I’m so over training for this 5K! I’m burnt out on track repeats and tempo runs — well, not tempo runs. I’ve always sort of liked tempo runs — and running long runs at a faster pace that nobody wants to run with me. Two weeks to go!
I probably won’t use the Run Less Run Faster plan for the Rock N Roll Seattle Half in June. I am not trying to PR in that race or anything — I just want to run a decent race and have FUN! I will probably alter the training plan the lovely Tall Mom made for my sub-2 half last summer, plus continue biking and swimming, oh and strength!
This is one of the things I was thinking about during my run on Wednesday. I wasn’t really supposed to run Wednesday. I was supposed to swim. But I had a rough night — sleeping-wise — for the second night in a row and was not in the mood to pull on a bathing suit at 5 a.m. Instead, I decided to go for a nice, easy run during my lunch hour. I was also feeling…eh. Just sort of lost in my thoughts, and I needed to sort them out.
I ran and thought and thought and thought. (Except when I ran past all these Canadian geese that were totally giving me the stink eye. All I could think about then was being chased and pecked to death.) So I ran and I thought about personal things and running things. And one of the running things was about all this fast running business. WHAT IS IT THAT I AM TRYING TO PROVE?
WHY do I need to challenge myself like this? What is the point of running fast? Yes, it’s fun…when you’re done and think, “Hey, that was fast. Go me.” But during, it sucks. So WHY?
When I was a junior in high school and on the cross country team, I was sort of fast. Not Desi fast or anything like that, but respectable. Our team was pretty good. (I really wish I could find out how good because I can’t remember — does California keep high school cross country records from the pre-Internet days? I haven’t been able to find anything. I would love to be able to look up old times.) We wore puffy-painted ribbons in our ponytails and themed ankle socks for races — I had my Mickey ones for a while after I graduated because they always made me smile. After the fall season ended, I fully intended on being back on the team the next year. But something happened in the spring.
I got mononucleosis. Yeah, the kissing disease. And I didn’t even get it from kissing! It was probably sharing a straw or lipgloss or something. I had it for three weeks, but the first two didn’t know why I felt so tired! I went to school not knowing I was sick. I was basically in bed for the third week.
I got better, but when soccer started, I noticed something was different. I couldn’t breathe! I would run and then be gasping for air afterward, but I didn’t feel like any air was getting into my lungs. The doctor said I had sports-induced asthma, and gave me an inhaler, which I can still taste as I sit here and write this. I also had developed all sorts of environmental allergies.
I did not know how to deal with this at all. It scared me, and it became an excuse. I learned to deal for my soccer team in the fall because soccer was where my heart was. But I dropped off the cross country team. I quit.
That was 18 years ago and I have regretted it all those years.
As I was running on Wednesday, something occurred to me: In my mind, I’m still 17 and, therefore, I should be able to pick up where I “left off.” In my mind, I need to get back to the speed I was running then so I can prove that I could’ve been on the team my senior year.
Voila. There it is.
So I had a little chat with myself about how I’m nearing 35 years old, I’ve had a kid and my body is completely different now — and not just in weight. And also that I’m not on a cross country team, and that this running fast thing is fine as long as I’m enjoying it and doing it to challenge myself and not PROVE anything. I think I listened.
On Thursday, I was supposed to run track repeats. I didn’t feel like it. The sleep thing was still sort of an issue and I had some PMS going on. Mel (Tall Mom on the Run) met me for a conversational run instead, and it was just what I needed. We just talked and she laughed at my silliness (because I get goofy when I run with friends), and just had a good time. We parted and I was at 2.6 miles. I wanted four. I also started to feel guilty about missing the repeats.
So I decided to run for it on the last 1.4 miles. I decided to run in the 7’s and see how long I could hold it.
I should mention that one of the other running things I thought about on Wednesday was, “What will I be able to do on race day? Will I be able to pull sub-8’s for 3.2 miles?” And, “Gee, I hope I can beat what I ran in December because that seemed so hard. How will I be able to beat that? Will I have to run 7:45’s? Can I even do that?” See, I’m having some doubts. Plus, I don’t even know what I’m shooting for? What IS my 5K PR goal?
So Thursday, I ran for it. It was hard, but I was trying to keep it in the 7’s. Later, when I went to look at my paces for the run, I was thrilled: My fourth mile was a 7:29 average pace! It was a little boost of confidence that I will be carrying with me for the next two weeks and on race day.
I think I will be going for sub-24:00. I will need to run about a 7:28 average pace to bag a 23:55.
That’s not the high-school-years 21:something that buzzes in my mind like a gnat, but good enough for this 35-year-old. I think. For now.