|The Run That I Needed So Badly - Me, Josh, Cruz, and Reece|
Not A Good Week MentallyMonday, I went in to have a cyst in the palm of my hand checked, and they used some enormous needle to drain it. It felt like they were trying to pull my middle finger off. I spent the next 7 hours with a useless hand, a stupid combo of numb and completely painful. I wasn't allowed to strength train for 48 hours, and I certainly was not in the mood to run with the pain.
Then I tweaked my right knee Tuesday going down the stairs carrying a 26-lb toddler. Grrr. The problems of a runner mommy! My mileage for the week was not looking good. This is not the strong bounceback from Saturday's DNF that I mentally needed.
So here comes Thursday. I find out that a couple people, who I rarely saw in person but for whom I always had a cheer for them virtually when they had a good workout and a sympathetic comment when they had a bad one, weren't supportive of what happened at Jemez. They were downright nasty about it. And all behind my back. They didn't "buy" the altitude issues, the unluckiness, the genetic predisposition, they saw it all as an excuse for me trying to accomplish something I was not ready for. I had reached too far.
I was very truly hurt. I knew there would be a couple people who are just going to be like this. But this really made it clear who were my friends... and who weren't. And while I know what my training looked like, and I know what my trainer and coach believe, and I know what happened on that mountain, we all have a tiny bit of insecurity (hell, some have a TON of it), and those naysayers had taken a crack in my psyche and split it wide open.
I struggled through the rest of the week. I had bad dreams. I was still somewhat exhausted from 8 hours of running with no oxygen. I felt a little broken with my hurt hand, my tweaked knee, and my bruised psyche.
It's All About the Company You KeepToday, I did what my coach wanted - he wanted me to do trail miles in the midday heat. Chattanooga in 3 weeks will be hot and humid, so let's get acclimated. Josh was preparing for the Western State 100 miler in June by doing a Fat Ass 100K - 3 loops of 21 miles each at Northshore Trail. I would be out there for at least some of one of the loops.
|Me, Reece, Jeremy, and Josh|
Josh, Reece, and I head out. 6.25 miles to Rockledge Park, then 5.75 miles back. They have me lead. I do so well with a purpose. And these fellas are FAST by the way. So even with them being 31 miles in, my pace is slow for them. Isn't that funny?!?
I try to be a perfect pacer, try to accommodate whatever they need. Josh calls a walk, we walk. He wants to run, I run and set a consistent pace. Josh gets a little draggy, and I offer him anything in my pack - he ends up loving my Honey Stinger orange chews, and they perk him up. On the way back, his stomach is unsettled, and I'm ready again and give each of them a piece of candied ginger.
And I run my butt off. It's 90 degrees, and I'm running faster than my 25K PR pace in GOOD WEATHER! First 6.25 miles: 12:30 pace - this is almost my road pace! Next 3.25 miles: 13:30 pace. I run out of water at this point and I'm close to going anaerobic so I send them off so I can powerwalk the mile to the next water fountain. I fill up and pick up my run pace again for the next 1.5 miles. Those 3 miles are a 14:30 pace. I get back to the start with 12 miles under my belt, and just a few minutes behind the guys.
This was such a hard run, doing speedwork on rocky, rooty trails in 90 degree heat. But between that and trying to help Josh hit his goal, I was so proud of how I had run. I didn't need 15 or 20 miles this day. I needed to regain the confidence that I've become a strong runner. And I needed to run with some good people who I respect as ultrarunners. Interestingly enough, the three of us combined have 7 kids ages 5 and under. That's a balancing act of time on the roads and trails and family that some would not understand. And they were just so friendly, caring, and supportive, that the conversations were great, and I felt like I belonged. When you are slow, that can be hard. When you are an ultrarunner, but only a 50Ker, not a 50miler or 100 miler or bazillion miler, that can be hard too.
So my confidence is back. My only goal for the next 3 weeks is to stay smart, rest, get some miles, keep my mental game strong, and prepare for Chattanooga. What could I do with the 3 weeks? Get myself injured! It's all about being careful now - my friend Cathy would say "the hay is in the barn" - and she's right. Time to trust the training, start the taper, and glide into race day ready to tackle a race that'll have some hard time limits for this slow runner! Bring it on!!
A Final RequestSometimes this blog produces weird reactions in my life. Website traffic statistics show me a lot of people "tune in" to read this. And I run into people I haven't seen in a while and when I try to catch up with them, "Oh, I read all about it on your blog" comes up a lot. My recent training, my recent racing, can feel very isolated. So do me a favor today, leave me a comment. I had such a good run today - how about you just chime in and tell me your best workout of the last couple weeks? Or post anything you want. Just let me know you're out there more than the heartfelt although can be mindless one-word comment that can happen on Facebook.
And my lesson of those couple people that weren't friends this week, if we're connected by Facebook or Twitter, it's because I want to interact with you. It may be small, but we share and learn from each other's experiences. Even if we disagree on a lot of things, or you can be rude sometimes, or kinda annoying at times, I still have you in my world because I want to be connected to you. Love you all!