Yesterday, while sitting and working at my computer, I got a sudden pain in my neck shoulder. For a few minutes, I felt like I couldn’t breathe because it hurt so much, and then it subsided a bit and I was left with a dull ache – kind of like when you turn your neck too fast and then it hurts for a bit. (Except this had suddenly come on while I was sitting still.) It reminded me a bit of when I slipped a disc in my neck, though wasn’t nearly as excruciating. However, this morning I woke up at 4am from the pain, and I’m now debating whether I need to go see a doctor or if I should wait a bit to see if it resolves itself. Yuck.
Today on the 5K training plan, I was supposed to do an interval run: 12 x 0.25 at 6:20 pace, with 0.05 walk in between each interval. However, I was kind of worried about my neck and going that hard, so I decided to take option B, swapping my interval day with my tempo run day. (Coach Adam said this would be fine.) My plan was to do 4 miles with no breaks, increasing the speed every mile so that my splits would be 8:30, 8:00, 7:30, 7:00. I would like to note that this week’s planned tempo run was significantly harder than last week’s, where I did splits of 8:57, 8:42, 8:20, and 7:54. However, the truth is that it wasn’t the harder splits that did me in; it was my own excuses.
I got on the treadmill for my first mile (8:30 pace), and already felt like it wasn’t an easy run. But I was going to have to get a lot faster as the run progressed! I did the 8:30 just fine (albeit with some sense of foreboding for what was still to come), and then kicked it into gear for the 8:00. Okay, this wasn’t too bad – the pace was still fairly comfortable. But as I came to the end of that second mile, I got really nervous about my ability to kick it up a full 30 seconds faster and sustain that pace or faster for two more miles.
I told myself that maybe it wasn’t a good idea for me to be running at all this morning, with my neck pain. I told myself that I was still recovering from a nasty cold and that was why I wasn’t feeling so great. And with all of that rationalization, I told myself that I could take a quick 15 second break to catch my breath before I continued – even though Adam had explicitly told me that the point of the tempo run was not to take any breaks.
I got back on the treadmill after my illegal break, and felt pretty good. 7:30 mile, coming up! I told myself that I had just 14.5 minutes left in the workout, and I started a countdown in my head. Surely a 15 second break in the middle of this really tough workout wouldn’t be too bad, right? I was proud of myself for doing the workout at all when I had so many ailments, and I rationalized that it was awesome how hard I was trying, even if I wasn’t perfect.
But then toward the middle of mile 3, I started feeling really sick to my stomach. I tried to gut it out (ha), but I was definitely having some gastrointestinal distress and it wasn’t going away. Ironically, while I was running, I was watching Unreal, where one of the contestants just made a fool of herself for ignoring the signs of GI distress and not heading to a bathroom. I did not want to make the same mistake, so after mile 3, I got off the treadmill and headed to the bathroom. My plan was to come back and do the last mile at a 7:00 pace after my bathroom break, but after I washed up and headed back out to the gym floor, my stomach started seizing up again- and I decided to call it quits for the day. Surely, three miles at altitude and at an average pace of 8:00 wasn’t all that bad, right?
On the way home from the gym, though, I thought about my workout, and I was really disappointed in myself. In hindsight, why had I let all those dumb excuses get into my head and keep me from doing my best? A big part of why I like having Adam as a coach is that he tells me what to do and I don’t have to think about whether or not it’s achievable; I just go do it. Today, I questioned my abilities, and allowed myself to wuss out rather than sticking to the plan – and now I really regret it. I asked Adam if I could try again tomorrow, but he said that I’m not allowed a do-over because it would mess with Thursday’s speedwork. Frustrating, but understandable, and I want to do my best to do exactly what he says going forward.
This month I’ve had a lot of injuries and illnesses, and I’ve learned that I have a tendency to let those be excuses for not performing my best. But one of my reasons for training so hard for a 5K is because I want to see what happens when I give it my all, and lay it all out there. I definitely still have a lot of work to figure out how to overcome the mental hurdles that keep impeding my physical progress.