Never Say Die
It was just one of those mornings when circumstances seem to be screaming at me, “Don’t get out of bed!” Loudly. In flashing, neon colors. It was rainy and humid and gray, the sidewalks were slick with pollen-infused rain puddles (not good for allergies either — aaaaachoo!) and to top it all off, I’d only gotten 5 hours of sleep last night because it’s so hot and sticky in my un-air conditioned house.
Nevertheless, I’d promised my mom I would go to a strength training class with her at the Y at 7, which meant that if I was ever going to do the half mile repeats I said I’d do today, I needed to be out the door by 6 a.m. Which I did, mostly successfully (I started my watch at 6:08), though not without a little moaning and groaning and cursing the cloudy sky.
I really hate raining mornings.
The goal for this workout was six (revised down to five after I got caught in a 3 minute rain storm and realized I’d have to go home first and change clothes before heading to the Y — again, stupid rain) half mile repeats at goal 5K pace — roughly a 7:45 min/mile, or 3:52 per half mile — with a 1 minute easy jog in between. At the outset, my prospects for meeting this goal did not look good. I felt pretty heavy and slow (maybe because the air was as thick as molasses) during my warmup mile, and I finished the first repeat in 4:06, way above what I was shooting for. During the second repeat I managed to bring down the pace a little bit, but I still wasn’t hitting my goal of 3:52.
Splits from my Garmin: the first column is time, second is distance, and third is pace
Going into the the third repeat, I entertained thoughts of just bagging the workout altogether and going easy the rest of the way home. My legs felt like lead and I really just wasn’t in the mood to run, let alone run fast. Plus, I was approaching the infamous big hill in Prospect Park (it’s not actually that big, but it’s looming enough to be offputting if you’re trying to run a sub-8 min/mile pace up it). If I couldn’t run at 7:45 min/mile pace on the easy, flat part of the park, how was I going to do it going up this hill? But I knew that I’d feel terrible if I quit, not to mention the fact that I’d already committed to this workout in my last post. So I told myself, “You want to do this,” and I kept at it.
Good thing, too, because things started getting better, even with the hill. Still repeating the words “you want to do this” over and over again (out loud!), I ticked off my third repeat in 3:55, and by the fourth one I was finally at the pace I needed to be. For the last half mile I really booked it (I was late to meet my mom, and it was downhill also, which made being speedy a lot easier) and came in at 3:40.
This was by no means the perfect run — I’m kind of mad at myself for not doing the full 6 repeats, and the fact that I was able to bring the pace down to a 7:24 min/mile for the last repeat makes me question whether I was really pushing myself on the first few or just being mentally lazy — but I’m happy with how I did in the end. I kept going even though the going was tough, and funnily enough, as I kept running the run got easier. This run reminded me to never give up just because a run isn’t going the way I’d planned. Things will get easier, and even if they don’t, at least I’ll feel good when I’m done.
How do you power though a tough run? Do you ever talk to yourself out loud? (I did!)