Saturday, March 5, 2011

Worst Run Ever, Or How I Hate Saturdays

My plan on running an easy eight miles today didn't work out all that well. I think the proper term is "utter failure." I was really angry at myself earlier about it ands was almost to the point of tears when I stopped running, but I've had some time to reflect on it and I don't think it means that I am a terribly runner and I should just quit now, but I do need to switch some things around in the my routine.


The problems started when I was trying to figure out what to wear. Temperature was mid 50s and there is a light rain that, from looking at the radar, may or may not have been about to end. I knew that behind the rain was a cold front with falling temperatures, but I had no idea when that was going to happen. I went with a pair of thinner running tights and a cotton long-sleeve t-shirt with a sport tank under it. When I walked outside, I was feeling in the range of slightly chilly to pretty comfortable. The one thing I didn't consider? How incredibly humid it was. Within three blocks, I was sweating like a pig, and it wasn't because I was out of shape. I was running through a sauna with long sleeves.

I went up 2nd St to the bridge and crossed it, came back and things were fine. I went under the bridge which, by the way, passes right by the bottom level of the Yum Center (big new downtown Louisville arena). I assume the lower part of the arena is where they make the hot dogs because it smelled like a Nathan's paradise. Just a tidbit--I love hot dogs. Moral of the story? Finding a different route to Waterfront Park next time. Pure torture. But here's a lovely shot of the Yum Center and the entrance to the Clark Memorial Bridge taken right before I ran across it (this is the upper part that doesn't smell like hot dogs):

Decided to run through Waterfront Park along the trails. It's something different and since we've had so much rain lately, the Ohio River is way up over the banks and I wanted to check it out. It's not the highest I've ever seen it, but it's still pretty cool. Here's a pic of the water dangerously close to the running path. When I came back through a bit later, it was actually higher than it shows here:

After that I was about four miles in and I was really starting to get weak from so much sweating and so little food beforehand.  No muscle fatigue, cramping, or soreness. I passed by Slugger Field up Preston St, passed by the hospitals (and two very fantastic-smelling McDonalds) and to Broadway (past an obscenely deliciously smelling Long John Silver's), then to 2nd St. That's where I crashed 5.86 miles in. I wanted so badly to finish my eight miles. My legs had tons of strength left and I was ready mentally, but I didn't have the fuel. It was even a challenge to walk the two blocks back to the YMCA. All in all, the worst run ever.


Right. In non-running life, I am incredibly stubborn and I don't like admitting I go about anything wrong. I am admitting freely and openly right here and right now, that my Saturday morning routine is a hot mess and I've been ruining my running life with it for the last month. I wake up, eat two slices of whole grain toast and a banana, go to the gym, do arms and a Zumba class, eat a PowerBar, then expect to have a fantastic long run. It works until I get about 2.5 miles into it, then I crash and am forced to get through the next few miles out of sheer stubbornness until I give up and realize that I simply can't do it anymore. Today, I made it to 5.86, but I wanted to be done at 3.17. That won't get me through ANY of my upcoming races which, by the way, are coming up very VERY soon.

I know for a fact that my inability to do a Saturday long run has nothing to do with whether or not I can physically or mentally finish it. I know for a fact that I can. Throughout the week, I get through my runs, which aren't that much shorter. In fact, I did 6.2 on Saturday in a decent time AND I probably could have gone a few miles more quite easily. I only stopped because I wanted to avoid overtraining. I felt fantastic. My hill runs are harder, but I never get to the point where I feel like crashing. How did I get through the 5k last Saturday going at a faster pace than usual while feeling like I could have pushed it twice as hard and still be fine, but I feel like crashing after a slow 3.17 today? Something isn't adding up.

I've decided my new Saturday routine is going to be more like my weekday routine (except I get to sleep in a little longer). I'll wake up, eat my little breakfast, wait an hour or so, then run my long runs in the morning. No burning off precious energy and wasting time with a stupid Zumba class that I don't even enjoy. I have officially learned that I need that expended energy for the run. Afterward, I can go to the gym and do an easy elliptical workout if I insist on doing some other activity that day.

See? I'm learning from my mistakes! We'll see how it works in a couple weeks. Next Saturday, we have the Rodes City Run. It's a 10K and I want to finish under an hour. I have a feeling that I won't, so I'll also work on not beating myself up if I don't hit my goal time.

Mastering the Saturday long run will be much easier than mastering how not to be angry at myself after a missing a target.

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