It’s not been too bad of a week for running, just coming off a race and all. I only ran twice mid-week because, let’s face it, the hills from last Sunday… well, we’ll just say I needed a bit of recovery in there (ouchie!). And then my most favorite of runs today, the dreaded LSR… today… 9 miles… today… ugh.
Actually, the run didn’t start off so bad. I’ve gotten some great inspiration from other bloggers, so I was pumped and ready to tackle it head on. I even chose the dreaded hill route for my first 5 miles because, dang it, I want to get strong for my upcoming half. I’m happy to say I nailed that beast! I also switched my run/walk interval times as a way to improve my overall time (run more, walk less), and I nailed that as well! And I also took the “mind over matter” approach… I completely ignored any type of typical running pain I felt and just ran through it. Even that worked for me!
But then I hit mile 7. It was as if my body said, “Oh screw you… if you’re not going to pay attention to how I feel, I’m going to stop cooperating.” At which point I promptly felt every ache down to the core of my bones. All of a sudden, I felt how bad my feet hurt, how bad every bone in my body hurt, the pain my joints, the fatigue in my legs. My toenails even hurt! My ponytail was all of a sudden too tight! And I couldn’t freaking catch my breath.
Now, to give you a little insight, Washington state is in the midst of a whole bunch of wildfire crises. About 165 miles NE of where I live, the little town of Twisp has all but burnt to the ground. Three firefighters lost their lives fighting this fire last Wednesday. And the air quality is horrendous, all the way down to Seattle. The air kept getting thicker and thicker the longer I ran. As I wasn’t mentally prepared for this, my subconscious fought me really hard and actually broke me. I couldn’t breathe properly, and once I “felt” I couldn’t breathe properly, the rest of me shut down. I fought it for a long time, about a mile and a half, but it won in the end. I ended up only doing 8.5 miles and was terribly sore afterwards.
I didn’t realize how much of a mental struggle that actually was until The Motivator and I analyzed it, because I was so strong in my run for so long. But my mind found one little thing to focus on, my breathing, and took that opportunity to shut me down. It’s kind of amazing how that works, isn’t it. The mind is a powerful thing, don’t underestimate it. When they say “running long distances is a mental game,” it truly is. I gave in this time, but I won’t be fooled again.
Another clue as to how this was all mental on my part… James ran 17 miles today no problem, breathing in the thick smoky air way more than me, and he lived to tell about it. He’s got the mental thing down pat… I still have a bit to learn. I’ll get there.
I leave you with one last thought… when running long distances, please don’t forget the Body Glide or Vaseline! But if you do, make sure no one is in the house to hear you scream when you take your shower!
Have a great week! Next up… 10 miles!! (Will she live to talk about it?!)