A couple of weeks ago I reflected on my need for control as a factor for my need to run. Not long thereafter, I had one of those workouts that made me give up control – to a degree – and it left my brain sprawling on the sidewalk.
I had planned a hill workout in the waning light of the day. My wife was going to be home early from work as we had to attend a parent/teacher conference for our son who is in pre-k. (You should see the stack of paperwork and reports the teachers need to fill out and send to the state for a three year old…). As the afternoon progressed it grew apparent that my plan was a bit ambitious, and I would not be able to make it out to the hill I had planned.
This was not a dilemma. I live in Vermont and hills are in abundance. I rerouted my warm-up and ended up at the foot of another hill. Unfortunately, the low clouds blocked any moonlight, and while I thought I could run the hill in the dark, I stopped half-way up and turned around. Too dark. I am afraid of the dark.
Now my frustration was starting to build. I got out later than planned. I had to reroute twice. And somewhere in my brain there were whispers of my being too weak to run the hill, and the dark was just an excuse. There were no real loops I could do from the base of the hill. Thinking as I ran back to my house I figured I could stop off at the track and throw in a few threshold miles. I could at least get some quality in that way. I got to the track, did a warm-up lap with some builds and started on my first mile. Not good. Too slow. Way too slow. There was no way I was going to hit the pace I needed/wanted. So I quit. Jogged a lap and headed out to the streets.
Angry and annoyed I ran around town for the next 45 minutes, fuming. The whole time I waged mental war on my body trying to convince it to direct itself towards my house.
I am not sure if this speaks to some weak mental resilience on my part, but I find it incredibly hard to snap out of a bad workout; especially once I start making excuses in my head as to why it is not my fault. I ended up getting my nine miles in and the pace was decent. Everything went fine, and I guess that is what matters in the end.