It’s funny. I have raced more in the past 5 weeks than I raced in 2013 total. And I am loving it. The lessons are tough, I am not at my best. It’s hard to look at that. It’s hard to be in that place. But you know me…. I am not about sharing only the good days. Everyone does that. I want to share with you the difficult times because a year from now I believe we will look back and say….. in October 2013 I ran a 24 minute 5K, and look what a difference a year made.
On days like Saturday it’s like I develop a split personality. Because I coach myself I look at events as an athlete and as a coach. It’s very different views.
Leading into this race Mary the athlete says: I bet that I can take a chunk out of my last 5K, even though I am at the third week of this run block. I don’t feel tired, I am not training 20 hours a week.
Mary the coach says: Today is a good tempo effort. We might take time off, we might add time on. You are too soon into this run block to see any real adaptation. It might happen, it might not. That’s why we are here, let’s find out.
I employed a new warm up strategy prior to this race. The shorter the distance … the longer my warm up needs to be. Before we left the house I did a quick 2 mile very easy run with a few pickups. These days Luc is my race buddy, so we headed on down to the site, which was in the beautiful Park Ave area, surrounding the George Eastman House.
Once there I added on another easy ten minute run, which is when I realized how big of a race this was. Scott Bagley ran past me and I thoguht… oh no. Real runners are here! I was thrilled to see some of my GVH tammates. Jim May, Carolyn Smith-Hannah, Kathy Hayden (whose birthday it was!) and Diane to name a few. It was great to have them all there and running.
It’s been funny hitting all of these 5K’s the past few weeks. The running community in Rochester is unreal, and I can’t tell you HOW many people have said things like “Welcome to the real fun!” and in general welcomed this fish out of water. The usual statement is “Hey Mary there is no swim or bike, just a run!” I love it. I love the attitude of this community.
The gun went off and Diane came up next to me. It was WONDERFUL to have someone I run intervals with near me. We caught up to Carolyn who is running a X Country race tomorrow as part of the Pete Glavin series…. so she was taking it very easy. There were sooooo many people. But it only took a few minutes to bob and weave and I settled into a good pace. There were times I could pull up and times I just lost my speed….. I again felt like my transmission was slipping..
Not much went through my head and I was careful not to smile too much.
I rounded the corner and saw the clock read 24…. and my heart sank. My slowest 5K time in years. That was a hard one to swallow. I allowed myself to have that disappointment though. I can’t fake it. I found Jim and Diane and Carolyn. I admitted to Carolyn how hard it was to see that number on a clock.
“I know.” she smiled. “I know. You have to remember that right now this is where you are and this is where you start.” Can I adopt her? Jim said the same thing.
After I got home I headed out for another 3 miles…. making it a four run to cover nine miles kind of a day….. and allowed Coach Mary to take over.
Week three of a new running build averaging 40 miles a week. To want a PR is normal, who doesn’t? Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. Physical adaptation to a new stress…. takes at least 6 weeks. We knew to expect to fall backwards before we made gains. What matters is where your head was. And your head was clear the whole time. This is a good place to begin. Remember what Randy Pauch said? The brick walls are there to keep those who don’t want it bad enough….. out.
Sometimes I just need a dose of my own medicine.
The truth of the matter is…. my head was clear. My effort was strong. I still feel like I am pressing the pedal to the metal and the tranny is slipping. I also feel like I am in a dark room feeling along the wall for “the switch.” You know …. the switch we flip when we race. I feel like I haven’t been able to really access it yet. To flip it on. But I am closer to it.
This process isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s not going to happen in 3 or 4 weeks either. It’s scary to see slower times when we are aiming and preparing for personal bests. But these days are what continue to ignite the fire, what continue to drive me. What I use as motivation.
It will come. I have no doubt.