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.
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.
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!
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!
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