I always find it extremely infuriating to go on a run with a previous run’s runner high and then have an EPIC FAIL run. Whether it be that my energy gave out or I just felt completely defeated due to heat or mental fatigue, I seem to always try to keep my eye on the runner prize of keeping the high going.
Since continuing to commit to my training runs for my half marathon season I also have continued to commit mentally to being ready for those runs with nutrition, hydration and the elimination of alcohol for race season. Sunday I had my first of 3 longer runs slated to prepare me for my first half marathon of the season on October 6th. I had prepared mentally all week and fought off the urge to join my fellow Moms RUN This Town chapter Mamas for our normal morning group runs and the first of the local fall short distance races so that I could concentrate on my run. Sunday morning came and I woke up early (after hitting snooze about 4 or 5 times) and got out of bed about 6:30 am. I planned to be on the pavement by 7 am to avoid the rising Tallahassee temps that were in the forecast and I had also planned to join my Mom for breakfast at 9 am so I was on a simulated time schedule, which helped me push through the run.
After I got up, I went through all the motions that I would normally go through on a typical long race morning. I washed my face, I made sure that my hair was securely pulled back so I would not have fool with it mid run, it is crazy long these days which makes it very annoying and HOT! I picked running clothes that I would not have to fidget with during the run and that were also well wicking since I would be dealing with a lot of perspiration after the sun came up. I pulled together my hydration belt and fuel for the run and then headed to the kitchen for a my banana and vegan toast with apple butter and then out the door I went.
In the week leading up to the run I already mapped out where I would run and was comfortable with the route since parts of it are multiple places that I run regularly. I felt like I was ready and more importantly, I felt mentally prepared.
As I hit the road with my determination and confidence I felt really good. I made sure that I listened to my legs and my lungs, something that running with a group often makes me ignore and throws me off. The course I chose took me up and down hills which would simulate hills that I will run in Atlanta in just 18 days. I made sure that I was aware of my form up the hills and that I concentrated on slowing up a bit for recovery on the way down and before I knew it 2 miles flew by. I approached what normally is a resting walk portion of the course I chose and told myself that I would push through the walk and keep running and if I absolutely had to walk I would do so on the next steep hill. As I hit the top of the incline and continued to run through the walk portion I still felt really strong so I pushed through. I approached the next large steep hill and for a moment thought back to my first half marathon where we were subjected to back to back inclines and told myself that I was a much less experienced runner then and I made it through, why are you doubting yourself now, that revisited determination helped me push through that steep incline. I was happy that the next mile would be a decline/flat surface so that I could catch my breath and let my legs recover a bit before the next long incline.
As I hit mile four I began to hydrate and by mile 5 I was ready for my first refuel shot, which I was trying something new from the Vega line of products that is vegan friendly runner fuel for endurance. I downed my shot and gulped some water and pushed through. The next hellacious hill was a doozy, but I continued to push on. By this time I was half way finished with my run and I was making a steady consistent pace work for me and I still felt really great. As I rounded the corner to the portion of the route that would take me back to my starting point I remembered what a hard time I had in previous weeks trying to run the same course and told myself I would at least commit to not walking the flat areas of the course if I felt I absolutely had to stop running and on I went.
This took me through a very beautiful neighborhood filled with lots of trees and welcome shade, as the temperatures were starting to climb by this time. I came to the first hill that defeated me previously I slowed down a bit and checked my form and knocked it out with ease. I was shocked, yet proud of myself because I had a thought of BRING ON THE NEXT ONE! which felt amazing. I kept rehydrating as I needed throughout the rest of the run and eventually my two 10 oz bottles ran low but I knew there was a hydration fountain just a half a mile ahead so I did not panic. I pushed through and got to the hydration fountain and filled my bottles, guzzled a bit of water and assessed how I felt about running two more miles to make my 10 mile goal. I knew that I was beginning to get fatigued and that I had nothing else to use for refueling, so I opted to call it a morning and do the last mile to make it a 9 mile run.
Though initially when I finished my run I felt very defeated that I could not push myself through that last mile, I took a moment to tell myself that sometimes you have to cut it short and be smart. I knew that I would risk the chance of injuring myself or even worse, getting sick if I kept on this morning. An hour later, I was feeling that long-run euphoria again and so proud of my run that I banged out in well under 2 hours.
Tomorrow begins this weeks series of training runs and I am continuing to keep my head in the game and to just concentrate on nutrition and mental preparedness. Cooler temps look to be on the horizon and I am excited for the potential less heat induced fatigue runs ahead that the weather change will bring for me.