Saturday, February 16, 2008

If you don't have anything nice to say ...

I've been a bit cranky the last week so I figure rather than write an angry ranting post, I'd keep to myself.

There's a lot of reasons I could be cranky - February in general usually does it, whoever calculated 24 Jaunary to be the most depressing day of the year never talked to me two weeks later! Valentines often gets me, although this year it barely registered. Work's a good one for getting me down but it's actually been pretty reasonable lately.

No, I think it was an issue of me not believing the story I was telling everyone else. Last weekend I ran the First Half Half Marathon. I knew going in that I would be running this half marathon with the least fitness of any half I've ever done (I believe this is half #7) so I told everyone I wasn't racing this time, I was just out there for the fun of it. Unfortunately I didn't actually believe what I was saying.

I went to pace calculator website two days before the race and tried to figure out what I wanted to run. I knew the time I wanted (sub two hours) and also had a good idea of the pace I could actually hold (9:30/mile) but unfortunately the math didn't work, there was no way I could sustain a pace to hit my goal. This is where the smart athlete reasses their priorities and goals and decides to aim for a slower pace.

I never claimed to be a smart athlete!

Come race morning I still had it in my head that I was going sub two. I ran the first mile in 9:30+ but that's okay, I told myself I'd pick it up later. I kept this up for several more miles but there turned out to be no higher gear, I was running as fast as I could and that was it. Just for added fun (**male readers may wish to skip the rest of this paragraph and go to the next**) this was my first time ever running with cramps. I guess I'm lucky it's my first time in my racing career having to run with cramps, but when all your muscles from your waist to your knees feel like they've been beaten with a steel bar that kind of "glass is half full" reflection doesn't work so well.

So now we're dealing with unrealistic expectations plus pain - you may not be surprised that I was not a happy camper for the last half (of the First Half) nor after I was done. There was a good chance I would have gone straight home to sit in a corner and sulk for several days , if not a week, but the kind and gracious folks of Tri Thinking Pink showed up to cheer on their fellow club members and then whisk us away to feed us brunch. If you've ever spent any time with those two, or Joanne, or Kathryn you'll know it's impossible to stay in a bad mood. When you have all four together for an afternoon you have no choice except to smile, laugh and have a good time.

Brian and Amy saved the day, but the effort of running a half marathon when I wasn't fully prepared wore me out more than I expected. I was feeling pretty low all week, which made finding positives from my race pretty hard. We had benchmark day in Masters on Wednesday and my times were almost exactly where they were this time last year, which I decided to take as a sign all my work in the fall was for naught. That evening's spin workout was a tough one that I had trouble completing. Despite Andrew's recommendation that racers from the weekend take it easy I went hard and was exhausted at the end.

It was only after Thursday's track session that I was starting to feel a little better, we eneded with all out 200m pieces, which are always fun (short enough not to hurt too much but long enough to feel FAST). After the run the coach, who also ran the First Half, complimented me on a good workout, saying that he was still hurting from the race. The compliment and the knowledge that he was suffering too made me feel a lot better (not that I'm happy he was hurting, it just made me feel like this was normal).

It's funny the things I forget after a season off - being tired makes me view the world as a less happy place and racing makes me tired, therefore I should be prepared for a bit of a post-race low. My apologies to anyone I was cranky at.


Jason said...

Oddly enough, Jan 24 is my Dad's birthday. But in The Antipodes, Jan 24 is the equivalent of July 24. It's hot, it's sunny, the days are long, and the mangoes are in season.

While it is possible to be depressed on such a day, it is much more difficult.

Alison said...

I guess they should more accurately call it the most depressing day of the Northern Hemisphere's year.

Who could be depressed on July 24 (in the NH)? Just typing it put me in a better mood!