So, as you know from yesterdays post, I had some pause about the 2 20 milers on my training plan-should I do them both or take a recovery week and dial it down a notch? I woke up this morning still unsure. After a great nights sleep (10 hours nonetheless!) I felt achy, still tired, and just wrong. Still, I usually feel some trepidation about a double digit run (yes, STILL) so I decided to map out my favorite 5 mile loop and do it 2 times (true recovery), 3 times (nice mid distance) or 4 times (the ultimate goal!) It was a gorgeous day outside, just begging to be run in:
And got ready to rock n roll. I was right about one thing, kids...the weather was just beautiful. Upper twenties, a tad chilly for my taste, but sunny and just happy to be alive weather. Too bad my mind got the memo, but my body didn't. By mile 3, I was in pain....fuzzy head, legs made of bricks, and really feeling nauseous. I remembered that I always feel like crap in the first loop, and pushed on. By the second loop, I knew I was in trouble. I was taking my standard walk breaks every big hill for about 30-45 seconds, and I was really having trouble focusing. And those twinges were coming back on my IT band. Crap. I finished loop 2, and something stubborn inside of me made me push on. What if I felt like this on race day? Would I quit? HELL NO. So we started loop 3.
Big mistake. I kept stopping to walk every 5 minutes or so, and was really having trouble focusing. My breathing was all out of whack, and I couldn't hold a straight line to save my life. As I hit the 2 mile mark, I knew I was done. I stumbled, almost fell, took a deep breath and jogged/walked back home for a total of 13.16 miles.
I was bitter. I was mad. I felt like a failure. Why couldn't I just do the damned 20 miles? (Yes, I was being irrational in the fact that I knew I might take it easy, but I am a completely type A athlete who hates doing that.) I began to doubt myself, worrying about race day.
Then I realized a few things. On race day, I will be tapered and fresh, not coming off a 40 mile tempo ride from the day before and a full week's worth of workouts and basically 2 months of build. On race day, I will be able to hydrate every mile from the aid stations, and will be most likely racing in warmer weather, which I am better at.
On my Ironman racing plan, there are 3 levels for each longer work out: age group, Elite, and Pro. It's a neat concept that lets you pick your workout based on how you feel and how your body feels. So today, my workout strategy was 10 miles, 15 miles or 20. But since it didn't say that on a little piece of paper training plan, I lost sight of what I was comfortable with. Somedays, you're an age grouper, and some days, you're a "pro". Today, I would say I was someone who would have placed in my age group...lol.
Lesson of the day-you need to listen to your body. I let myself feel (albeit temporarily) that 13 miles wasn't "good enough" when 6 years ago, I could barely run ONE mile, let alone train for a half Ironman, Ironman, or marathon. Wow. Sometimes I forget how far I've been able to push myself and don't look back to see the achievements from where I've come. And I need to remember to do that.
The answer from above? The glass was half full. I felt like crap, pushed through, but knew when to be wise and call it a day. I came home, took a hot shower, re-nourished, rested, and then did a wonderfully rejuvenating yoga practice. I think I did the right thing.
I'm gonna kick your a$$ either next week or the week after....you and I have a firm date with 20. And we're gonna have a blast.