Jan 30, 2008

almost over

the mile repeats. are. almost. over.

three more left - two next tuesday and one on wednesday. and i was about to say i hope its a cold day in hell before i ever have to do them again when i realize that a majority of my repeats have been just that: a cold day in hell. today's being the most recent. i looked at weather.com to see what i should wear to mile repeat street and upon seeing that the temp was "feels like 4", i seriously considered going back to bed. but then i thought about all i had to do today & realized that there was no other time the workout was going to get done. so there i was. another cold day in hell on mile repeat street. today's thrill ride included running into another headwind for the first 800 meters and getting tangled up in tree branches and debris from last nights' storm.

i have hated these mile repeats since the first day i was out there. and it's this hatred of them that made me think; hmm, maybe that's my problem, i hate them. thats why they aren't going as well as i'd like. so i would try to embrace them. feel the love. be one with the repeat. chant good mantras. none of it seemed to work. i'd head out the door every tuesday and wednesday, my head filled with good, loving mile repeat thougts. i'd think, today could be the day. today is the day it is going to go well (i.e; faster). but then i would get up to that yellow line and all good karma thoughts were gone, and it would take everything i had to just start. and then everything i had to do another one. and another one. and another. and just one more.

because i was training for a hilly marathon, i was convinced that my schedule would be filled with hill repeats - and i was looking forward to it, beacuse i love them. so i almost died when i saw instead two back to back days of mile repeats. and i almost feel like i never quite got over the shock of the schedule. i hated being up there and would just long for the sunday long runs when i could just run. there was a point a while back when i got a bit more comfortable with the suckiness of the repeats in that i could do them and not feel like i wanted to cry, die, puke or quit in the middle of the workout. while becoming more comortable in the hell that was a mile repeat was an improvement, they still never got better - both in attitude and performance.

mile repeats are fun things when you actually get faster. when you see a progressive improvement and the numbers keep getting lower and lower. i know this cause they were sort of fun last fall. i'd go out there and wonder how fast i could go. what will my watch say? and there was complete elation upon seeing the numbers - they just kept going down.

i naively expected the same this time around. but i didn't factor in the fact that i had them two days in a row. but lap after lap and week after week the time on my watch was almost, freakishly, the same exact time. every time. i never got faster. and this worried me. i worried that i had just wasted my time out there. so i do what i do when i worry about my running and i wrote to coach, thinking that maybe i had blown it because i hadn't gotten faster. he explained that getting faster wasn't the point (thank god). the point was to get comfortable with running faster than race pace and training my body to be able to repeat the workload over and over. effort, recover, effort, recover.

i think half the effort some days was simply to stop standing at the yellow line contemplating running and to actually start running. there was effort required on some days to not curl up in front of the line and go to sleep at some point between the umpteen repeats. there was effort in trying to maintain some semblance of a respectable pace against headwinds. there was effort required to stay upright on the ice and slush last week. there was effort to just get out the door on tuesdays and wednesdays and get myself to that damn yellow line.

but its almost over. i did them. and in 10 days, i will be more than happy to line up at another kind of line and hope that all the mental & physical efforts of mile repeats line up with the rest of my ducks and translate into a very happy, third times' the charm of a plan b marathon.


Vickie said...

I probably don't have to restate the obvious, but repitition makes habit. In this case, muscle memory will kick in. You might not get faster this time around, but I am betting everything I have that by the time you are recovered from Boston you will see a turnaround. Not only will the pressure be off from worrying about making it, but when running becomes fun again and second nature, you will find yourself faster without as much effort. But then, there will be a new challenge, I'm sure. I'm glad for you its almost done for a while!

Anonymous said...

Mile Repeat Street

That would be great name for...something. A novel? A band? A movie about running?

10 more days, woohoo!

RunToTheFinish said...

I totally agree that my mile repeats are getting tons faster, but I know they are helping me increase my general speed on other days. Now for the weather, you really are a warrior.

monicac2 said...

Those mile repeats are going to payoff in spades! I just know it. If nothing else, as Amanda alluded to, you get double-triple-whammy points for getting out there in that brutal weather in the first place!

And Birmingham is hilly? Yikes! I can't imagine ever being at the place in my fitness level where I *sign up* for a hilly marathon, LOL!

Gotta Run..... said...

Our weakness is always what we dread doing most. You have a smart coach and he more than knows you and what it will take to make this BQ happen. The work is done and now you are ready.... I just know it!!!

You rock!!

Holden said...

Mile repeats suck! They don't ever NOT sick. What they teach you is to be able to find even the slightest comfort in the presence of pain. This is a great skill for marathons and life. Can you find comfort in that bed of thorns? Your body needs to instinctively go to that place. That's what mile repeats do for you.


P.O.M. said...

"feel the love. be one with the repeat." HA! I do the same thing - try to change my mind while I'm running.
I hate this.
No, i really love it. I really do.
ha ha

3rd time is a charm! You have worked your tootsy off and deserve that darn BQ~!