Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Run through it

Pre-workout fuel: Slice of whole-wheat toast with Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams
Workout: Ran 7.27 miles in 1 hour, 3 minutes, 54 seconds; average pace, 8:47.

Every now and again, you'll have a run where your heart is willing and your body isn't. On occasion, your body will be willing but your heart will not be there.

And then, there's the rare event when your body rebels and your heart leads you back to bed. This is a story about one of those mornings.

I went to bed at a reasonable time last night, gave Mark a smooch and turned over, waiting to go to REM land. Instead, I was taken to "let's jump on the floor as loud as we can" land in the upstairs apartment. I am not sure if they were playing Whack-A-Mole, Roller Derby, Annoy Kim - but nonetheless I didn't fall asleep as I had wished. And when I did, I got a nice little wake-up call. Thanks, bladder. Toss in some weird dreams and hearing Mark get up at 5:20 a.m., and it's a mix that makes for a very cranky girl.

Determined that all I needed was some coffee decaf flavored water, I got up and went about my routine - get dressed, check e-mail, put on Garmin. Fought with Mark. Wait, that's not part of the routine. (It's his fault, though. He questioned my need for a.m. runs.)

This cranky girl was crankier as I stepped out for my 7-mile run, with 5 miles at tempo. As I walked the two blocks of my warm up, I could feel the tightness in my muscles. Must have been the dern walk (in flip-flops) to Dairy Queen last night.

Determined that all I needed was to get my legs moving, I hit start on my Garmin and went. I tried to keep the pace slow (and avoid anger taking me out too fast). About 0.75 mile in, I felt a twinge in my right leg. "Frack, I thought. I hope to bejeebus I'm not getting a shin splint. I haven't had a shin splint in forever." I began to pay close attention to my leg, analyzing every step and looking for ANY sign of discomfort.

And then, in that moment, I heard the honking of a horn and the loud "Hi" coming from an SUV. Apparently, the rear view as I run is worth such exclamations. I kept going. I forgot about the pain.

The first mile seemed to go by in an instant and it was time to turn up the pace. But my body felt slow. My head resisted. I found myself loathing each step, conscious of just how far I had to go - 4 miles ... 3 miles ...

"I could turn off and get home in 0.75 mile," I thought after the first two tempo miles. This horrific run, this horrific morning ... it could all be over in less than 10 minutes and with one bite of butternut squash pancakes.

But I stopped. Not literally but mentally. I made myself fight. I fought to push through. I fought to keep pace. I fought to stop thinking. And when I did think, I told myself, "You might not feel good on race day. You might not want to go on. You need to train to get through it. This. Now."

And so I got through.

Splits: 8:41, 8:34, 8:21, 8:26, 8:28.


  1. Have you always been so mentally strong or is that something that you've developed over time? You're amazing. It's soooo easy to quit and take the easy way out - it's soooo much harder to push through. You're the better for pushing through! Great job!

  2. I would say that I've always been fairly stubborn, which has translated well with the training. I am also my harshest critic and I hate to disappoint myself. Also works well with training. I will say, though, that I developed a toughness with my first half marathon. I was so worried that I wouldn't be able to do it that I developed a discipline to adhere to the schedule - in good times and in bad.