Sunday, November 14, 2010

Is it the mind or the body?

What a great day, NOT by my half marathon time @ the Pensacola Half Marathon, but a GREAT day with friends and family anyway. 

First the details 1:54 – 8:41 pace for the  HALF – ha ha – wuz thinking that would be close to my pace for the full in Dec.  It  CAN HAPPEN….REALLY!  (need some cold weather on Dec. 11th)

Started out running with Keith and Toby this am.  Keith and I had decided on 8:30 pace to start and then hoped to pick it up.  Reality – plan B – get on pace from the gun. 1-  8:20, 2- 8:10,  Toby took off and Keith and I stayed on pace for 7 miles.  At that point, like a good pacer friend, Keith stayed on pace, I unfortunately, started falling off the pace.   In mile 7, there is an ugly hill that I was aware of.  Leading up to the hill, we had been going downhill for what seemed like, quiet a while, to me.  When you start struggling to stay on pace, and you are going downhill…my friends that is NOT a good sign.  Finally make it up the beast, and try to get back on pace…not happening mile 8 -8:35, mile 9 - 8:38  (miles 3- 8:15,  4 – 8:13,  5 – 8:17,6 - 8:15).  At 9, I decided to “shut it down for the day”

I know this is CRAZY to some of you.  Fight to the end, right?  In my opinion, NO, not today. 
My case:
  1. it’s NOT gonna happen – the usual – too hot, too humid story.  Yes, I go into each race thinking even though the temps are warm – I am STRONG, I can overcome.  That’s why I’ve been training so hard on the physical and mental game of running.  For years, I believed it was a mental breakdown and I could learn to run in humid weather.  Today, I have decided that maybe it's not in my mind, maybe it's my body.  I have no idea which it is, but today, I have made a decision.  I will no longer show up for hot and humid half, and full marathons, thinking I’m invincible, I can overcome because I am STRONG.  Today, it finally clicked – yes, I am strong, but as much as I want to think I can overcome…..Ginny’s reality for the past 7 years, is that my body doesn’t respond to hot and humid racing.   Well, actually, it does, it says "Girl – you are crazy we are slowing this train down!"  So while my mind and my heart say Go Ginny Go!  - my body says….”I don’t think so.”
  2. I have another half in 2 wks – so instead of "beating a DEAD horse", I took the opportunity to do what I think was the smart thing today.   I had a GREAT tempo run for 7 miles, and called it a day.

I know this drives some of you absolutely CRAZY.  I know you think I “GAVE UP.”   I have a totally different opinion.  I think I was totally smart, and I am excited that I can walk way knowing I had a solid training run today.

I also had another revelation today.  When possible, I will no longer sign up early for races.  Financially, that really hurts me, I’m ALL about saving a BUCK,  but for some races, I will no longer sign up in advance.  I will wait for the weather prediction and then make my decision.   If I want to go for a training run, I will still sign up, but if my intention is “racing” I will “pick my days” for the nearby races.   

I’m a wimp!   Now in addition to using my Garmin for pacing, my gels for endurance, my Ipod to keep me sane, now I will eliminate hot and humid long races from my racing list.   (running purist, I am not, and that’s ok with me)  

The great news for today. 
My cousin, Laura finished her first full marathon.  Yay Laura!  It was a hot, hilly, humid race, but she finished it “in fine fashion,” I should say.    So today, I was able to run with Keith for several miles in the half, and I ran a few with Laura and friends during the full, and I had time to visit with my cousins, Ruth and Terry.  Great day in Pensacola with a good tempo run.
 Running with Laura

So let me have it!  I’m not scared.  Picking my weather days – sounds absurd, but that’s the game plan for some of the upcoming races (not Huntsville – will race it no matter what)

After years of thinking I can learn to run in warm and humid weather, I give! So the question is…. Do you think I’m caving mentally, or can it be that some people can’t respond to the humidity?   It really doesn’t matter which it is,  I think I have decided this old dog can’t learn that trick, and I'm ok with that!  Strive for better, but know your limits!  Today, I finally figured out my limit, and I will honor my body, mind, and soul, and accept this reality.

Note:  Take an ice bath after your long runs and races.  You will recover faster, and feel better post race.


(Just) Trying is for Little Girls said...

I don't think you gave up, I think you are smart. Sometimes you have to look at the big picture and make grown up decisions about a race. Running as much as you do and expecting a PR every time will set you up for disappointment

Chris K said...

Thanks for the pics of Pensacola. I actually own two houses there, but have never been there. BTW, I don't think you gave up.

The Hungry Runner Girl said...

Great job on your race!! Humidity effects my running big time!! I hate ice baths but they work SO SO good!! Once again great job on your race:)

TRI-james said...

I think you made the right decision altering your race strategy. However, you probably should have made that decision before the race started.

Running in heat and humidity adds tons of time to your pace. You know that. Not only that but we have already lost all of our heat acclimation from the summer.

You cannot expect fast races when the conditions do not warrent them.

What if it is warm and muggy for Stennis or Rocket City?

Jennifer said...

I think you made the right choice. And did a great job anyway. I sure am hoping for cool weather in December!

Speedy Lisa said...

IMHO, no. You didn't give up. You played it smart. You know your body and you're listening to what it's saying. I have a good friend who competes in ironman events. He refuses to run the annual RnR San Antonio ... our own hometown race ... because it's still too hot &/or humid here in mid-November. If an ironman makes race decisions based on how his body responds in various weather conditions, then any decision I make about which races to enter or not enter based on the weather actually appear to be smart.

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

Just to be clear, I am NOT disappointed, but just wondering about others opinions. James - you are correct - something that finally clicked this weekend after all these years. I always think I can overcome, but NOW...FINALLY I GOT it.

It's actually refreshing. No more thinking I can conquer the impossible for me. Yay! FREEDOM!

Stennis - hot - not go at all. Huntsville - hot - adjust pace before the race....SEE - I REALLY "got it"

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

Chris - a few more pics coming soon.
Speedy Lisa - thanks - yes, if Ironmen adjust - it's certainly good for me. Ha ha


LMC said...

Hey Ginny, You really do have it! I totally get where you're coming from with this post. It's not about being disappointed! It's about recognizing your reality, embracing it and moving on. In a sense, it doesn't really matter if it's your brain or your body. It is, what it is and that's a bunch! An 8:41 pace for a half is awesome in my book. Great job! Congratulations!
BTW, thank you very much for your encouraging comments on my blog! I really appreciate it!!

Becky Ryder said...

Smart decision! Just incorporate this run into your training. There are so many racing opportunities and your decision to not pre register for futrue races will take the pressure off and allow you to be more flexible in your choices. I'm with you in not wanting to blow the money, but more and more I'm finding I just don't like the pressure of *having to run* a race just because I've already paid the money. That way of thinking probably increased the severity of my foot injury. I kept trying to run just because I had already paid the money.

misszippy said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with that at all. Some days we are just not there mentally...why kill yourself and have a harder time recovering if that's where you are? Your A race is waiting and you'll do what you need to do there!

Jill said...

First, congrats to your cousin - what an amazing feat! Nothing beats that first marathon.

Second, you did not give up and you are not a wimp!! You did what you had to do and that heat and humidity is not conducive to running hard in that heat. Yeah, you can train yourself to acclimate to it more, but you will not run your best race no matter how much you train in it.

You're doing awesome, girl. Rocket City is going to be a piece of cake :).

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

The humidity slows me down and I don't think it's just mental. Sounds like a good finishing time for a hot day! Congrats to Laura!

Kym Klass said...

Certainly no judging here. I have yet to run a half marathon (aside from my very first) without walking at least a minute or two, when the mental part just takes over. Or a side stitch, and then mentally, it's shot anyway. You got 9 miles in. Good for you! Give 'em hell next time!