Today, I really got my ass handed to me by the run. I went out this morning with good intentions and a positive attitude but it was never to be. At 500 meters, I could feel the shit falling apart. I hate running in multiple layers, but to fight the cold I had no choice. – 27 is cold no matter how you wrap it up.
I have little tricks I do sometimes when I get into the mental battles. One of those, is to change route. Sometimes it works…sometimes it gets worst. Today it didn’t get worst, but it made no improvement either. I stopped thinking in terms of the entire run, and brought the scope in to just a few KM’s at a time.
My pace was way off and I felt like I had bricks attached to my knees and shoulders. I was working hard to enough to sweat, so when I paused at 45 minutes to try and find where my gels had disappeared to, I got cold and wet really fast. I was 7K from home when I started back up. Teeth chattering.
Mentally, I was taxed, but I let the pace go and focused on trying to maintain form. I decided it was time to head home and try something else. I needed to take my dog for a run anyway, so I might as well pull my snowshoes on and run the final portion of the run.
Got home after 90mins, did a complete clothing change and went back out. I was supposed to run for 2hrs 20 minutes, with the last 20 minutes at 4:00 pace. ( just under my marathon goal pace )
I hit the trails in front of my house and it sucked! I was breaking through the crust and the added snow made it hard to see where the holes were. I did 3.3K in 30 minutes. To compare, I ran Frontenac snowshoes race last weekend and did that 6.7K in 32 minutes. I came home, cold, tired and battered.
I ended up with a 2 hour run, no speed training and a slight case of hypothermia.
But as tired as I was, I was not frustrated. These days come and go, and winter is what it is. Being frustrated about things that are out of control gets us no where and we have to learn how to control those types of thoughts. I had a day that beat me down, but it did not break me. I’ve been down this road before, so I knew that as uncomfortable as I was feeling, it would pass and someday within the next week or two I will be having one of the best runs of my life.
I also balance the negative by thinking about that April, sunny run when it is about 12 degrees with buds on the trees. Bring it on baby!!!
We will never, ever find a series of those perfect conditions to run and train. Training is about learning to adapt mentally and physically to controllable and uncontrollable variables. If we allow frustration to build during our training, it will inevitably beat us when we race. Take a good day as a gift, and a bad day as more so. The battle is a personal one, and at the end of the route it’s only you who needs to answer to yourself. If you can look back and say “I gave it my best, honestly and truly” then the frustration should go and you should be able to smile.
If you can’t smile, then you need to ask yourself why you’re doing it to begin with. There is just no sense in doing something you cannot enjoy.