I had been here before. The air temperature was warm and the humidity was terribly high. It felt like I was running through a lake, perpetually in slow motion with my legs feeling heavy.
I had been here before, trying to hit my tempo pace in these weather conditions, which are outside both my comfort and optimal performance zones. In those training runs, I broke down. Every horrible, negative thought I ever had about myself was shouting through my mind. I had to stop running because I started crying and crying and running do not go well together.
Before heading out for my morning tempo training run, I checked my email and read today’s Great Work Provocation:
Forget, for the moment, the pluses and minuses of the situation at hand.
Step back and ask, “what’s interesting here?”
Haha. This run? It would full of interesting tidbits what with tempo pace and humidity and the fact that during Nate’s spin class last night I might have sprinted too much at Level 8 unnecessarily zapping a little bit of strength from my legs. For the moment, I would forget pros and cons, wins and losses, plusses and minuses. I would concentrate on my effort instead of the number on my Garmin. I would trust that would be just fine.
After a two-mile warmup I went into three miles at tempo pace. That first tempo mile … was some kind of ugly. I stopped briefly when it was completed to eat a shot block. There was no screaming stream of negativity in my brain, however. No tears. I noticed it was warm and sticky and that I wished I had put out some water on my course. But within a few seconds I was back at it. Two miles straight at tempo pace.
I didn’t quite hit my paces, but I wasn’t that far off, either. And my effort was most certainly there. After a planed five-minute walk, I went back to tempo pace for one more mile. In the end, I ran negative splits during my four miles of tempo work.
It was hard. It was ugly at times. It wasn’t perfect. But it was my best effort. And that’s what I find most interesting.