This morning marked my longest pace run. EVER. As you can imagine, I was nervous. I knew it would be a challenge, and I knew all I could do was give it my best. Thankfully, with the cooler weather that settled in this week, and an evening Wisconsin football game, I had the luxury of sleeping in and hitting the road for the pace run with Josh at 9am. The sun was out… and unfortunately, so was the wind.
We started out on our usual out and back that we run for our pace runs. As soon as we turned onto EP True after our 1 mile warm up, we were hit with the 11 mph wind. I told myself, better in the beginning to have the wind against you, so the effort on the way back feels like less. That became my mantra every time a gust of wind blew against us. I just kept repeating in x amount of miles, this wind will be pushing me along, helping me. That helped me, for a short period. As always, I took the run mile by mile. Concentrating on passing the mile markers along the way and setting the goal to hit the next one. Only 5 1/2 miles out. Then, only 5 1/2 miles back. Breaking into chunks, helps me mentally, rather than to think about the entire 9 miles I’m attempting to run at faster than race pace. Still, this run was kicking my behind. Josh and I got stopped at a stop light about 4 1/2 miles into it. Thank GOD. I actually think God turned that light red to give me a break. I thought I was going to puke. Immediately after we stopped running, my whole head was spinny and I felt horribly off-balance. We stood at that corner for 2 stop light cycles while I caught my breath and my balance. Alas, we had 1 more mile to run before turning back and I wasn’t giving up. Plus, that meant, only 1 more mile against the wind! I knew I could I do it. We started off and every time I glanced at my Garmin, we were slow on goal pace. Frustrated, I kept telling myself to push through it. I felt like I was giving it my all, still it didn’t seem to make a difference. Finally, we reached our halfway point and turned around. I was looking forward to the help of the wind at my back. Only, I didn’t feel it. What the heck?!? Josh and I got stopped at another stop light and I sadly apologized for a run that was clearly not my best. However, Josh pointed out that our average pace was right on. We were fluctuating, definitely not consistent, but we were on pace overall. That did give me some hope. I re-set my thinking and focused on hitting the next mile marker. I had slightly more than 3 miles at pace left. I knew I could do this. We started to speed up and our average pace started to come down, reflecting the faster pace we were now running. I continued to mark off the miles and concentrate on running 1 mile at a time. I kept telling myself to dig deep and just push through this temporary pain. Finally, with 1 mile left and the wind behind us, we sped up and finished strong. What was amazing to me, is that last mile felt the best, out of all 9 miles at pace. It hit me that if I could feel that great, running at pace, during the last mile, I can do more. I am capable of running longer distances at my goal pace. I never thought I was able to run an 11 mile pace run before today, and I proved myself wrong. Granted, I was dizzy and spinny when we finished, but I’m not sure if that was the wind and the effect on my ears or the effort I put forth during the run. I’m hoping it’s the former over the latter. We’ll see next week, when we bump up to 13 miles at pace. State of mind is everything. Now that I’ve proven I can hold pace for 9 miles, I need to change my mindset and believe that I can, instead of questioning, can I?
I had asked Josh before we started on the run if we could immediately go to Starbucks post run for a Pumpkin Spice Latte. I knew I would need something to look forward to. And, I have to say, this combination, was definitely well deserved. A grande latte and a soak in epsom salts.