Monday, August 22, 2011

Keeping it real

First off, I see there are some new people reading here. Hello and welcome! I am planning on actually writing something in the About Me section, as well as my long-promised How It All Started post this week. I really promise this time!

Training since my last update started out great, just as I had left off. The realist (not even cynic!) in me knew that a bad day was around the corner. It's just not realistic to think that you can go out there every day and be all, "tra-la-laaa! I'm running faster than I ever have and it doesn't even feel hard! Wheeee!" That's what Sunday was like and I knew I'd pay sooner or later.

Wednesday was a rest day for me last week. Thursday was 400m X 7. I used the track at the Back Bay Fens. It's really pretty there and there's usually a lot going on. It's good if it's in the circle in the middle. Bad if there are a million people walking all spread out.

This was taken across the river from the track, on the loop I sometimes run.
Anyway, I was dreading this workout. I had to work, so I ate a small dinner at work at 5 and didn't get out there until about 730. The specific workout is that I have to run all 7 at faster than a 2:42 (which is my half marathon goal pace), but faster if possible. Between them, my rest is half the time the previous interval took and I need to be walking or jogging slow. My best 400 is about a 1:52. I think I could do faster at this point, but I had seven to do after working for 13 hours. My times were:


Keep in mind that I'm still not that fast. A fast single mile for me is somewhere in the low 8s. My 5K PR is a 32:30, although I've run it in about 29 in practice recently. It's a big improvement from when I ran a 12 min pace no matter what the distance and was embarrassed to haul myself around the track!

I was really happy about how I did and that I managed to stay pretty even, other than the first 1/4. Even The Husband (the genetically gifted I-woke-up-running-in-the-8s husband) was impressed when he ran the last 2 with me.

Friday was a day with my trainer (more strength) and a 3 mile run. As much as the track workouts (the 400s) have greatly improved my speed and fitness, they are really tough on my body. Friday my shins were sore again and I slogged through my 3 mile easy run.

Saturday was another 3 mile easy run. I felt a little better and did it in a what felt moderate 31 min. 

Sunday...oh, Sunday. 8 mile long run Sunday. Why? Why did I sleep until 10:30 when I knew it would be hot? Other than working forever and running after... I checked the weather and it said it would be overcast until noon. Okay, if I left right then I'd get back in time, so I hurried up. The Husband and I stepped outside at about 10:45 and, immediately, the sky cleared. That would normally be a great thing, but not when I have to run for an hour plus! I hoped I was wrong and off we went.

It was miserable. I felt bad that, due to the heat, I was keeping a much more conservative pace and my over 6 foot tall husband was literally shuffling to stay with me. I got a mile in and told him this was the best I could do. I suggested he run up to the next intersection, about a 1/2 mile away, and meet me there. He didn't know the course for the run, so we had to somewhat stick together. We did this until we got to the pond, our turnaround, and he decided it was easier to run at my pace than start and stop. I felt awful. I was ruining his run. There wasn't anything I could do about it since he didn't know where we were going, but I felt like I was letting him down. Why should his run and training suffer? He was such a good sport about it too. He really didn't mind sticking with me and didn't complain. It was me and my head that was the problem. I couldn't get into my groove. I could hear him behind me in his sequence of run, shuffle, walk a few steps. Repeat. I knew he was staying behind me so I couldn't see him and wouldn't feel bad. I was hot, salt was stinging my face and I jut wanted to be home. 

Finally, at mile 7 it started to pour. I would normally have been elated, but I felt so mentally beat down that I just shuffled through the drops. I love running in the rain. I ran most of my PRs in the rain. I laughed and mentioned that our windows were open and it's too bad we didn't learn anything from the Friday storm than soaked everything within 7 feet of our windows. The husband ran off ahead and I slogged home in a time of 1:32:08. An 11:31 pace. I was bummed. I sat on my front steps and tried not to cry while The Husband said things like, "but you ran 8 miles!" "You didn't quit!" "That's still not a bad pace!"

It didn't really help. I came upstairs, made a smoothie and showered. As I sat down with my lunch, I saw that the Triathlon World Championships in London were on Universal Sports. I LOVE the triathlon. I haven't done one yet, but I'm thinking about it. Then, it went to commercial and I saw this, which almost made me cry (yeah, I'm kind of like that. I've gotten teary eyed daydreaming about qualifying for Boston):

"Maybe strong is just what you have left when you've used up all your weak..."

 And then I stopped feeling sorry for myself. Completing a miserable, seemingly endless run took a lot more than the ones I'd normally pat myself on the back for. Maybe my thinking is all wrong.

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