Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fighting to Find the Enthusiasm

Dave had me down for another 110 minute run today and, to be honest, I had to really push myself to get out there. After yesterday's cycling and running efforts Hamish and I spent a few hours wandering around the Cuba Street Carnival and then I spent the evening messing around at home and got to bed too late. I woke up this morning late as well and lacking in energy. By the time I was out of bed the temperatures were already skyrocketing and the northerly was whipping past our house at a pace that was sending all the trees sideways.

I had a few things on my to-do list, including giving the bathroom a thorough going over, tidying and weeding the courtyard and throwing load after load of washing through our machine. In the end I managed to wash, dry and fold all our clothes, clean half the bathroom, spray a bit of Roundup around and sweep the stoop. All up not a complete failure, but not enough of an effort to get this place up to scratch. I escaped by heading into town with Hamish for a bit of shopping, but felt so lethargic that it was a struggle just to walk around. Shame I still had that run to fit in then.

Enthusiasm. Missing.

By 3.30 though I was filling up my Camelbak and throwing on my running gear, switching on my Garmin and heading out the door. The good thing about living where I live and running from home is that it's always possible to convince myself to get started by turning left at the end of my street and running downhill for a couple of kilometres, so that's what I did. Down to the bottom of Farnham Street, then right at the bottom and all the way to Island Bay and the Southern Coast.

I could tell that this was going to be a different kind of run. Where once upon a time I used to suffer a lot from sore, aching leg muscles these days I experience fatigue more as a feeling of slowness or heaviness. I was still moving forward but I fel like a heavy sack of bones. Realising I wasn't going to be fast today I gave myself permission to run at Dave's prescribed long run pace and concentrated instead on maintaining my form, which can slacken off when I'm tired.

Twenty minutes in I started to warm up a bit, as expected. Forty minutes in I once again found my long run rhythm. Not that anything about this run was particularly effortless or even terribly joyous. I wasn't in the mood to be out there running. The novelty had, for the time being, worn off. I wanted to be hanging out on the sofa. I felt almost bored with the whole thing.

I had a few vague ideas about where I was going to run but mostly I was making things up as I went along. I ended up turning left at the Southern Coast and running around to Lyall Bay. As I ran past Island Bay the sand was blowing in my face. Rounding the point where the Marine Centre was to have been built the headwind was so punishing that I was at one point stopped dead in my tracks. Randomly I bumped into a colleague at around this time, both of us in the middle of nowhere.

When I got to Lyall Bay the Garmin was telling me that my planned route was going to get me back to Vogeltown too quickly, but I was sick of fighting the wind so I turned up Queen's Drive and started climbing up towards Newtown. I'm in a weird place at the moment where I've been doing so much hill climbing on my runs that I feel better uphill than I do on the flat, and so Queen's Drive and Crawford Rd were one of the better parts of this run.

When I got to the roundabout at the top of Crawford Rd my Garmin was again warning me that I was going to have to stretch this run out. I should have turned down towards Evans Bay but I didn't want to run on the flat, nor did I want to battle the northerly again. Stupidly I stuck to my plan and ran down into Newtown, however at the bottom of the hill I turned right instead of left and then turned right onto Adelaide Rd to extend things out a bit.

It was at about this point, nearly 90 minutes in, that I started to find a little of that enthusiasm. I remembered how a couple of weeks ago I was suffering a meltdown of monumental proportions this far into the run. At about this point in time I'd been slumped over at the bottom of a hill trying to work up the mental fortitude to keep going. There was none of that today. I might have been slow but I was steady and strong and my legs didn't argue at all as I climbed to the top of Adelaide Rd, descended and then headed up Britomart. The climb up Britomart and onto Liardet that had nearly killed me a couple of weeks ago posed no problems at all.

Unfortunately time was an issue and I got to the dairy with twenty minutes still to run. I turned and ran back to McAllister Park, skirted its boundary, ran back onto Adelaide Rd and then continued down towards Island Bay for another five minutes or so before turning around and running back up the hill, finishing on the corner of Britomart Street right on 110 minutes, 25 seconds. Right next to another dairy, where another Fruju iceblock was waiting.

I can definitely mark an improvement in my long runs compared to my 90 minute run. I thought I was really slow today but I was actually on average running within Dave's target pace, albeit at the slower end of it. If the wind hadn't been a factor and if there had been slightly less hillage then I would have been faster. If I hadn't spent yesterday doing hill repeats on Cleo then I would have been even faster still.

The key factor in today's run was the mental side of things, which is why I'm proud of myself for just getting out there and doing it, even given that I didn't really feel like it, and even if I felt so slow and heavy. Even my bad runs are still a lot better than they were a few weeks ago. However I won't lie when I say that, when I was messing around during that last twenty minutes, knowing how much further I will have to run on the day of the marathon did scare me slightly. I have so much more work to do and so little time to get it done in. I will do it though, even if I have to write HTFU on both arms and my forehead!


Dusty said...

Hi Pip!

Great job getting out there and running even when you didn't feel like it. Sometimes it's quite a struggle, isn't it? Do you up your HC for your longer runs? I usually do for anything over 2 hours or if I'm feeling lethargic the day after training and before the next session. Just a suggestion. :) Dusty

Sass said...

Dude, I still have no idea how you do it. U R Awsome:)

Pip said...

Thanks Sarah!
Dusty, I was thinking of you before the run and I did in fact take an extra 5mg, which I normally wouldn't have done for a run of that duration. I think it helped keep me steady and that it gave me a little extra stamina towards the end. I'm going to start experimenting with gels from hereonin to see whether my stomach can tolerate anything. That should hopefully help as well. I couldn't be bothered making up my electrolyte drink yesterday so just ran with water in my hydration pack. I had a problem during the run with not feeling thirsty, so didn't take on a lot of fluid. However as soon as I stopped I could have drunk an entire swimming pool. I guess I'm just going to have to force the hydration issue as well.