My strategy of writing about my timed runs seemed to have worked the last time, so I am hoping by getting this down in writing I can let it go.
This week instead of a long run, my weekend run was a timed 5 mile trial. I was okay with that because next week I am running a 5 mile race, so my daughter and I decided to run the race route as a timed trial. Still, the longest distance I had run for speed up until now was a 5k, so this was 2 miles more than that, and the route is pretty hilly and can be windy. But I did due diligence in my pre-run routine and warmed up well; I decided to use part of the first mile as a warm up though, so didn’t get a true warmup mile in before the 5 miler.
My goal was to run negative splits and to monitor my sketchy right achilles. I did not have much to eat for breakfast (a hot cross sweet bun) so I ate a Power Bar right before the run. I did my warming up at home, and then drove to the route, jumped out of the car and walked/jogged for the first half mile. Before hitting a good stride.
The first mile is pretty downhill, but then mile 2-3 is all uphill. I was surprised at how good I felt at that point, and my achilles was not bothering me at all, my breathing was pretty good, but I decided not to have a conversation with my daughter (who is much faster than me) because I knew I would have to stop and walk in order to talk. As we approached the top of the hill near the 3 mile mark fatigue started to set in. The hill is not steep, but it is a gradual, steady climb and we were running into the wind. At the top of the hill you turn around and head back down the hill for mile 3-4. My legs at this point were tired and I started to get some slight cramping under my ribs while I was breathing. I was trying not to focus on my tiredness, but I knew there is a pretty steep hill after the turn at mile 4 and I was wondering how I was going to run another 1.5 miles. But still, the achilles and legs-although tired, did not hurt.
As we turned the corner at mile 4 I tried to maintain my pace and that killed me, I should have backed off a bit to get up the hill. The hill is about 1/3 of a mile and pretty steep, so when you get to the top you have about .75 miles left to go-with another uphill half mile finish. I did the math in my head and walked halfway up the hill. I was super frustrated with myself at that point and started being all negative about not having run more than 3.1 miles at a time for speed. I started up again at the top of the hill and ran another half a mile, took a mini walking break and finished strong.
I kept thinking to myself,
a 4 Mile TT would have been perfect for me at this point-something for me to feel good about, instead, I am feeling frustrated and bad about my effort.”
Everything is a competition for me-I even compete with myself. This is something I need to get over, mentally, because it is self-defeating thinking. What I eventually came around to thinking about 30 minutes after the run was that I ran hard for 4 miles, with negative splits,strong legs, no achilles pain, with some pretty good hills, and my heart rate was decent. All things to be happy about. And now I will be prepared for my 5 mile race next weekend.
It is a struggle mentally, for sure, to be always reaching for something that seems to be just out of reach. I am all for goals, but I need to remember that long term goals are long term for a reason. Secondary goals are just as important so that you don’t lose faith and the drive to succeed.