Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mental victory of sorts

I was supposed to do a 5K Time Trial run yesterday. Usually, when I do a TT, I push myself as hard as I can the whole way. Since running fast tends to aggravate my calf and since I haven't run more than two miles at once, I was not looking forward to this particular workout. In fact, I was dreading it.

I tried putting it off. But I knew I had to do it or it would haunt me. I've run 3 miles a couple of times and even 4 miles once. But I had breaks and I was going at "calf" pace (which is slightly slower than T pace) for most of it. I had built up 5K in my mind as some sort of watershed distance and I wasn't convinced I could do it.

I started out running as fast as I could and got about ... .26 miles. Then I died. I realized that this wasn't going to work. For one thing, I'd hadn't warmed up and my legs were dead. Oops. I was also going the wrong way (so I'd end up with 2.5 miles, not 3.1). Oops again. I was also really thirsty and hadn't brought any water with me. So I looped around back to the house at an easy pace for my warm up.

Then I started over.


I knew to get through this, I had to lower my expectations. I figured I would push it as much as I could, but I'd be happy if I ended up with a 10 min. mile pace. Setting out again with lowered expectations, but going the right way this time, and wearing my Fuel Belt, I did start out at a nice spanking pace. But I had to back off in the middle as my calf and knee started hurting.

The good part is that, if I kept my pace in the 9:30 - 10:00 range, I was okay in terms of pain. Every time I pushed faster than that, I could feel it, but backing off would put things right. This is much better than before when, once things started to hurt, that was the end. I can work with this.

The bad part is that, it was really frustrating not to be able to run as fast as my endurance would have let me. I had plenty of juice in my heart and lungs, but the leg wouldn't take it. This is different than just not having the fitness to run fast. I wonder if this is how challenged athletes feel -- having fitness in one part of their body, but not in another?

But, in the end, all that matters is that: I DID IT!

I don't know what it is about doing the 5K distance that intimidated me so much, but it definitely did so making myself do it is more important than what my pace was. But I managed a 9:56 pace so I'm even somewhat happy about that.
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