Pacing is something I hear about non-stop in fact it's something I'm supposed to know how to do. Well, guess what, I can't pace for the life of me. Actually that last statement isn't completely true but it's not far from the truth, I promise. No, I don't want a garmin I don't like looking at a watch non-stop. I am however, bound and determined to figure out how to feel my pace. I have always been one of those get out there and run type gals. Basically, when doing speed work I run 'til it hurts and sometimes this carries over into my long runs as well. Never mind that I've been working with the same coach for the past 2 years and I'm just NOW starting to understand what the hell he's been talking about. Ok, so I'm a little slow on the uptake of some things and I'm glad to finally be getting this message.
Today was one of the hardest work-outs of my life, and I'm beyond ecstatic with the outcome. About a month ago I thought no way in HELL I will be able to pull off a 3:39 at CIM (California International Marathon in Sacramento). I couldn't find my running legs it was like they were on permanent vacation. However, something changed recently- maybe the attitude adjustment I had been struggling with or the sweet kind soul that sent me a kick in the ass e-mail (Jeff- I will be forever grateful).
Let me explain the soul buster work-out. Basically, it was a run from North Austin to the Austin High School track which is more or less in South Austin. We had to put in 18 miles before getting to the track and the route was far from kind. If you're familiar with Austin you know we have some unforgiving hills such as Red Bud Trail & Stratford and yes, we had to knock those out prior to getting to the track. So, not only am I working on the pacing thing I've been trying real hard on slowing down at the beginning of my runs. I tend to act like I'm a dog being let out of the gate. Start hauling ass the second feet hit the pavement and then mid-way lose all steam and crawl to the end. Not a good method of madness for a marathon.
Part 2 of this work-out was all mental. It consisted of 6 miles on the track...that's right 24 friggin' laps on the reddish brown oval in the daylight mind you. The first 2 miles were to be at marathon goal pace (MGP)- Brenda and I nailed this one. Both miles were the exact same. Holy smokes we're awesome, but you already knew that didn't you? The next 2 miles were half-marathon goal pace (HPMG) this is when the mental game really kicks into gear. Again mission accomplished. The final 2 miles (I thought suicide looked good right about now) were to be at your 10k pace. I will spare you the f-bombs I was dropping in my head. Thank goodness Sisson, my coach, was on the track asking how things were going. I knew going for 10k pace prolly wasn't in the stack of cards for me. I told him I'm slipping...his words dial down to MGP if you need to but get 'er done! I'd like to state for the record I may not have hit the 10k pace but I was faster than my HPMG with my form still in tact. It's the small things that make me wanna do the happy dance.
All I've got to say is that track section made me dig down deep to levels I never knew existed and quite frankly, without the sweet souls standing on the track passing out water (did I mention we couldn't stop between these 6 miles) and cheering I would have never found those levels.
My coach, the man of few compliments told me he was impressed with my running. So with a puffed up chest and my posse we hobbled the 3 miles left to the store and 27 miles later I couldn't be happier!!!