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How Brigid Got Her Run Back

Posted Feb 22 2012 12:00am

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been absent for the past few days. I don’t typically post over the weekend, so that’s nothing unusual. Then Monday was a holiday, so we can extend the weekend meme here. But Tuesday and no post?! What’s going on?!

To be perfectly honest, I’ve been a bit of a head case for the past few days. It all started last Thursday. I was supposed to do a 5 mile tempo, but my Garmin died after 1 mile.  How can I do a tempo without my Garmin?! (I ran for years without a fancy watch, but apparently I’ve become dependent on it since). My mojo was ruined. With no watch and hurting/exhausted legs, I just couldn’t face the run any longer and started walking at about mile 4. I gave up on the run so to speak. Not good.

Friday was a scheduled off day and Saturday we headed to Baltimore for the Belgian Beer Fest at Max’s. It was just what I needed. Lots of laughing with friends. Tasty food and drinks. Not worrying about work or anything else that needed to be done. Running and chores could wait for another day.

Sunday we were supposed to run 12 miles, but the weather was crappy. We headed home from Baltimore early to pick up the dogs ahead of the storm (which never really came, in true DC fashion). Good thing we still had all day Monday to get everything done. In case you’re counting, that is not one, not two, but THREE  rest days in a row! You’d have thought that I would be ready for the 12 miles on my plate!

Sadly, that wasn’t the case. We headed out with grand plans to run 12 miles (4 x 3 mi loop). I’m not sure what was wrong with me, but my body just would not cooperate. I ran the first loop and was in disbelief that I had to do 3 more. On the second loop, I started to lose it. I kept looking at my watch and couldn’t believe how slow I was moving! What was wrong with me? I thought of the miles and miles ahead of me. I thought about how my husband was probably irritated. I wondered if it was possibly to lose all your conditioning over the course of 3 days. I knew that I was losing the PR battle for RnR. The next thing I know, John asked me concernedly “what’s wrong? Are you having an asthma attack?” For the record, I don’t have asthma.

My brain had managed to psych itself out to the point of inducing hyperventilation while running.  I was having a minor panic attack.  ”Not asthma attack, panic attack”, I grunted. In explanation,  ”I F*ing hate this neighborhood”.  Obviously it was the neighborhood’s fault. Duh. John knew when to pull the plug on the run. He told me we’d finish the loop and go home. I obstinately wanted to push through to finish, but he was firm. “We’ll go back out again later and do 6 more miles,” he said. We walked home, and I was practically in tears about my failed run. Why couldn’t I get control of my mind to do something as simple as run?

We went out 3 hours later for 6 more miles. I sucked it up and got through it. I was determined to finish. We managed to cut 1 minute off our time from the morning. Not speedy by any stretch of the imagination, but it was complete. I ran 12 miles in a day when nothing seemed to be working for me.

Which brings me to today. Tuesday. 800 meter repeats on the track were on my agenda. I made sure to drink plenty of water all day long. I ate something every few hours. I ended up working late, but was determined not to let that affect my plans. I would run. I would run well.

The goal: 4 x 800 meter repeats, with each repeat faster than the last, and the final one sub 4 minutes.

I needed this run. I needed to test my body and my mind. I needed to convince myself I still had it.

I knocked out one 800, then another. At points my mind would doubt. Can I hold this pace? Is that a side cramp? Am I slowing down? I forced myself to shut down the mental chatter. I turned to my mantra  fast feet. I focused on my turnover, on taking quick steps. One after another. I got through the first three 800s right on target. I just had one more to go. I could do this! I just had to suck it up for 4 more minutes. Surely I could do that! The last 100 meters, I pumped my arms for all I was worth. I glanced down at my watch. 3:55! YES!


The results:

  • 4:24
  • 4:18
  • 4:08
  • 3:55

I persevered! I told my mind that I was going to run well, and I did. I’m BACK! In the words of Nike, I believe in the run!

QOTD: Have you ever totally psyched yourself out of a run? How do you mentally prepare yourself to run well?

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