So today a little bit of doubt crept in.
Or maybe it's fear.
(Perhaps a bit of both?)
I hit the dreadmill for an "hour easy" run today. But aside from a half hour last week, I hadn't done a run since January 23 when I did 11 in Denver. I thought, "No problem! Easy heart rate...this will be fine."
So I set the treadmill at a 10 minute/mile pace and went to work.
Except my heart rate was SKYROCKETING.
I kept looking at my HR monitor. Could this be true? Huh?
I slowed down, reluctantly.
Still 167 beats.
I didn't want to slow down anymore. To me, anything on the treadmill slower than 10 minutes/mile feels like I might as well not do it. (This is dumb, I know....but I'm coming off 3 years of road racing 5Ks up to a marathon....so I'm used to running relatively fast.)
NOW it's up to 170.
So I slowed down even more. Like, snail slow. Almost walking slow.
And I could hear the voices in my head.
"You've gotta be kidding me--you're "running" almost 12 minute miles."
"You call yourself an Ironman?"
My heart rate monitor was taunting me. And I think I started to let it win.
I remember Coach Kara's advice--lay off the heart rates, they don't matter as much as some say. Heart rates can differ by up to 10 beats, depending upon stress, hydration, fatigue, etc. etc.
I tried to let go of the heart rate monster that was messing with me.
I finished the run with 5.5 miles--but only because in the last 5 minutes I kicked it up to 9 minute miles. This was probably really stupid. I'm recovering from pneumonia, for crying out loud. But, I dunno...I guess I just wanted to feel fast again.
So I'm bagging the Chili Bowl 5K next week. I know myself, and I know that I will be all pissed off if I can't run it in less than 24 minutes. And I know that the chances of that happening are slim to none. Besides, there's a stroke work clinic I can go to, and I need to remember what will help me better reach that starting line on September 10th, you know?
What's my deal? Why are these little speed voices in my head?! It's not like I'm a natural-God-given-talent runner like my brother. He cranked out 17 minute 5Ks over and over again. Hell, he could probably do close to that right now, and he hasn't run competitively in forever. I don't have that talent. I never did.
What I do have--what I have had since the day I was born--is this borderline-irrational determination. I've gone farther than I thought I initially could not necessary from talent, but from not. fricken. quitting. ever.
I think that's why I'm more suited for this endurance stuff. But I KNOW that I need to let go of the sprinter voices in my head. Some of this must be from my swimming years. I don't get it.
This is not a 5K. This is not a 50 yard swim. How many times do I need to repeat that before it gets through my thick skull?
This is not even like trying to pitch a 7 inning perfect game (which I never was able to do). In some ways, it's not even like running a marathon--where there's still a certain element that is really in my control. There is a certain element to Ironman that is beyond my control. There will be many roadblocks along the way on that September day. And even on race day, from what veterans are telling me and what I'm reading, there will be major obstacles. Some I have control over. Some I do not.
What is in my control is the conditioning that I do every day to get to that starting line. And what is in my head to deal with these inevitable obstacles and road blocks.
I need to focus on how far I've come. How in August of 2002 I weighed 175 pounds. How I've struggled with eating issues since I was 7 years old. How I've beat these demons time and time again, despite it often being an everyday battle.
I love my life. At times it's been challenging. But there are far worse things in this world than my struggles. I know I'm made of Iron and I need to keep my mind focused.
It's just every once in a while I think about what I'm doing and it's really daunting.
I guess that's what makes it even better in the end.