Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nerves...and a Pacing FAIL

Originally written yesterday, just now getting time to post this.

Rumpshaker 5K is the weekend and I have an unexpected case of anxiety! WHERE DID THIS COME FROM??? I really expected to be rolling into this week cool as a cucumber. I mean, I have been following my training and even adding back distance on my weekend long runs in prep for the Country Music Half at the end of April. I KNOW for a fact I am stronger than I was prior to Feb 14 (Mercedes Half), having “kicked up” (hey, it’s all relative) my pace on both the long and short distances and feeling really good while doing so. For all of this, I KNOW I should be able to PR (that in and of itself, with my past times shouldn’t be a stretch since I had A. trained to finish on my first one…couch to 5K style, B. ran a couple completely sluggish and out of shape). However, I also KNOW that nothing in running is a guarantee. On any given day you can have a completely crap or completely wonderful run. I just REALLY WANT that speedier time SO BADLY and I need to have confidence in myself. I’m pretty darn sure my legs are capable of more than I give them credit for on any given day and I know my breath control is my downfall. Cue up PACING FAIL from Friday…

I had Friday “off” from work (and by “off” I mean, working from home for 4 hours but still having to take a vacation day since I was out of the office doing this work…) so I decided to go ahead and do my 8 miles in the afternoon so that Saturday I could be free to enjoy the beautiful weather and hang out with Matt/do yard work/or whatever. Having not yet ordered my Garmin, I am so not confident with my pace or the distance around my HILLY neighborhood but I couldn’t imagine doing a full 8 on the ‘mill. My plan: 1 mile at Star Lake in neighborhood (2.5 laps = 1 mile), hop in the car and do 6 on the 'mill at the gym (which is super close but also off extremely busy road so not safe to run there), 1 on track at gym.
Head off to Star Lake and walk ½ lap to warm up. Realize I left iPod in car (ALWAYS run with iPod). No big deal, just 1 mile. Start running. Feeling a little speedy, but good. Make it around 1 full lap, look at watch: 2:57. Ummm that puts me on track for 7:30 mile. I DO NOT run 7:30 miles. Not because I don’t aspire to but b/c I am just not there yet. (I run my fast 400s at 9:04-9:13 pace) Tell myself to ease up. Lap 2. Very aware of my breath. Look down and I am 6:04. DYING. Finish next half lap at 8:04. Can you say PACING FAIL???

Amazingly, the rest of the 7 miles clicked by quickly and easily once I got going. (Cardio room a heat box and empty, couldn’t find switch for ceiling fan. Reconciled with the fact I would be running in the inferno. Everybody’s favorite gym buddy, Stan, gets there at mile 1.25 and I am able to ask where the switch is. He directs me to a closet. SUCCESS!!) The next 4.75 are spent watching March Madness and Jeopardy. Track mile feels speedy as well.

So, does this 8:04 mile mean that I am capable of WAY more than I give myself credit for? Was it a fluke? I think this is where part of the anxiety is coming from. Am I going to go out on race day feeling speedy/blissfully unaware of the crash and burn I am certain to experience by starting out too fast? I need a strategy. Conventional wisdom might say to start “slower” and pick it up but I know my self and am pretty sure that I would be better off giving it my all to begin with and adjusting as necessary. I do 3 mile interval workouts so I know I can handle the distance under stress. There has to be a happy medium that will still allow me to achieve my goal. Aughhh!!!

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