The challenge and the unique experience of running is something that changes with every workout. Every time I lace up my shoes, I have an idea in mind of what I’ll accomplish. Somedays, I par the course, others I rock it solid and then there are always days when my ambitions supersede my abilities for that given day.
Yesterday was one of those days.
I set out to run 7 miles at Rancho San Antonio Park, an open space preserve with miles and miles of running/hiking trails but two miles in, my goose was cooked. I’m certain it was my not-quite-as-hydrated-as-I-could-be status, not to mention the surprising 90-degree+ heat (my weather app predicted 82 – lies!), but it just wasn’t gonna happen.
Two miles in, I was exhausted beyond exhausted, I was sooooooooo hot (not in the good way), and starting to feel a bit lightheaded. Big red flag. I trotted back to my car, guzzled some of the originally-cold-but-now-almost-lukewarm water in a bottle I’d left on the passenger’s seat, and resolutely drove myself back to my apartment.
Some food and water later, I decided I should try to keep my mileage goal. I laced up my road shoes and headed out for a five-mile road run. MUCH. BETTER. In the time that I’d left the park, eaten dinner, and let it digest enough to head out to road run, the temperature had dropped over 10 degrees and I was feeling so much better. I tried to keep up a steady pace, but found myself pushing a bit harder eventually hitting a 9:23 pace for a short while — WHOA.
For my 12:30/mile-average self, that was huge, but taking that break to cool down, refuel and try again made so much difference. I finished 4.5 miles in just under an hour with very few walk breaks and I realized: I’m getting stronger.
My body is responding to this training. The longer I wait to take a walk break, the fewer I find I need. For a girl who’s only slightly scared of the big 26.2-mile run on October 30, this is confidence inspiring. I’m stronger — mentally and physically. Though my goal may only be to finish without dying or not be kicked off the course, I’m so much more confident that I’ll actually get there.
What is your biggest challenge to working out? Is it mental or physical?