Saturday, May 16, 2009

The good, the bad and the ugly

Today's run was less-than-perfect (and I'll get to that in a minute), but I want to start off with the thought that came to me while I was running.  Which was that some days are about failures.  I'm a recovering perfectionist, and some days I am less hard on myself than others.  My general M.O. has been that if I'm not sure I'm going to be able to do something perfectly, I just won't do it.  Not that I'm a quitter, but I just won't even try it.  Which may be why I never tried running before now.

But I've been working on that for a few years, and even more so lately, because honestly, trying to be perfect is hard work.  Not to mention it's impossible.  Someone told me recently that I was a perfectionist "up until now," so I've been trying to see it as something I used to be and am not anymore.  It occurred to me that when I look at things from the point of view of a perfectionist, all I can see is what I can't do, what mistakes I've made, what I could have done better.  That's a real "glass half-empty" view of myself.  But when I look at what I'm able to do, what's possible, and what I've done right, that's more of a "glass half-full" view - much better!

So what does this have to do with running?  Well, today's run wasn't a good one, and I realized that part of being a runner is having it all - the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I've got to accept that there will be bad days, and great days, and that I can't have one without the other.  So despite having a tough week, I can still be a runner. I can still pick myself up after a bad run, and dust myself off, and try again tomorrow.

For today's run, I was coming off of two days rest, after a 40-minute run on Wednesday, which followed three days rest. Not my best week for running.  But between my teeth issues continuing to make me feel yucky and seriously limiting what I can eat, and then my puppy ending up at the vet with bad hot spots, allergies and an ear infection, not to mention disassembling and moving a bed, then assembling two beds in as many days, and whacking my head on a shelf in the process, it just wasn't my week.  

I debated running yesterday, but I was feeling so wiped out, that I figured I'd start fresh today.  That might not have been such a bad thing, but when I got up this morning, the humidity was incredible.  It was only about 60 degrees, but it felt as though I was running while wearing a wet blanket over my head.  Before I headed out, I was trying to decide whether I wanted to do my 35-minute run, or just skip right to the 50-minute run, and then get back to a regular four-day schedule next week.  I opted for the 35-minute run since I'd taken so much time off this week and headed out.  

The whole run was tough, right from the beginning.  Although my body had felt good all morning, as soon as I started running, I could feel the aches in my hips and my lower back - after taking so much Advil last week because of my teeth and my neck, I'm now avoiding it like the plague.  I tried to shake off the aches, but was already checking the time before I'd even hit a mile.  After about 13 minutes, I had to stop to walk. I was dripping with sweat, coughing the humidity out of my lungs, and feeling like I was on fire.  I walked for a minute, and then started running again.  I made it another few minutes, but again, had to stop to walk.  Eventually, I was so overheated that I had to walk for a few minutes.  With about six minutes left to go on my 35-minute goal, I knew I'd have to run the last six in order to have run 27 total minutes.  I pushed myself to do that, and then pushed myself to run another three minutes for a total of 38 minutes - 30 minutes running, and 8 walking.  When I mapped my run, I can see that I did 3.16 miles (which is about what I thought) in 38 minutes, for a 12-minute pace, which really tells me something - I pushed myself too hard when I was running for the level of humidity today.  If I could have relaxed a bit and slowed down, I probably would have been able to run the whole thing without overheating.  

But instead of beating myself up for having an "ugly" run, I'm working on seeing today's run as a success for a couple of reasons:

1) I actually got out there again after a tough week and made myself run.  Not to mention that I still ran 30 out of the 38 minutes.  
2) I learned that I pushed myself to run too fast without really realizing it, and when the weather conditions are telling me to slow down (We're back to checking the old "PE" - Perceived Effort!).
3) I still ran/walked more than three miles, which I never used to be able to do!

I know part of the reason I'm pushing myself and being hard on myself is because I have that 10k coming up in about four weeks, and when I was four weeks away from my 5k's, I was already running that distance. So that makes me really nervous.  But I did run 4 miles the other day, so I think I can push myself up to 6.2 in the next four weeks.  

Tomorrow's run will be a long one - 50 minutes - and hopefully I'll be running close to 5 miles.  We're supposed to get thunderstorms tonight, and I'm hoping that breaks the humidity, so I can run a bit easier!  

1 comment:

  1. Great job first of all, running when it's humid has got to be rough!! Good luck on your 5 miler tomorrow. I do the perfectionist thing too. :)