there were no text messages from the coach this morning giving me a reprieve due to lightning (last week), or sickness (week before). weather was gorgeous & he was healthy. shit.
after two cancelled runs though, i am really over the whole, ineedapaperbagtobreatheinto sort of performance anxiety & just want to get it over with.
so this was it. my debut as guest runner with the big dogs:
- night before - get gear together, don't want to be scrambling to find shit at 4:30 in the morning - would be bad form to keep coach waiting. (i wondered if it was bad form to collapse on group run).
- sleep in running clothes. (an attempt to buy some time & eek out any extra zzz's) -- try to relax & visualize a strong run, but can't get this visual out of my head: me - collapsed on the side of the road, running group so far ahead they don't know i am in need of CPR, patiently waiting for ambulance to come by & scrape my sorry ass off pavement ... drift off to sleep.
- wake up at 4:15 ... brush teeth - keep checking phone for text from coach that lets me off hook. no such luck.
- watch news, eat GU ... pee way too many times in 15 minutes. (clearly, some of the performance anxiety still lingers) decide against wearing heart rate monitor ... don't want to know what hr is right before i drop dead.
- coach arrives, drive to the park ...wait for other dogs. one by one the cars start pulling in ... jesus - how many people are in this group?? ELEVEN. 8 men. 3 women.
- a little chit chat - coach introduces guest runner ... and we're off.
- i didn't even wear a watch - (figured i would leave that job to coach ... besides, took enormous focus to just run & keep up ... no way i had extra energy to lift my arm to check time anyway). but i'm guessing we're about 15 minutes in & i'm already sucking wind. there's no way i could even concieve of talking -- have moved way beyond the "comfortable conversation zone" -- although rest of group is carrying on a conversation as if we're all just sitting in a coffee shop. BUT - i am in the middle of the pack.
- must. try. to. maintain. this.
- hmmm ... not so much. but get this - soemone from the back yells ahead that he can't keep up the pace & is dropping out. AND ITS NOT ME!!!! it wasn't me - i am still there. barely. but still there.
- i'm no longer in the middle of the pack, but in the back - with coach who stayed with me the whole time ... but there is still someone BEHIND us ... i am not the last one.
- now i love this - they all stop. at a park. for water. and chat a moment - its a beautiful moment & i am thanking my lucky stars that we have stopped for a bit. may have been a minute. maybe two. then we're off again & i think - hey ... that tiny little stop was all i needed & i can totally stay with the pack a bit more now.
- ha ha ha - i laugh at your optimism little guest runner ... they all took off like a shot. and once again, i was in the back (not the back, back - there was still someone behind us).
- my coach says something to the effect of "they are really fast today" ... obviously, this is to make me feel a weensy bit better about the fact that the little reflective moving stripes are WAY ahead of us now.
- at some point - 6 miles? he says, "they're picking it up now" ... NOW? Now they are picking up the pace? what was it called three minutes into this run when i was already winded? that wasn't picking it up? i am so so so out of my league.
- for most of the run, i have no idea where i am ... i'm almost dizzy at one point (oxygen deprivation will do that, won't it?) ... but at one point, we're coming up on a traffic light & i know that the car is a left turn & about 1/2 mile away. right before this light, he says "only about 4 or 5 more blocks now" . WTF???? i am dying here. i know the car is THERE. right there.
- 4 or 5 more blocks, left turn - of course, a nice big steep hill looms in front of me ... i kicked it in - booked up the hill & there we were ... back to the park where we started ... slow 1/8 mile to car & it was over. i made it.
- a little over 7 miles in 58:17. Average pace was 8:13 i think, but more specifically, the first 20 minutes were 7:45 - 7:50 pace. hello - people, that is race pace here. race pace @ 5 am.