I love this time of year in Austin- here is a picture of the sky that I took yesterday during my commute:
The other morning at run group it was just three of us- our Coach, one other woman named F and little old me. We ran 3 miles, which was two laps around this loop that we usually do. We ran the whole time, and when we were done, F was really out of breath and frustrated that it was so hard for her. I think we had run much faster than she normally runs. She was asking me questions like "how long have you been running?" and "do you run every day?"
However, what she didn't see is that she had just ran three miles with me and Coach. I didn't slow down for her at all. I have been running for 8 years, she has only been running since December. It took me FOR. EV. ER to be able to run three miles without stopping (and I'm SURE I didn't run as fast as she had that morning when I was finally able to do it.) Literally- I think I started running in January of 2005 (or at least that was the first race I ever did- a 5k that I had to walk a significant part of) and didn't make it a whole 3 miles until AT LEAST March. Probably April.
While trying to encourage her, I started thinking about how progress can sometimes be extremely difficult to measure. F runs without a watch- I run with my Garmin. I can see myself getting faster- there is literally a graph on my computer, and it keeps track and it will actually tell me when I've run my "fastest mile!" or "longest run!"
Also- in January when I started coming to this run club, I couldn't run three miles without stopping. On Saturday I ran 5- not only continuously, but significantly faster. I am almost at a point where a 2:10 half marathon is possible- in January when I actually made that goal, I really thought I would get close but not quite hit it.
Anyway- keeping track of your progress is important. You might be making gains that are hard to see, but that are very real.