Sunday, August 8, 2010

A 5K PR and Terrible Run All Together

I have no pictures to contribute to this entry, so just bear with me.

I decided to participate in the Route 66 "Double" challenge on August 7th. This event involved completing a 5K and a Quarter marathon back-to-back. Not back-to-back days but as soon as you cross the finish line of the 5K you then proceed immediately to the start line of the quarter marathon. So in total the distance would be 9.65 miles. I was game. My half marathon training group was scheduled to do 7 miles for the training run that day, and well I have a half marathon coming up in September and need to make sure I am ready to give that my best shot.

Well....then I got myself in trouble in the mental game. I tried to tell myself over and over it was just a 10 miles training run (that would be a little short). One of my dear friends lost their daughter earlier in the week and the Celebration of her life was scheduled for 10 AM on the same day. The 5K started at 7:30. It was very important for me to be at the life Celebration of Lilian Grace as I had been privileged enough to meet her in person and hang out with her and watch some Nick Jr. So Friday night my head got to spinning around whether I should bail out of the event entirely, run just the 5K, run just the Quarter. So I was calculating times in my head. I decided that I would complete the Double, because I think Lily would have been okay with that.

So, I tried to do the "right" thing Friday night. I ate a well balanced meal with a few extra carbs. I went to bed around 9:15 to try to get a good night's sleep. However, going to bed and going to sleep are 2 different things. I tossed and turned and tossed and turned. I couldn't get my brain to shut off. I was thinking a lot about Lily. I was thinking that the last time I did an official timed 5K was about 18 months ago. I was thinking about what I thought I could do if I was having a great run day. I was thinking, thinking, thinking. I finally went to sleep around 11:30ish, only to wake up around 1:15AM having a panic attack. My stomach was churning itself inside out, my head was throbbing, I was sweating and cold, I was a mess. So I got out of bed, took some medicine for my anxiety and got comfy in the recliner in the living room to try to get some sleep. I was able to rest for a bit and then go lie back down in bed without feeling like I was going to vomit at any time. The alarm went off at 4:50 so I could go meet up with the Optimists who were doing the regular training run. It was a very short night, and I was still a bit squimish and not feeling quite right. I woke up making the decision that I would shoot for a 5K PR. My previous 5K personal record was 37:04. I knew that I was becoming a better runner. So again WRONG mind game to play!!

I had fun sending off the Optimists that met with the training groups. It was then time to head to the start/finish area of the Rt 66 Double event. I enjoyed seeing all the people that were getting ready to complete their first 5K. My mood had perked up and I was like let's go! I saw some of the Optimists that were going to do the Quarter. They were pretty nervous and excited. I was pretty nervous and excited too. Then it was time, the gun went off. I was off with my trusty Gym Boss beeper. I decided to do a 2/1 for the first mile (to warm up) and then try to do a 3/1 for the rest of the 5K to go for that PR. Well I did what I tell everyone not to do (fortunately I caught myself) but I took off with everyone...started my Garmin..started my Gymboss...and then kept running through the beeps that were telling me it was time for a walk break. Finally about a 1/2 mile in, I was like "Sandra you need to run this like you train...listen to the beeper...get on the plan..." So I begin walking at the next beep. I alternated from a 2/1 to 3/1 after every walk minute. I was feeling good, I was feeling strong. It was great to see some familiar faces at the water stops. As I turned the corner and saw the finish line, I then saw a whole slew of Runners World friends cheering everyone on ....I was in great spirits...I knew my time was going to be decent. As I neared the finish line, I noticed the clock had just clicked to 36 minutes...I was stoked..I knew that I was about midway through the pack and I was going to beat my PR! It was a great feeling. I crossed the finish line, stopped my Garmin and hit the reset button without even looking at the time. I was then told to walk around the tents to get to the start of the Quarter. This is when everything went downhill for me....

As I was walking through the tents to get to the Quarter marathon start, I realized I really didn't want to do it. I mean I did, but I knew that I gave a lot of effort on the 5K and that getting through the Quarter was going to be a challenge. My mental status won over my physical abilities. I should have been able to complete that quarter even after the 5K without a lot of struggle. I mentally planned to do a 1/1 interval on the quarter because I knew I was going to try to run the 5K hard. I couldn't do it. Okay, yes physically I could, but mentally I couldn't. I started worrying about not making it to Lily's Celebration. I started worrying about being an embarrassment to my group. I started letting myself getting into my own head. It is somewhat ironic that at the 1/2 mile mark of the quarter (the same spot I realized I needed to stop running on the 5K) I made the decision that I was going to walk the quarter as fast as I could. I let the mental game get in the way of physical abilities. So I ran parts of the quarter here and there, but it was lousy. I feel lousy about my performance. They didn't have any more medals by the time I finished, I was like very appropriate, because my effort on the event wasn't really worthy of a medal.

As the title of my blog indicates, Running is 80% mental...and that mental game kicked my butt on the quarter. I am glad that I got a new PR for a 5K (official posted time: 35:59), but if I should have stopped there instead of doing that horrible quarter....