Saturday, September 29, 2012

Working Through Self-Doubt

This week was one of potential setbacks and self-doubts. After my last post, we had a rest day. It also happened to be Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement. This high holy day is observed by fasting from sundown to sundown. After dinner Tuesday (my last meal for 24 hours), I went to the gym for weight-training. Needless to say, I spent Wednesday weak, grumpy, tired, and dehydrated. But I ate dinner Wednesday night and planned to run Thursday as scheduled.

I didn't necessarily feel weak Thursday, but once more I just couldn't get a handle on my run. My stride and pace seemed off and my breathing wasn't smooth. I had planned 4.5 miles (three times around the outdoor mall we ran on Tuesday), but stopped at three, and hardly shambled through another half mile after a ridiculously long walk break (during which K finished the loop a third time). I left the run discouraged and upset. Was the run bad because the route bored me, or was I still recovering from Yom Kippur? Or, worse yet, was my body over-taxed and suddenly regressing? Would this inability to even complete a normal run continue?


In the past, issues like this have led me to take time off, which of course leads to a long hiatus...really, it leads to quitting. I turned to the Sub-30 Club on facebook, which is comprised of other runners of all levels who struggle with completing a 5k under thirty minutes. The members of the group are so helpful and non-judgmental, and they offered all kinds of great advice. (Honestly, just being able to rant about my disappointment in my performance seemed to help!) I decided to suck it up and go back to a tried-and-true route to boost my confidence before our long-run Saturday. Also, I wore my headphones so that K could pull ahead of me and run her own pace, and I would have my music to keep me company.

This worked really well for me. We ran a route I like, and I was able to complete the full 4.5 miles without a walk break. My pace was much slower because I was being more true to myself, but of course the downside here was that K enjoyed the run less and didn't get to run as a fast as she wanted the entire time, either.


(We are working on finding new routes to combat boredom and motivate both of us equally; I wish more streets where we live were well-lit and had wide sidewalks!)

Today we had our long-run, and it went very well. We kept the pace around 10:30, although we took the first mile or two a bit fast and ended up slowing down a bit in the end. We did a little over 7 miles. Friday's run helped improve my confidence again, and I'm feeling ready to conquer next week.

Today after the long-run, K's family, M and I had breakfast together, and then M and I went kayaking. I am horribly terrified of manatees, but luckily none were out today. The bad part of the day was that I had exerted myself so much in the morning - and without a nap in between - that I ended up exhausted. M had to trail me behind him some of the way back! But we stopped at a nice inlet and took a break in the water, and when we finally got home I took a long, indulgent nap.

Overall, a nice Saturday. And as for this week...I still got in my 20 miles, so even those two rough runs in the middle of the week ended up showing me that I'm at a point in training where I can have a few bad days and still bounce back.

ABK

PS: Our 5k on the 6th is on a golf course...more than half of the race is on grass. I HATE running on grass! I always lose my footing. It will be a nice run to train on, but now I'm thinking this may not be the time to test my sub-30 potential.

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