I had a completely off week last week. I’ve been doing a ton of work at my house to finally get all of the painting projects done. In addition I had some other life issues that got in my way mentally. So I started out the week strong with a great six-mile run with a friend and then basically took the remainder of the week off, until Saturday’s race. I’m not sure how four days affected me physically, but I know that mentally I felt like a big old lazy slob.
At Saturday’s four miler, I didn’t perform badly, although I would have liked to hold my pace a little better. I definitely fell off in the last mile. I mentally beat the crap out of myself for that mile too. As people passed, I quit. Genuinely, at mile 3 I got so frustrated that I thought to myself that I might as well just stop. What difference does it really make was what I heard in my head. And then I talked some sense into myself and continued on to the finish line. I finished, and it was only four miles and was it really worth all of that negative self-talk. Geez! I really need to learn how to be nicer to myself.
Fast forward a day to Sunday.
My alarm went off for a 10 miler with a group from the Albany Running Exchange. It was cold. I didn’t want to go. So… I didn’t. (This is exactly why I yell at myself, slacker!) I ate breakfast, drank coffee, played with legos. And then I logged into my facebook account and sent out a plea for an afternoon 10 miler. I swore when I bailed on the AM run that I would still indeed run. In order to get that done, I was desperate for someone to join met. Fortunately I got a taker, A, and we decided to meet at Colonie Town Park at 1:30 PM. And oh the sunshine!
The sunshine and fresh air were beautiful. It was windy and cool at times along the river, but it really felt great to be outdoors. I managed to mentally split the run into two five-mile runs. I haven’t done double digits in as long as I can remember so I really needed to convince myself that it was no big deal. We left the park cruising along at a ridiculously fast pace for a longer run… at least for me. I was reminded to reign it in and I just kept thinking to myself that I needed to enjoy being outdoors. Breathe in the cool, good air. Enjoy the sights. Just run, to run. So, I tried to keep that in mind as much as possible.
It’s been awhile since I’ve done a long run on this section of the bike path between Town Park and Lions Park. We found out that they had made a new section, eliminating a piece of road running. We also discovered that the really rooty, crazy bumpy section about two miles or so before you come into Lions Park has been re-paved. These were nice little surprises to find along the way.
Anyway, the first five miles went really well for me. At the turn around I ate a gu, which I also haven’t done in forever, drank a bunch of water from my handheld water bottle and then we headed back from where we came. My pace held steady for a mile or so before shooting back up to my usual long run pace that I thought I was beating! There were a few moments where I wasn’t so certain about ten miles. But, instead of giving up, I kept at it. When we finally made it back to the parking lot I did two things. The first was check my time, which I’m happy to report was actually pretty good for me on a semi-long run. Getting better all the time. And then I thanked A for running with me. If he had not joined me, I’m certain that I would have turned around sooner, closing the run out at 6 or 8 miles. Sometimes a running partner is all the motivation that you need to keep going! So I made sure to double thank him for coming out there for a Sunday afternoon run.
I can honestly admit that afternoon running is my favorite as of right now. Only because the sun is way up and shining down on me. Unfortunately, this whole March in like a Lion thing is not relenting. We have another snow storm slated to hit us tonight/tomorrow. So, we’ll see how much sunshine we’re enjoying in the coming days. In the meantime, I’m continuing to ride these running high and low waves and realize that sometimes that mental struggle is just mental training for the big day. Finding the ability to power through when you want to quit is a huge part of the battle. And hey, I’m back in the double digits run crew. Life can’t be so bad!
How was your weekend? Any running ups and downs to report?