As I have been going through this training cycle, with an intent to PR, I have been sticking to my plan and doing (mostly) what my coach has been telling me to. I have done speed work, intervals, tempo runs, lactate threshold runs, hill repeats, marathon pace runs, half-marathon pace runs, slow runs, and recovery runs. BUT at the beginning of the week I was definitely feeling some serious self-doubt. Did I work hard enough? Was I actually improving? Could I actually do this?
I knew I needed to get a strong run to rebuild my confidence. So I hit up a really fast buddy of mine (think sub 3 hour marathoner) and asked if he would run with me. I told him I needed to do a run between a 7:15 and 7:25 pace, which has historically been hard for me for anything longer than a 5k. He said sure, we agreed on a place and time and away we went.
One mile warm-up on my way to meet him: Thinking to myself... "What did I get myself into, he's so fast, I am going to die and he's going to think I am a mess"
Meet-up: Outwardly "Hey, Hi, Ready... Let's go" Idle chit-chat ladeeda. Inner monologue "Oh SHIT, what did I just get myself into. I am going to die, nope, no death today. I've got this. I am not going to die... Okay.. here we go..."
Mile 1: Outwardly: Idle chit chat about his latest marathon, sizing up whether I would like to do it or not. Inwardly "Oh boy: 6:50 pace... I might actually die. Butttt I am getting words out coherently, so maybe just maybe I won't die... I hope I don't die. It's only mile 1... okay... think positive, you feel okay so far. Keep him chatting, it will distract you from the pace"
Mile 2: Outwardly, occasional phrase slips out, loosing the ability to talk. Inwardly: I'm not dead yet, look down at the watch, Holy ShitBalls still doing 6:50. Okay.. I mean three more miles after this... but this may be manageable. Oh wait, its getting dark.. I don't have my contacts in and my night vision is a bit blurry. Okay ask him to let me know if anything is coming up I need to avoid.. I think that was a full sentence.. if not he gets the point. Okay.. concentrate on not concentrating.. You can do this.
Mile 3: Outwardly: Ya, talking is NOT happening. Inwardly: Slowing down, 6:58. Starting to feel this, yup, legs are still moving fast but also starting to feel a little heavy. But it's not too bad. It's only two more miles. I mean, what's two miles.. nothing... you've got this!"
Mile 4: Outwardly: " I really hate my life right now" got muttered at some point. Inwardly: Yup, def loosing it. 7:00 min pace... definitely falling apart. Oh no.. I can't fall apart. I mean I did say two miles was nothing... WHAT WAS I THINKING! Two miles is awful! This is awful.... no... no... this is GREAT. Think Positive. The snow is falling, I am running fast, oops.. I think I just ran in front of a car.. good thing I have lights on. This is why driver's hate runners. Oh Shit, slowing down.. speed back up.. Oh YA, now I'm rocking again"
Mile 5: Outwardly: Nada, Nothing, Zip, Zilch Inwardly: " Yup I am dying. Look down 7:15 SHIT I slowed down. How much left .8 miles, okay it's just .8 I can do it. Head up, legs moving, lets go Hinton! Look Down .65 miles.. I only went .15???? Noooooo. Okay.. Only a little over a half mile. It's okay, I got this. Running Running ladeedadada, Look down .5 miles... Holy F*&k, I am going to die. I am dying, it's official, my legs are going to fall off. Okay. That's it I am not looking down again at my watch. Well just a glance .3 okay it's .3, Okay, he's telling me we are almost done. Okay, I've got this. SHIT .25 still. I only went .5 AHHHH. When is the end, block after block, WHY ISN'T MY WATCH BEEPING YET??? Wait, that was it! It beeped! I'm DONE!
Done: Outwardly: High five, keep my cool, Thanks for helping me. That was awesome. Great Run! Inwardly: I am putting every wide receiver in the NFL to shame with my "Hell ya look at me go" dance. It's a combo of the Dab, the Twerk, the twist, and the wave. It is pretty spectacular.
And now to a nice cool down mile. Oh yea, 7:53 is a cool down after that. And there is that runner's high. Ready for some food and beer. MMMMM