Today was my group’s 18 mile run in Central Park. In order to make the 6:00 AM meeting time, I had to wake up at 3:00 AM to leave at 4:00 AM to catch an express bus to the city at 4:30 AM.
I must admit when my husband asked if I was really getting up, I hesitated. But, the mere thought of running that distance alone prompted me to get moving. It was a pretty smooth ride in on a mostly empty express bus. When I got dropped off thought it was dark in the park and kind of creepy. I was unsure of the exact meeting spot, I just knew it was near the Columbus Circle entrance to the park. When I found this statue I sent a photo to my husband and asked, is the the Columbus statue because it sure doesn’t look like him. I’m still laughing over that blonde moment.
We took off at 6:15 and my specific group had 10 runners. The pacer this week was all business, so I don’t have one single photo or selfie to share. The pace was much faster than I normally do on my long runs, but I was able to keep up for 10 miles. At mile 10 I told them I was going to break off from the group and head back toward the starting point, My feet were burning literally and I didn’t want to chance another setback. I did another 2 at a slower pace and decided that was enough for this week and I was going to head back to the bus. When I got on the bus toward home I was stressing about not doing the remaining 6 miles. At that point I reflected on the morning’s run and realized I was focusing too much on what I hadn’t done and not even looking at what I had accomplished.
When I looked at the splits and average pace for my run, I realized that I had a lot to celebrate. The average pace for the run was 2 minutes faster than I normally do for my long runs. Long runs are generally meant to be slow and easy, but this was more of a tempo run for me. I was able to keep up with the group at that pace for 10 solid miles. After that the 2 that I did alone were at my normal pace, but my overall average pace per mile for the run remained 2 minutes faster. I felt strong out there on those darn hills in Central Park, which have always been challenging for me. I can’t say I enjoyed them, but I made it up them all and held my pace. Cat Hill and Harlem Hill did not defeat me today!! My feet didn’t start burning until mile 8, usually the pain starts at 7 so that’s an improvement too. I’m consistently running half marathon distances on long runs and last year that was a challenge. And, now as I am recovering, I am not overly tired or sore. I listened to my body today and didn’t let my ego push me to do something stupid that would have ended in another injury. I’d say this was a very positive training session for me and I need to celebrate my personal victories, rather than beat myself up for my perceived shortcoming.
I’m sure I am not the only one in training, or life, that needs to learn to accentuate the positive to keep my motivation. When we get so focused on the negative, we can easily feel defeated and possibly give up. Today, I’m reminding myself to be kind to myself and focus on what I did well. I’m excited for next week’s long run and know that today I built some solid muscles out there, both mentally and physically.
How’s your training going? Please leave me a comment below.