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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Split Negatively

So, that wasn't exactly what I had in mind.

After a great week of workouts, many of which started a little later in the day than I would have liked, I was excited to see what would happen this morning with my 14-miler. This struck me as the last big run in the first big push of my marathon re-training. Next week is a step-back, and then it gets ugly fast, so I was really hoping that today would be a success. Well, it wasn't, unfortunately.

Actually, I take that back. It was - what do they call it in Apollo 13? - a successful failure. I did not run 14 miles straight. I did, however, run 14 miles today, and that's the most important thing.

The problem started with last night's sleep, or rather lack thereof. I've actually acclimated to our noisy neighbors, and though they still wake me up, I'm usually pretty quick to get back to sleep. Last night, they weren't even loud, but I was awake throughout the night anyway. Not entirely sure why, which is frustrating. It's always better to know what caused a problem and therefore to be able to avoid it in the future. Regardless, I didn't fall solidly asleep until about 3:00 am, and then the alarm started going off.

I was awake even before that, thinking that it might be a good idea to just go out and get started if I wasn't going to sleep, but my mind wandered, and I drifted off. Then the alarm went off, but as I had my phone at my bedside instead of across the room, I just reached out and silenced it. Then again. Then again. Eventually, I just turned it off, and that's where the trouble really kicked in. Six o'clock passed. Then 6:30. I kept closing my eyes for a moment or two and opening them to find that half an hour had gone by. In the end, I didn't actually get out of bed until after 8, which I knew would spell disaster.

This combination of disappointment and little sleep left me fairly grumpy as I got all of my things together for the run, and I wasn't in good spirits when I made it out the door. Still, I told myself that if I just maintained a nice, relaxed pace, regardless of speed, then I could do it, hot sun or not.

The sun had other ideas.

Really, I just let my brain discourage my legs out of running. My first hour, actually, wasn't too bad, but as I got up near campus, trudging the sidewalks in direct sunlight, my will fell apart. It's times like these that I need a coach standing over my shoulder telling me that I can go farther. Reminding me that if I stop, it's only going to get worse. I need a voice of encouragement, and standing next to the Rec Sports hall at UT, there just wasn't a voice to be heard. I stopped in the shade "for a minute." When I tried to restart and realized that it was simply too hot to run, I called my (amazing) wife who came and got me.

But there were still five miles to be done, and I wasn't about to lose my complete mileage streak. I measured out how far I'd run, and then headed to the treadmill to finish those remaining miles. It took longer than I would have liked, and I had to run/walk most of it, but as ESPN played a story about the Chilean minors who survived to do more sport-related things, I simply could not allow myself to give up.

So this is where I stand five weeks into training for Marine Corps. I've completed one strong 13-miler, but most of my other long runs have included walking, something I do not wish to do. My weekly runs are getting better, but I am beginning to wonder if that is affecting the weekend success. I know that it will get easier once the temperature begins to drop, but as my wife pointed out, it really wasn't even that hot this morning. I can tell myself that it was all due to the hot sun, but in the end, it comes down to mental toughness, and mine is seriously beginning to wane. So how do I fix that? I can't just wait until it gets cooler.

And this week is supposed to be the hottest of the summer.

So far.

Sunday's Run:
73-84 Degrees, Sunny, then Indoors
8.95 Miles Road, 5.05 Miles Treadmill, 14 Miles Total
1 Hour, 55 Minutes, 53 Seconds

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