Image from One More Mile whose slogans I LOVE. Hint hint for anyone reading this who wants to get me a gift. I like almost everything they have.
I knew it was bound to happen sometime. Training exhaustion has kicked in. I'm feeling increasingly worn-out. When I look at my training schedule I sort of dread some of the runs. I was especially dreading yesterday's speedwork.
8 miles total including warm-up, 4x1600 at between 8:43 and 9:16 with 800 jogs, and cool-down. I just wasn't feeling it mentally.
Turns out I just wasn't feeling it physically, either. I did my one mile warm-up and then cranked the treadmill up to 6.5 MPH. I got about half a mile in when I realized that although I was sweating, I was still feeling chilled. My right hip was bothering me and my left knee and shin were aching. Feeling frustrated, I stopped the treadmill and walked around my basement for awhile. I got something to drink and took an ibuprofen.
I thought about quitting. I tried to figure out I could divvy up this workout so that I could spread it over more days and still get all my mileage in for this week. I thought about whether or not skipping this run would hurt my training. I thought about how I was becoming a little obsessed with sticking to the plan EXACTLY.
And then I remembered what a fellow runner said to me a few weeks ago. We were talking about training for races and I mentioned how much I hated the tempo runs in my training plan. His response, "I trained for a race that way once. Sure, it makes you a faster runner, but it also made me start to loathe running. So, now I just run however I want."
So, I scrapped the speedwork. Instead, I put the treadmill on a nice, comfortable, easy pace (5.5 MPH) and ran. After 4 miles I felt good enough to run a little faster (aside: Really? Have I become the person that doesn't get into the groove until 4 miles in? How WEIRD!). Most of that mile I ran between 6.5 and 7.0 MPH. Then I ran another mile back at my comfortable pace. And then I ran another mile between 6.5 and 7.0 MPH. And then I ran my last mile at my comfortable pace. There was a little bit of walking after those speedy miles, but I did my entire 8. Sure, it wasn't done EXACTLY how the training plan said I should, but, as I reminded myself, this is my FIRST half-marathon. Really, I'm just looking to finish strong. Any time I run will be a PR (that's personal record).
In the end, I'm proud of myself for doing all my miles even if I did do 2.5 miles of speedwork instead of the full 4. In the grand scheme of running and training, it doesn't matter. What does matter is, in the words of the band Nine Days and their song "If I Am", "although I cannot fly, I'm not content to crawl."
Let me say that again: Although I cannot fly, I'm not content to crawl. What does that mean to me? It means that even if I'm not running fast, I'm still out there. I'm still moving. You don't HAVE to go fast, you just have to go.
P.S. I have my first running-related chaffing injury. It's practically in my left armpit. That'll teach me to run 8 miles in a tank top without taking some lubrication precautions. Ouch!.