More Mental Than Physical

Week 8

Now that I have my horrible week of training behind me, I’ve taken time to reflect and stop beating myself up. I realize that running is so much more mental than physical and I’m my own worst critic. Rather than feeling disappointed in myself for missing ten miles of training, I should be happy that I was able to complete what I completed. I need to remind myself that training provides you the opportunity to try things before race day. This includes figuring out what recovery methods work best. The biggest thing I learned was that when the pavement is too much, try the treadmill. I also believe that a recovery walk the following day would have been helpful. I spent too many hours following being inactive.

How will this week be different? I plan to complete 40 miles this week. I will do as many miles as I can on the pavement, hopefully increasing each day. I will finish the miles on the treadmill if I need to so that I am prepared to do my entire long run on the pavement Saturday morning. I will revert to my previous post long run ritual of taking an ice bath. I’ll add ibuprofen and then I’m going to a street festival to keep moving. I also plan to incorporate daily yoga to aid in stretching and strengthening my body.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Week 8 Day 1

I started my run with .25 on the pavement. I didn’t go very fast, but I also ran the entire distance with no pain. When I arrived at the treadmill, I decided on a two minute run / thirty second interval. I felt great until I looked at the time and distance. It was slightly discouraging once I realized how slow I was going. I had to convince myself that speed wasn’t my goal today. Instead, I needed to focus on just completing five miles with no pain. I realized when I increased the speed on the treadmill, I experienced no pain, but discomfort at a 1.5. When I decreased my speed, discomfort also decreased. This is when I really decided to focus on my breathing, my form and finishing.

I ended up running twenty minutes straight. I left the treadmill at slightly less than four miles with the intent to complete my mileage on the pavement. I ran more than half of what I had left with no discomfort. I waited impatiently for Nike to tell me I had completed my training miles. But he never said a word. Maybe he thinks I’ve quit. Even with no words from my app, I finished my run feeling victorious. I was a little down when I saw that it took 1:29:36 to complete five miles. But I put it in perspective that at least I was starting the week off completing the required amount of miles.

I followed through with my post run activities. I prepared a smoothie and found a yoga post run video on YouTube. The stretches felt so good.

Next up, eight miles. I may split it and do five and three as the newest running shoe store in the area is hosting its first group run. I think I want to go.

Week 8 Day 2

Before I started my run, I did something I never do. I stopped for coffee, pumpkin spice coffee. It instantly became a major win when the guy behind the counter told me it was going to be free. I returned to a trail I hadn’t run in a while. My plan was to complete five miles on the pavement with no pain. I knew I would need to take it easy. I set my intervals to 2:1. When I reached the mile one marker, I was happy with my sub :14 pace. I took my time and decided to go in the direction of the hills because I would get to see the horses. I decided to walk the hills and felt fine. No pain, discomfort at a 1. To my disappointment, when I arrived at the pasture, there were no horses. Oh well.
I hadn’t heard Nike in a while and I decided I wouldn’t look even though I was curious of not only my splits, but also my distance. Although there were no mileage indicators coming from my app, I was quite pleased to get all the cheers.

5 miles later, I had completed this run17 minutes faster than yesterday.

My training planned called for eight miles, but I had decided I would split my run today and join a new local running group later in the evening.

For the first time in a million years, I experienced a feeling that seemed so foreign; intimidation. I arrived early at the group run and I was obviously the first to arrive. I sat in my car doing idle things as a few people began to appear at the designated starting location. My prior enthusiasm took a downward turn when I looked at the people that I would run with. What I saw were cross country and endurance runners who always placed in their age group. Even if that wasn’t the case, that was my observation and it made me uncomfortable. In my mind, all I kept thinking was that I’d never be able to keep up. I don’t think I’ve had that feeling in a running situation since the first time I toed the start line of the two mile run in high school. I knew I would be last to finish. Would the outcome over twenty years ago have been different if my thinking had been more positive? Unfortunately, I’ll never know. Yes, I did cross the finish line last that day. But that day, I also felt a sense of victory. I had done something I didn’t want to do because I didn’t think I was good enough. But I was good enough. I wasn’t fast enough or confident enough to place, let alone win. But I was determined enough to finish. I let myself get inside my head that everyone else was faster. I ran with the people on my team, they were faster. But I let my thoughts also think that about the runners from the other team without ever seeing there ability. That race was the last time I finished that distance last. What I lacked in speed, I made up for with determination. In my mind, I just needed to finish before the last person. As my determination increased, so did my speed. I was never the fastest, but each race my time was faster than the previous. And I was never last again.

I left the group run feeling defeated. I still had miles to run. I decided to complete them on a nearby trail. It was mind over miles. Each mile was faster than the previous. I had beaten my times from previous weeks and I had finished ahead of my biggest competitors; my thoughts and myself.

Week 8 Day 3

I switched my training schedule again. I traded today for tomorrow since I’m running well over my training plan this Saturday. It’s now three today, six tomorrow and no more than two on Friday. It was nice to use today as a stroll. Since I was going a lot slower, I was able to pay more attention to my surroundings and take advantage of the sights of the leaves beginning to take on the season. I love fall and the orange leaves are icing on the cake.

Week 8 Day 4

I did something I haven’t done on a consistent basis in a while. I woke up before the sun. It took me over thirty minutes to actually get out the door. It was rough. When I did exit the house, I was greeted by near perfect weather. The cool air on my face was a pleasant start to my day. My glimpse of the moon was an added bonus.

I walked passed a young guy at the bus stop. He was on the phone. I wondered who he was talking to so early. The list of people I’d want to talk to in the wee hours of the morning before my coffee is a very short list.

Week 8 Day 5

Guess how many miles I did today? Zero. Today and tomorrow had a combined total of 19 miles. Since I’m doing 18 with my friend tomorrow, I decided to take the day off.

Did I tell you I found a race to replace my half? It’s not actually a half. So my plan is to complete the suggested amount of miles each week (even if it’s slightly out of order).

Week 8 Day 6

It’s long run Saturday and even though I felt like my alarm rang thirty minutes after I entered rem sleep, I was ready to go. We drove to our starting point. The first two mikes seemed to drag and for some reason, the humidity felt different. I was drenched in sweat, wishing I had made a different clothing choice. It was odd to me because it was only sixty six degrees which is usually perfect for running.

I had only run the portion of this course to about three miles. Most of my running here has been relatively flat. In fact, I wondered where all the hills were. I found them today. My running partner, Kat, gave me the stank eye a few times. She had been sick all week and had heard me say “this city isn’t that hilly”. Today’s run made me out to be a liar. Oh well. We pressed on. As we ran, I gave her a city tour when we reached landmarks (the a Beacon and Denny’s headquarters). She seemed interested, but secretly, I knew she hated me.

Our run took us downtown. It’s quite eccentric there and I knew she’d enjoy the scenery. She liked all the bike rental areas and the water fountain that had turned the water pink. Six miles later, we reached the Mary Black trail. It was flat here. Yay!!! We completed most of the trail before turning around. By thus time my water was gone. We headed back and I stopped in a convenience store for water. She got coffee. Here, we decided to take a slight short cut. This was great. By this time, I just wanted to be done and back at the car. It was getting warmer and the hills were doing a number on me.

At mile 14, we noticed a sign with orange treats. Bruster’s had pumpkin ice cream. Yes, we stopped to get two cones. About five minutes after we got them, my ice cream was running down my arms . She took a good lick of her cone and all the ice cream ended up on the ground. Her face looked like that of a five year old. I shared my ice cream with her. We finished our ice cream on our cool down. Yup, I’m declaring it was a cool down. 15 miles later, mentally and physically, I was DONE!!!

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Category: Pen & Pavement