I think my body is messing with me. Or mocking me. Or quite possibly both.
So my last post was all about how I’m not in a training cycle. That I’m just trying to maintain the endurance that was built up over the spring. Well after this morning’s run, I’m not sure if that’s necessarily accurate anymore. I have 4 mid-week routes that I do: two different 1 mile runs (one flat, one hilly) and two different 5 mile runs (one road, one trail). I’ve been doing the road 5-miler all spring as that seemed to match up better with the terrain at Umstead and Old Dominion. All of these are just go-as-you-feel efforts and I never consciously push the pace so the times typically vary based on either the weather or how tired my legs are. These range from 44-48 minutes with times below this being rare and above this being extra slow recovery days.
This morning I busted out a 42’8″ effort or my 10th fastest of 238 attempts on this course (don’t ya love excel?). I had one run about a minute faster last April, but all others in the top 10 date to 2012 and 2013 when it was all about running as fast as possible every time out. I eventually learned that this was unsustainable in early 2014 when I started moving up to the ultra distances. My log from last April notes it was “comfortably hard”, meaning I was pushing the pace to run that time. I never felt that was the case this morning though. My legs had good turnover right from the beginning, however my early mile times weren’t much faster than they were last week. My speed increased in miles 4 and 5 and I was just in a groove. Runs like today don’t happen too often for me, but I’m thankful when they do.
The biggest problem with a run like today (and there’s always a problem if you look closely enough) is that I can feel my OD100 expectations starting to get out of control. Earlier this year, I had written off a sub-24 time as unrealistic for me based on how I’ve run 100s in the past. Umstead started me dreaming/fantasizing about it again as my time there translates to about 24 1/2 hours give or take. So all I need to do is improve just a teeny, tiny little bit to get a buckle. I can’t afford to think like this though. I need to fight these thoughts and temper my expectations because I don’t want to head into the race so focused on a time that I fail to enjoy the experience (i.e. by going out too fast and blowing up by mile 50). And I really think not focusing on a given time or pace at Umstead helped me perform much better than I would have if I was counting seconds per mile right from the beginning. So while I can savor this morning’s great run, I can’t let it get into my head. Though if you’ve just read the preceding paragraph, you can tell it obviously already has.
Does anyone else let their good runs mess with their heads more than their bad ones or is it just me?