Caveat: I am at the end of a heavy week of training so I may not be in my right mind. I am tired, mentally and physically, by design. I may wake up tomorrow and want to take this post down.
The problem is the run. Running. You all know I have a love-hate relationship with running. It's right there in the title of the blog. Every so often, after months of torturous work, I will have a tiny little breakthrough that allows me to understand HOW someone could truly love running. Up until now, until today, those tiny little glimmers of hope have been enough to keep me slogging through torturous workout after torturous workout. I think I reached a breaking point today. I don't want to do this anymore. I don't want to keep beating my head against a wall if it's not going to accomplish anything.
I don't care that it's hard. In fact, I like that it is hard. I care that I seem to be making zero progress. I will progress for short periods but then like the tide, it always slips away and there will be no trace of it left. I was on a long run today, moving so painfully slow not because it was an easy, comfortable pace but because that was all I had. My mind just went to pieces. I stopped, sat on a bench and cried my eyes out. I have been working my ass off since 2008 and I still can't run. In fact, I was slower today than when I ran-walked my first half marathon in 2010 undertrained, on tired legs, with no food or water, and carrying an additional 50 lbs.
I have to ask myself when I am going to face the reality that I am never going to get any better at this. On the rare occasion that I have a good run, it is a wonderful experience. Fully of freedom, fun, and joy. But it's about twice a year. I don't know that I can keep this up for that twice a year. I have a race in two weeks and I couldn't even manage to achieve my race pace from Orlando going downhill. Nothing has happened. Nothing has changed. My body just said no. And right there on the Town Lake trail, I lost it.
I can't blame training. I have a great coach and he is my fourth. I can't blame nutrition or hydration... not today. I can't claim it was a hilly route. Nope, pretty flat. I am treating my asthma... my blood work is all ok... I didn't forget my anti-histamine. Long? No. Only went 6.17 miles today. Nothing explains it other than the fact that every time I push my body on the run, it pushes back.
I have been mentally flirting with the idea of making the switch to cycling but I don't know that I would enjoy it. I don't like riding in a pack and crits seem horrible to me. I like being on a team.. in name... not in a race. The solitary nature of my job would make it incredibly hard to develop the skills necessary to be an effective racer. The lone wolf nature of my personality would make teamwork more than a little difficult. I don't know what to do, quite honestly. All I know is that I don't think I can continue to convince myself that improvement is just up the road if I just try a little harder.
Please don't post and tell me that it's okay to be mid-pack or that just finishing is good enough. I work too hard for this and I am just not wired that way. If I was content with a non-competitive finish, I would not work nearly this hard. To me, pursuit of futile goals is plain stupid.
Right now, I think I might have one more good, frustrated cry, then a nap, then a beer. In that order. I'm sure that by tomorrow, stubbornness will take back over and I will keep pressing forward, progress or not.