This was going to be a post about my new Lenten resolution. I was listening to a Phedippidations episode recently where Steve Runner suggested that instead of giving something up for Lent you made a commitment to spend the Lenten period going over your life, outlining your goals and the direction of your life and working out whether you were where you wanted to be and if not, what you could do about it. Noble, and after a long run it was absorbed, as my father would say, like a sermon to an elder (it works better in Dutch, this, als een preek in een ouderling).
All well and good. Inspired by Amanda's prolific journaling (she has 3 tiny children! She runs like the the wind! and she maintains MASSES of journals AND her husband writes meaningful thoughtful considered comments in their marriage journal! If I didn't adore this woman I'd have to resent her!) I decided I would try to write in my journal every evening and come to meaningful conclusions about my life, where it's taking me, what I need to work on, what I need to be grateful for. Etc. (No marriage journal yet - I'm staying within the bounds of realism here folks. I adore my husband, and it's mutual, but he's English).
Anyhoo. I was also going to post about effective goal-setting, and how I was doing this, and how this meant I was going to kick some mental *ss on Sunday by running the Ashby 20 miler exactly as the coach specified - 12 miles easy, last 8 at goal pace.
Life sort of took over. First off, the week leading up to this race weekend was too hectic for me to get my post in. (And therefore, probably, too hectic for me to actually prepare mentally). I drove hundreds of miles to pick children up at races and reading competitions, drop children off, sort out bits and bobs for my kitchen which is nearly done, etc. etc. Then I went to bed too late the night before the race and aaarggh - woke up at 1am and started one of my rare but very unpleasant sleepless nights. The adrenalin about the race was coarsing through my veins, I was piling on the pressure. (Note - I'm pretty emotionally full-on when sober, rested and in daylight. At 2am I am unbearable. I know that). I probably fell asleep around 4:30, and the alarm went off at 6:30. Bleary-eyed, I drove the 90 minutes to the race start only to find I was fairly underdressed for a damp, cold and windy day. Nonetheless, I warmed up for 2 miles (coach had decided to make today my first ever 22 miler in training) and started full of good cheer and happiness and happily ploughed along for the first 12 hilly miles at a 9:40 minute mile pace. I noted the hills, felt some fear, but then told myself I'd be fine. And for 3 miles, I was. Running slowly had put me towards the end of the pack and speeding up I found myself overtaking everyone - even on the uphills. I was really pushing. And then, 3.3 miles into race pace land (15.3 miles into the race for those counting), I was done. Spent. Exhausted. I made a split-second decision to go to plan B - finish the race - and switched off the Garmin program. I slowed down to RP +20/30 and made it to the finish, still continuously overtaking people (not a ONE person overtook me, even when i had to stop and stretch out my cramping left leg 3 times in the last mile). Finally, I finished in 3:08.
Not an abysmal race. I ran it in much better conditions in 3:07 2 years ago. But still. I had failed to achieve what I had set out to do. I had tried to convince myself I could do those last 8 miles at RP and I had failed. I know I'm not meant to think that, but I do.
I've come home, had a bath, slept like a log, and feel a bit better today. My legs are fine, my knee's held up. My ego is still feeling a bit battered (not aided by race photos which are just BEYOND hideous. I do NOT look like that. I know I said I wasn't going to be comparing myself but right now that is too challenging) but I'll just have to man up and do better. Coach and I have talked and I think lack of sleep and bad nutrition (only one GU) have contributed. Onwards and upwards.
In the meantime, I want your views on this running metaphysical question - how do I push myself, reset my central governor, focus on my time goal AND at the same time make it okay for myself if things do not work out for me in Boston? Tips / tricks and advice most gratefully received.
Finally - ending on an upnote - this race has the best goodie bag I know. A big comfortable soft hooded top and a cheese and tomato sandwich. All I was missing was a bottle of beer and I might just have gotten over myself somewhat sooner...