Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Half That Wasn't

So, I don't really need to drill too deep into this (or at least not any more - it's a good thing I rarely manage to write right after an event). About half an hour after posting about the Chicago Half, I decided not to do it after all. I felt that my reasons for doing it, coupled with the impact it would have on my day/week, were not worth the risk of injury to myself. Not when I have another race in eight weeks that I am actively training for. Plus in talking with The Dude (who has done the half) it didn't sound like a fun race as much as a fairly serious one - not something to just go do on a whim (unless I didn't have kids or were in a lot better condition than I am now).

Instead I slept in a bit and then went out for a ten-mile run in the neighborhood. I decided I would make it a time trial and aim for 11:00 pace for the first half and 10:00 pace for the second (faster than any of my long runs). I struggled during the first half - not physically but mentally - it took me a while to stop feeling sorry for myself, and the music I was listening to was all over the place so that didn't help. Things finally started clicking about halfway through and I enjoyed pushing myself to keep at a steady, yet faster, pace. Then, with what I thought was 1.75 miles to go, I saw I had 16 minutes to hit my time goal, so even though a stretch of this was uphill I leaned into it and pushed as hard as I could until I rounded those last blocks and made it home. And then realized that I'd failed to turn my watch back on after one of the last traffic lights and so had no way of knowing for certain whether or not I'd made my goal. Utter dejection, and back emotionally to where I was at the beginning of the run.

Utter foolishness, yes? Because I still ran that 10 miles, and the second half considerably faster than the first. And it was a beautiful day, and I was out running, and my kids were having a great time with The Dude at home, and I had no reason in the world to feel sorry for myself at all.

(I've since mapped out that last stretch and found that it was only 1.6 miles, not 1.75, so I was in no worry of not meeting my goal for the morning anyway. The danger of trying to convert minutes into miles at the end of a run.)

I still had to go through a couple of cycles of alternately feeling sorry for myself and counting my blessings before I was done with it and could embrace the day. And it was a glorious day and I was so glad I was there to be available to my family, not trying to recover from a race I had no business running.

And the lesson learned from all this? To not mess around with my racing schedule too much once I've set it for the year. 5k's and 10k's excepted, of course.

Although, as a friend pointed out, I did end up getting those long runs in that I'd had trouble with...

1 comment:

  1. Uugh! I totally feel you right now! I've heard there is an entire section of psychology dedicated to the mental gymnastics that athletes put themselves through when they're training and competing. Disappointing runs seem to stick with you like glitter nail polish or a really BAD temporary tattoo. I've found that the only thing that really erases the disappointment is to get out again and rock a run with an easier goal. Nailing a goal usually brings the endorphins flooding back in.
    Good luck!