Sunday, February 23, 2014

I Did It. (Part 1)

Week 7 of my Glass City Marathon training is complete! This was a very important week for me, and included my first race of the year. Here is how it went: 

Monday- I had a cruise interval workout. I ran 5 X1000m @6:31min/mi with a 200m recovery. I was a little nervous going into this workout. Something about doing 1000m intervals intimidated me, even at a slower than 5k pace. But, to my surprise, I clicked through each interval comfortably. In fact, I felt a bit too comfortable, questioning if I did the workout right or if I was just starting to see progress in my training. Regardless of the reason for the ease, it was on to the next one!

Tuesday- My designated cross-training day! I did 40:00 on the elliptical, 20:00 on the bike, and walked two treadmill miles. 

Wednesday- I had a fast finish 60:00 progression run on the agenda. I was excited for this workout, as progression runs are one of my favorites! I was mapping out my plan of attack for this workout, and noted the “run the last 5:00 at faster than 5k effort” written in on my training plan. I was pumped for this little surge at the end, and so hopped on the ‘mill eager to get rolling. I ran the first 15:00 easy @8:30min/mi feeling anxious for the next step up, the second 15:00 around my long run pace @8:00min/mi feeling a little tense but ready to roll into the third 15:00, when I  inched up to marathon pace @7:30min/mi feeling sweaty and ready to start counting down the minutes until the fourth 10:00 @ my goal marathon pace of 7:15min/mi, approaching my last 5:00 @ faster than 5k pace, which on paper seemed like a BREEZE. But, with 7 miles and 55:00 of running under my belt, a steady 6:00min/mi was an entirely different kind of pace then what I had mentally prepared for. As the clock on the treadmill started to get closer to 55:00, I started to get pretty nervous. But, I forced myself to think positive thoughts and just told myself “it’s only five minutes, you can do this.” As soon as 54:50 came up on the ‘mill, I cranked the dial up to 10.0mph, equivalent to a 6:00min/mi. As soon as my legs started to go, the pain set in. The positive thoughts were seeping away. Only 20 seconds past and I was thinking, “I can’t do this.” But, I kept telling myself, “I HAD to do this. I will be too pissed at myself if I don’t power through.” So, I kept pushing. My feet were pounding so hard on the ‘mill, I was breathing like a girl (hate when I do that), and I could hardly see because sweat was pouring into my eyes. I blocked everything out around me, and just focused on each minute passed as I was getting that much closer to finishing. And, it just kept getting harder. I was so frustrated by how hard this was, and feeling like a pretty big wimp. Girls I know can run marathons faster than this pace, and I can’t do it without being a baby for 5:00 after a progression run? I said to myself, “Who am I kidding? I’m not fast.”  Despite the self-deprecating thoughts, I kept going. As soon as 59:58 came up on the ‘mill, I hit the emergency stop button and hopped off the ‘mill. People in the gym immediately came to my side to say how amazed they were, but I was pretty pissed off. That was way too hard. Rather than being rude, I gave a faint smile and ran to the locker room to throw some cold water on my face. I watched as the make-up from the day ran off my face. As I was wiping it off I had a different thought. I said to myself, “Holy crap, I did it.” The make-up may have come off, but there was no wiping off that giant smile from my face. I felt such an incredible sense of pride! In the grand scheme of things, it may seem like a small feat. But, when everything in you is telling you “you suck, you should just quit” but you keep going, it’s hard to describe how empowering that feeling is. Underneath all of the hurdles that come my way, the intangible power within me that is so strong and fearless gets me through it. But, it only gets me through it if I allow it to. Today was just proof that if I really want to my reach my goals, the only thing that is going to stop me is me...and I am not willing to let that happen! 

Thursday, upon talking to my good friend and colleague, LB, I was feeling so good about my progress. LB is the cross-country coach at the high school where I teach. She has tons of experience helping athletes of all ability levels reach their highest potential. She has patience, knowledge, and a positive outlook, but most importantly she has that ability to see talent in people even when they can see it for themselves. She talked me through some of my concerns and negative thoughts, reminding me of what my ultimate goal is and who I really am as a runner. Sometimes, we look so far ahead that we lose sight of who we are.  Hearing LB say, “MP, you're fast, you need to get to that start line and say “I’m a bad a$$”” lit a spark in me. I was hesitant about racing that weekend, but LB convinced me to give it a shot. She told me to not focus on a P.R., in fact suggested I try for about a 1:00 slower than my P.R. I’m at the beginning of my training, and I still have a lot more work to do. So, with her advice, I was aiming for low 20:00s and was just excited to get my feet on the pavement for the first time in 7 weeks!  I ran an easy five miles that night and was feeling perky, but held it back for the race on Saturday!

After my run, I went home and registered for my first 5k race of the season, the SnoBall 5k in Bay Village…

to be continued! :-)

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