Friday, April 20, 2012

Recognize your victories

Recognize your victories.  - Joan Benoit Samuelson

That is one of my favorite quotations, because yes, while we often do live in a world over saturated with praise and inflated self-esteem and egotism, we sometimes also hold ourselves to such ridiculously high standards, that we lose sight of the victory, the gold medal, the atta boy (or girl) that is right in front of us.

Anyone who has read my blog long enough knows how much I love my track workouts.  They are long, hard, and challenging, but getting through them is such a victory and a joy for me.  The night before is always filled with anticipation.  The run itself is exhilarating, and I spend the rest of the day feeling like I achieved a little victory.  And this entire spring season, the track workouts have been going right on track, or even better than expected.  They have felt awesome and great, and have served as good benchmarks in my training.

After the Crystal City 5k last night, I came down with a cold, and while it wasn't that bad of a cold, it did wipe me out.  Plus with the heat we've had, I just slowed down on my runs.  My 13 mile run on Sunday was slow slow slow.  But really, I have no reason to complain.  I watched the Boston Marathon on Monday, and just ached for all of the runners (including a few of my friends out there).  I could not imagine what it would be like to run a marathon in that heat.  But, I also saw and read about a lot of great stories too - many people took the heat in stride and still took on the marathon.  Amazing.

Still, I was feeling less than stellar, and when I was getting ready to toe the track on Tuesday, I felt less than ready for this:

2.5 mile warm-up; 3 x 2 mile tempo repeats; First 2 mile, run 6:50 pace;
2 lap jog; Second 2 mile, run 6:40 pace; 2 lap jog; Third 2 mile, run 6:30 pace; 2.5 mile cool-
down. Keep the paces even within each 2 mile tempo. The goal is to be comfortable at a pace
and holding it. Total=12 miles
I did the first 2 mile in 13:44 (6:52 pace) and felt like I was really working hard - not a good sign.  During my recovery laps, I was a bit bewildered to see this in the sky (I had no idea until later that it was the Discovery Shuttle).

Anyways, I did the second 2 mile in 13:37 and felt like I was working way too hard.  And then I did something I am often reluctant to do...I walked away.  Or rather, I ran away.  I did not do the third set - I just did my cooldown instead, and turned the 12 mile run into 10 miles.  And it was the smart decision.  I was not going to push and end up blowing up - I knew my limit for the day.

It was not my usual victory, but as per usual, I sent the results out to Sarah.  Her response:
That was a great call not to do the third set.  Your body was clearly telling you that it needed more rest, and it was just not up to it today.  It's funny, sometimes the effects of traveling and racing don't always catch up with us right away, and I think in your case, you hit a bit of a delayed reaction.  You are not a machine (although sometimes we think we are--both for school and training), and you need rest.  I'll leave it up to you, but if you feel like you need an off day tomorrow to just catch up on sleep and give your body a full day to recharge, I would encourage you to do that.  You are not going to lose any fitness at this point,and you don't want to beat yourself up over a training day. It's always better to be under-trained!  Just take it easy and don't put too  much pressure on yourself for Saturday's workout either.  The goal should be to just not feel cashed in before you start!

I recognized both my limits and my victories.  I have not had an off track workout since last October - a very good streak.  And sometimes we get worn down.  The semester is ending, and I have been super busy.  And that is great, but I am sure it all has worn me out a bit too.  So, I am choosing to find the victory above anything else.

On Runner's World, someone suggested posting pictures from their middle school/high school running days.  Now, some people have had some really vintage pictures that look really awesome.  Mine made me laugh.  This was from 7th grade (1998) - before my big growth spurt.  First of all, those uniforms were something else - long sleeve shirts for cross country that appeared to have been made before I was born.  But I do have to smile looking at these -- look at that girl - I look like a midget next to her.  That was half of my life ago.  About 3 inches 35 more pounds, and 12 years later, I'm running again.  Almost half a lifetime ago, and I'm on the road again, in search of new victories.

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