Monday, November 13, 2006

Forward Movement

Sometimes I have family and friends to ask me how I can keep running for 20 miles or for 3 to 4 hours at a time. My answer to them is always that "I just keep putting one foot in front of the other until I reach the goal." I have always thought that distance running is a lot about patience. There is no room for getting antsy and trying to "just get it over with" in a 20 mile run. And there is no room for getting antsy in week 12 of 16 of a marathon training program. And although I have always considered myself a very patient person, I've been antsy lately. The upcoming holidays are making me antsy. The closeness of the marathon is making me antsy. The things that need to be taken care of within the next few weeks make me antsy. My runs that have been "off pace" are making me antsy. The dropping temperatures and the bad weather make me antsy. But none of this changes the fact that I had a 15 mile run to get done this past Saturday. And since I was coming off a terrible failed attempt at a 10 mile tempo at marathon pace, I had to bring myself back to the basics. Back to the bare bones, suck it up and put one foot in front of the other until you reach 15 miles. Here's how it went...

As I was getting ready for Friday's swim, I noticed that I had left my Garmin at work. Since I don't work on Friday's and would not be back to the city where I work until Monday, I borrowed a friend's Garmin for my 15 mile run on Saturday morning. So I got up at 5:30 a.m., got dressed, ate a Chocolate Gu, walked outside and turned on the Garmin to find that the battery was almost dead. Obstacle #1 - No Garmin. So I calculated a 15 mile route in my head based on an 11 mile route that my sister had just run the day before. I added 4 miles to it and put on my sports watch to time it. Not ideal...I won't see my splits or know my pace while running, but it would have to do. Obstacle #1 - conquered.

So I put on my Pearl Izumi Whisper jacket since it stormed all night and still looked like more was to come and then strapped on the iPod. I had downloaded all the new podcasts the night before. I navigated to the podcasts folder, and found that for some reason the new ones did not synch to the iPod. Obstacle #2 - The iPod didn't synch. There was only one on there I hadn't heard. It was an October podcast of TriTalk, though, so I decided I'd listen to that and then just switch over to music when it was done. I took off and thought it to be so ironic that the TriTalk podcast had interviews with some IronMan finishers, and one of them talked almost entirely about "Forward Movement". Perhaps my iPod is smarter than I - I needed to hear this podcast!!! Obstacle #2 - conquered.

My target pace for this run was 9:10, but I knew I wasn't doing that during the first few miles. I did feel better than I had felt Wednesday though, and I ran all the way down McArthur St., then all the way down Royal Trail, down Hills Chapel Rd, and left on Doak Rd. Nobody was out...it was messy morning...rain here and there lots of dark gray clouds. As I ran down Doak Rd., though, I looked over and saw Russell, a friend from the gym and from church, out sewing grass seed on his yard. I yelled at him and he yelled some encouraging words out to me that gave me a little boost. I ran another mile all the way through White Oaks and got ready to come out on the highway and head back in the opposite direction. I am assuming I had a tailwind all the way down Doak Rd and through White Oaks, because when I made the u-turn to come out on the highway the wind about knocked me down. Obstacle #3 - 15 to 20mph winds and rain. Then came the rain. The drops stung my face and I could barely move forward into the wind. I knew I had several more miles of this before I could turn again, and I recalled what TriMama said about the wind at IMFL:
"The wind was frustrating, but what are you going to do, quit?" -TriMama
I said repeated that to myself, got my butt in gear, and continued putting one foot in front of the other no mater how slowly it was. I realized I wouldn't be hitting target pace today, but I also knew I had to give my best effort at it. So I pulled myself all way down the highway until I came to the right turn at Hwy 55 and got some relief in the form of a crosswind. Obstacle #3 - conquered.

From here on out I dealt with hills, more rain, more headwinds, etc. but I kept running. I ran until I reached my house for 15 miles in 2:26:39. That's a 9:47 pace. That's a long shot from 9:10. But that's just the way it was on this particular day. I have barely been hitting target pace in the best of conditions, so I couldn't expect to do so while running into rain and 15-20 mph winds. I can say that while I didn't feel great, or really even good, I am cool with this run...And I am hoping my final 20 miler this Friday will be better.

7 comments:

Flatman said...

Way to gut it out through some tough weather. You got it done and that is what matters. Money in the bank...

Lance Notstrong said...

Think about it this way Lana, each run brings you that much closer. You're almost there :-)

Michele said...

The weather Saturday was brutal, just the fact that you got out and did the run is great.
Less then a month to go, I KNOW you are antsy.

TriSaraTops said...

Atta girl!

Phil said...

Trying to run at a target pace with the wind and rain ripping into you just isn't going to happen. You stayed focused and got around without quitting. That takes real guts. I stopped wearing my Garmin on my long runs. I found it to be just to distracting. Instead, I measured out a 5 mile loop and focus on getting through the 5 miles at about the same time. This lets me slow down going up hill and speed up going down hill without fretting about current pace. It has also helped learn what the pace feels like.

You did fantastic today. I'm very proud of you and will remember this post the next time I'm hit with any kind of doubt about finishing a training run.

Joe said...

Good for you for sticking with it and finishing the run under those conditions. When I'm feeling antsy because it's still several weeks away from an event, I like to read old race reports, both mine and other people's.

BTW, I love that TriMama quote. My little voice likes to say stuff like "You're too old to get any faster. All you can do is struggle to maintain what you've got. Why not take it easy and just be a couch potato?" That's when I always reply "What am I supposed to do? Quit?" That refrain keeps me motivated.

rice said...

That’s awesome that you got out there and did it. All of this training and adverse conditions will only help to make you a stronger competitor in the end. Can you imagine someone in IMFL that never ran on windy days? And getting around the other obstacles, it reminded me of the “new math” you have to learn to solve problems not just memories the solutions.

Cheers.

Rice.