Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Leave it at the Last Hole

As runners, we talk about how running is not just a physical sport but it is also quite mental, too.  Where are our heads are at before we step out for a run can determine how a run goes.  Whether we are jazzed about the run, or we are dreading it, how we are viewing it in our minds before we hit the road can make or break any run.

Last week was not the best running week ever for me.  We all have those weeks where nothing seems to come easy with our running.  For the first time in months, the temps in the Bay Area climbed into the 70's and all of a sudden my running had a new element added that required me to overcome.  Heat and wind are two of the worst weather elements for a runner.  I could run in rain and cold all day, but as soon as you have the sun beating down your neck or a headwind you must run into, your running mojo can take a dive if you're not prepared.  I wasn't prepared last week.  Between my job and everything else going on, I just wanted an easy week to run and get it all out.  But the heat really threw me for a loop and I just wasn't ready.  As a result, I had one of the most difficult weeks of running for the year to date.  I couldn't figure it out: the week before I battled dreadful cold and still nailed all of my runs, but last week I struggled with even the low mileage.

So I decided to leave it all in last week and embrace this week with the thoughts that yes, spring/summer is upon us and I better be prepared.  Being able to not focus on one bad week gives you the ability to move on and embrace why we run in the first place and not make it the chore that it was last week.  My mileage was not great - I struggled to hit 42 miles.  It was probably a good thing though, with less than a month left until Boston, I was probably due a cut back week before I have two more intense weeks before taper.  I am going to embrace that low mileage and relish in the fact that I made it and I learned a lot.

Sunday I got to meet up with my cousin Sarah and her sister Katie for Sarah's first 12 mile run - her longest run ever to date by 2 miles!  We both had busy Sunday mornings so we weren't able to hit the trail until well after 1 pm when the temps had already climbed into the low 70's.  Probably not the smartest time of day to go out, but it was all we had.  The conversation was great, the trail was beautiful, but the heat just drained us.  For the first time ever, I completely finished my handheld water bottle.  I never do that - I'm not a drinker or a sipper (something I need to work on).  Each mile after the 6 mark was harder.  But we held strong and actually kept a pretty even pace for the whole run.  I am so proud of Sarah for pushing through.  It was a lot of miles to tackle in the first place for someone who has just taken up running less than 6 months ago, and then to add the heat to the picture, well, she did just great.  Even a veteran runner like me was plagued by the heat and it just goes to show you, sometimes no matter how many miles you have ran, one run can change a lot.  We finished strong and we got the miles in!  I am so proud of you Sarah!  And thanks Katie for being our biking sherpa - that was sooooo appreciated!
12 miles  2:01:44  10:09/mi pace.

So with the mindset of my former golfer self, I decided to leave last week at the last hole.  Er, I mean leave it in last week and embrace the next two weeks head on.  After my prison sentance work yesterday, I headed home to some more warm temps and wind!  But I was stoked to get out there and run fast.  My hubbs had wanted to go to the gym, but he was torn about me being out on the road by myself.  On Saturday on my way home from work, I witness an older man get hit by a car on his bike on the very road I run on everyday.  It really shook me up.  He was going against traffic and was side swipped pretty bad.  But you can't let fear hold you back and I wanted to run.  So Ari decided to hit the road with me for a run of his own for my first two miles then jump on the bike with me for the last five.  He did great!  He kept an 8:35/mi pace with me in the heat and wind!  I am so proud of him.  He always says he is not a runner, but he always runs a few miles on the dreadmill and now yesterday, he actually hit the road.  It was a good warm up for me, but running so slow the last two days really was mentally hard for me.  It changes your gate and everything and I could feel it.  So when he jumped on the bike with me to finish my legs were wicked speedy!  And the second half of the five miles was all straight into the wind.  But my legs felt light and free and I ran great.  The miles ticked by quick and I remembered why I love to run.  It was a run that felt effortless and I embraced it, forgetting what the hell of last week was.
2 miles 17:10  8:35/mi pace
5 miles 37:28  7:29/mi pace
total 7 miles 54:38  7:48/mi pace

These were times I would have killed for this time last year, and for the first time they felt effortless.  I have to remember this run.  I am really proud of this run and know I couldn't have done it with out my best running sherpa next to me.  He is chatty cathy on the bike next to me and I loved hearing him yesterday just talk while I ran.  I am really trying hard not to think too much about Boston and Big Sur because if I do all the negative thoughts come straight to the surface and self doubt sets in.  I am scared beyond belief about Boston and even more terrified about Big Sur.  But all I can do is keep plugging away and hope that I will have a day like yesterday come April 19th.  It's funny, most of my running dreams before a big race are filled with fear and failure.  And I don't usually have them this far out from race day.  But the other night I had a dream that I was running a half marathon and I won the women's division.  I was shocked myself.  I just need to stay positive and that is going to be difficult in the next few weeks.


7 hot sweaty miles together - thanks Ari :)

I have a step up in mileage this week and I am going to tackle every run head on.  Less than 4 weeks to Boston and I am getting ready.  It's amazing what a week will do :)

Happy Running and Happy Tuesday peeps!

24 comments:

TMB @ RACING WITH BABES said...

I'm super proud of you for stepping up your mental game. You're right. Leave the past in the past. Great job on the last run. Super cool you can share that with Ari ... I'm sucking my family in slowly but surely!! Yay for less than 4 weeks to Boston.

teacherwoman said...

Way to stay positive! Nice job on the 7 miles! Speedy!

Angela and David Kidd said...

I would kill for some 70 degree temps. But I'm a strange bird and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the heat. Probably comes from growing up in Florida.

Remember that last run! It will keep you strong and excited for Boston and Big Sur.

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

Wow oh wow!! What a great effort. I had a BAD week last week... Wow you are racing sooo soon.

Hey did you get your socks? Do you like them?

Jill said...

70 degrees? I can't remember the last time I saw 70....August? Well, I know the temps will be here soon and ya gotta look at every single weather condition could be a possibility in Boston (and B.S.) so consider it prep work for the upcoming task! I always get freaky before a big marathon race and question every single thing; you have a great attitude and it's all going to come together so nicely and you're going to KILL both of those races! I have nothing but high respect and admiration for your strong drive and will! Someday I want to be Katie A, whom is my great friend and awesome running chick! Thanks for your very nice email upon my return last night...I will email you back this afternoon - it brought a huge smile on my face :). Love you tons!!
Jilly

Sarah said...

First off, thanks for running with me Sunday. It was long, hot and slow, but we did it and it was so much better for me with you there! :)

So glad yesterday's run was so great!! Maybe a week of low mileage was just what you needed even if you didn't want it. ;) Hope the rest of this week is just as good!! Hugs to your Ari for always taking care of you for us!!

I'm going out today. I hear it's gonna be a hot one! :P

Teamarcia said...

The mental aspect of running is so tough sometimes! Kudos to you for powering thru.
It hit 65 degrees during last week's 20 and I was ROASTING!
BTW my sources tell me they hung the marathon banners up in Beantown today---eeeeee!

Heather said...

Leave it at the last hole - definitely a transferable skill from golf to running. Glad you were rewarded with a couple great runs!

Psyche said...

The ability to move on, and leave disappointments in the past is a hallmark of all great runners.

Have a great week:)

Staci Dombroski said...

Way to go! You are awesome :)

aron said...

sounds like a cutback week is just what you needed girlie! not much longer to go!

if i were you, i would have my eyes focused hard on boston and not be looking any further passed that. obviously big sur is just stressing you out, so don't even think about it right now. you are going to run it and you will finish, but its not like you are going there to PR. just have fun and focus on your A race and don't worry about the rest of it until after the big one is done. it will all come into place.

L.B. said...

That's so great for you, to have had a landmark run like that. I'm happy you got that feeling, especially after such a crappy week (in which you still got 42 miles). And to have your hubby there for it, well, that's just icing on the cake.

ShutUpandRun said...

I have a dirty mind. With "hole" in the title, I wasn't sure what we were in for. But, you are quite the speedy girl, aren't you? Nice attitude. Keep it up. You're almost there.

Michelle Simmons said...

We all face our own challenges. don't we? Personally, I complain about being too cold when it is only 70 degrees. BRRRR! lol. ;)

Glad you worked through ti and had a good run! No need to be scared of the marathons.. they are like celebrations! Celebrate the fact that you GET to be there and you GET to do it. It's awesome!! :)))

Jess said...

That's definitely what you have to do with days or weeks that just don't go like we want them to! Nice job with the mental flexibility and stamina to realize that and leave it behind you!

Morgan said...

I heard this same expression used for running lately... and it makes so much sense. If we dwell in the past we never move forward. Great job putting the run in perspective and focusing on what lies ahead! 4 weeks to Boston!

N.D. said...

nicej ob pushing through the 12 miler! Good idea to leave it in last week - each week is a new one!

ajh said...

You have two marathons right together??? I had missed that.Wow! Good luck, you can do it! Which one are you more excited about? Maybe that is a stupid question because Boston is one of them but I would die to do Big Sur also!

Jo Lynn said...

Damn girl - You certainly can be fast. But, it's nice to see you are able to slow it down to a 10 minute mile when you're running with a friend. That gives me hope! ;)
I hate wind too. I've been running in the afternoons lately and boy, Fremont gets freakin' windy man.

onelittletrigirl said...

I think the mental game is hardest part of it all; props to you for leaving it behind!

X-Country2 said...

Sounds like you're in a great space. Keep up the good work!

Tara said...

Hi Katie,
I have to admit, the mental part is really getting to me right now. With work and everything else going on, I think about quitting all the time. So, way to keep that positive attitude about your life balance!
Boston is almost here for you, I can't believe it!

Denise said...

the little increase in temp kicked my butt this past wknd!! when you're not used to it, it takes it toll.

you're going to do great come april 19th!! stay positive!

xm41907 said...

Good job on leaving the bad week behind. Holding on to a bad run, week of running only slows you down.