Stubborn-ing Through

Posted: 05/15/2012 in Uncategorized
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Green Bench

Later on Saturday, after coffee and breakfast, I was perusing Facebook to find a friend of mine lamenting his lack of spark on his P90X2 workout – basically admitting that he wasn’t feeling compelled to do it and had been half-assing some of the workouts. It was his second time through the series. He sounded bored. I commented that it’s really difficult to maintain the level of intensity that P90X requires on a continuous basis and that so long as he was remaining active through “the doldrums”, that was the most important thing. Eventually he’d cycle through and get re-energized or find something inspiring again. I think this is something that everyone who works out goes through – we cycle through intense periods and we cycle through doldrums.

Sleeping through that two mile Blast run was tugging at me and I thought to myself, Self – you’re in a doldrum. That Pig beat you up & you need to beat it back. Take your own advice and get moving. I was also arguing with a wild hair idea that I wanted to go run Lunken that afternoon. Arguing with myself because Lunken is NEVER a satisfying run for me. Why I even thought I wanted to do it, I don’t know. A lot of runners around here like running Lunken – it’s a FLAT 5-mile loop around an airport with options available to extend mileage using out & back offshoots. It’s uninterrupted by roads, lights or stop signs and fabulous for speedwork.

I hate it.

I don’t like flat runs – my booty was made for hills. It’s boring. There is no water anywhere on the loop, so you have to carry water. About 95% of the route is in the sun, unless you go really early or really late. Once in awhile you see a deer or a bunny. That’s the only redeeming factor – I like bunnies. Usually, I get an inclination to run this loop about twice a year, then I run the first mile – get incredibly bored – interval the rest and vow never to do that again. It’s a great walk spot with a friend, but I don’t like running it.

Except for that tugging wild hair saying – go get your run in! go to Lunken! Don’t let the doldrums win!

5 mile loop. In the sun. 75-degrees. Hmmm – that sounds familiar, particularly if you make that 5 miles into 6.84.  And no water. It almost sounded like my brain was setting me up for a rematch of the Pig run. Not having run all week, I knew I didn’t want to do 6.84. In fact, I really wanted to stick with the Blast plan and do the 2 miles, but that didn’t feel right either. Tugging. Get dressed. Tugging. Lace up. Guzzle some water. Tugging. Some sips of Gatorade. Then somehow, I’m in the car and on my way to go run this route that I absolutely can’t stand and not because anyone is making me do it. It’s just tugging at me and I don’t quite know why. All the way there I’m thinking about what I’m going to do with this run. No water on the route in all that sun and heat gives me a good chance of crashing on the far end of the loop if I don’t run smart. No music. I’m still mad at my Garmin for freaking me out but I have it on and have turned it backwards so I can’t really use it. I’ll get the data later because the data isn’t the point of this run.

The point of this run is that I need to do right everything that I did wrong at the Pig. I need to formulate a plan and set a quiet intention. I need to challenge a route that I don’t like and stick to that plan even if the conditions suck & I’m not fueled proper. I need to run smart and LISTEN to myself – act as my own best coach all the way through. I need to get my legs moving and I need to stubborn my way through the doldrums.

I decide that the sheer mind-numbing boredom of this route is challenge enough without trying to work speed or pushing the envelope on the heat. I don’t want to crash on the far end. I decide to run the first 2 miles, walk a mile on the worst part of the run (where the sun is particularly unforgiving), then run the last 2 miles back. That essentially doubles my Blast assignment and reduces the crash risk. It’s also going to give me a workout on my focus – which is the main focus.

From where I am parked, I see a green park bench that will mark the start and end of this task. I use it to stretch out and do some push-ups. Get my mind on. Get moving. I have my mind set on the 1 mile landmark – I am bored before I get there. This is the only route I can name that is worse than a treadmill. I see the 1 mile marker and am sorely tempted to turn back or go straight – options that would give me the 2 mile or 3 mile totals – anything but the turn to the right that will mark heading fully into the loop. I remind myself that this is The Resistance just trying to charm me out of my June PR. I make the turn and focus on one of the two hills on the route – it’s a steep, but very short, incline shortly before the 2 mile point. Once I’m up that incline, there isn’t any point in turning back. Also, I’ll be past the ugly streetside portion and the golfers – a section next to the golf course where I feel like a zoo attraction to the golfers teeing off right next to the path. Only forward. I own that hill. Once upon a time I would’ve been huffing and puffing at the top of that thing fit to die – now I just keeping right on going. My Garmin beeps 2 miles at me and I set a point about a tenth of a mile down the path as my marker. When I get there, I’ll start the walking part. This is the only part of the course where you can really watch the planes take off and land. Two girls who have been behind me since the 1 mile flower urns pass me. I do not like being passed by them, but I have a plan. I need to stick to it. Also, this route is not flat – at least not as flat as everyone thinks. Going clockwise, there is a slight incline almost all the way around. From my vantage, I am reminded of this – I am going up this entire time. On this longest, most boring walk ever. The fact that this portion is a straight shot makes the route feel like one of those hallways that just keeps on going, you think you’re getting to the end but then realize the end is moving farther away from you while you try to reach it. Why am I not at 3 miles yet? Beep 3. Oh – okay. Running now. I want this over with – but again – speed is not the plan. I have realized that I keep picking up speed to reach those two girls, then I remind myself to slow down. It’s still 75-degrees. I’m still in the blazing sun. I still don’t have any water. PACE CONTROL for the win is the name of the game. I play the push and pull game with speed & pace, working mantras, and passing those two girls – who actually glare at me when I do. Oh well – you don’t like it – then catch me! They never caught me. There is a father and son on bikes in the oncoming lane. The father is in front. I watch the kid topple over off the edge of the path into the grass and congratulate him on falling well because that takes skill. Um, dad – your kid fell down went boom! Call me heartless, but I kept on running while I paid the props and alerted the dad. What? He had on a helmet & he fell soft! There was a parent there! If the kid had looked damaged at all, I totally would have stopped. Really! I would! Oh Thank you – the final stretch is the only shady part when you go clockwise! A break from the sun! For 1 minute! 1 minute of shade! Then sun again. And then there’s the park bench – the end point – and I will go strong towards it. I will be stubborn and run every last step towards it and just past it because you don’t stop dead at a finish line.

The plan has been stuck and I’ve met my goal of staying engaged and coaching myself on this dreadful piece of pavement. As a victory celebration, I treat myself to a walk down to the airport super-cold drinking fountain instead of grabbing my hot water from the car. This girl knows how to party!

I haven’t kicked the doldrums, but I have challenged them. They know their days are numbered. Bootcamp yesterday morning. 30 minutes on the dreadmill as a Blast assignment yesterday evening. The dreadmill wasn’t assigned, but it was convenient. While not my running preference, it is a useful tool to control pace when doldrums strike and I need to complete a timed run. Tonight will be another running meet-up with the Blast group and I’ll go do that. 30 minutes. Gotta get it done. Still not feeling excited about it, but if I want that PR in 6 weeks, excited has to take a back seat to stubborn until the doldrums pass. Re-energizing will happen and I intend to be prepared for a really good run when it hits.


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