Twice. And trying to learn something from it.
This morning I set out to do a 5 mile run with 3 miles at (or below) my “short” tempo pace of 7:15 min/mile.
Just 6 months ago, 3 miles at 7:15 would have seemed nearly impossible, but I completed this same workout relatively painlessly a few weeks ago and last week I finished 5 miles at a not-too-much-slower pace.
I was tired when the alarm went off and got started later than I would have liked so I didn’t get to take my trusty running buddy for the first couple of miles like I normally would.
Early in the run, my legs felt slightly fatigued, presumably from Monday’s speedwork/TT, but I didn’t feel like it was enough to greatly affect the 3 short tempo miles.
The first tempo mile was tough, but manageable, and my Garmin beeped at 7:11. Perfect.
The second mile starts on an uphill, but I tried to keep the effort steady and planned to work the pace down on the flat/downhill portion. My pace was hovering in the low 7:30′s, so I really pushed as I hit the flat, then downhill section. As I came down the hill, though, I looked at my watch and the pace read 8:20! I was dumbfounded.
Yes, I am highly dependent on my Garmin to tell me how fast I am running, but I can surely feel the difference between my 10k pace (7:15ish) and my marathon pace (8:20ish), and I knew I was NOT running an 8:20 pace at that moment.
Yet, in that moment, I lost all motivation to continue to push myself. At first, I told myself that it was just a little “blip” in satellites and the pace would jump back down as quick as it jumped up, so I kept pushing. It hurt. I was in pain and as I watched the pace creep down to 8:05, then 8:00 and hover there, I continued to lose the drive to push. And then before I knew it, 1.7 miles into my 3 mile tempo, I quit. I was walking. I didn’t mean to…I meant to push through, but I didn’t. I stopped.
After a few minutes of walking, I convinced myself to start back again and to finish out the remainder of the tempo. I felt a little better after the break and eventually mile 2 beeped at 7:38. Who knows what it really was?
The first 1/2 of the third mile is a on a slight downhill, so I enjoyed the relaxed effort that it took to keep the pace at 7:00 on the way down. As I turned the corner and headed back up the hill, I told myself to dig deep and push through for the last half mile. With a 15 second cushion to help on the incline, it should have been managemeable. But by that point, after I had already quit once, my mental game was done.
When things got tough again and I saw the pace creeping back over 7:15, with over a 1/3 of a mile to go, I quit. Again. I walked for another couple of minutes, until I could once again convince myself to finish. I finally did and the third mile beeped at 7:10 of actual running time.
Appropriately, the run finished with me being hit like a ton of bricks with that OMG I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM. NOW. LIKE, RIGHT NOW. feeling during my cooldown mile. (Note: this was not a factor at all in the tempo miles). I walked to the nearest bathroom at Panera, then eventually slowly jogged the rest of the way home, finishing at 4.85 miles.
As I cooled down, I was beating myself up a little bit for my lack of toughness on the run. I was disappointed in myself for giving up. I ultimately decided that there were several factors at play and the best thing I can do is to learn from them and chalk this #runfastfail up to experience.
So, what did I learn?
- There is MUCH, MUCH more to a run than what the all-knowing, all-mighty Garmin says. We all know that $*&% happens with our Garmins and they may not always be accurate. This could happen in a race too and I surely don’t plan on quitting there! Effort matters. Pushing through pain matters. The numbers don’t always matter. So I need to ignore the damn Garmin in this situation and run by effort.
- Get yo’ EGO in check, Girl! All day yesterday I was riding my high of running a sub-6:00 mile TT on Monday evening at the track. I was floating on an “I am so fast” high and enjoying the confirmation of my feelings that I was finally seeing progression in my speed. Well guess, what?! Reality check! I may have had a good run and I may be seeing some results from some hard speed workouts, but 3 miles at 7:15 is HARD and I am not *that* fast that I don’t still need to work for that run.
- Don’t expect great things from my body if I don’t treat it right. Last week we were in NYC and I was not nice to my body. I don’t think I ate 7 servings of fruits & veggies in the last 5 days, much less everyday. I also drank, stayed out late and ate a ton of rich, unhealthy food. I have been a little kinder to my system since we returned, but we just finally went to the grocery store yesterday, so I still haven’t gotten the nutrition I need this week. How can I expect my body to perform when I don’t fuel it?
- Allow work stress/frustration to fuel me, not drain me. I normally don’t talk much about work here, but I will a little today…My job is not typically stressful. I am a project manager (6 Sigma Blackbelt for those of you who are familiar with it) and I don’t typically have tight deadlines or a great deal of pressure. But yesterday I had an extremely frustrating 2 1/2 hour meeting regarding the status and direction of my current project. I was drained afterward. The rest of the evening I was too exhausted to even talk about it and I think I was still a bit worked up this morning. Instead of letting my frustration fuel a ragey and ultimately mind-clearing run, I let it zap my energy. Not cool.