August 13, 2006

I am encompassed by failure

Ever have one of those weeks? It seemed like I couldn't catch a break. I was surrounded by failure on all sides, not only failure by others, but by myself as well.

Failure by others...well, many examples, but perhaps the ones that aggravated most were that it took Staples three tries to deliver the right desk - and I was all the time waiting for the desk so I could move all my files and desk items from the old apartment. The other thing is that my all-in-one printer failed - completely. It died. I get on the phone with warranty support and find myself in India. Not only that, but over an hour and fifteen minutes I was transferred to FIVE different departments. I finally hung up with the understanding that a new - or at least working - printer was on its way. What arrives? A new power module for the printer and that's all! And guess what? The printer STILL doesn't work! I'm so mad I can't see straight.

Then there was my own failure. Despite constant work and getting only six hours of sleep each night, I couldn't get everything done that I needed to this week in the new house. There are simply too many things to do. I did make a lot of progress upstairs, including the refinished tub and improved shower and sink plumbing and whatnot. Well.... I could go on and on, but this is a running blog, not a Myspace page.

So. I failed in running, too. I got in only two midweek runs, both shortened. Out of a week that should have had 18 to 24 miles of midweek workouts, I got in a whopping six. And the thing is I felt terrible the whole week. The moving was taking its toll on my muscles and energy and even these few short runs were awful. As of yesterday I was really getting upset with myself and the way things are going.

But perhaps today's long run will break the cycle and turn things around. I don't know why it is, but for the weekend long runs, I find it almost easy to get up a couple hours earlier than normal and get to the park and do my thing. I really like the whole ritual of it, I suppose. Get up, pee, eat some breakfast...yadda yadda yadda. Make sure I've got HEED, Recoverite, powersnot, Enduralytes, ipod...yaddayaddayadda. Train to Central Park, walk to Boathouse, use facilities, stretch yadda yadda yadda.... You get the picture. I was up at 5:30 this morning and finally running at about 7:30. Good timing. I did everything right physically, including over-hydrating the night before and making sure I got my Enduralytes and Hammer Gel going on a good schedule.

And you know what? It paid off. Like it almost always does. Today's 12 miles weren't the fastest I've ever run, but I wasn't trying for speed; just a slow, steady twelve miles. I was really enjoying the moderate temperatures and sunshine. I took very few breaks of any kind; just pitstops for more gel, one for stretching, and one to figure out what the hell was going on at the pool.

Turns out, there was a triathlon about to happen! When I passed the pool at mile two, they hadn't yet started. By the time I was running my fourth mile, I was being passed by some very buff men and women on some very fast bicycles. I reversed my roiute when I got to bikers' bench and took some more Enduralyte and Hammer Gel. I was still good on HEED, much to my surprise. While running clockwise (against the flow), I enjoyed watching the cyclists pound out their 12 miles. Up about mile nine, I got into the marked off section where the athletes were doing a 5K leg (I think this was a sprint tri; I'm not sure). It was awesome to be running with all these gifted athletes. It was quite an education. I grant I'd already put in nine miles, but these guys were fast, even for a 5K. On the other hand...some of the back of the pack athletes were still on bicycles and sort of struggling along. They had higher numbers.

It was a particular treat to be able to stave off one of the athletes as we hit one of the steeper, longer harlem hills on his return leg. I could hear him right behind me and he would have passed me except we hit that hill - and my pace remained good and strong and I guess he had to slack up a bit. Anyway, I kept the lead until the crest of the hill, shortly after which he passed me. I assume he was using the downhill to lengthen his stride and get some time saved, and I wasn't bothering to vary my pace much.

Overall pace for the day was 10:20 miles. One of my miles is up in the 11:something range and that threw a lot off. Most miles were just shy of the 10:00 range and I'm happy with that. Amazingly enough, my fastest mile came in mile 10 - the Harlem Hills - where I punched out an even 10:00. Maybe the racing boost helped!

I'm a little sore in a couple of joints and I'll have to keep an eye on that. I'm taking ankle weights with me to Chicago to get back to my TKEs in earnest. But I experienced no real tightness in the park and that is a good sign. Also, I didn't hit the wall, like last weekend. The gel and enduralytes and HEED paid off. Total run time: 2 hours, 5 minutes. To PR at the NYC Half-Marathon, I need to lose over 40 seconds per mile...but somehow I think that's possible. After all, MOST of my miles were 10:00 or thereabout anyhow and I wasn't pushing the pace, like I do in a race. I believe I have a good shot at tying my PR or even beating it by a couple of minutes, if everything goes right. Well, we'll see.... it's two weeks away.

1 comment:

Lora said...

Glad your failure turned out good in the end. You're coming to Chi town? When? Ever run on the lakefront??