Like I said a few weeks ago, I knew my late April through early June was going to be a crazy busy time, full of stuff that I wanted to do. It started with Seneca 7, which rolled into the Pittsburgh half, which morphed into the retreat in Ogden (and my complicated trip home), which sashayed into an evening at the Freihofer’s Expo in Albany and my 25th college reunion in PA this past weekend. This coming weekend will be the last four miles of my marathon spring when SUNY Oneonta hosts its Reunion Weekend, which I’ll be working.
Given that I spent the the winter training for this busy season, I thought I’d have the stamina. But I’ve hit the mile 22 wall, y’all. My heinie is dragging.
Before my giddy-up got up and went on without me, I did something I’ve never done before: I ran a timed mile. It seemed like a great idea when I floated it. I’ve been feeling faster lately, what with a six-minute PR at PGH, and the running has been loose and easy.
One of my pet hypothesises is that there are two types of runners: those who like to go long and those who like to go fast (that’s what she said). I am a runner who’d much rather lope along forever than run really quickly for more than 15 seconds. Speedwork is always on Wednesday, so I spent Tuesday dreading that timed mile — even though I was the one who’d asked Coach Christine to put it on the schedule in the first place. How much is this going to suck, I wondered. Will my legs finally just fall off?
This kind of inner dialog is exactly the way to make sure the run will suck. You get more of what you focus on when you’re dealing with behavior. Focus on how annoying your teen can be and that’s all you’ll ever notice. Fix your mind on how frequently your co-worker sniffles and that’s all you’ll ever pay attention to. And obsesses about how much it hurts to run very fast and that’s all your brain will care about.
Just for the record, I’m not a big power of positive thinking gal. Norman Vincent Peale can get stuffed, imo. Still, our brains can easily get stuck in ruts that color our perception of reality. If nothing else, I know that going into anything thinking it will be terrible almost guarantees that it will be.
However, I still dread Wednesdays because I find it hard to follow my own advice.
The warm-up mile was great, so was the cool-down mile, even though I thought I might barf. That mile in the middle? The one where I took off at a speed I could not maintain, had to slow up in the middle bit because I thought I might die, and freaked out because everything hurt by the last 400 meters? It was hard.
It was also slower than I’d hoped. I was pretty sure that I could bust out a 10:15 or faster, which for me is like greased lightning. What I managed was a 10:28, zippy but a little disappointing because I’ve been feeling so good. The constant travel, followed by the constant catching-up from the constant travel, couldn’t have helped, nor could my less-than-positive mental game. Still. It really sucked the wind out of my running sails.
My flaccid canvas stuck with me into the weekend, where my training plan called for seven miles either before I left for bucolic Meadville, PA, or while I was there. I opted to do them on Saturday morning, even though I know how hilly that town is. My alma mater must have a track, I reasoned, even though I have no memory from 25 years prior to draw from. In my four years at Allegheny, I never once set foot in the sports complex, which is where the track and football field were rumored to be. I was a theater major and spent most of my time in the dark.
There is a track, I discovered. It is guarded by a locked, 10-foot high fence that I couldn’t figure out how to scale without impaling myself. So I took to the trails and roads around the campus for five miles, then to the (open) indoor track when the bugs and humidity outside got on my last nerve. I was a wrung-out sponge by the time I was done. And that desiccated state has hung on.
I’m certain once I get back to a solid routine of sleeping in my own bed for reasonable amounts of time and eating food that didn’t come from a buffet steam tray, my sponge will rehydrate. Which also reminds me that I really need to up my NUUN and dial back on the coffee. I just need to get through my college-of-employment’s reunion weekend, most of which I’ll spend driving a golf cart around campus and talking until I run out of words. Come Monday, I can refocus on the basics — just in time for Voldesun to make his return.
Do you like to go long? Or fast?