I did complete my 10 mile run last week. I also mistakenly mapped out a ridiculously hilly route for it. The first 6 miles were great. The first 1-2 were a little hilly but I conquered the hills like they were nothing. The next few were in a pretty flat neighborhood, so I was enjoying that, and running at about a 10:20 pace in the flatlands. I'll take that for a comfy long run pace. Then mile 6 was downhill.
At that point, I should've realized it was not a good idea. Actually, the thought crossed my mind, but I decided that it was a relatively easy, gradual decline and wouldn't be bad going back up.
How wrong I was. Mile 7 took me nearly 13 minutes, and I just had to laugh. It was pretty ridiculous, me trudging up a 300+ foot hill in the middle of a long run. Ugh. The last few miles had some ups and downs that were pretty hard to handle, but I was proud of myself for hanging in there. Seriously didn't even give a crap about my time because I knew that route was ridiculous and probably would've counted for a handful of extra flat miles, effort-wise.
Today, I did 12 and it was fantastic. It was hot, but I think the humidity calmed down a bit because my sweat actually seemed to be going somewhere instead of just pointlessly soaking me. I found some of the flatter areas around here and noticed that the hills were feeling a bit easier. Even when I'd see one coming, I focused on just keeping the same "easy" feel, and I'd be up and over before I even had a chance to be mentally cursing the hill.
My strategy for my long runs is now on feel, rather than pace. With the rolling hills (and mountains) around here, it's hard to keep a consistent pace, and trying to force myself to stick to a certain number just makes me miserable. Instead, I'm going for a good-feeling run. It should feel relaxing but not totally effortless - like I can keep going all day but it's still taking a bit of energy. I think it's working. The downside is that I have literally NO CLUE what my goal marathon pace is or should be or will be, so I guess I'll be surprised. I'm thinking that if I can mimic the feel of my long runs, I'll be good - especially since it'll be flat.
I got the PT recommended orthotics (the $35 ones, not the $400 ones) and tried them out for the first time this morning, too. At first I was worried. For one thing, it took a little bit to get used to my feet being higher up in the shoes. Then the front of my ankle started to hurt, which is new. Then my bad shin started to hurt, which is not new. I considered bagging the run, but it didn't seem to be affecting my running, just annoying me a bit, so I kept going. About mile 5 I realized the shin didn't hurt, but it started to again once I had that thought. Once I banished it from my mind again, the pain went away entirely....and stayed away for the rest of the run. I can find a little owieness if I look for it and squeeze, but it's not bad at all. I think those things are gonna work. Still stretching the heck out of my left hip. Dragon pose is fantastic for that.
|My hip tends to sound like rice krispies when I do this.|
I haven't been biking as much lately. I still love it, but it's more time-consuming than running - more effort to map out routes and more time spent on a workout compared to running. I mean, a 30 minute run can still be a pretty decent workout if you run hard. A 30 minute bike ride isn't much even if you ride hard. At least, that's how it feels to me. I'll try to get out there tomorrow, though.
I'm even getting *gasp* a little tired of triathlon training. I'll be happy to focus more on running, and the timing is perfect. Fit to Fight next weekend, Cincy tri the following weekend, and then I can keep up the biking and swimming for cross-training but not be as worried about actually TRAINING for the bike and run, ya know? For the next two weeks, I'll get a nice little taper down (going to try to squeeze in a midweek long run this week and skip the long run the following week) and then I'll be ready to attack the marathon training with a vengeance, with just under 2 months left. Right on schedule - actually ahead of schedule as far as running goes.
Oh yeah - my first attempt at open water swimming was not only successful, it was great. I hung out in shallow water for a while but it didn't take me long to be able to swim without giving the water depth a second thought. Plus, it was MUCH more fun than swimming laps in a pool. OK, so I got a little sunburn and a few welts that according to the internet come from a lake parasite....it was still great. I LOVE sunshine and nature and it reminded me of being a kid. So I'm really leaning toward doing the Cincy triathlon now that open water swimming isn't such a big huge scary beast.
Meanwhile, and I hope this doesn't sound horribly arrogant, I'm enjoying how awesome I am. For real. I lose sight of that, mainly because I spend time talking to runners and triathletes, and sometimes they tend to throw around things like, "I bike 50 miles at 20 mph" and "I ran 20 miles today" and "I run at a 7:22 pace" like they're completely normal things to say, like "The sky is blue today." And I lose sight of all that I've accomplished because it doesn't seem that great anymore. But really - HOW many people spend their Saturday morning doing double-digit long runs? How many people out there that I know, and that you know, could successfully complete a triathlon of any length? How many people would fall off a bike, end up in the ER, and get back on to ride 63 miles? How many people would get a running injury, have to struggle to start running again, and not give up? How many people that you pass on the street could run a freaking mile without passing out??
Not saying I'm better than anyone else, not at all. I'm saying that I'm realizing that I have accomplished a lot, that I'm doing a lot, and that instead of beating myself up as much as I do because I'm not doing more or better, I need to keep a healthy sense of awe about all the things that I DO and AM capable of doing. Because really, we runners and triathletes do some pretty incredible stuff by training and showing up and giving it all we've got and crossing the finish line - or whatever combination of those things. :)
Pat yo'self on the back, ya'll. It's from me.