DAY | PLAN | ACTUAL
MON | REST | REST
TUE | 4M/STRENGTH | 4.1M (8:52/MI)/STRENGTH
WED | 8M | 8M (10:11/MI)
THU | 5M/STRENGTH | 5.1M HILL INT (9:56/MI)/STRENGTH
FRI | REST | REST
SAT | YOGA | BIKRAM90
SUN | 12M | 13.1M (10:19/MI)
TOTAL |29 MILES | 30.3 MILES
The past two weeks before this one, I busted out two pretty solid long runs–a 15 and a 16 miler. I felt so confident after that 16 miler with my friend Summers, that I told you all that I ended the run thinking, 10 more miles doesn’t seem so crazy. Alas, that confidence mutated into cockiness and drove me a bit into the ground on this 7 day go-round.
Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself. I wouldn’t say the whole week was shit. I had great workouts on both Tuesday and Thursday. It hasn’t been easy maintaining my commitment to strength training twice a week–there are so many times I wake up exhausted and think how much easier it would be to sleep another half hour, and just get the required run in. But staying healthy and injury free is one of the most important parts of this process for me so I’ve stuck with the strength and I feel like it’s paying off. Also, while the shorter runs on these strength training days are a real challenge, I’ve gotten to viewing them as an opportunity to witness my growth and improvement which seem easier to see when I am working on speed and hills. They’ve become something to look forward to. Both runs are short enough that I can really push myself to the limit–mentally I am able to know how temporary the pain and exhaustion are. While it would be easier to just make Thursday’s 5 miler flat and quick, I challenge myself with hill intervals that feel pretty brutal at times. I know that besides how helpful the practice on the inclines will be for the actual marathon, I’m also toughening up my mind and teaching my body that it can work through fatigue and discomfort.
Alright, back to my Sunday long run, aka, the run that put me in check. You should have heard me the night before–babbling on about how short and easy my run was going to be. I was on a step down week, and after hitting that 16 mark the week before, 12 miles sounded like nothin’. In fact, it sounded like so little to me that I decided to ignore the specifics of my training plan and log an easy breezy half marathon instead.
Easy breezy, it was not. And really, why should it have been? A half marathon is nothing to sneeze at. In fact it’s the very distance I have trained to conquer several times before. It’s whooped my ass plenty, and boy did it ever on Sunday. I could try and blame the hot weather but the truth is, it’s been warm and humid and sunny throughout this past three months of training–my body is as acclimated as it can be. I’ll also try to lay a bit of this struggle on my sore legs. I’m stretching, I’m foam rolling, but really I’m dragging these babies around these days. I told a co-worker on Thursday that I wished I had a wheelchair to roll around in at work. I’m not in pain, but the normal heavy walking demands of living in a city are starting to feel a bit dreadful with all the extra mileage.
Finally though, if I am being honest, I think the laboriousness of my 13 miler on Sunday was largely due to my attitude. I didn’t respect the distance. I’ve approached every other long run with this “can-do” attitude backed by a bit of hope. I’ve believed that I can run every distance but I’ve also acknowledged each extra mile as a worthy challenge. Heading out on this run cocky was about as helpful as starting from mile 1 defeated. Basically I was “shoulding” myself all over Brooklyn.
You should be able to run this no problem. You should be able to run faster, this is a short distance for you now. You shouldn’t have to stop to refill your water bottle already, just push through.
My brain was even more exhausted than my body after this one. But, as always, it was a great lesson. In order to see myself through all of this, I’ve got to remain right-sized. I’m not the shit. I’m also not a piece of shit. I’m a worker among workers and I can trust that relying on this process will get me where I want to go. I want to be mentally tough but also mentally balanced, so I need to respect the goals that I have set for myself.
I finished that 13 miler at a decent pace–while not close to my fastest half time it’s still faster than I will be able to maintain for the marathon. But the time didn’t make me happy. I was too discouraged by that “should” voice in my head the whole time. It made me realize that running will never just be about pace for me. I didn’t look at my speed and think the end justified the means. Just like in life–I’ve never been a “win at any cost” sort of person. I care how I get places, the end result doesn’t ever mean as much as I think it will. So why do I obsess over it so much?
Man, I tell ya…lessons around every corner with this thing.
What have you learned this week? About yourself? About what you want out of training, or out of a relationship, or out of life? Have you ever gotten what you thought you wanted and realized it was rather unfulfilling? Shout it out here…
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