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July 25, 2009

SOLO RUNNING

For anyone that knows me, you know how much I don't like to be alone. Not in co-dependent-I-can't-think-for-myself way, but more in a I-like-people-and-being-around-people way. I got my ability to carry on a conversation with a wall from my dad. And my sister got the more introverted, home-body type personality from our mom. I guess my brother got the best of both worlds and I'm sure he's flattered that I said that.

So, when it comes to running my immense urge to be around other people isn't much different. I like running with someone...anyone. And, I often find myself sandbagging my run if I don't have anyone to run with. As I've gotten faster in this running game, I've found fewer and fewer people to run with. It's like I'm in this awkward, in between stage of running....my clothes don't fit right, I'm not sure if boys still gross me out, and if anyone finds out I'm still playing with my Barbies I might just die.

Wait...not those tween years. No...it's more like that in between stage where I have a few running friends who (currently) run a tad slower than me, and I've got a few running friends who (currently) run a tad (or a lot) faster than me. And I don't know anyone who is (currently) running at my suggested paces.

And if I continue to sand bag runs, all my currently-slower-than-me-friends will be faster-than-me-friends.

So, this week I made it a point to do some solo runs. And not the easy paced runs...the hard, grueling, why-am-I-out-here-and-when-can-I-stop sort of runs. Mainly my speedwork (4 x 1200s) and my tempo run. I need to feel okay running alone and (gasp) I need to actually try and enjoy them enough that I can regularly become a solo runner.

I chose a busy track for my speedwork. It was early morning and all the mall walkers were out in full bloom. There were no runners, so that actually made it easier. I didn't feel like I was competing with anyone but me. My goal was to run them in 5:35 (or around a 7:25 pace). I ended up finishing them...all 4 of them...all by myself in 5:35, 5:24, 5:29, 5:30. After each interval I would huff and puff and say I'm going to blow this house down quit on this next one. But, I'd rest for the prescribed 4 minutes (see I do listen RC!) and like a German wind up doll, I'd just do it all over again. After I finished I found out that most of the mall walkers were watching me the whole time...in amazement (their word, not mine) that I just continued to push on, lap after lap after lap. It felt pretty good to think that for the first time in my life, I completed an entire speedwork session with the assistance of no one. (Okay, and it felt good to know that everyone was watching me in amazement too...)

Yesterday I decided I'd do a 5k tempo run at a 7:55 pace...all...by...my...self. As I warmed up I thought about how I tend to sand bag myself at the beginning of a race by doing the exact opposite of most everyone else - I start off too slow. I tend to start around an 8:15 out of fear that I'll go out too fast and bonk in the end. I needed to prove to myself that I can start off fast and hold on. I decided that I'd start this run at 7:55 and just hang on for dear life. (Also, the benefits of running solo...I'm sure if I had of been running with RC and brought up this hair-brained idea, he would have asked me if I had been taking too much pain medicine and told me to just follow the program...)

Well, I ended up starting off at 7:42 for mile 1 (maybe I am on something?) and then 7:46 for mile 2 (maybe I'm just an idiot?). And then I realized that my heart rate was red lining it (199) and there would be no way that I'd be able to continue for another mile....if I wanted to live to see Saturday that is.

So, I stopped. Rested for a bit and finished up the last mile at my marathon pace (8:45) thus proving to myself that 7:42 is still too fast for me to start. But, I also proved that I could run by myself and continue to run even when my body just wants to lie on the ground and die. I also think know that if I had of started at 7:55 I would have been able to hang on for the remaining mile. And I was pretty damn proud of the fact that I still continued to run at a not-easy pace for another mile just because I was supposed to run a solid 5k.

I might frequent this running alone thing again soon. I actually enjoyed them, despite the fact that on both occasions I thought I might die. I got to actually think through my runs...the strategy, the pace, the pain and suffering. All of it.

I may become an introvert, home-body after all....or maybe I'll just take this solo thing one step at a time...

Have a great weekend!

1 comment:

TimC said...

I'm sorry to hear about this. I thought I would have some one to help pace me on my tempo runs :o(