Friday, September 18, 2009

"I let that hill get in my head"

Today I ran week 9's second run at the Glendoveer trail. My wonderful hubby took Ethan around for some adventures while I ran so that I could have some time to enjoy a run and clear my head. I really enjoy the Glendoveer trail. It's a 2 mile (ish) loop around a beautiful golf course, with varied incline and terrain. I'm thinking it might be a perfect place to practice for the Gresham Jazz Run. I usually start at the end of the trail that heads up a respectable/intimidating hill, just to get my heart rate kicked into high gear. I did my warm-up walk up that hill and started into my run and tried guessing in my head how many laps around Glendoveer I'd make while doing my intervals. I was surprised to make it almost the entire way around the 2 mile loop when my first 20 minute interval ended. When I rounded the corner to the "starting" area I realized I was heading straight for the hill during my second running portion. Uh-oh!

I took the hill with all sorts of, "I can't do this... this is going to be lame!" stuff going on in my head. I ended up slowing down quite a bit while heading up the hill, and made it about a third of the way up. Then I realized I was "running" slower than I could actually power-walk and sort of auto-piloted into a power-walk the rest of the way up the hill. I thought I was pretty clever, until I started hearing all those, "Oh no! You're cheating! You're not running!" sort of perfectionist things in my head. For some reason it caught me off guard and really took the wind out of my sails. Up to this point in my training, I have run every single step of every single running interval that I set out to run. It's been 6 months! For some reason I got pretty discouraged and considered giving up, walking back to the car, and quitting my run so I didn't have to count it. lol. I ruined my perfect record!

I walked myself the rest of the way up the hill and started into a jog again, fighting back and forth in my head about whether I was going to give up or keep going... and whether or not this run would "count." Needless to say, it was a pretty miserable run. I finished the second of three 20-minute intervals. As I looked around and tried to gauge where I was on the trail, I realized that if I completed the third interval, I'd have a chance to try that hill one more time right near the end. So I did it. I made sure to pace myself and run a little slower, and to concentrate on breathing and enjoying the run. I hit the hill with only a few moments left and made it about halfway up the hill when my i-pod signaled that the interval was over. With burning legs and a happy heart, I made my way back down the hill to find my guys waiting for me.

I realized as I was cooling down that I'd let my mental game get the best of me. I found myself listing all sorts of reasons why I should quit, why I didn't have it in me to finish, and all sorts of justifications. I'm disappointed that I ruined my "perfect" record of running every step I set out to run... but it taught me that I have some lessons to learn about persevering even when I won't have a "perfect" record. I let that silly little hill get into my head and ruin my attitude, distract me from my run, and tempt me to despair. No bueno!

Finishing the Gresham Jazz run is going to be the hardest thing I've done so far, in an athletic sense. To be honest, I'm actually quite intimidated and not really sure I can do it. I think maybe today... I probably couldn't do it. But I do have 3 weeks left to keep working hard and preparing my body for the challenge. My goal is to run the entire course... but if for some reason I end up walking part of it... it will be an experience in itself to grow up and finish my race like a grown up instead of sulking off like a perfectionistic little school girl.

Tomorrow: Daniel and I tackle the Jazz Run course together so I can get more comfortable with it and practice some hill running.

Walter's Hill... I'm coming for you. Be afraid... be very afraid.


  1. I think you'll do great! Don't beat yourself up too much for that hill. How did your run go on the course?

  2. I haven't gone back to the course yet. :) I have one more week (starts tomorrow!) of "official" training, and then two weeks until the race. I'm not sure if I should go back, or if I should keep training away from the trail and let the race be fresh. Hmm...