Sometimes it just happens this way …. the day’s commitments align in a sequence that makes me think, “great! I’ll be outside all day (mostly); I will get to support runners, I will get my own run in, and then I’ll top things off with a less strenuous workout followed by socializing with yet more runners.”
I did make all three running commitments yesterday, but the day didn’t go exactly as per plan and left me pleading for my friends who help me reframe things.
Back in April, I was one of several Gulf Winds Track Club members who participated in a 5K at a local women’s correctional institution (a few track club members had met with the inmates previously to speak to them about running; this was the first “event” and it was incredible.)
Yesterday, we returned to the facility to coordinate an intervals workout. Since I knew I had a long run scheduled for the day, I was a “cheerleader” rather than a runner. It was such a great experience! The women said, “I hoped you would come back,” “I told my family to look for you in the picture (from April), the one in the lime green shirt,” and “I’m gonna do this.” The statement that stuck with me the most was the woman who said, “I used to be the mom at my kids’ runs holding the water and clapping for the kids. When I get out, I am going to run with my kids and my mom doesn’t know it but she’s gonna run with us too.”
My assignment from my coaches at PRSFit was to run 10 miles. The miles were primarily to be at Heart Rate Zone 2 (which is relatively “easy” — a HR where you can conceivably hold a conversation) with 3 minute surges to Zone 3 every 20 minutes. Since I had the commitment to help at Gretna in the morning and another commitment (a/k/a Part 3) in the evening, the only time I thought I had to do this run was immediately upon returning from Gretna. I knew it would be hot (high 80’s/low 90’s) outside and I knew it would be my longest run ever, but I thought I could power through, especially since I would be carrying 20 ounces of water in my water belt. This run just didn’t work out like I hoped. One of my Twitter friends had tweeted, “it’s okay to take walk breaks if you need to,” but I didn’t plan on taking walk breaks even if I had to slow down substantially.
Due to the heat, I never got down to Zone 2 the entire run. I also chose a hilly course (sigh). At least I was listening to a riveting audio book (Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn). At the 1:40 mark, there was a sudden shift in my energy level; I went from a pretty steady run to what I call the “struggling to just keep one foot in front of the other” pace. Still, I was happy to be making progress, enjoying the book, and looking forward to triumphantly reporting on my first 10+ mile run on Daily Mile and on my report to my coach. At around the 2:20 mark, walking suddenly and immediately became an option when I felt a sharp pain in my right knee. And I still had over a mile to go to get back to my car. This is when the thing became all about survival. Survival and obsessing about what this meant for my September 16 half marathon as part of the Autism Speaks team. What ensued was me walking the mile+ back to my car, with a rapidly dwindling water supply, considering going in to the convenience store to ask for water, considering going up to strangers’ homes looking for water, considering begging. I hoped the park along Killarney Way would have a water fountain (it didn’t). But I did stop there and literally lay down under a shaded pavilion, praying to get back to my car without passing out (and glad I had finally sprung for a 1band ID so my husband could be reached if I did). Ultimately, I made it back to my car, and had a lovely time of 3:06 to report to my coach and DailyMile for this 11 mile run. UGH.
This did not go how I wanted. I know there are going to be days like this as a runner, but gosh it was disappointing.
Part 3 was our women’s “Dash and Dine,” which is an opportunity for a bunch of us women walkers/runners to “dash” and then “dine.” The rules are fairly loose: NO MEN, NO DRAMA, NO WHINING, NO WORRIES. (sorry gentleman!).
The way yesterday’s Dash and Dine was configured, we could choose to walk/run a 2 mile loop, a 3 mile loop, or a 5 mile loop on a local trail, followed by dinner at a Mexican restaurant. I had planned to walk 2 miles, then join the dinner outing. But after Part 2, the last thing I wanted to do was anything that involved putting one foot in front of another and sweating. Which is why I nixed the “dash” and only did the “dine.”
Why did the “dine” matter? It mattered because my friends were able to reassure me that my tweets about how I didn’t like running that day, my long Daily Mile report which just asked people to chime in and help me reframe my run, and my report to my coach which may have contained a little bit of whining and self-pity were just a bump in the road; that things would get better and it still mattered that I made it 11 miles.
And they gave me a tiara. Tiaras make everything better: