I've been working on building up my mileage again. Having suffered from plantar fasciitis for the past year, I took some time off and seriously reduced my mileage after I ran the Big Sur Marathon in April. While I can't say I'm 100% recovered, I'm pleased to report that my foot has remained mostly quiet since I've started running more again. I've become cautiously optimistic.
This morning I had a 12 mile run to do. I never formally train for a half marathon but I do work on upping my miles from my base and adding in some speed work to make sure I have enough endurance to go the distance. I woke up to thunderstorms and pouring rain. I was also feeling a little sluggish after indulging in an amazing pasta dish last night for dinner. The restaurant was very generous with its wine pours and I may have had more than I should.
So my motivation to complete this 12 mile run this morning was around zero. I laid in bed for a while and pondered the mysteries of life. Not really. I just did some mental gymnastics to convince myself that I needed to run. After a cup of coffee, I reluctantly filled my Tailwind bottle. I shared my itinerary with my husband, told him I'd be back in about 2 hours, and headed to the bike path.
The temperature was 65 but the humidity was 90%. As I turned onto the frontage road, the wind hit me. It was drizzling and I questioned my sanity. I felt short of breath and looked at my Garmin, which had me running 8:55m/m. I had set a loose goal of around 9m/m for this run and I was surprised at how winded I felt. I considered the conditions and realized I was going to have to pace myself carefully.
It's so much tougher to run when it's humid, and even more so when it's hot and humid. This article on Runners Connect has a great chart to predict your effort when running in humid conditions, using dew point as a marker. According to the chart, with a dew point of 60-65, which is what it was this morning when I ran, I needed to make a 2-3% adjustment in my pace.
At mile 2, yes, MILE 2, I felt so crummy I wanted to quit. Although I didn't know the information about dew point at the time, I just couldn't push myself any harder and intuitively slowed down. I did some serious self-talk, berated myself for even considering quitting, and kept going.
There weren't many other people on the bike path--I probably passed a handful of walkers and runners. By mile 3, I actually started to feel like I was in a groove. My splits were really consistent, between 9-9:05m/m. This pleased me. It had to be the Tailwind. Yep, customer for life.
Since I felt better, I stopped thinking about my run and my mind wandered to the past week and the struggles I'm having at my job. I reflected on my situation and didn't really come up with any solutions. The idea of changing jobs isn't appealing to me--I don't think it would be any better anywhere else right now--and so the challenge for me is to figure out how to make it work. As I approached mile 4.5, where the portapotty is located, I smiled because I didn't have to stop!
Small victory. But as I ran, I kept wondering where the endocannabinoids were. Shouldn't I be feeling better by now? Stop thinking about work, I kept telling myself. I continued to sip my Tailwind. I try to take a big sip with every song, which works out pretty well. I plodded up the steep hill and had to stop at the top to catch my breath. Ugh to the humidity. At mile 5.25, I came to the end of the bike path. I headed down the road to run in the forest preserve. Would creepy people be there today? Am I taking a risk by going there?
I needed to stop at the gas station to refill my water bottle. It was mile 5.5. As I approached the entrance, the attendant came out. "No water fountain!! No water fountain!!" he said to me. His accent was so heavy I had trouble understanding him. He repeated himself. I told him I had planned to buy a bottle of water. He apologized. He followed me into the store. I headed to the bathroom, which had a sign on the door "out of order". I looked at him and asked, "are you kidding me?" He made up some story about it not working correctly but told me I could use it. I could hear him outside the bathroom door, talking to me. What a tool. When I came out he was waiting for me. I asked him what his problem was. "People come in, they use the bathroom. They break it," he said. "Seriously?" I asked him. I grabbed a water bottle and told him there was no water on the trail. I told him what I thought of him and his customer service. Then I headed back outside, filled my Tailwind bottle, and resumed running. I was so angry at the way he treated me. I reminded myself to hold back on my pace.
Shake it off, I told myself. But after a week of unreasonable people in my clinic, this encounter struck a nerve. I headed into the forest preserve where I was awestruck by the canopy of color above my head. I had forgotten how much I love running here. A man came down the path with 2 little boys--they must have been twins. I couldn't help but smile. The path was covered with leaves. The anger I had felt a few minutes ago began to defuse.
This part of the route is a little more hilly than the bike path but I was surprised at how well my legs were holding up. All along, my splits had been really consistent, right around 9-9:05m/m. This pleased me. A real pick-me-upper came on my playlist--Earth Wind and Fire's September. It sure felt like September, running in a tank top! I passed a woman shuffling along, barely running at all, and came to the end of the forest preserve path. I crossed the busy intersection and headed on the final stretch towards home.
My legs felt really good at this point. I realized that I did a good job of pacing myself and that my fueling was perfect. I didn't need a potty stop. I was tired but I knew I could finish. At mile 11, I stopped to finally take a selfie for this post. I didn't want to stop earlier. I was afraid I'd lose my mojo to start up again. It felt good to catch my breath. I loved the reflection of the trees on the pond.
I put it back into gear and on that final mile, reflected how important this run was for me. How much I love to run long and slow. How I pushed myself to head out the door and go. How I pushed past that negativity I felt at mile 2 and at the gas station. How well I ran in spite of the humidity. How I can do hard things.
I got to my driveway and pumped my fists high when I stopped. I looked at my Garmin and grinned when I realized that my final mile was also my fastest.
Yep. I got this.
How do you push yourself through a tough run? Do you muddle through or quit? Does the humidity kill your pace?
I'm linking up with Tricia and Holly for their Weekly Wrap. I could have recapped my workouts but they weren't very exciting. The long run always has many moods--I wanted to capture them in this post. I'm also linking up with Angela and Ilka for their Sunday Fitness and Food linkup!