I set my alarm for 5:00am and woke up ready to run at 4:15 with these lyrics running through my head:
And if I close my mind in fear
Please pry it open
And if my face becomes sincere
And when I start to come undone
Stitch me together
And when you see me strut
Remind me of what left this outlaw torn..
Kind of dorky- I know! But I woke up with a fire in my gut.
Here's my jog:
WU) 6 miles easy jogging- my legs felt ok but not great. Heavy and sort of numb.
Then: 9.5 miles in 52:25. 5:31 average pace on a rolling trail. This was meant to be a progression run where I would build from ~6:00 pace down to 5:30 pace over the course of the run. I didn't wear my HR monitor because I wanted to "feel" this run... not "see" this run. And of course my i-pod was screaming.. I erred completely in the execution and my 2 mile splits were this:
2 miles: 10:50 (dumb) Way too fast- I seriously thought I was somewhere around 6:00 pace.
2 miles: 11:15 (4 miles in 22:06) Backed off a bunch- this felt like jogging.
2 miles: 11:28 (6 miles in 33:34). Started in on the rolling hills.
2 miles: 10:45 (8 miles in 44:20) I wanted to really suffer here and went through my 7th mile in 5:17 visualizing very vividly my last few miles at Vegas..
1 mile: 5:30 (9 miles in 49:50). Godsmack's 'I Stand Alone' got me through this mile.
1/2 mile: 2:34 Just for fun.. This was a winding and rolling section that put my body well beyond my 'pain' threshold. The urge to slow was overwhelming and I had to really focus on relaxing and letting the pace happen rather than making it happen. During the last minute of this I tried hard to really sense what I was feeling.. pain is not exactly the right description. My legs felt terrible and my chest was tight, but pain wasn't 'it'. Just discomfort. Once I really defined what I was feeling the pace felt a tiny bit easier. A hill in the last 100 meters though 'snapped (me) back to reality' (Eminem) and I rigged (aka: died). CD) 1/2 mile walking and jogging.
I am on the fence about this run.. of course I derive a great amount of satisfaction from "performing" in a workout like this. It is the fastest 9 miles I've ever run in a workout. What is causing the 'niggle' in the back of my brain though is the fact that I am historically a "trainer" not a "racer". I can show you workouts of mine that guys much faster cannot run. My biggest weakness is not training to run a fast race, rather it is racing a fast race. The reason for this, I believe, is the "fear of success"... or more commonly known as CHOKING. The greater my fitness the greater the risk of failure. There is less risk of failure in a workout- so I perform better. The sports psychology side of athletics is a huge component of performance and one that I certainly need to explore on a deeper level. I know that I love the journey towards a race more than I do the actual race. Looking at 20 weeks of solid training gives me more satisfaction than my race result. And that may just be how it is.. do I want to change that? I know that I never want to stop enjoying the journey but I wonder if it is possible to ALSO enjoy the race. Alan told me recently that he only enjoys racing fast and competing at the world level, racing a local 10k would not be 'fun' to him. I like to train at a high level and the race is just the end of the road. Or rather the fork in the road towards the start of a new journey. I think if I ever figure out how to elevate my game on race day then I will finally, for the first time ever, race to my potential.
I truly believe that I have an innate survival mechanism that threatens to cancel out my desire to go to the next level. When I truly am on the edge, my body lets me know quite distinctly that I am in danger. Power lifters have trained their minds to be able to override this mechanism and of course so has nearly every other 'elite' athlete out there. How do you go about overriding the desire to survive? How do you turn off a warning claxon that is reverberating in your head and turning your legs to jell-o? Practice? Motivation? I suspect it is both but more likely motivation. There has to be a very good reason to go beyond your limit and I don't think looking at the finishing clock and seeing a number is mine. I think my motivation lies more in the idea that I have simply 'done my best'. All the marathons I've run have fallen short of my best because of a moment where I decided to ease up. I regret those moments and remember them like a bad dream. And so the journey continues..