This is my last post for the week, maybe I’ll be able to post while I’m in Minnesota starting Saturday. No guaranteees.
When we did those 400’s last week and I felt there was no way I was going to lead us through at 68 seconds, Little prodded me with the mantra, “Mind over matter.” It sounds contrived, but we pushed through the line at 68 on the dot. The effort didn’t feel redlined and I had more to follow. The concept is baffling, but so incredibly necessary in relation to distance running. Your physical body dies, but your mind has a seemingly unlimited fuel supply of metaphysical motivation…it’s when that starts to run out that you are in big trouble.
Thursdays have become my second tough workout of the week, but can never be as taxing as Tuesdays as I run them by myself and the effort is inadvertently scaled back, whether I want it to be or not. Without the pull of others, you defeat yourself at the first sign of fatigue. It’s the process of developing mental strength that really separates one runner from the next, even if the physical bodies are skewed in the reverse of placement.
I decided I really wanted to continue working on developing my core strength and mental fortitude through a hill workout and so I layed out the following plan this afternoon.
4 miles of warmup (to get to the hill in this flat city)
5 hill sprints up and down w/ short recovery in between (the first effort at maxing the whole system)
2 miles of tempo shooting for 5:15 pace (a good lung busting interlude and further maxing the system)
5 more hill sprints up and down w/ short recovery (to start feeling the lack of muscle strength, but to push through)
2 more miles of tempo shooting for 5:30 pace (a fatigued set of miles to max the lungs and drain the muscles)
5 more hill sprints up and down w/ short recovery (the most important part of the workout, where the muscles are completely drained and the mind struggles to continue pushing)
4 miles of cool down (just trying to make it back home without walking)
Unexpectedly, my running friend Gerry got a hold of me before the run and managed to make it to my house before I took off. It was a great relief to have someone else with me for this workout, to both make the time go by quicker and the pace as well.
I won’t bore you with the details, but to summarize, we knocked out the first hills like nothing, put in the first 2 miles at 5:20 pace (the distance is just a touch long), then put in 5 more hills. That is when Gerry started having, uh, “stomach” problems and smartly called it quits. I went out for the next two miles on my own and came through at just under 5:30, which is what I was expecting to go. I then went back into the next 5 hills with legs made of air…heavy air. I had no strength, which I expected, and fought mentally to power out at the top of each hill before letting the gravity pull me down.
After the first of the last reps, Gerry makes some comment about running 18 miles, but I assured him I was maxing out at 14, although I could tell he wasn’t convinced. Gerry, however, has a Garmin watch. Although fatigued as hell, which I was wanting, I knock out the last of the hill reps before picking him up and starting the excruciating jog back home. This workout always seems to tax me more than the rest and my cool down is always such a strenuous effort, which I attribute to the hills, pavement, and gradual uphill on the way back. Sometimes it’s almost unbearable.
Then Gerry brings up the mileage again, citing his Garmin which he used to measure our hill distance. Turns out, if not a full 18, I at least ran 17. NO WONDER my legs feel absolutely gone on the cool down back home.
This is the funny thing, I went into this workout assuming I’d be ending up at 13, 14 if I miscalculated, but never doubting my ability to take on all the hills and finish off the cool down on the way home. 13 – 14 miles is fairly standard and is no cause for concern….17 – 18, with hills, and tempo, however is another matter. If I knew a more exact distance on this workout, I’m not sure I would have been able to knock it down like I did, but then sometimes Mind Over Matter works in another way as well…accidently. The important thing now is to recognize that I did complete the workout, even with the distance that is extended past 13 or 14 miles and shouldn’t fear the effort in the future. Funny how that works out sometimes.
Now though, I’m spent. But at least I know why.
Breakfast – Oatmeal (w/ peanut butter, almonds, raisins, agave nectar, flax seed), coffee
Lunch – Stir fry w/ tofu and ginger soy sauce, water
Dinner – Leftover stir fry, sweet potatoes (maybe something else later)
Snacks – Apple, coffee, water, soymilk, grape nuts w/ soymilk and agave nectar
A Perfect Murder – Unbroken
The Decemberists – The Crane Wife (post run relaxing music)