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.
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!