It's true. I'm addicted to the long run...
...swim, bike, etc etc...
I used to say I preferred short distances. Heck, in middle school my strongest track event was the 100yard dash. I was fast, fearless and focused on smoking the field of runners. I still love a VERY short sprint, but when it comes to any race where I have to go fast for more than a mile, I want every excuse to get out of it. A 5k is my enemy, probably because as I get further into long distance racing, my pace gets slower. This was brought to my attention yesterday morning when the Terrier Tri team gathered for a 5k time trial at 6am in Central Park. 30-degree temps, tight hamstrings and a bad attitude was a winning combo.....said no one ever. I was not looking forward to huffing and puffing but knew that this was going to give me a good base to work from. With this number and the numbers from our swim and bike power tests, I will be able to determine what level of training I would kick the season off with.
As per usual, Coach yells GO. My tender little stumps for legs held a steady 8:40 pace for mile 1, increasing slightly throughout 2 and then just as I was to hit it hardest for 3, I felt my stuffy little nose prevent me from proper breathing, so I walked a bit to blow my nose (yeah, TMI. But I brought tissues!) and then got it going to finish strong. Mile 2 and 3 were a bit stronger than 1 and I finished with a time of 25:25. That's an average of 7.2mph, 8:11 pace, HR: 180 avg. bmp, burning 240 calories. Immediately, I was disappointed in myself. I remembered a time just two years back where I knocked off a hilly 5k with a 7:40 pace. My teammates were sure to remind me that this is the beginning of training season and I am an endurance athlete. "Calm yourself little one! You will get faster!"
(**CORRECTION: I calculated my 5k incorrectly. Originally posted: 8:40 pace - actual: 8:11 pace. I'll take it!)
Though I am pretty positive most of the time, I sure can be hard on myself. I think the higher powers wanted to smack me for being so negative because as I left the group to run home, I slipped on black ice and badly bruised my bum. That'll teach me.
And it did. Am I nuts? What am I complaining about? I'm training for an Ironman. I need to remember what I'm here to do. Two years ago, I may have had the speed but I was spent after a 5k. I was not a swimmer and had no interest in a bike outside of a spin class. Little by little, I learned, loved and built a physique with arms that glide me through the water, steer me up hills and power me through to the finish line. I have strength and stride I've never had before and it took hard work to get here. Losing speed is not a sign of weakness; I must remember what I gained.
You know, there's something really special about an endurance race to me. The mental workload is usually more powerful than the physical. In my head, I'm solving equations of calories and miles, there are voices of encouragement from family and teammates, and there is mini me chanting mantras. My time on that long road, in that lengthy swim, is just that - mine. No matter how many thousands of people turn up and run circles around me, I am alone, in silence, and with each stroke, spin and stride, I am en route to accomplishment. Heck, I'm continuously accomplishing. For some, a 5k race is exhilarating; it's fast and fun and then it's done. I totally get that feeling, and I've been there. But now, for me, I am training to extend the experience, to see new places and enjoy the scenery. Will an Ironman be the most pleasant race of my life? Most likely no, but I sure am building a strong tank for the ride. My body told me herself. 'Tude and all, she's like "Girrrlllll, let's get this journey started!" She and I are like, so connected.
So...it's time to say adios to the speed demon in my head, because the endurance junkie in my heart has proven she's ever-lasting.
Run on, run far,
**TODAY'S WORKOUT: Hilly, indoor computrainer ride at T2**