This week was a cut back week. After 15 miles at South Mountain, and looking ahead at the training that’s coming up, an easier week sounded awesome. However, I think for the first time I started to feel a little bit of the craziness I always hear other runners talk about during cut back and taper weeks. I have to admit, even though I really do love running, I’ve never been one to look at less miles on the training plan and feel disappointed, but I started feeling weird not-so-healthy thoughts of not doing or being good enough this week. I followed the plan almost to a tee, with the exception of a missed recovery run to which Nicole replied “It’s just 3 miles. That means you’re supposed to skip it. In fact, I think she probably meant ‘skip this run’”. This is why I love her.
Anyway, my 3 main runs (long, medium distance, and track) usually leave me feeling like a rockstar. Each one leaves me with a different sense of pride, and accomplishment. This week though, especially after my long run, I just felt a little…inadequate. Let me premise by saying I am well aware of how silly that is. I literally used words like “I only ran 10 miles.” Ummm, how many people out there would be over the moon to be able to run 10 miles??? And since when is double digits only 10.
I feel like part of that comes from the constant use of food (and beer) as a reward for long running. How many times have we all hear “Don’t use food as a reward”. Well, there’s good reason. It’s a tough habit to break, and I find myself continuously falling into it this training cycle. I can’t even tell you how many long runs I’ve gotten through by thinking about what I was going to eat for dinner! I know that’s not the worst thing, especially if it motivates me enough to keep going (what can I say? I love food), but it becomes bad when I do a 10 mile long run, and feel like I haven’t run enough to “earn” a fun dinner out. Ridiculous. I know. I’m actually kind of a smart lady. And I think that if I wasn’t aware of my silliness, then there would actually be a problem. I’ve learned enough about myself at this point in my life to be able to navigate the craziness, but I wanted to talk about it, because I feel like it’s something a lot of people deal with, and it’s okay. Beating ourselves up for struggling mentally is equivalent to beating ourselves up for one bad work out. You wouldn’t do it to your friend, so why should you do it to yourself? That’s just how I was feeling last week.
Okay, enough of that. Here’s how last week’s training went down!
Monday—4.2 mile easy run. After Saturday’s challenging long run at South Mountain, I was super relieved to have an easier day. I ran with Nicole and Stacey, and averaged a 10:27 pace. It was good, but shorter and easier and came with no awesome runner’s high. Sad day.
Tuesday—Linda’s Spin. This class kicked my butt this week! Linda called some of us out on our flat road being too easy, so I picked mine back up to 11, and I hung in, but I was definitely working hard!
Wednesday—Track: 3×1 mile. Balloons. Rainbows. Glitter. Confetti. This run was so freaking awesome!! I had the biggest case of runner’s high all.day.long. We warmed up, did all the silly looking running drills and about a million lunges, then set out on the track for our mile repeats (with 400 recovery jogs in between). The first one was supposed to be at 10k pace, then between 5-10k pace, then 5k pace. My goal was 8:40, 8:30, 8:20. My first mile clocked in at 8:38, then my second in 8:27. I was getting nervous at this point. I mean, I’ve done 800s faster than that, but I was worried about my ability to run any faster for an entire mile (so much longer than it seems!) when I was already feeling so tired. The first 3 laps of my last mile, I was doing okay. Not great, but staying on pace. The last lap, I just wanted to give up and lay down on the track. I asked some of my speedier friends that were finished to finish my last lap with me, and they ran the last 300ish with me, pushing me and helping me bring my lap pace from a steady 8:15 to 8:06!!!!! Ummm, that is FAST for me! I felt amazing, like I had really given the workout everything I had. I rushed up to Coach Susan to tell her my splits, and she said that I got a P for Perfect for the day! This was one of the best runs of this entire training process!!
Thursday—14.7 mile bike ride. Since Nicole and I decided to long run on Friday, we took a nice little bike ride on Thursday.
Friday—10 mile run. 10:21 average pace. Pretty uneventful with the exception of all the wildlife we encountered! In our 10 miles, Nicole and I saw a toad, coyote, jack rabbit, and a giant fish! This was the run that I ended and had my ridiculous, bratty “so what” attitude. I’m over it. 10 miles is 10 miles. It has 2 numbers, therefore it is long. Welcome to the long run logic of Ari’s Brain. Actually, anything over 10 seconds usually feels kind of long….
Saturday—9.7 mile bike. Rode to rehearsal, and for the first time in months, I actually focused on riding, rather than pedaling along having casual conversation. There was a super intense headwind, and I still only averaged 14mi an hour, but it felt good to push a little more on the bike again.
Sunday—8.4 mile bike. Rode to coffee with Steve, and took it mostly easy/moderate with a couple of sprints thrown in for fun. He does this weird strava thing for nerdy boys who ride bikes (or maybe it’s for all people, but since he does it, I just assumed…) and he wanted to race his “segment”. Of course that meant I was going for it too. I was doing really awesome and averaging a 20.8 pace, but then I hit two stop lights, cursed at them (only in my head), and ended up at around 18.5 for both sprint segments. It was fun to change it up a little!
Wow, it’s a good thing I have this little blog. Apparently, I have things to say, or something. Poor Steve would be so annoyed if I just regurgitated the same recaps of my paces and feeling to him 50 times a day. Oh wait, that is his life. Now it’s yours too–HAH!
TIME FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO TALK ABOUT THEMSELVES!!! I want to hear about your training–your accomplishments, frustrations, celebration beers, thoughts that celebration beers should never ever happen. TELL ME EVERYTHING!