Last week, I ran a half marathon. It was my third one, and the one I was the least prepared for. Somehow, during training, my mid-week running trailed to a crawl. I was also triathlon training, so when our weeknight workout was a swim or a bike, I might not have run at all during the week!
But because I wanted to make it through the race, I never missed a long run (except the weekend OF the triathlon, but we’ll just call 2+ hours of triathlon a similar workout). So this means that sometimes, I went straight from long run to long run.
What did this result in? Well…. I can run the distance, at a nice slow pace, but that’s about it. I have lost all speed, and picking up the pace even a little bit just wipes me out. It’s not a good feeling. 😦
Thursday night I went out for a run, determined to keep it under a 10:00 pace. And, to be fair, this is not a flat path, it’s got some rollers but also one big climb each way. I started out too late (6:45 pm) and it was already starting to get dark. I quickly decided that one mile out, one mile back at a hard effort would be my plan. Sure, it was a short workout, but it was better than NO workout. And if I didn’t do it, it would be another week of no midweek runs.
It didn’t even take a half mile before I was pretty winded. At the turnaround point, I saw 9:45 on my Garmin. The way back was miserable. I hurt, my chest hurt, and I was just so sad, and so mad at myself for letting this part of my training slip during the last months of my marriage. I got so little sleep that I was kind of the living dead, and I tended to watch TV and eat too much instead of getting out there and pounding the pavement. And here I was paying for it. I was so disappointed in myself. Happily, my second mile was completed in 9:54, and so technically I made my goal. But it shouldn’t have been that hard. I shouldn’t have struggled THAT MUCH for those times.
Today I’ve got a 14 mile long run to do, and I know I’ll be fine. I’ve got these long runs down pat. But I need to get back my speed…actually, not really speed, but strength. The strength to hold a challenging pace for longer, like I used to be able to. I wouldn’t be able to run a good 10k in this condition, and that’s not what I want. I want power.
I am really looking forward to running with Fleet Feet groups again. I am usually on the tail end of “slow average”, as far as these group runs go, and they push me. Running 3-4 miles with people who push me under a 10:00 pace and force me to stay there is what I need. I hope to catch a couple Wednesday night runs here before I move, and in Vacaville, it’s two nights a week. BRING IT.
I am done letting the pain and suffering affect me physically. I’m taking my running back.