After work, I headed to the track (this time I checked the school’s sports schedule beforehand and knew it would be free) for today’s workout of 6-miles. Once there, I did some dynamic stretching, then did one lap to warm-up. Despite the weekend adventure, my legs felt pretty good – a lot better after yesterday’s massage – so I expected this to be a nice and simple run.
Which, of course meant that it wasn’t.
The first 3-miles were schizophrenic. I was all over the place – both in pace and thought.
• Mile 1 felt like I could barely move. • Since Mile 1 was so awkward, I pushed myself during Mile 2 but still didn’t feel comfortable. My legs felt like they were slapping the ground. • Mile 3 was much of the same.
At that point I’d had enough and stopped to gather my composure. Admittedly, my right leg felt dead (from a tight gluteus medius), so I spent a few minutes stretching out my hips, quads and calves.
The second 3-miles went much smoother. I ran with more ease, falling into a comfortable rhythm.
But the whole time I scolded myself. I don’t know what is wrong with me. During the past few runs, I’ve had to stop half way to gather myself. And since it doesn’t matter what the distance is 6, 8, 10 miles – I know it’s all mental.
Usually, when I feel panicked, flustered, or just “off”, I tell myself to “breathe.” 99.9% of the time it eases my mind and gets me through whatever mental hang-up I'm having, but lately all I’m thinking is “I have to stop at the half way point or I’ll die.”
Then this came on my iPod:
Ever since I heard this song in a Spin class a while ago, it has been a favorite to run to, and it couldn’t have come on at a more perfect time.
I realized…so what. Who cares. I was still running – I didn’t quit, I finished, and that’s all that matters. This isn’t the first mental block I’ve had and it won’t be the last. But the great thing is that there are plenty of more runs in my future, each with an opportunity to break through every last one of them.