Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Success and Failure on the Trace

Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.

Dale Carnegie

I had 16 miles @ marathon plus 30 seconds scheduled for Christmas Day. I had some worries about this run. It wasn’t anything in particular but just a lot of little things.

· 16 miles is a long way – I have not run that since Boston (April)

· While 7:30 pace is not difficult – it is for 16 miles

· It was 50 degrees outside (not a big deal)

· It was raining outside (not a big deal)

· It was cold and raining outside (VERY BIG DEAL)

· I had run 10 miles the day before at a very easy pace (not a big deal)

· It was Christmas Day (can be a big deal)

So I suited up with a long sleeved shirt, gloves, compression shorts (since it was wet), running shorts, a running hat, and sunglasses. I walked the 1/8th mile to the trace. I was high stepping and loosening up the legs. I decided to run towards campus for two miles (slight downhill) and then I would run to Epley Station and back. Running the slight downhill allows for me to get on pace easier.

I had a couple of gels stuffed up on my quads under the compression shorts. This has been working for me lately. But today, I had on a different kind of compression shorts. As soon as I started running the gels started to slip. These compression shorts were not compressing. This was 200 feet into 16 miles run.

Equipment failure - Strike 1.

Next, just walking and starting to run, I was hot. Not overheating hot but enough to know that I would be burning up at the end of the run. I took the gloves off and stuffed them into the waist band of the compression shorts.

Overdressed – Strike 2.

I only gave the run a quarter of a mile. I could not get on pace. I was running around 8 minute miles (for a quarter mile) but I was losing ground to the virtual nemesis. I know that running this route I can usually run 7:15ish at a conversational pace. My legs were tired. A much bigger factor is that my mind was also tired. Not to go into great detail, while Christmas used to be my favorite holiday – not so much anymore. The past few years I have scheduled large training sessions on Christmas Day to shut the mind down. It has been successful in the past. Not today.

Mental / emotional failure – Strike 3.

I walked home in the drizzling rain. I took a few minutes to regroup. I decided I could still go for a less demanding run. I changed the compression shorts. I ended the virtual nemesis 16 mile workout. I was going to go for a 4 mile run at any pace and see where I ended up. I secretly hoped that I would feel great at the 2 mile turnaround and continue the effort, maybe even push the pace! That is when the sky opened up. While not a thunder storm it was raining very hard. It was still cold. I watched the rain for a good five minutes. I put the bike on the trainer and changed clothes again – cycling shorts!

I have not been on the bike much since I have been concentrating on marathoning. I was not sure what was going to be possible on the bike. I wanted a solid effort but I did not need a failure. I programmed up a solid hour long (55 minute) workout with the working session being 3 x 10 minutes @ FTP (functional threshold power). I was using old numbers from the before the marathon training so I was not completely confident that I would be successful. It would be a challenge.

55 minutes later I was drenched in sweat. I was satisfied with a solid workout. My body and mind were quieted.

 


The next day, the weather conditions were the same; cold, drizzle and occasional rain. I still had the 16 miles on the schedule. I wore my tighter compression shorts and less clothing. My mind was into the run. I nailed it!

While the run was still challenging I had sorted out my failures from the day before. I had eliminated the strikes one by one and hit this session out of the park. I have had a lot failures in my training.

Failure is just another chance, an opportunity.

3 comments:

TriMOEngr said...

Way to go! The more blogs I read and the more I try to push myself along, the more it becomes obvious that some days we have to remain flexible enough to change paths when the one we are on isn't working. Way to overcome!

Mike said...

I'm impressed that you got on the bike after that rough run attempt. That shows really good mental toughness! Then to nail your run the next day shows perseverance. My take away is that you are focused on your goals and not taking the easy excuses.

Patrick Mahoney said...

You could have used a 4 down metaphor instead of 3 strikes and been totally fine.