Friday, October 7, 2011

Promise of Pain Delivered and the Three Erics

I had an email conversation recently with Eric Charette about marathon training.  I was concerned about trying to figure out what pace I needed to be running.  The pace outlined in my plan was slower than what I believed it needed to be, but at the same time, I didn't want to over reach and end up getting injured.  He gave me some good information and then had this to say:
This is going to hurt... I promise you that.  This is going to be difficult.  I promise you that.  But you have it in you to do it.
I lived out his promise on the track yesterday.

I had missed our group workout Wednesday night so I ended up having to do speed work on my own.  It might have been okay except I swam first...on an empty stomach...and it turned into a speed work session also.  See, I have the good fortune of being able to swim with a Master's coach who tells me what to do in the moment so I have no idea what's coming up next.  Yesterday he had me finish the morning with 6 X 100 FAST...I did my best to do my best--I seriously nearly puked in the pool!!  I've never pushed myself THAT hard for THAT long.

After I changed from my swim suit to my running outfit, I started mental negotiations.  "I haven't eaten anything, I should eat then go back out later for the track workout.  I'm EXHAUSTED from the swim...it's okay to skip a speed workout, that's life, right?  If I go ahead and do it, I have an excuse not to push as hard or stop it early.  I don't want to get hurt."

There it was..."hurt"...  I immediately flashed back to Eric's words of wisdom.  He promised it WOULD hurt.  He promised it WOULD be difficult.  But he also told me I had it in me to do it.  (There is a difference between "hurt" and "injured" and I'm learning it's really not okay NOT to push into the pain cave under the guise of injury protection.)

So...THANKS TO ERIC, for making that promise and giving me the same boost so many other great friends have given me in the past (believing I CAN do "it"), I drove straight to the track!!  The workout was supposed to be a mile warm up, 12 X 400 -every other one at a 2:15ish pace, then a mile cool down.  I didn't want to stress out about the pacing so I just decided to give it all I had each time and not look at my watch.  The first time around I honestly thought I wouldn't be able to do it a second time.  After the recover 400... I did in fact do it again, but it felt like it took me a lot longer.   After a second recovery, on my third fast 400, I wasn't sure I was going to make it all the way around.  When I hit about the 250 yard "mark", Eric's words SCREAMED in my head...over and over for 150 yards.

HE PROMISED THIS WAS GOING TO HURT...HE WAS RIGHT!!!

After the third recovery I didn't want to go a fourth time...but I knew I still had 3 more fast 400s left to finish what was on my plan for the day.  About that time words from another Eric (Patterson) rang in my ears...  SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP!!  I remembered a post he wrote a long time ago about behaving in accordance with a decision previously made-something that has stuck with me ever since reading it-and I started my fourth fast 400, although after about 200 it felt like I was going to hurl the previous night's dinner (since I had yet to eat breakfast)...or maybe pass out before I made it all the way around the track.

I almost quit then, sure I wasn't even coming close to my target pace goal since I could feel myself slowing.  But, during my fourth recovery I remembered too many quotes from yet another Eric (Doehrman) to list.  So on my fourth and fifth fast 400s I thought something about giving less than 100% in training means not being able to give 100% in a race...good athletes train even when they don't feel like it...the need for being comfortable in the PAIN CAVE...and (even though I was on a flat track, for some reason I could hear Eric D. saying:) "WE LOVE HILLS--THEY MAKE US STRONG!!!  (During the 5th recovery all I could think was BREATH, don't puke...)

As I started my sixth and final fast 400...all three Eric's were running along side of me (at what amounts to a jogging pace for them)...yelling at me.  In a good way.  In an encouraging way.  In an inspiring way.  They were all telling me to embrace the pain and KEEP RUNNING!! PUSH!!!  FASTER!!!  JUST A FEW MORE SECONDS!!!

As I jogged/walked my final recovery 400, and then ran/jogged my mile cool down, I looked at my times.

1:38 (6:34 pace)
1:41 (6:46 pace)
1:44 (6:58 pace)
1:46 (7:06 pace)
1:47 (7:10 pace)
1:42 (6:50 pace)

I like how even though the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th intervals did get progressively slower...I was able to speed up for the last one (with the help of the three Eric's yelling at me all along the way!!).

I know those are not fast times for most people...but I think for most 42 year old women who have been running less than 2 years, that's not too stinking bad!!!  

Eric was right.

Thanks for stopping in.  Come again soon!

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