August 17, 2011

Surprise - my DNF is knocking

I ran my first solo medium long run (since breaking my toe last month) on the TM this past Sunday. I planned to play my 10 in 100 game (10 miles in 100 minutes), keeping in mind that my toe not be ready for that distance at this speed yet. For the first 20 minutes or so, I listened to some new music I downloaded from iTunes. Then I switched to Smallville Season 3 for some added distraction.  I used 4:1 (running:walking) intervals instead of 3:1 since I was only doing 10 miles.

As I started getting closer to 8 miles on the TM,  I could tell my brain was trying to convince me to stop. "You're going to Six Flags later today and you're going to get injured. You can make up the miles in walking.   No, I need to run this 10 miles". My left IT band starts to ache. "Uh oh - you're coming back too fast - you should stop Vera". I check in with myself. Am I really in so much pain I have to stop? No way. The aching is not a stabbing pain or shooting  up and down my leg. The reflex brain has reared it's ugly head.

After taking 2 weeks off for the broken toe, I'm not surprised this is happening.  But then, all of the sudden, this thought went flashing through me - "You quit at the end Grandma's Marathon and now you've started a quitting pattern - so what, you're just going to make up a bunch of lame excuses to quit at the slightest bit of discomfort or tiredness? Maybe you can just keep being a quitter".

Whoa. Hold on a second here. Even though that thought was just a flash, it really hit me. This mental reaction I was having didn't have anything to do with my toe. I'm not over the DNF. After the experience and sharing it here on the blog and with running friends, some told me it took them a year or even longer to truly "get over it".  I have to work on this. The Nike Women's Marathon is coming up quick and THIS is what the elevation looks like. I calculated the grade for the mile between 6.25 and 7.25. It's about 6%.

I gained a little confidence yesterday with 50 minutes of hill work (1-6% incline) but where I need the most confidence right now is my ability to run these solo long runs and work through what I now realize is a mental block of sorts. I DON'T want this DNF looming over my head for the next year or even the next month.

I ran with our 2:1 interval Galloway group back on the 6th for our final long run before America's Finest City Half Marathon (coming up this Sunday!!). That was 14 miles, but I was pacing the group so my focus was not on myself. I'm definitely encouraged by the fact that I could go the distance, even though I did it with the distraction of others. I take that as a sign I AM capable of running longer distances without thoughts of the DNF.

I'm just blown away by the impact this has had.....


Anonymous said...

Vera, I'm not at all surprised by the mental consequences of the DNF. I'm positive I'd be in the same frame of mind or worse. I'm really proud of you for your recognition of what's going on and being smart about getting through it. You are an inspiration!

Johann said...

I find focusing on the next goal is the best way for me to forget a DNF. I've had a few in the 30 years I've been running and try to take the positives out of it. What did I do wrong? Learn and keep on running is my motto after a DNF. Also, I always know what the next goal will be while I'm busy with the current one. Makes it easy to just move on to the next one.