed my diet and gotten off my ass. I didn't want them to be like me. Now, I do (well, with the diet and exercise at least!).

    I hit 35 miles once last September during a 12 hour Endurance Run. I was only planning on 20, but felt great and was smiling the whole way. It was an amazing experience! I ended up doing a 50k a month later and am hooked on Ultras! But it came at a cost- an overuse injury: a partially torn adductor muscle that I've bene rehabbing since October (I did aggravate the injury by...pushing to far too soon!). Today I'm hoping for 1.25 pain free miles. All part of those changes :)