Yesterday was my first day back on the track in a while. My last few speed workouts were tempo runs and last week mile repeats which I had to do on the TM due to weather and timing. I managed to hit my paces for my mile repeats on the TM but I always think that is pretty easy to do since you can set the TM to a specific pace and just run. Yesterday on the track was a different story for my 2x2 mi workout.
During our warmups my coach goes around to talk briefly with each of us about our specific workout for the day and give us our paces. (Side note: usually most of us have a different workout and pace, that's fine, personal coaching proof there.) When coach came to me to tell remind me I had 2x2 mi and discuss pace I was ok at first. He told me he wanted me to start at an 8:30 and get faster if possible. I grinned, said I knew it would be tough but assured him I would do my best. It has been a long time since I was hitting an 8:30 pace per mile with confidence. I was going to do my best and try to hit the pace he wanted to see me hit. He knew I could do it.
After our core work we headed over to the track. From the location we meet at it is a 2 mile run. It was raining and seemed to only get harder the closer to the track we got. We made the most of our warmup. The best part for me is running this with my friends.
Once at the track we did some drills (high knees, backwards run, A-sip, striders) and were loosened up, ready to go. The track was soaked. Unfortunately UT's track doesn't seem to have the best drainage system and lane one was a sloppy mess. Yay for running in super wet shoes and huge puddles! haha
I lined up at the start, took a deep breath and hit my watch. Off I went. I started at an 8:22 pace and by lap 3 (.78 into my first mile of 2) I was hitting an 8:50 which was 20 seconds slower than goal pace for the first mile. I knew then I was struggling but was determined to keep pushing. However, I would be stopped when my coach asks, "How ya feeling?" My reply, "Eh." Then he says, "Stop." Ugh. This was like a punch in the gut. Only it was the first punch in the gut. When I stopped the punch went deeper and produced tears I had not expected this day on the track. I got a "pep talk" of sorts about how I was defeating myself before even beginning the workout and how I AM capable of hitting the paces given to me. I suppose that is true. The last blow to the gut was when I was told to instead run 2x1 mi repeats and aim for 8:20. Bah.
I wanted the next 2 miles to be killer. I wanted to fight the blubbering and the tears rolling down my face. I wanted to succeed. I didn't want anything to get in my head other than strength and confidence.
That didn't happen.
Despite cheers and encouragement from my friends and teammates and the "good job, Kim" I was getting from my coach I still failed to reach the goal. First mile 8:30, second mile 8:50. When I finished I didn't even go to tell my coach. I hit the stairs, grabbed my water and waited on my friend to head back with me on our cool down. Unfortunately my hiding was found. I gave my splits and got, "We'll talk when we get back." Ugh. Why?
Why couldn't I hit the paces given to me? Why weren't my legs going fast like they were before my marathon? Why was my mind a cloudy mess of "I can't do this,"?
I didn't have the answers. I didn't know where to get them. I am so thankful that my friend let me cry, curse and be mad on our cool down run back. I was even more glad when she said, "I need to walk a minute." Was I spent? Could I not even hold down the cool down pace? No, but those few seconds gave me time to cool down and get my thoughts together. I hate to cry. I hate to feel weak and defeated. I was determined to not let my meeting post run make me cry again.
I love running. I love a good morning on the track. I love a PR. I love to race.
But what was going on? What is going on?
Is it really my mental state? Is it fatigue? Excuses?
Sure there were circumstances post marathon that kept me from getting in all my runs/mileage. Sure I had bronchitis/sinus infection/ear infection in November and then the Flu in December, but were those reasons for feeling like I did with running or were they just excuses?? I don't know really.
What do I know?
I know that the only place I can move is forward. I know that I cannot and will not let one bad workout define me as a runner. I know that I will get my speed back. I know that I have to believe that I can in order to succeed. I know that I have a great coach. I know that I have great friends. I know that when I hear the words, "I know you can do it. I believe in you," that I CAN!
So what will I do?
Be Fierce. Fight. Move Forward.