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April 22, 2009

THE DAY LITTLE GRASSHOPPER RAN PAST HER TROUBLES

These last two weeks have been really haphazard in the running arena.

I convinced myself that I had a stress fracture, when actually I just had a bad case of being a hypochondriac.

Then I traveled, and everyone knows how hard it is to get quality runs in while you're visiting friends...especially of the non-running persuasion (by the way, the score was: Running - 0, Partying Like a Rock Star - 1).

So, now I'm back trying to make a push to the first real running goal I've ever had (besides running a marathon): The Run 4 Missions 5k.

Less than two weeks to go...RC has given me a revised schedule to make this final push. He still thinks it's doable to finish the 5k in under 25 minutes. And honestly, up until last night, I wasn't so sure. I mean, really, do you know how hard it is to get remotivated after taking basically two weeks off from running with a purpose????

So, last night he texted me on the way to the track and said that he'd like me to change my workout from 5 x 1 mile Intervals at a pace less than Race Pace, to 3 x 1 mile Intervals at a Pace Faster than Race Pace, or another time trial. So, instead of being terrified to add one more mile repeat to my collection, I was going to run less but at a blistering (for me) pace - 7:45 to 7:50 to see if I've actually got what it takes to run a sub-25 minute 5k.

I often question his sanity, by the way. And I often want to remind him that Little Grasshopper doesn't run that fast.

I showed up. It looked like it was going to rain. It was sprinkling. And if I had of known that he wasn't going to be there in 15 minutes I would have gotten back in my car and headed home.

Yes, after all of this hard work and effort, I still struggle with running in the rain.

So, I begin my warmup and by the time I get done there are more people who have shown up to run in the rain. I'm thinking "Suckers" and "Great, 5 more people to see me not being to make this ridiculous goal RC has for me...."

I begin Mile 1. And after about 1/4 mile, I start realizing that this isn't so bad. I'm just cruising along, not rapidly breathing, listening to a little Kanye West (yes, I listen to crap when I run....). Hmmm....wondering when all of this got so easy. RC pulls up beside me at lap 3 and asks me how I'm doing, what's my pace....and with a big lump in my throat I say 7:30ish (and really it was 7:29 but we get in trouble for running too fast unnecessarily). He tells me to slow down, reminds me that I've got 7 more of these to go. I explain to him that I'm actually feeling great. My breathing is not out of control. My heart rate is steady. My legs don't feel like jello. I'm feeling F-I-N-E. And then it dawns on me that not only am I feeling fine, but I'm also carrying on a conversation at this pace. Crazy. He tells me to continue at this pace if I'm feeling so great but to finish strong.

Ok. Mile 1 - 7:32

Mile 2. I'm now dreading the fact that I ran so fast on the first mile. How in the world am I going to maintain that pace or faster? More than getting in trouble for running too fast, we get in trouble for not maintaining negative splits. How come I forgot to remind myself of that little fact when I blazed through Mile 1? I wanted to scream out to everyone that was there "Hey, come over here and watch Little Grasshopper bonk and deny all rules that RC has set before her!!!! But, I didn't. Instead I convinced myself that I could just run another 7:32....right....

Mile 2 - 7:19

At this point I'm wondering how in the world I've done this two miles in a row. And I'm still feeling G-R-E-A-T. I mean, seriously...where did this sudden sense of running extremely faster than instructed come from?!?!? Who did I think I was, and HOW HOW HOW was I continuing to get faster and faster? And as I thought about that, and tried to rack my brain for an answer it dawned on me.

Back here, when I did a time trial, I made reference to the fact that when I finished I realized I wasn't going to die.

I finally realized that with running comes a little pain. Okay, alot of pain. But up until that day I had never really experienced "running" pain. Yeah, so my joints ached, and my feet hurt, and occasionally I thought my chest was going to explode, but never had I experienced the pain that I felt that day. The pain of running...the pain of success.

And I made it! I didn't pass out! I didn't need medical assistance! I didn't die!

I just ran. Like a real runner. Like the runner I was always wanted to be, but never had the courage to see if I could do it.

And last night, as I began mile 3, I realized that all I needed to do was break through that mental block that said "YOU RUN SLOW. KEEP RUNNING SLOW. IF YOU TRY TO GO FAST YOU WILL GET HURT AND/OR DIE." (Yeah, my voice really told me I was going to die....stupid voices.)

I realized that the mental block was gone. I had successfully run faster than I had ever run before AND I DIDN'T DIE. (or get injured for that matter).

So, I began mile 3. RC told me I could run between a 7:32 and a 7:19, that I didn't have to run a negative split...because honestly, I'm already ahead of my "scheduled" pace by 39 total seconds. I just said "okay" but in my head those little voices had changed from saying "You can't do it...you'll be running slower than a 7:32" to "Hmmm....wonder if I could break 7:19?"

And with that, I was off. At the 1/4 mile mark I looked down and my watch said 6:35...holy moly...I've screwed up now. Way to go Cocky-McCocky....I slowed...and slowed...and slowed some more. I'm going to be in BIG trouble if I don't even make 7:32!!!! And as I kept running I could feel my legs start to slow...and slow...and slow...yet my watch kept saying times like 7:14, 7:12, 7:18...and the scariest part of it all: I felt fine. Around lap 3 I realized that something cooky was going on for me to be able to maintain these ridiculous splits and still keep running faster. So, I just ran with it (pun totally intended).

Mile 3 - 7:14.

7:14

I mean, really? I just did that? I just had three fabulous negative splits at three fabulously fast paces? I had a smirk going on (inside...didn't want to gloat in front of everyone else) that just wouldn't quit.

I just ran like a 22:30 5k. Did you read that clearly? A 2-2-:-3-0-5-k!

I DID IT!

I broke through that mental block that had told me for over three years that I'm not good enough, I'm not strong enough, and gosh darnit I can't do it. I just blazed right past it (probably at a 7:19 pace) and didn't even look back (except to make sure I wasn't going to blow a snot rocket on anyone.)

I FINALLY convinced myself that I am capable of this running fast stuff. I FINALLY broke through and at the same time I'm enjoying it all!!!!!

Thanks RC!!!!!! For without your training and encouragement I would have never pushed myself to the point where I would realize that this is fun and easy, and sooooo doable.

So, yes, I'm totally going to rock out a sub-25 minute 5k next week...yes I am....

Have a great Wednesday!

5 comments:

TimC said...

You were awesome last night. You are totally going to break 24:30 at the race. I hope so I have money on it :/

Stefanie said...

Congrats on an awesome pace!!!!

stacy said...

Congrats. I love reading ur blog. it pushes me to walk harder.

Laura Lohr said...

You really are inspiring. I have been thinking about all this breaking through the mental stuff and I am right where you just pushed past. I am scared to fail and scared to get injured...at least I have been in the past.

Good luck on breaking the speed of light next week! ;)

RC said...

GH,

Inner toughness comes through external perseverance. That was an awesome display of Pain of Discipline.

It's not over though, more challenges ahead. Can you say 90 degrees in the shade!!!

Wax On / Wax Off