WAIT, COME BACK!
COME BACK, THIS IS INTERESTING!
Actually it's not that interesting, but it's on my mind, and I just got a new MacBook Pro, and damn if I don't love the feeling of my fingers flying across its beautiful (backlit! <cue Angel choir>) keyboard.
If you have an interest in running, read on. You might be able to help me. (Great incentive, right? Read about my problems, and in return, I will let you try to solve them! I am such a giver.)
If you hate running or exercise in general, then this post is guaranteed to make your eyes roll so far back in your head they clunk against your tailbone.
So. Last night I dreamt that I finished a marathon--that's 26.2 miles, for those of you who were unclear--and my father said to me, "Were you busy doing something with the boys when the race started?" And then my mother chimed in, "Yeah, you finished a full 20 minutes slower than last time."
Why would my parents say that to me?
Evil dream parents. THE NERVE OF THEM.
But seriously, why am I pinning my race anxiety on my parents, who have been nothing but supportive and encouraging of my running? I just talked to my dad the other day, and he said he's going to try and come watch me run the Women's Half in September. Supportive, see?
When I finished the marathon, I obviously backed off my training a lot. And even though I'm still running 35+ miles per week, I've been feeling super sluggish and non-competitive and like maybe my fastest years are behind me. Like I'm Paula fucking Radcliffe or something.
Oh my GOD. My fastest years are behind me. I might not place in my local Tomato 5k. Cue the tiny violins.
I totally recognize that this is a totally bullshit first-world problem, and I am the only person on this earth who gives a chocolate-coated rip how fast I run, but at the same time ...
WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WITH MY SPEED?
To lay it out there for my fellow runners, I ran a slightly sub-9 pace in the marathon, a 7:58 pace in the Half, a 7:39 in the 10K, and a 7:19 in the 5K. Those are personal bests, all achieved in the last year. (So, no, I'm not exactly an elite status runner <whines> but still.) I've worked up to those--and I'm afraid I've peaked. The thought of running at ANY of those speeds ever again sounds horrifying and impossible.
The other day, after a 5-mile run, I decided to do a one mile "sprint." I could barely eke out a 7:54 mile. I mean, I felt like I was DYING.
I've been running with my marathon team off and on, too, and we do about an 8:45 pace for 8 miles, and while it feels fine, it also feels fast. Like are-you-sure-your-Garmin-is-not-broken-Kelly? fast.
On Wednesday, I ran a 3.1 with East Nasty and was sucking wind in the 8-9 minute pace group.
And my post-work runs are just sort of ... mech. I actually walked during part of my run yesterday. THREE TIMES.
I haven't changed my diet. I haven't gained a significant amount of weight. Granted, it's hot as a devil's anus in Nashville right now, but that still does't feel like a sound excuse. Am I just getting old--or is there something I can do to turn this around?
Should I throw a little retail therapy at the problem and finally buy a Garmin to clock my pace? (Would that motivate me or just horrify me more?)
Obviously, there comes a point when you just aren't going to run any faster. I've always raced against my last best time.
If I can't beat it, what's the best way for me to approach racing from here on out?