THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING
Friday’s 7 miler quickly turned into a painfully slow 3 miler.
No fun was had, and my emotions were all over the place. On the one hand, I was honestly just happy to have been able to run as far as I did given the amount of pain I was in. On the other hand, I haven’t ran anything over 6 miles in almost a month. October 28th. That is the last time I ran over 6 miles. While it certainly wasn’t my fastest or most enjoyable 8 mile run, it still felt like such an accomplishment. Now, all these runs later, I’m struggling just to make it through 3 miles. Despite this setback, I vowed to do everything possibly during Saturday’s rest day to make my next run successful.
I was so not expecting to be able to run outside today. Naturally, the moment I knew I wouldn’t have to face the dreadmill for 6 boring miles, I decided to chase that 7 mile goal. Even though the weather wasn’t nearly as perfect today as it was on Friday, I just had to go for it. Miles 1 and 2 went exactly how you’d want the start of a long run to go. Good music, good paces, and no pain. The good times continued on through my third mile, I was consistently running 9:25-9:30 paces. This was exactly where I needed to be and I was really enjoying having the wind at my back, pushing me forward and making running feel just a little bit easier at times.
I’m really not quite sure where or why things suddenly took a turn for the worse.
Mile 4 of pretty much any long run is slow for me since it involves the mini hill (technically hills sine there are 2 peaks). Sometime during that 4th mile though, I can distinctly remember thinking to myself, “Would it really be the worst thing in the world if I just ran 5 miles today?” If you know anything about me or have read even just one other post on this blog, you would no that the answer to that question is YES. Although, I am sure any normal, running hating individual would have a totally different response to that question. So, despite being in pain when I hit the 5 mile mark, I trudged on wards towards the twisty trail.
That last mile was by far the hardest and most mentally taxing mile of the run. All I could think about was how close I was to 7 miles and just how off my running form was. I knew I was at a pain level, where each step I took, each additional stride ran, was just doing more damage to my body. I was 100% aware of the risk I was taking, but I just could not let myself down again, for the umpteenth time this week. Once I hit the 5.6 mile mark, it just sort of dawned on me that there was no physical way I was going to be able to run too much longer in the wind or in the shape I was in.
That was a hard pill to swallow. Long runs, particularly those over 6 miles, are my favorite. For me, the provide they give me the most confidence and also afford me a lot of time to just simply focus on myself. When you’re running for over 60 minutes, there’s more than enough time to deal with anything and everything that has been on your mind lately.
Tomorrow is a new day and another opportunity to put my best foot forward, to get stronger and smarter.
I have absolutely no clue how far or fast I will run. In a perfect world, I would be able to leave behind these slower (9:40ish pace) run for faster and longer runs. Realistically, I would settle for any run that is wind free, somewhat warm, and involves zero pain.