Saturday. Not sure I could be much more satisfied than I am right now. Just finished the 10k in the park and I met all my goals. I’m really pleased. I ended up doing a 12:45 which is exactly 1 minute per mile slower than when I did this race in 2008 but I am okay with that. My big goal for today was to run the 10k without stopping to walk at all. Just dial into a steady pace and uphill, downhill, flat just do it. And, I did it. I did it, I did it, I did it. I’m really so pleased that I think I have to stop and do the snoopy dance for a minute.
Other things. No knee pain — none. I was a little worried about this because on Tuesday my knee was giving me some problems so I stopped and walked it out. I gave myself that out this morning. No walking UNLESS pain somewhere and unless my heart rate was freaking out. No knee pain. Heart rate high but appropriate. I felt normal, normal, normal. Air was going into my lungs. I did not feel dizzy, shaky, nauseous, tired, drained or anything else. All I felt was focussed and working hard. I’m sure I could have broken out and tried to run faster and hit the wall but I really wanted no excuses. I didn’t want to not make it up a hill because I ran too hard getting to it. I worked hard but monitored my heart rate and backed off when I thought it was getting to high. I let my heart rate float up into the high 140’s and into the 150’s. When I saw it over 150 (like 153 or so) I backed off a smidge but only a smidge until it was somewhere in the high 140’s. At the half marathon I was trying to keep it to 145. For today I just wanted to see what would happen if I let it hover a little higher. I don’t think I could or should maintain that for a half marathon but for a 10k I was willing to let it go there.
I’m additionally pleased because I really let myself take advantage of other runners out there. I never do that. The first mile I was aware of a gal hovering right behind my left shoulder. At first it was annoying me. I don’t like people running right next to me. (When I finally met Mark Allen the one thing I wanted to ask him is how he could run shoulder to shoulder with Dave Scott and not crack?) I don’t run with people very often and usually I feel too much pressure to keep up with them or they are doing something annoying and distracting so I just want them away from me. I thought this gal was going to annoy me. Then she was running right next to me. I noticed her cadence was really good. I snuck a look at her to see if it was someone I knew. Nope. Just a ponytail flopping the wind. She was going my pace but she had a fast little foot fall. I decided to let her help me. I would keep cadence with her and before I knew it we were up the first long hill on the westside and down into and back up the bowl by the reservoir. 2 hills down. I already wanted to pump my fists. This was huge. HUGE. I haven’t been able to run this much uphill without stopping to walk. Already the day was a success. This was very hard for me to do — not the hills — accepting help from someone else. I thought she was sent by my running angel or something to pace me through the race. I started to pick it up a bit going down the other side of the bowl and noticed she was no longer with me. I was little sad.
On the way up Harlem Hill she blew past me. Stay on her, stay on her I told myself. I looked at my heart rate. 157. Too high. Don’t let her make you run out of your zone. If she can run this fast then she was just holding back before. Let her go, let her go. Run your own race. That was my second lesson. First was to accept help. Second was to learn to say goodbye.
As I was approaching Lasker Hill I started to pass a lot of people who had stopped to walk. I put my blinders on. Don’t let them influence you. You don’t need to walk. You are doing great. I just had to get up Lasker Hill and that would be the last big hill. Not the last hill but the last big one. I did it. My friend Cat was at the top and I signalled three fingers up to let her know I was okay (that’s a short hand for saying “i feel above average”). I had no spare breath to make a comment. Then coach Dennis popped out of nowhere and was running next to me. I just gave him the same three fingers. He ran with me for about 1 minute and told me to keep it up. I just had to get up that annoying little uphill rise before the reservoir. I hate that false hill. It’s annoying. I was aware of a women wearing black shirt and black tights and I was following her up the rise. Man she has good cadence too. Look how fast and easily she is going up this hill. Stay with her. Follow her feet. Pop, pop, pop. Just stay with her. Got up that little hill and I put out my hand to slap her five. I thanked her for getting me up the hill. We stayed together step for step. We passed the 4 mile marker. She gave me the thumbs up. And then we passed pony tail gal who was now walking. I guess she couldn’t maintain that pace afterall.
At Engineers Gate I was aware that I couldn’t keep this pace much longer and I had to let black pants gal go. Learn to let go. I had to get my heart rate down so I backed off a smidge. Not walking, never walked, not even a second. Just kind of caught my breath and then picked it up again. The fact that I can do this makes me so happy I can’t tell you. I now have two gears above walking. This is huge. I have walk, slow and kinda slow. Six months ago I had walk holding onto something and walk briskly without holding onto someothing. Lo and behold, there was black pants gal again but now she was walking. I guess that pace had been too much for her. I ran up next to her and told her to come on, keep going. She started to run with me. This time I got her up the annoying little bump by Cleopatra’s needle. I felt strong being able to help her. It stopped me from thinking about quitting.
Going down Cat Hill I seemed to lose her. Lesson number 3. Don’t hold back just to be nice. You caught up to her. You encouraged her to stick with you now don’t force her to come along. Let her run her own race. It’s all downhill from here. Oh wait, no you have that stupid bump by 72nd street — that’s always a show stopper. I hate that section. Power to the legs, power to the legs. I think of coach Scott 2007 riding by me saying “think light, fast legs.” You will not stop. Then I realized that I shouldn’t be saying the word “stop.” (The mind doesn’t process negatives and just hears the word stop.) So instead of saying don’t quit I changed the voice to say “go, go, go.” Made it up that annoying hill. Now I’m at the bottom of park, in the last mile and I just want to stop. My legs are tired, I’m tired of working so hard. Almost there, don’t stop now. You made it up all those hills and there is no way you will stop now. You are this close to reaching a goal.
Trudge, trudge, trudge to the finish line. I didn’t have anything extra to give it a big push like the other people who were turning it on for the last 50 yards. Next thing I know I’m crossing the finish line. I did it. I did the entire thing without stopping to walk. Not even for one second. I was soooo happy. I turned around to see if black pants gal was coming. She was only about 10 seconds behind me. She crossed the finish line. We high fived each other — sisters of the back of the pack helping one another to get to the end. Pony tail gal nowhere to be seen — that made me a little sad but she wasn’t as nice as black pants gal.
It’s all I wanted from the day. Just a chance to see where I am. No exhaustion from previous workouts. No feeling faint or fatigued from lack of vitamins or medication. Just a hard day’s work. 12:45. I can work from there.
Thursday I did a 18 mile time trial on my bike and that took me 1:01.
Friday I did a 2 mile swim time trial and that took me 1:20 (1:22 for 2+ miles)
Today I did a 6.2 mile run and that took me 1:19.
None of these times are fast or close to my best. But they are where I am today and honestly I wouldn’t swap them for anything because they are hard earned and they are mine. 100% mine. Did anyone else hear that rumble? I think a storm is brewing!