One thing that I like about running is that I'm always learning. Sometimes I learn what works well for me but mostly I learn what really doesn't work for me. Yesterday was a day that I learned about what doesn't work so well.
Since fast running is always easier with a friend, Suz and I managed to coordinate our weekday schedules again this week for some hard miles. The time that worked best for us was lunch time. I tried to have a snack at the right time in the morning to make up for the fact that I'd be asking my legs and lungs to work hard just when I'm usually famished. I don't know if I didn't eat enough, ate at the wrong time, felt the effects of not having enough for dinner the night before, or was just off (it is the start of allergy season after all) but it was not a good feeling run.
We started a little fast, which is very common for us, but I managed to wrangle us back on pace pretty quickly. Mid-run I thought "oh man, this sucks." And with a mile left (and with a mighty wind picking up) I was using every mental trick I had to try to ignore the urge to just quit right there (and by quit I mean quit that run and running all together). That's when things went from crap to extra crap - my breathing felt even tighter and all of a sudden I was flat out woozy. I figured with only a half mile left, I'd be fine but when I felt like the path was about to come right up and smack me in the face, I decided I needed a quick "take a sip of water, calm the breath, stick my head between my knees for 30 seconds" composure break.
It worked to make the wooziness go away, but nothing could help the fact that I felt like I was moving my legs through water. My legs were heavy, my chest felt tight, I was hungry, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't make the numbers on my garmin go any lower. Sure, the wind makes it feel harder, but that much effort for that pace felt ridiculous. It was not a good run - but it was definitely a learning experience. I've learned that the hard runs are going to be harder at lunch time. In fact, it might be best not to plan them unless absolutely necessary.
I have to admit though - even though I know it was probably just a series of unfortunate events that lead to feeling so crappy - I was a little shaken by that run. I was feeling like I was in pretty good running shape and this one shook my confidence a bit. I keep thinking about the numbers and thinking about how terrible it felt. But I can learn from that too. Be more like a duck - just let the water roll off.