Tuesday, March 21, 2006

So naturally just when I am complaining about not having any running motivation, I come up with a plan. And believe it or not, I stuck with it this morning. I think I let myself off the hook about the possibility of running the 25k in mid-May and that made putting together a plan exciting rather than something to be dreaded. Not that I don't think I can do it, its just that it has so many painful memories I find it hard to mentally want to do this race. It is the premiere race in Grand Rapids so everyone and anyone who can run even a mile starts the year off training to either run the 25k or the 5k. I have been forced into running the 5k for the past few years, again not from lack of training but just mentally refusing to do it. 25k is 15.5 miles. It is only 2.4 miles longer than a half marathon, but it is hard. You get to 13.1 and want to be done. Then you start wondering how you will ever complete a marathon when 15 miles is killing you. And it has its standards.

The "standard" women's time, in the minds of local runners, is 2 hours. Two hours means over 7.5 miles per hour. That's faster than a lot of people can run a 10k. The closest I have ever come to 2 hours was over 10 years ago at the peak of my running years. It was after a particularly good winter of training. It wasn't without its setbacks, and it was wonderful to be running that kind of pace. You are just cranking out the miles and feeling good. There is no notice of thirst, hunger, blisters, heat, cold, or anything else that bothers you during a race. You are feeling good because you are passing people left and right, you are keeping pace with your training buddies who are 15 years younger than you. You are feeling no pain. And you know you are going to PR. You are going to finish with all those who you are usually chasing in every run or race.

So let's get back to reality. That was once. Maybe twice being close. But out of the 10 or 11 times running this race, the real time was closer to 2:30 or worse. Now that's really not that bad, but when you cross the finish line and see all the faces of those who have finished 30+ minutes before you and are still standing, you start feeling less than a runner. No explanation for this. It just happens. I'm sure many have had these feelings. Instead of feeling elated to be done, you feel like you let others down. And I know that is crazy thinking but can't help it. I have learned to keep my mouth shut so as not to bring any attention to my effort, but your time is always an issue and I hate that it is.

Maybe I wouldn't feel this way if I hadn't been at the top at one point. Being on the bottom and trying to make your way back up to at least back of the pack is hard enough without all the mental demons trying to take you back down.

So I am going to put this plan into action. A modified but do-able goal for the Olympic tri in mid-June. If at some point there is a breakthrough and I am able to run the 15.5 miles in mid-May, so much the better. The plan will be to continue run training so I can at least finish a 10 mile run. I guess I need to lower my goals in order to reach them first before I can go over my head and keep getting frustrated. Time will tell.

1 comment:

Fe-lady said...

Those goals are do-able! And oh so motivating! (I doubt if I would do anything if I didn't set the bar higher every year!)
Just be careful about increasing that mileage too soon...that's what always "gets" me! (And leads to an injury where I have to back off totally for a few weeks!)
Keep us posted...what is the race called?