This is how it works-
I love to run but there are times when I would rather not. This is when the voices start. Chants, name calling, guilt and reverse psychology is how they get me up and out the door. I don't really mind the voices and have actually started looking forward to their daily calls. Together we have formed a running club that supports, encourages and competes with each other. I love these peeps. They are much more experienced, talented and tougher than I am. Pushing me out the door, through the hard miles and up the monster hills when I am feeling lazy or want to give up. Some people have "real" training partners, coaches and support crews. My team is ALWAYS with me and helps me to keep my eye on the prize and not veer off the track. Sounds crazy- Yeah, probably is.........

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Time to Make the Donuts.....

The "Streak" had to come to an end..... Here are the numbers:

45 days
326 miles
7.25 miles/day average
A few 3 milers on the low end and one 17 miler on the high end, several 6 - 10 mile runs sandwiched in the middle.

The streak just kind of happened. I didn't realize that there were no rest days until I was about 10 days in. My longest stretch ever had been 9 days so WE got to thinkin'...... what would happen if I kept going for a while? Naturally, I assumed it would lead to injury or burnout- so I made a deal with the VOICES. If things started to get out of hand- which I knew they would- WE would stop. No problem.... Yeah, right.

The idea was to keep running like I normally would, 5-6 miles per day through the week and some longer stuff on the weekends. Of course, all this changed and I found myself running a few 10's through the week and not really going long on the weekends. Another change was my pace. There were more slow miles than ever before. By slow, I am talking about maybe 30-40 seconds per mile off my "normal" pace. Even the VOICES seemed okay with this.

Everything was humming along smoothly until about the 30 day mark. Then it started going downhill. With the One Mile of Honor month-long event only half over, I felt like I HAD to press on. There were no injuries, it just started to feel like "WORK". Almost like the old commercial- "Time to make the donuts....." you know, really hard to drag myself out there day after day. Not really burn-out but more like I had a TRAINING PLAN- and I really dislike the pressure of a TRAINING PLAN.

Finally, this past Thursday, things got so jumbled up in my day that time slipped away and it just didn't happen. I went to bed a little disappointed but kind of relieved. When I woke up Friday morning.... Guess what? The world did NOT explode, time didn't stop and (this is the biggest shock of all) NOBODY cared. The best part? I actually felt like going for a run.

So, with one day of precious rest, the burden of the streak disappeared and I decided to hit the road for about 10 miles. The first 5 miles felt so good that I decided not to turn around and head back home. Before long, I was 10 miles out and feeling GOOD. Glancing at my Garmin, I took note of the average pace for that distance. 7:45/mile. How did that happen? I was just taking it easy and ENJOYING the morning. That gave me a little boost and the next 10 went a little faster. 7:15 average. There were even a few sub 7's mixed in on the later miles. Not sure what happened here- but one thing I do know- it was, for me, a GREAT run. Not only was it my longest in a while- since the Relay run back in June- but it was also a solo run- which is always harder.

The streak was an experiment- another silly stunt, really- to test myself mentally and physically. I somehow managed to avoid injury and, thankfully, LIFE intervened and took the decision to keep going out of my hands. A few things learned here.....

First- running IS and always should be fun. This is why I despise training plans so much- they suck the fun out of it.

Second- too much is too much. Not too much running but too much pressure. Pressure that I placed on MYSELF. Nobody else cared- but I have this crazy habit of piling it on when there is no reason to. That probably won't change much but at least I can recognize it a little easier.

Third- Mixing some SLOW running in with my training is going to become the norm. It WORKS- I have "known" this for a while but the last couple of months re-affirms my belief that sometimes you have to go slow if you want to go faster.

Fourth- Rest days are NOT evil. It is okay to chill once in a while. Once in a while.....

Simple lessons that I HAD to learn the hard way- that's how WE roll 'round here.

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