Saturday, June 2, 2012

On Running with Strangers (or How My Easy Run Turned into a Tempo Run)

So after spending the better part of the last 3 weeks with and recovering from a cold, I trashed my training plan for Sunday's trail race – the North Face Endurance Challenge, 10K distance – and decided that I'd do an easy run during lunch on Thursday. Then I found myself running at tempo with a random stranger.

By "random stranger," I mean the married guy who works in the same building as I do and who seems to have a lunchtime running schedule that coincides with mine. On Thursday, I stepped outside moments after he did. We chatted, and then he asked whether I wanted a running partner. 

No one ever believes me when I tell them that I'm "slow." "It's all relative," he said. Uhm, sure. Then I told him that I was recovering from a cold. "It's okay. I'll keep your pace." So there I was, rounding the Tidal Basin at tempo (for me) instead of easy pace. 

The bad news: It wasn't easy and it was only 3.5 miles.

The good news: ...

I've spent the better part of 48 hours fretting about how miserable the 10K is going to be tomorrow, thanks to my lack of training. This is even after I've downgraded it in my head to a training run. I dutifully picked up my race bib at the North Face store and contemplated switching to the 5K distance. I mean, at least I know that I can run that distance!

Talk about negativity.
Hey! It's the first time I've ever had a race bib with my name on it!
But last night, I remembered that when I had my disastrous Army 10-Miler in 2009, I discovered that on asphalt at least, shoddy training + adrenaline = 6 miles. That training cycle was simply the worst, where I think the longest I'd continuously run was only 4 miles. At the very least, I remember having to rest at 3 miles when training. For a 10-mile race. I know. The. Worst. But...I had made it 6 miles at roughly 10-minute mile pace before completely falling apart.

I'm hoping that history repeats itself tomorrow. At least, this is what I'm hanging on to for the sake of confidence!

A 3-miler this morning loosened up some muscles that got worked yesterday during day 1 of my 30-Day Yoga Challenge. Off to fulfill day 2 and continued hydration!

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