|February 13, 2013||Posted by Emily under Uncategorized|
On Saturday morning, I went for my first post-injury 20 mile training run.
It wasn’t my best work.
I was coming off of the flu. There were 30 mph winds. It was cold. I was tired. I happy houred too hard the night before. I didn’t sleep well. I lifted heavy things with my legs on Friday. I was full of excuses.
I gave myself an out from the start, telling myself “you’ve been sick, you can always run 20 next week when you feel better. Or maybe split this into two runs. 10 now, 10 later. Go back to bed and rest in between. You need it. You’re not a wimp, you’re just not healthy.”
This was a huge mistake. If you tell your legs they can jump ship when the going gets rough, they’ll be reaching for that life preserver from mile 1.
But through some small mental miracle, I ran every planned step of the 20 miles. The good news is, my first 20 miler of the training cycle is behind me and it can (hopefully) only get better from here. The bad news is, I spent three hours battling some seriously disappointing mental weakness. But I’m not going to beat myself up about one bad long run. I’ve got 15 weeks to up my game.
The next morning, I was up bright and early to meet my friends Elyse and Steve to head across the river to the Love the Run You’re With 5k to chase my 20 miles of running with (spoiler alert!) 20 minutes of running.
Some highlights from the 5 kilometers of “racing” since a race report of “I started, ran hard for 20 minutes and then finished” is not really that exciting:
1) My body does not recover as fast as it did last fall. I am sure you are all as blown away by this as I am. I knew from the start that any PR or 19:xx 5k was not going to happen less than 24 hours after a 20 mile long run. When I woke up with heavy legs, I quickly revised my goal to 3.1 miles of tempo running.
Source: Swim Bike Run Photography
2) Long-run fatigue aside, I was pleased that my legs did not totally suck. I was able to run consistently and hold a steady tempo pace. Every mile split was between 6:25-6:35 and I finished in 20:21(ish).
Source: Swim Bike Run Photography. To be used in a future children’s book series-Where’s Sweaty?
3) I need to do some major hill work, like whoa. Related: I sucked at hills on Sunday.
The course immediately opens up into a rather steep incline. The second I hit it, I slowed way down and the look of my face was not that dissimilar from someone dying a very slow and painful death. I know this to be an absolute fact because my friend snapped a picture of me on this hill and later proved to be Friend of the Year when he allowed me to delete it from his phone.
4) My race was not plagued by an all-consuming burning desire to be competitive. And I think this is a good thing.
There is a time and a place to let your competitive drive help fuel your race strategy. Like goal races. Competitive urges are most definitely invited as VIP guests to my start line party in Vermont.
But at other times, an overwhelming ego and an addiction to competition can really own you in an unhealthy way. Last year, I struggled to find a balance between using races as good training runs and not blowing up my own run plan to try and beat some random girls to the finish line.
On Sunday, I was in my own little zone. I wanted miles in the 6:30s. And that was it. I didn’t care about overall place, age group place or outkicking some chick in a tutu to the finish.
This doesn’t mean I’ll actually start running 5ks, don’t be silly. But I might have to retire as sitting president of the 5k haterz club.
6) Some of you asked about the bib colors. The race makes you divulge your relationship status during registration and you are assigned a bib color to match your status (green for single, red for in a relationship, yellow for it’s complicated. This was my first year not wearing yellow, I’m gonna go ahead and call that a sign of growth).
Elyse and I both snagged awards as single runners. There’s a joke to be made about fast girls in DC, and I’d prefer if none of you made it.
7) I missed racing while I was injured and recovering. A lot. The second we were done running, I was ready to trot back over to the start line and do it again. I’m pumped for the Spring season and ready to spend a very healthy number of weekends bonding with a bib and a set of safety pins.