Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A bad workout is better than NO workout

I don't even want to acknowledge the numbers on my watch I am so disappointed. I want to go to sleep and pretend that run never happened. My mom says I need to stop avoiding life and just face what is right in front of me. She's right. So I will write all about my miserable run, and I will remind myself that not every workout is going to be perfect. Not every race is going to go the way you want it. And so on my quest for faith and acceptance of myself and my abilities, here goes nothing.

I had started looking forward to this run since yesterday afternoon. The weather was close to perfection, I was rested, energized, and excited. Work took longer than planned, but I didn't mind, and even spent some time in the gym working on my abs and arms. I had some new songs on my workout play list

Rude Boy - Rihanna
Your love is my Drug - Kesha
If We Ever Meet Again - Timbaland

I was psyched that I felt so much stronger than usual, I was able to do 12 reps with the 10lb weights when usually I have to quit at 8. I could do more crunches with out feeling like my body was going to break. And I was loosing weight (according to the gym scale, which I don't trust all that much). I was going to have the best run today I could feel it all over. Even the 'fair weather runners' taking up all the good parking spots in my usual lot didn't sour my mood.

Today would be another tempo day. But this time I was aiming for longer, a tiny bit slower, and more consistent. While I was impressed at my fastest mile of tempo last week I knew I had pushed so hard at the end of it I had nothing left. I aimed for three miles of tempo at 8:45/8:50 pace so to see how well I could maintain a constant speed. The run started out well enough. I remembered everything, and was in such a good mood I decided to take my IPod along with me and see how it went. I kept having to hold myself back in the warm up mile and ended up finishing it in 9:08. I was feeling good so I turned it up only a little bit. My mind was lost in the music, those three songs playing over and over in my head and when I finished the second mile in 8:49 I was very pleased.

Later on when looking over my splits on my watch I would find I had hit the split button too many times after crossing my first mile and had a random 5 second split floating around that needed a home. I remember thinking I hadn't hit the button the first time, and hit it again for good measure. So my first tempo mile was really 8:54. But still for the goal I was going for I was right on track.

Into the second mile I keep reminding myself to slow down on my breathing, whenever I notice my breathing getting fast or difficult I force myself to slow it down and focus on long steady strides instead of quick little ones. I feel like my breathing mimics my feet and if my feet get too fast my breathing gets too fast. Halfway through my third mile I have to turn around and head back, to my great surprise I am not running with the wind.

Somewhere in that second half of the third mile, though I am not sure where, things started going wrong. That feeling of not being able to breathe was creeping into my lungs and I couldn't push it away. I began to get frustrated but forced myself to stay on pace, trying to figure out what the problem was, and could I keep going for the third tempo mile with out any problem. I wanted to keep going so bad, I wanted to be proud of my time when I finished this workout, but my body said no. As soon as I crossed the line of that third mile my body immediately slowed as if a hand had reached out and grabbed the back of my shirt, keeping me from going forward. I slowed down, defeated, until I realized how quickly I was able to recover (although I like to think I have always been good at recovery). Maybe I could get back on pace, give a little extra push and not have the next mile be embarrassingly slow? Maybe not. After not even a quarter mile of faster running I was out of breath and trotting along again. I could't figure out what was wrong, this wasn't like me. This was like the old me, the me who didn't know she had Asthma and couldn't do a long run without stopping to catch her breath. And now I could do a long run, so what gives?

Somehow I willed myself to finish the fourth mile (although it was my worst time of all five) and made myself keep going all the way until the end. But for that last mile, I took out my headphones and enjoyed running along the river at dusk on a warm spring day. This is something few people get to enjoy, so peaceful and relaxing. I ran between shadows and lamp posts, passing only a few other runners and walkers along the way. Perhaps I should not neglect to take my other preventative inhaler. I had been slacking because my symptoms had not been interference with my life. But now I was not willing to take that chance. If I was going to be stopped, If I was going to give up, I was going to make sure I was doing everything in my power to prevent it first. I finished the last mile strong, and congratulated myself on at least finishing, especially on such a hot night, AND getting a workout in at the gym prior. I remind myself that everyone has bad days, and sometimes bad weeks but you can't let them drag you down because a good day, or workout could be right around the corner. You have to stay positive and keep your outlook bright.

I got in the car with out even stretching - it was a small poorly lit parking lot and my muscles were just going to have to understand that they were better off un-stretched and alive. By the time I get home, I am over my bad run, ready to just write about it and move on. I still worked hard, I burned calories, I put in the miles, there was nothing shameful about my workout. And so as I am making dinner and looking over my split times on my watch I notice my total time. I dash to the computer to pull up my blog and compare to last weeks 5 mile time. (Because yes I am that big of a nerd and write down all my times so I can compare)
At first I read 47:47:24. Which is a mere second longer than last weeks run. But then I remember that after I crossed the line of that fifth and final mile I forgot to press 'stop' and my watch kept running for an extra bit of time (I know you'd think after three years with this thing I'd figure out how to use it). I check my total time at that point and much to my surprise my total time was 46:50:09. Faster than last week. Maybe my miserable run wasn't such a miserable run after all?

Workout Recap
Mile 1: 9:08
Mile 2: 8:54
Mile 3: 8:59
Mile 4: 9:57
Mile 5: 9:49
Total: 46:50:09

xx Sara

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