It was a breakthrough week.
The week started with a Monday morning Labor Day race which went much better than expected. Even though I did not have my best run, it was better than some and I earned a 3rd place finish in my age group. I learned that even though you run your heart out, sometimes your finish time isn’t what you think it will be. I beat myself up pretty good for about 2 minutes, but I got over it really quickly, which for me, is huge.
I ran easy Tuesday and my legs were tired. Then on Wednesday I proceeded to start my first week going to the gym training with other people; the first time really, in over 7 years, that I have not had a trainer standing 2 feet away from me handing me weights, and giving feedback on my every move. I will admit it was awkward for me. I had no sense of timing, I felt unsure about what I was doing, I wanted feedback, but I didn’t want to wait for it; I wanted to just plow through everything and move on. I knew my form was not great, and I felt like I needed training wheels. At least one. And it took forever. What normally takes an hour took an hour and a half.
But I went back the next day, and then again later the next day for a conditioning session because it was raining (I totally would have run int he rain)and then again on Friday for my 4th session in 3 days. It really was like learning to ride a bike.
I tweaked my back at least twice; but by Friday my back felt sore, but okay; I was so tired my ego no longer cared whether anybody was watching me or not, and I felt a little more at ease. Heading into the weekend I thought to myself, “We’ll see how this affects my race on Saturday.” I had worked out 6 days straight. Hard. My legs felt good and my back was sore, but I was too tired to dwell on whether or not the 26 sets of deadlifts, plus single leg squats and split squats might be too much the day before a race.
I left the gym Friday with pre-race advice and a ravenous appetite.
I awoke Saturday morning after a very restful night’s sleep in which my former trainer appeared in a dream and I finally had the conversation I never had the chance to have when our training relationship ended. After 5 months I let it go.
So when I arrived at the race later that afternoon and we made eye contact as he was warming up, I threw a simple wave and that was that. And I ran my best race ever. It was not super fast, it was not even fast in my age group, but I had a plan and I stuck to it. I ran my race My goal was to run my 10K goal pace and I nailed it-for 5 miles, and I felt good. My legs felt strong, even through the hills, I my maintained my breathing, and even though I forgot to turn on my heart rate sensor I knew I was keeping it within my lactate threshold limit. I finished strong-without nauseau and with energy in the bank.
I learned a few things this week that were unintended. I learned holding onto stress affects everything, and it’s easier to say, “Let it go” than it is to actually let it go. I learned it is easy to say, “Trust in your training” than it is to actually have trust that if you put in the work, you will see results. And I learned running is an athletic skill that can be broken down, taught, and coached in the gym, as well as on the track and road.
So I am saying goodbye to some negative energy, to some training wheels in the gym and to some misguided belief that in order to be a running coach you need to be a competetive runner.