STEPPING UP TO THE CHALLENGE
Running in shorts + a tank top. Running 9 miles when you originally planned on only going 8. Attempting a 145 lb. back squat PR. A lot went down today. And as per usual, my body continues to surprise me with what it is capable of. Yes, I'm still facing the same struggles I have been dealing with for what feels like forever when it comes to nailing my paces and self-doubt. But, at the end of the day, I did more than just show up today. I kicked some serious ass.
From the get go, I knew today was going to be one of those days where things didn't go according to plan. I had convinced myself that I didn't need to carry a gel with me, since I was *only* going 8 miles. Then, when I couldn't get into the gym this morning to drop my stuff off, the 8 mile plan was thrown out the window, No way to get in 10 minutes of incline walking afterwards, so 9 it was.
I managed to ease into the first mile and then pick up speed from there. Not a whole lot of traffic today, which I guess made running in a tank top and shorts easier? Although, for someone like me who has struggled with body image issues for most of their life, it still didn't feel "natural." Anyhow, mile 5 is where things started to slow down, get hard.
I'm still really struggling to understand why this happens on virtually every run at the same point. Maybe a gel would have helped, who knows. By mile 6ish I was dealing with side stitches, which I have pretty much just begun to accept as part of the process. If anything, running through them and doing so with a smile on my face makes me stronger.
Mile 7 was again, SLOW. 10:20 pace. This was around the time I was heading down towards the gym, dreading those last 2 miles and having to circle back around so I could end today's run at my house. By this point, I had somehow gotten used to running in the tank top and shorts. It wasn't even an issue. My only issue was just putting one foot in front of the other and trying to smile through the struggle.
Finally, I was down to just one more mile. I raced down the mini hill by the rail road tracks, and towards home. I still had miles left to go once I was actually there, so I did a quick lap around the square to finish things out. I felt so incredibly strong during that last mile. Like, just maybe, I could have gone for 10 miles. It would have been a tough haul...but I really think I had enough left in the tank to do it.
When I saw that mile 9 was ran at 9:25 pace I was in utter disbelief. After all the struggle during miles 5-7....now I all of a sudden had the energy/drive to bust out a time like this?! If only I could somehow manage to hold that pace (heck or even like a 9:40 pace) during the tough miles!! I guess that just means there is loads of room for improvement when it comes to form, pacing, and of course the mental side of things. 'Cause sometimes I totally neglect using my mantras and other tricks to make the sucky parts a little less sucky.
Post run, my left quad was SO DAMN TIGHT. Maybe from that moment around 6.5 miles when I nearly ran off the sidewalk on a mainstreet and nearly tripped over my own two feet? Or perhaps my legs were just not a fan of the fact that I ran 47.5 miles this week. IT WAS A COMPLETE ACCIDENT, I SWEAR!!! Needless to say, I did not have high hopes heading into today's leg workout.
By some miracle, back squats felt surprisingly good. Front squats were a little iffy, so I stopped at around 105 lbs. From there, all the focus was on just how much I could back squat without wiping out. I had hit 140 for double just last Sunday. I was nervous to go for 145 without anyone spotting me. After hitting 135, I had to take a minute and decide if I was really up to going for a PR. Once I decided to go for it, I again had thought of self-doubt swirling around my brain.
How can you expect to PR after what you put your body through during those 9 miles? Shouldn't you at least ask someone here to spot you? What happens if you totally wipe out...or can't even unrack the weight? Despite all of this, I was able to get the weight on my back and get in one rep. It might not have been the prettiest or with the best form...BUT I DID IT. I actually proved myself wrong and stepped up when it would have been so much easier (and maybe safer) to just step back. Play it safe.
No lie, during lap 2 when I ran past my house and had barely ran 4 miles...I wanted to quit. I was struggling mentally to really enjoy the process. I was focusing way too much on all the miles I had left to run, instead of focusing on from and just simply running the mile that I was in. Moral of the story: accept the challenges life throws your way. So what if you fail? Isn't failing better than not trying at all?!
I wanted so much to compare this 9 miler to my super speedy one that I ran just 5 days ago in 1 hour 27 minutes and 11 seconds. I wanted to be upset. Consider today's run of 1 hour 28 minutes and 30 seconds a failure. Tell myself that I just didn't try hard enough. But, I know deep down that that's bullshit. I worked my butt off the entire time, I left it all out there on the pavement this morning. And, besides, it was all worth it just to a. wave at my people during the really hard parts and b. have a really great last mile!