Shine a light

What do you think about, when you are running?

Sometimes on longer runs I can barely remember what I am doing. It was hotter out today than it has been and we clipped along at a faster pace. Most of the people in our run group have kids, so our run time is a chance to get away from the responsibilities of life. It’s a chance to be a bit rebellious and jay-walk across the street or run faster than someone else because you don’t have to be nice. The last flew kms I felt like it was a race pace finish: those sludgy legs that you must will to keep going, where you can already taste the Gatorade at the finish and you look at your Garmin and realize you still have to keep going. It was great to do this run, and also great to be finished this run. A solid 19km, with the last 7 being mostly uphill. Now, I’m tired.

The rest of my workout week was pretty uneventful. I got in the wrong lane swimming and had to contend with floaters in bright pink goggles, which took a lot of technical strategizing.  These floaters are people who swim even slower than me, but don’t really ‘get’ the idea of sharing a lane, and it was a bit frustrating. It ate up a lot of time trying to stay out of someone’s way.

Friday I ran a bit quicker than ‘easy’ and a bit hillier than normal. I was dead tired by Friday night, even on Friday afternoon I was looking for a nap. I was really looking forward to a solid night’s sleep and sleep-in on Saturday morning, but the boy was up at 6am and wanted company. I grumbled for about 45 min and then got out of bed, cranky and still tired.

My legs could feel Friday’s run two days later. On Sunday after an hour they were feeling a bit like jello, but I tried to focus on keeping my mind going and this helped. It was mental focus over physical stamina, something I think will help me come race day, instead of the sheer panic I often feel. I’m also getting over that urge to stop, given that my running group was also (hopefully) all suffering, but all maintaining pace. So it was about being determined and pulling myself along and doing it, rather than stopping and giving up on my effort. A good psychological win!

(Photo from: I love to run)

I didn’t get around to doing all my core workouts this week, however. It wasn’t a swim or run workout I missed so not as critical in my mind, but core strength is pretty essential to running well. I tend to panic and worry if I miss a workout. I have a hard time going on vacation because of the change in schedule that affects my workouts. I’m not so much go-with-the-flow as I am push-the-mold-into-my-own-shape so skipping a workout is not good news for me. I did do a double workout on Wednesday, which also meant double core workouts. I was actually sore from this on Thursday and felt okay letting it slide. But the nagging started creeping up on me by Friday and continued over the weekend. I know it’s okay to skip a workout here and there, as my body needs the recovery and our bodies do not get stronger during a workout.  So I’m trying to allow this process to be okay and just let it be a bit of rest and recovery for me. I’m just not sure how hard I need to to try before it takes effect. (Ha!)

*How do you cope when something is (physically) uncomfortable? Do you distract yourself or do you internalize your process?


4 thoughts on “Shine a light

  1. When I have a challenging run, like at the end of a race, I think I do both. If I still have a really long way to go, I might play the ABC Zoo game (A is for aardvark, B is for bee, etc). Sounds dumb, but sometimes it works.

    Usually, though, I turn inward and focus on how I feel, and try some positive talk. Another trick is to pretend that I’m leading all the people behind me and they are counting on me to get to the finish line. I use this one all the time, and pretending to be responsible for someone else seems to work the best for me.

    • I also use that trick that I am leading a group and I must get to the finish line for everyone else’s behalf. It seemed to work pretty well today as everyone was pushing everyone else to get up the hills. I’m not sure if anyone felt responsible for me, but the reverse tactic of ensuring someone else’s success got me through to the end.

  2. I had a difficult run yesterday with a friend who is a personal trainier, running coach and collegiate running all-star. He kicked my butt and when he could tell it was getting too hard for me, he’d tell me a story (I don’t know how he could talk running up the nearly perpendicular hills, but that’s for a different post).

    • It’s a mixed blessing to run with someone faster than you are. Sometimes it really encourages you to push yourself faster than you knew possible and keep up; other times it is discouraging when the other person is just pacing along for your benefit. (Talking up hills is a tough one to swallow).
      However, it’s great to run WITH someone, and eventually your fitness may get to a place where it’s comfortable for you both. Maybe it already is in that comfortable place and you can just enjoy that you are running with someone who has such experience and cred.
      Keep it up!

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