Sunday, November 11, 2012

When is it Quitting? When is it Compromise?

Last time I wrote about having a bad run, the badness was due to specific circumstances of that day. Today's awful run was a combination of things that began earlier this week. To start, the last run I had was Tuesday night, when pending election results sent me into a nervous tizzy and I sped my way along a very quick 3-mile route with M at my side.

After that run, I happily slept through four mornings when I could have run, but chose not to. Yesterday night, M and I had a bit of an impromptu date-night, which included buffalo wings slathered in rich, syrupy sauces and a ludicrously large hard cider. Needless to say, not a really great dinner the night before a long run.

Oh, extreme allergy conditions? Great.
So there brewed a dangerous storm. Then, this morning saw some rookie mistakes I should have known to avoid. For one, I checked the weather and knew it would be sunny but cool (in the 60s) when we started the run. I dressed for cool weather, forgetting that the sun actually still creates a warmer "feels-like" temperature in November, and hardly four miles into the run I felt fatigued and overheated. I found I needed a walk break early on, probably because my starting pace was in the mid-9s. Our long runs have been in the mid-to-low 10s, so this was a ridiculous pace to start off at. My legs were heavy and uncooperative, and I wasn't able to get a good breathing rhythm going. This is probably due to increased allergies; although the high allergy count is for indoor allergies only, anything that affects my breathing triggers my asthma, and I've been feeling short-breathed and congested for day. This is possibly also caused by the bad bout of Red Tide we've had in the area.

I should pause here to mention that K was sick last week, so she opted for a 6-mile run, and SB and I planned 11. We all met up together, but K took off on her own early on. About four miles in, I dropped back from SB. Putting in music and setting a slower pace helped until I got to mile 5. At this point, I came to my water bottle. I only dropped off one bottle today, so by the time I got to it, I guzzled it down, leading to a cramping and sloshy stomach. At this point was the turn-around, but I couldn't fathom running the bridge a second time. Instead, I headed off down an alternate route, and I was able to shuffle-run until the main turning point, but pretty soon after reaching the next main road, I gave up on myself. I walked nearly a full mile, paused at the park for a drink, contemplated asking an early-morning tennis player for use of his cell phone to call M...

I ran from the park, knowing my car was 2.5 miles south, and instead veered off on the mile route home. I woke M, and he drove me to the car. The 11-mile run became 9.1. The time was laughably slow; I apparently walk at a 20-minute pace. I felt discouraged, even more so because I gave up on myself and 1) allowed so many walk breaks and 2) cut the distance short. While these decisions were probably good for my overtaxed body, I can't help but hate myself a little bit for making them. When it is quitting, and when is it compromise?

We need to learn from our mistakes, of course, and I think I have. If I know early during a crucial run that things aren't going right, it might be best to change plans early and salvage the run as best I can. I need to adjust my running plan later in the week if the plan earlier in the week changed. I need to trust my instincts over the weather report. I need to plan my pace better from the beginning, and I need to stay hydrated.

Even knowing all these things logically, I'm still feeling moody and regretful today. This was not how I wanted my final long run before our Half to go. I'm actually not feeling like this will be detrimental to the race, and if anything it's given me a chance to see how I run in the sunlight for a long distance. But all those walk, those are what really get me. I always feel so worthless, like I've let myself down and allowed my mind to beat me back. I've been making such amazing progress, and it was like the little Negative Nancy in my head wanted to prove she still exists.

Alright; I get it. And I'm going to shake this off and redeem myself this week and kick butt on Sunday. And then I'm going to take some mental rest, because training is starting to eat my brain, and I think that's mostly what made me weak today. On any other day, in usual circumstances, I could have run through the funk. Today, my brain got the best of me. That's all there is to it. Time to move on.


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