Today when I took off to run, things did not go well. When I went to connect my watch to GPS satellite it asked me if I wanted to continue to use the watch indoors. I was standing on the side walk outside my house. This was not a good sign.
Things went worse from there, every time I started to run my heart rate would spike up, way above my target of 137. I slowed down, but my heart rate would not come back down. I slowed more. Then more. Then I realized I was really just walking, so I gave in a walked a bit. Finally my heart rate dropped, straight down to 121. So, I decided to start running again, and it instantly spiked. All the while my pace is displaying at 14:42. Now, I’ve had to slow down a lot to maintain my target heart rate of 137, but not that much. Not even on a bad day. This cat and mouse game of chasing my desired heart rate continued for about 0.4 miles. Then I got truly frustrated and thought forget it (ok, I might have thought a different f word) and I just took off. I fell into what I know was around a 9:00 mile pace, and I looked down at my watch and it was still reading a 14:28 pace.
So I just stopped.
I stopped and I got mad. Mad at my tech. Mad at this style of training. Mad at running.
And when I realized I was mad at running, all the mad turned to sad. I love running. I love the escape running provides. I use it as a way to work out frustration, not a place to build it. How could I be at a place where I was mad at running?
Now, I’m a pretty laid back person. I’m and extrovert, I’m the youngest sibling, I’m not type A. (Which I guess makes me type B? Apparently us non type A people never really got around do determining and defining our label.) I don’t get mad easily and feeling sad helped me calm down pretty quickly. I decided to try a total tech reset and shut down. Then I powered back up to try again. Things worked out fine from there. I had only covered 0.71 miles on my first go around, so I decided to start fresh from where I stood and begin my 4 miler again.
Over those four miles I had some time to think about how I had arrived at a place where I could feel frustrated with running. And how long maintaining that feeling would be acceptable. And why I felt so frustrated. I realized that heart rate training has completely flipped how I measure running success. Before, being able to maintain a particular pace as I increased in distance was how I measured personal success. I sprinkled in a few races for speed challenges, but basically, if I could maintain just under a 9:00 minute mile, I was doing well.
Now, success has a very different look. I want to see my pace go down while maintaining the same heart rate. But in order to do this, I have had to slow way down and am therefore utterly failing according to my old measure of success. I know, it’s my old measure of success and so I should let it go, but it is hard. A little part of me feels like I’m failing every time I run. Add that to the fact that I have only been trying this for two weeks and have yet to maintain any consistent pace at my target heart rate, and you get all around failure. Ultimately though, I do believe that I will see success with the new method, so I want to stick with it. As I ran, I decided to give it two months.
Two months is not arbitrary. The ultra race that I wanted to try and run is in October. Based on my mileage coming off of Ragnar, I could be “ready” in time. But, because I have decided to re-define ready, I am sacrificing my mileage big time. At my current mileage and workout style there is not way I could run an ultra in October. So, I’ve decided to give it two months. I’m hoping that within those two months I will see enough improvement to keep me motivated to continue with the training. If not, I would still have 5 1/2 months to gear up for the ultra if I still want to give it a go. That seems like a fair compromise, right?