Training week 9: A mental lift


A volunteer hands out fluids at a marathon wat...

A volunteer hands out fluids at a marathon water stop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I keep finding myself distracted from the unofficial editorial calendar I set  in January. Basically it involved a freely written topic of my choosing on Monday, a recipe on Wednesday, and something special on Friday.

The something special on Friday was going to be a Q&A or guest post with local runners I know. I’ve yet to work up the nerve to seriously ask a group of runners to take part. I wonder how weird the attempt would sound and whether the questions I would ask would even be remotely interesting to answer. Still, my desire to branch out and try new things on this blog is inching closer to outweighing my fears of failure. So, hopefully there will be something soon on that.

As far as natural ebb and flow of my writing goes, it often depends on my mood. Sometimes I just need to stop and listen. Sometimes I need to stop avoiding writing, because I want to write, I just don’t always want to face myself or the process. This tug-of-war of knowing when to just stop and listen or recognizing distraction, actually sounds a lot like my running. Mostly, I tend to stay disciplined and scheduled, which helps me to avoid listening to emotions, typically bad emotions, that holds me back or prevents me from finding the pleasure in what I deep-down enjoy doing. (I hope that makes some sense for someone. I’m not always sure it entirely does for me. And yes, I am way over-sharing for a blog on running.)

Anyway, all of that is a strange round about way of saying, where I thought my run review postings were best suited for Friday viewing, I have to admit I think I was all wrong about that. A Monday “posting” seems a better day for a run review. I have more time to write on Sunday evenings, and I’ve actually completed the weekly run routine. Writing and posting on Friday actually meant I couldn’t include any rumination on long runs, or those ruminations were a week old in my mind because, well, I run my distance on Friday afternoon, after my blog post posted.

So, all of that said, I’m going to give Monday’s a whirl for my somewhat mundane training reviews. I’m redoubling my efforts Feedback is always welcome.

And away we go . . .

Sunday

My week did not start with a bang, but more of a whimper. I actually skipped my pace run that was supposed to be a 7 miler. Instead I went out and ate crab and shrimp at a restaurant with my family. I’d really started beating myself up about pace, fitness, and whether or not I was seeing any improvement with my running, so the meal was also one of avoidance and shame that lead to some early week guilt. I believe it turned out alright though.

Monday

I went to spin class. I’m really learning to like the instructor. She’s funny, a great motivator, and going back to what I wrote earlier, is a big proponent of pushing, but also balancing listening to your body over the course of an hour. The workout is aggressive and even though I might start peaking at the clock to see when the class will end, by the end I’m ready to put in more time. The bonus is all the soreness from a weekend of heavy running is usually gone once I step off the bike.

Tuesday

I had a total Garmin malfunction. I can’t even tell you total distance (though I’m pretty sure it was around 7 miles) or how fast I ran. All of that is due to the fact that a nice cold, easy rain in the low 40s began my running group run. That eventually turned to ice, then snow on the run back to the running store.

The workout entailed 800 meters on and about 200 meters off for eight 800 meter loops around a high school track. On was at a sufficiently faster pace and I stuck with the group I whined about the week before. I kept up, mostly. Sometimes I ran the inside lane to shave a little distance around the curves and for the last 400 I was so gassed the main part of the group gained a substantial lead in front of me before we called it quits. What I realized was that our coach considers himself an elite group runner and that puts a significant gap between his group and the next coach group that tends to run much slower. I fall in the middle and have to decide how I’m going to work it from this point forward.

No grudges or whining. I now clearly know where I stand. End of run Tuesday though, I was happy with myself and gained a bit of my old spark back, even with soggy shoes and shivering to the bone.

Wednesday

Work and a dinner meet up with a former colleague conspired to keep me from spin class on this day. I always underestimate what I can carry out in any given amount of time.

Thursday

Four miles treadmill to make up for Wednesday’s slacking. No way was I going to start slipping behind that far in mileage, again. I hate treadmill running too, but managed to force myself through it.

Friday

Screen shot 2013-03-10 at 11.10.15 PM

Sixteen miles. That is what was on the schedule for the long run. It was a relatively flat course with a few challenging hills thrown in there for the heck of it. I stayed just under goal pace the whole way. The only troubling aspect of that was I lost about five seconds on that average between mile 8 and mile 16. Granted, there was a little more elevation toward the end, but the positive split bothers me a little. I’ve taken the approach this year that I will sustain my goal pace for as long as I can on these long runs. It is not an unheard of approach, and as long as I feel okay physically, I’m okay with going against the conventional wisdom of running slower further on practice runs. If I can’t keep up goal pace, a reasonable one at that, during practice it might be time to set more realistic expectation of my future marathon.

Overall, I’d call this one slightly positive, seeing as how I really didn’t hurt, at all, after the run.

Saturday

Four mile recovery run, no Garmin allowed. It was a hilly route though, and I managed it just fine.

Sunday

Screen shot 2013-03-10 at 11.09.18 PM

A seven mile pace run, per the schedule. The weather was fantastic when I ran as well. It was somewhere in the mid-60s, people were out enjoying the extra daylight and I had a friend to run with me as well. This time the run was a negative split as well. On the hilliest part of the route I received one of the best ego boosts I ever.

Nearing mile seven a group of college-aged looking girls in their sporty black car sat at an intersection. As I started to cross the road, one of them shouted out the window how far I ran. I told them. Another exclaimed, “he must be a marathon runner!” Then wolf whistles erupted from inside the car. And guess what? Mile 7, the hilliest mile on the route, ended up being my best time. Thank goodness for a mix of ego and a cheering sideline crowd.

If anything the incident proves, in part, that my mindset is as much a part of my performance running, or in life.

Total miles: 38 miles for the time period of the review.

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