Nothing like being three weeks out from the first half marathon of the spring and having one of the year's worst runs.
Yeah, that's a confidence buster alright.
Yesterday's 12-miler was brutal. Not only was it the first time I've covered the distance since the beginning of December, but Mother Nature decided to be oh so unfriendly. Nothing like heading out for the group run when the temperature is 8 degrees, sunny with no a cloud in the sky and wind coming out of the northeast. Not a super stiff wind, but one of those sneaky ones that feel like there is no wind until you turn to head into it and BAM! It hits you in the face. One of those winds.
Other than being cold - seriously, 8 degrees at the end of March? - the run started out fine. I might have started out a tiny bit fast, but I felt comfortable, so I went with it. Then around Mile 4.5 I turned into the wind. Yup. Definitely stronger than it was when we had met in the parking lot 50 minutes earlier. But I kept running. Took a GU Chomp (the orange flavor reminds me of Starbursts!) right around Mile 5 and while it was cold and I was starting to lose feeling my face, I wasn't dying. Yet.
Somewhere around Mile 8 or 9 I really started to hurt. My thighs felt like frozen bricks. And what parts weren't frozen felt like they were tightening up. The wind had picked up. I was running straight into the wind so it felt like I was working super hard but not going anywhere. I took a moment to take another chomp and walked backwards for a bit to see if I could stretch the legs out. At this point I'm running with the Coach and he's been super supportive. Telling me it's OK to feel like I'm struggling today, but that I'm actually doing really well. Umm, maybe.
We start running again. I talk. Just to keep my mind off of how much this run sucks. We get to the monster hill that comes near the end of our route (well today it was around 4 miles from the end) and the Coach tells me we can walk it if I want.
Not gonna happen. I was not going to let that hill defeat me today. If anything, I'd be finishing this run knowing I ran the hill. I channeled some J.J. Watt, put one foot in front of the other and ran up the hill. And almost died at the top. But I did it.
The rest of the run was better, not stellar, but I didn't feel like I was going to die.
Still coming off a week when I felt so amazing and strong even after taking a digger and hurting the knees and having a run like yesterday's when I struggled so much sucked. Kind of shook my confidence going into the Oshkosh half next month.
I know I've still got three weeks. Three weeks to put in the hard work and preparation and get ready to run a flat (and hopefully windless!) half marathon. Because runs like yesterday's? When I felt like I was going to die? I know that while they hurt when doing them, in the end they make me stronger. And hopefully that's the last pre-Oshkosh Half Marathon run that is bad, that I'll manage to get them all out of my system before race day.