LONG TIME NO SEE // SUNDAY FUNDAY
It’s only been 2 weeks and a new pair of running shoes since my last treadmill run.
And, following Friday’s fast and highly enjoyable 3 mile run, the last thing I wanted to do was run indoors. I had so been looking forward to my weekly 7-8 mile long run; even more so since I hadn’t been able to get one in last Sunday. So, when I woke up Saturday morning to see a fresh coating of 2-3 inches of snow covering the ground, I was upset to the max. I am absolutely in love with my new Champion running shoes and have been anxious to see how they would hold up on a run over 6 miles. However, I was doubtful that I would be able to push myself to go the distance today; especially since my longest treadmill run is 6.5 miles.
I was 1,000% right about the whole distance on a treadmill thing, which sucks because I’d so rather be wrong about it. The worst part is, there are going to be more and more runs like this the closer we get to winter…and at some point I’m going to have to get past that 6.5 mile barrier. In my mind, it’s a mental issue along with the fact that the treadmill goes into cool down mode automatically at the 60 minute mark. Which, really shouldn’t be an issue because it would probably only take a minute or so to restart it and get back to running.
Anyhow, to say running on a treadmill is slightly mentally draining would be the understatement of the century.
First, I am faced with three constant scenery options: the treadmill screen, the outdoors where I would MUCH rather be, and my own reflection staring back at me, judging my every stride. No matter which route you take, you’re left hyper aware of everything: from your pace, to your form, to your absolute hatred for running on the treadmill (ESPECIALLY ON LONG RUNS!!!). Then, for me at least, there is the speed battle. I simply cannot just find a comfortable speed a few miles in and leave it. Oh, no. That kind of pacing strategy is for “normal” people.
Instead, I find myself having to constantly up the speed at regular intervals, always aware of how fast (or not fast) I am running. This, in turn, can make every mile, every step feel extra difficult. AKA: I spend every song negotiating with myself in my head as to why I need to run less than the minimum 6 miles for a long run, and when exactly I will be stopping. Today, although I certainly faced struggles early on, it hit me at the 2 mile mark. I had just upped the speed to 6.4….an average mile pace of 9:22. For me, on a long run, that’s a fast pace. Not like, end of a run/spring to the finish 8:30-8:45 pace, but still fast.
It was at that point that the fear, self-doubt, and insecurities came creeping in.
All I could think was: I have to hold this pace, and up the pace at least 3 more times…and I don’t know that I have the strength and will power to do that. Holding this pace for the next 4 miles? Sure, that sounds perfectly doable. But, that obviously isn’t going to be an option if my ego and competitive side has any say in things. So, I pushed on. At mile 3, the side stitches and desire to call it quits started right on cue. I was sweating a ton, and I am quite sure that my form was not at all what one would consider “good” running form. However, I really was not in the mood to stare down my reflection and try to correct things at this point.
From that point forward, the mile just dragged by. I knew that hitting a time PR or running anything over 6 miles was out of the question. Still, I didn’t want to get complacent or give anything less than my best. I actually had myself convinced, the closer I got to the 5 mile mark, that it was actually better that I was only upping the speed by .1 every mile. In my mind, this would teach my body+mind to get used to holding these faster paces for longer periods of time without completely freaking out. For this reason, I choose not to do my normal sprint to the finish during my final mile (you know, upping the speed by. .1 every tenth of a mile.)
For once, the last mile was significantly more difficult to navigate than the first mile.
This is so not what I’m used to. Sure, the last mile is often time faster than the first, and even if that’s not the case it should in theory be harder given how taxed your legs+cardiovascular system are. Today, was different though. I really, really wanted to/needed to be done sooner rather than later. I was over the run at this point, and willing to do pretty much anything to get to that magical 6.0 number. So, I opted to up the speed every .25 of a mile during the last mile…even thought I was having trouble just running 6.7 mph at the start of that final mile. Thankfully, I had some Cardi B music blasting through my ear buds to get me through all of it.
The good news: I beat my time goal of 56 minutes going into the run with a time of 55:44. Also, I had zero pelvic or hip pain or really any pain at all aside form those side stitches halfway through. The bad news: I ran 22 seconds slower than my 6 mile treadmill run from 2 weeks ago. Maybe not really bad news, just not exactly the news you want after you run your heart out and sweat your butt off for what felt like at least 5 or 6 YEARS.
Unfortunately, the disappointment did not end there. Post run, I had my first heavy leg day in 2 weeks. Naturally, I wanted to lift/squat all the heavy weight, despite doing it all in new shoes and after a decent amount of time off. Obviously, the weight did not move as quickly or as easily as I wanted it too. And, I got more than a little pissed off several times over the course of the workout. For some reason, hitting 165 lbs. for a triple on back squats and front squatting 135 lbs. for 2 sets just didn’t feel good enough.