I spent the better part of the weekend trying to come up with an angle for a new entry.
I didn’t run on Saturday and thought about writing a post on the rich irony of it being so nice out the one Saturday I didn’t have to run at 7:30 a.m. I didn’t run because I was running at half-marathon the next day. Then I stopped, and thought, “lame.”
The idea of weather popped up again on Sunday morning when it was a cool 39 degrees out and drizzling when I went to run the first Cincinnati Heart Half Marathon. By the time I finished the race a post about running and the weather felt like double lameness.
As a matter of fact, after the half I did not want to write about anything at all. And I didn’t. Instead I took a long nap, ate dinner, and walked the dog down to the nearest DQ, where I promptly pigged out on a Reese’s Peanut Butter Blizzard. Hey, at least I kept to a small and walked the mile round trip to get it, I told myself.
That Blizzard was the DQ Blizzard of disappointment and despair.
Here is the deal: I know I ran my half-marathon at a decent clip, finishing it at 1:49:14 for a 8 minute 21 second average pace. I got incrementally faster on the 5K, 10K, and 15K splits, perhaps dropping a second on the last leg of the half.
Part of the problem that created disappointment was my mindset, I think. I went in hoping for giant gains in my pace running with the group.
Instead I spent most of the run trying to “catch up” because I got caught in line for a port-o-potty hell as the race began, ending up over 8 minutes behind the starting gun. So, I had no familiar pace coach or peers to gauge my speed against and cheer on/be cheered on by. I only had the pacers I passed in an attempt to judge how well I was or was not doing.
I passed walkers, 12 minute pace coaches and so forth all the way up to the 8 minute 40 second pace coaches near the 10th or 11th mile. Around mile 10 I started to worry I had run too fast and my brain started to fret over little things. There were a lot of hills and my mind flipped back to two weeks ago when I experienced a sharp pain on the outside of my left knee that felt like what I read described as an inflamed ITband on a down hill at the end of a 16 miler. I haven’t experience the pain since, but that dwelled on me and I worried the tightness in my left leg may turn to injury so I didn’t push it like I wanted to. Yes, I suddenly have a huge fear of that particular syndrome or injury, thus my disappointment coupled with my late start and one other reason.
The two bench marks I find myself running against in my group did better than I did by far. One ran a full 10 minutes faster than her earlier half-marathon pace and the guy I run practice with ended up a full 2 minutes ahead of me according to chip sets. He’s the one who thought I’d be blowing off the doors of my old record of 1:51:00 for sure since he’s seen me increase leaps and bounds in speed training.
After all the speed training, with the amazing 6 minute 45 second sprints that felt like a breeze I thought for sure I’d do better than I did. Really, I thought I did better too in parts in run. Then I saw that result: 1:49:14, a mere 3 minutes and 13 seconds faster than my first half in October that I trained for by myself.
I tried to go into a hundred reasons why I didn’t run as good as I hoped. I listed a few here. Again, lame.
So, instead I’m starting to realize I sulked over nothing, the past, something I can’t change. I really just started to come out of the self-induced funk this evening when I swam for 45 minutes, biked a moderately hard pre-programmed three miles on a stationary bike (something I probably need to do more of), did lunges, core and balancing exercise to strengthen muscle groups. I also gave my IT band Hell on the foam roller.
I’ve begun turning that lame emotion into determination (and perhaps check some realistic expectations for my first full marathon). I just pray, pray, pray I don’t end up with injury or that stupid IT band syndrome I’ve read about on the Internets.