What was great about Friday's long run was the mental strength I gained throughout as I continually made choices to be my best, which added up to an incredible long run.
|Central Park prettiness (not from Friday's run because the park is dead-of-winter barren, currently)|
Despite chatting, we still kept up a good pace and she was understanding when I had some stomach issues and needed to make two bathroom stops along the first loop. (Note to self, no more coffee on run days)
Brittany and I parted ways at my second bathroom stop since she was finishing her run by heading home down the Westside Highway. This was the first point where I felt I had to exercise "mental strength."
|also not from Friday's run, but illustrating the location of said run.|
I was only 10 streets from home and was so tempted to just head back to my warm apartment, but I reminded myself that I'd just have to run it later this weekend, so I headed up the hill and then made a right for a loop of the Great Lawn.
As I finished my short loop, I still wasn't sure what I was going to do. Head to Riverside Park for some flat miles? Reservoir for flat miles?
I headed up the east side, tackling Cat Hill at mile 9 but keeping a 9:42 pace for that mile (another mental strength win).
Then I thought to myself, what will make me a better, stronger runner? So I headed down the west side of the Central Park loop for more hills.
|Finally, the one and only picture from Friday's run.|
So many excuses ran through my head at that moment, but I decided to leave it up to the women in front of me. Are they turning right or left? Aaaand they turned right. So I was finishing 11 miles in Central Park with another round of Harlem Hills.
Getting up the last hill was pretty tough at this point, and there may have been some humming of Eminem's "Lose Yourself" as I ran up it. Yet when I reached the top I felt a sense of euphoria at how hard I'd pushed myself on this run. I sprinted down the hill and toward home, running .07 miles at 6:58, just for fun.
As it turned out when I got home and checked my paces-per-mile, I had pretty much negative splits, meaning the second half of my run was faster than my first. The perfect end to an awesome run. It left me feeling so strong.
A Speed Bump
I needed that mental strength coming into this week. After such a terrific training cycle, I guess I was due for a speed bump or two.
I don't deal with pain well. Not in terms of handling the actual pain -- I can deal with that fairly well. It's me freaking out about, "what is this pain? can I run my race? am I going to have another disaster like the Last Chance Half Marathon? what is going on?"
I had a bit of hamstring tenderness over the weekend so I skipped my planned 5 easy miles on Sunday to rest it. I was anticipating being fine to start the week, but Monday morning I woke up with intense pain in my right calf emanating from a big ol' knot. I had no idea what was happening and made an appointment with Finish Line Physical Therapy for that afternoon.
Thankfully, the Physical Therapist I'm going to there, Alison, was able to make the pain a lot more manageable through massage (also checking out the hamstring, which seems ok) and giving me some exercises. She also put some kinesiology tape on the knot that will hopefully help.
|Check out that sexy KT tape. And my oh-so-shapely and unshaven calf.|
Ok, I'll stop freaking out. If I can't train, I'm going to take yesterday's and today's mandatory rest days (and who knows how many after...) as a chance for me to really focus on that clean eating I mentioned yesterday. And so far so good!
This is a speed bump, not a road block.
Do you feel you get mentally stronger from your long runs? How do you handle setbacks in training?