Saturday, September 22, 2012
Today's run (my letter to my clients).
I am kind of training for a road marathon these days. That means I do my long runs on roads, speed work and hill work road-related too (actually, I mostly do those quality on roads since I've moved to TX as the trails here are way too rocky to develop good speed needed for that very quality). My trails runs top at 8M each twice a week, one for extra tempo, and one for easy recovery. This morning, since I had to take my son to a school trip, I switched into "easy recovery trail" instead of road 20 (moved into tomorrow). I only planned on that very same 8 (one water bottle and no gel), but as I began, I felt so grateful for the weather cooling down in Austin, for the short "freedom" I got for the next 4 days while my 16 yo is away, for my body, which, while is not in top shape where the weight is concerned, is not giving up and keeps with my antiques of training, and for trails and life in general, so I added in my mind a couple of miles to the run. I don't run with gadgets that measure stuff. The only thing I have is a stop-watch (the cheapest version), and yes, half the time I press the "start" button. I did, today, as well. At the same time, I know my body so well, I don't need heart rate monitor, GPS, pace setting devices - I just know how to pace. I know how my body feels at each and every pace, regardless where I am, road or trail, and how many miles I had put in on my legs without ever measuring the distance ahead of time. So I was there this morning, feeling slowly waking up my legs as I went. I am a "second half" runner. It doesn't matter how long I am going for, somehow my body knows what is "half" for today, and as it approaches that point, the pep gets more spring, and I start smiling. I picked a girl running up the hill. My only agenda for today was to run every step, and as I picked her up, I offered to pace her to the top, chatted up and encouraged. We parted ways as I turned and slowly accelerated. My "half" had passed, and I needed to run. It was getting warmer, despite the first official day of the Fall. My bottle was getting lighter, and I sensed the hunger - and a sugar crave (that gel I don't take for anything sub-90min would have been nice today). But by then I had somehow already decided I want to push the run and make it a personal best. I never aim at PR's when begin my runs, but often decide on the fly it's time to improve a certain route. This one was an old classic I haven't done in almost a year... I glanced at my watch as I exited a park with 1 mile to go. I vaguely thought of my previous best time and there was no way I could do that mile in 6 min - ha, not even on a track in a race of my life! But I didn't let myself to give up. I powered all I had and kept moving. Last part of this loop gets you to the top of a 200 feet climb in about 0.2M, beginning mellow and sharpening at the end. I ran every step of that, and at a couple of steepest points I laughed inside thinking a crawling baby probably would have passed me now. I just kept "running movement", and as I arrived and touched the tree, I pressed my stop-watch. I needed to come home and dig my last year's log book. As it turned out, my best time wasn't what I thought it was, and to my surprise, today I was a mere minute off it. But here is the point of my story to you guys. Anywhere in life, including when training and racing, there is a moment (or few) you will want to back off. What you may want to remember is that you made a commitment. Whether I am your coach, or somebody else - the commitment is not to them. The commitment you make is to yourself, only. Once you made it, don't back off. Give your honest best effort. No matter the outcome in numbers, the feeling you get from it is one of the best.