I have waited quite a while to put my feelings from this week’s long run into words. And I don’t think I am still able to do justice to it. This post is a tad too long and all over the place. But still it needs to be said.


 

I looked at this week’s 17 mile pace dictated long run (1 warmup, 7 @ 13:30, 6 @ 13:00, 3 @ 12:30; no walk breaks) as my redemption after last week when I had a good run, but I knew better was possible.  And inspite of this week being longer and harder, I was not nervous (not too much, anyway). Even the predicted temperatures of 22F at the start didn’t bother me. I was going to do it. End of discussion.

A spot of cold never bothered me on a long run!
A spot of cold never bothered me on a long run!

Ajit, coming fresh off a PR from last week’s Alien 13.1, joined me and off we went. As usual the first mile after warmup was hard, but after that everything was smooth. 7 miles @ 13:30 felt like I could go on forever at that pace. Transitioning into 6 miles @ 13:00 wasn’t that bad either. I knew I was running strong even though I was alone, and I could do this. When I transitioned to 12:30 pace, the first mile was strong and perfect. In the middle of the second of those 12:30 miles, a switch just turned off and I fell apart.

I tried to pull it together to continue, but just couldn’t. I tried hard, it wasn’t there. From about mile 10, I started bleeding from the chafing caused by my bra and heart rate monitor, but I no longer had anything left to grin and bear the burning pain  

All I had left was to somehow jog back to the car instead of completely giving up and walking all the way back. 

That last jog mile, I was frustrated and mad. And I was crying because I was frustrated and mad.

 

Holding on strong, and then falling apart.
Holding on strong, and then falling apart.

Why could I not focus on the positive 15.5 miles, instead of the pull-me-down 1.5 miles?

15.5 strong miles is a big deal.
Covering the distance without walking (other than stopping to strip layers or refill bottles) is an even bigger deal for this (former) run-walker.
Hitting the prescribed paces without any effort until that moment was an even more bigger deal for someone who is normally afraid of pace based runs. 

Why then was I so frustrated?

Because those last 1.5 miles defeated me.  

This was my longest run in … I guess since Jan/Feb of 2013 while training for Little Rock Marathon (and I had walked most of those miles).
This run came at the end of what was probably my hardest week so far, including 6 x 1 mile repeats.
It was freezing cold outside when performance is affected just like the heat affects performance.

Why then was I still frustrated?

Because those last 1.5 miles defeated me. 

I fought back, I didn’t give up without a fight. But it still defeated me. 

I cried because the 1.5 miles defeated me.  I was frustrated that I let it defeat me. I was mad that I was frustrated. And then I cried because I was mad and frustrated. 

It was a vicious cycle. 


In that emotional moment, Mike talked me off the ledge even as I tried to get my frustrated crying under control . Thank you, Mike, for taking the time to talk to me even though you were still busy with the Holcomb Bridge Hustle. It was one of those moments where I needed both a hug and a shake. And you sensed it even though I didn’t know it myself.

I’ve been trying to think of what could’ve happened. I don’t know how to read between the lines of my Garmin data. I was doing so good. What happened in the course of a mile to tear me apart like that? This wasn’t a cathartic meltdown (I’ve had a few of those too). 

Perhaps I need to fuel earlier? 
Perhaps I hit the wall? 
Perhaps I was just tired after a hard week? 
Perhaps the cold weather played a more dominant part?

And the one reason I REFUSE to think about – perhaps I wasn’t capable of hitting that 12:30 pace for the final 3 miles. 

I don’t want to think about it.
I will not think about it.

I believe I can.

If not during these 17 miles, then the next time. 
I want to believe that I can hit that pace, and more. After all, these 15.5+1.5 miles seemed impossible just last week when I cramped at 13/14 miles. 

Even though the 15.5 miles have been my strongest miles to date so far, I refuse to stop at this. Yes, I am running much more easily than I was 4 months ago (Since I’ve picked back up running as my major focus to train for Dopey).

But I don’t want to be content at that. 

I WANT MORE!  

While Ariel is not my kind of princess, I get it when she says "I want more".
While Ariel is not my kind of princess, I get it when she says “I want more”.

So after a slightly mellow weekend tending to a sick kid, I’m ready to brush it off and push forth next week.

Back to the quest searching for more!

 Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 9.15.31 AM

 


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Smitha Barki, The "FauxRunner", is a runner, triathlete, vegetarian, User Experience Professional and a mom of 2 little minions. Slow and steady, she is passionate about her fitness journey and eager to share it and help others Redefine their Impossible.
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Long Run Recap – I Want More
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  • GIRL…you looked fab. Sorry the end was not what you wanted, try to focus on what you DID, and maybe your next run your mind will focus on that. I know its hard, we are so critical of ourselves!

    • Thanks Julie. You looked awesome too! And kudos on 13!

  • Jen M

    I know my words won’t change how you feel about this run, but I just wanted to tell you that your post inspires me. I am a run-walker, and sometimes I struggle with just that. I can’t even imagine running even 13.1 miles without walking. You may have felt defeated by that last 1.5, but I am inspired by all 17, because they give me hope that someday, I can also run longer and farther, and just like you, I want more.

    • Awww.. Thank you. You can totally run without walking if you want to. I started only 4 months ago. I ran by heart rate only in zones 1 and 2 for more than 2 months before making progression to anything longer than 7 miles.

  • Kristen K.

    I’ve been there, and it’s the worst! in fact, I do this with EVERYTHING in my life. I only focus on the negative no matter what positives happen. I’m an educator and I’ve started writing little notes in a notebook about all of the positive things in each lesson as well as the things I need to work on. Reframing how I talk about each lesson is helping me focus on the positives more and reframe my “failures” as things that I need to improve on. Us runners are so hard on ourselves! For the record, you had an awesome run and I hope to someday be able to run that far at that pace! Good luck with the next long run!

    • I love that idea! I see the fun and positive things but I’m always afraid of becoming complacent. Too many times I’ve told myself that I’m done X and I’m happy. I’m afraid of growing stagnant.

  • Tough runs are just so awfully both physically and mentally! I had one early in my running “career” where I hit some kind of wall at mile five. It took months to convince myself to go past that again. You know you can do it, sometimes the stars just don’t align right. Better during a training run than a race, that’s the time to get the crappy runs out! You did an awesome job, I’ve never run past 13.5 miles! Thanks for linking up with us!

  • Sandra Laflamme

    It is tough sometimes! I am my own worst critic at times and am always on the quest to stop focusing on the negative and to ditch the negative self–talk. After a run like this try to write down two things that went well and one goal to work on as this will help you to find more feelings of positivity and something that you’d like to work on. You will get to where you want to be. You are strong!

  • You can do this! You were strong for 15.5. Be proud of what you did do – the rest will come.

  • Hey there, I found you via the NaBloPoMo blogroll.

    As part of NaBloPoMo I try to comment on as many participating blogs as I can, and I am also adding participating blogs to my feed reader. So Iโ€™m just dropping by to let you know Iโ€™ve added your blog to my feedreader, whenever you publish a post I will see it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have created three bundles on Inoreader so that bloggers can easily visit other participating NaBloPoMo bloggers which you can find here –

    http://www.snoskred.org/2014/11/nablopomo-bundles-final-edition.html

    Your blog is in the second bundle.. I also have a link up going at my place so my readers can find participating blogs which you are more than welcome to add your blog link to.

    Looking forward to seeing your posts. You may see me drop by again during November, but it might be December before I finish my first drop by to blogs if I don’t get faster at leaving comments. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Happy NaBloPoMo to you!

    Snoskred

    http://www.snoskred.org

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