Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Dead A** Last

I over-slept this morning.  I was toying with the idea of randomly showing up on the fly to run with my friend SpeeDee.  She’s usually at a particular intersection at 5:20 a.m.  I didn’t give her a heads up though, because I was so tired after my day of work yesterday that I thought, if I wake up and am too sore to run, I’ll stay in bed and run later.  

So yeah.  That was my half-formed half-assed mental plan as I set my alarm and dozed off.

I bolted awake at 4:56 a.m. with a catchy alarm tune singing in my ear, my heart in my throat, and a run on my mind.

I need to run, I said, as I flew out of bed.  I tossed, tugged, pulled and laced, and 7 minutes later I was outside... walking my dogs.

C’mon dogs... c’mon!  I’ve got to...  there’s no way I’m making it to SpeeDee’s run.  Aaaaannnddd I think I knew that when I got dressed in these running clothes, but at least I made the effort.

There’s another run that goes from the same intersection at 0530 and I knew I could still make it.  Oh freaking five thirty.  I’ve never tried to run with them before.  I know they’re fast.  Ed and Harry Potter are frequently among them and there’s a little voice that echo's my old sentiments, “no way am I trying to run with Those People...” 

Except lately I’ve been advised to tell my inner voice to STFU.  That the little inner voice is holding me back from great things.  So I declared to myself, as I buckled my seatbelt and yanked the car into drive, “The Inner Voice of Sense and Reason is to be ignored for the rest of today”. 

Starting at 0505 this morning, I put her on mute.

Maybe not my best idea, but let’s not get off topic.

I drove to the Rogue Run thinking, Why the F*ck not? Right?  May as well go kick my ass this morning, and why worry if I don’t know the route?  Why fret if I don’t know who will be there?  Or that the people I do know will be there are blistering fast runners?  I mean, Hey, what could happen?

I'm GBA gf.  I’ve got this.

I so did not “got this”.

Mile 1 was an 8:45 ish pace....  That was the warm up?  After that, things got interesting.  I worked every single step of the run.  Every. Single. Step.

The group has a system for mixing paces called “back to last”.  The fastest runners occasionally loop all the way back to the end of the pack to “pick up” the last runner.  Then they run off again, and loop back again.

Good stuff.



Except for the part of the morning that went like this, “Are you last?”

“Yep,” I replied.  “Last.... that’s me.... ”

That was not an awesome feeling.

Mentally, this was a challenging place to find myself.  I’m not that slow, am I?  I mean, as I looked down at the 8:18 on my watch and watched the group pull away from me like I was yogging (I think it's a soft j), I thought, “butbutbutbut... I’m running a freaking 8:18!”

And then I thought -

So, you're running a freaking 8:18?  It seems that to keep up with them this morning you need to be running a freaking 8:00.  Pick it up, G.

Each time the group circled back to last, and lest we forget, I was dead ass last, I would try to push my dead ass last self a little harder.

I barely held it together at points.  It freaking sucked to watch them blow past me and pull away again and again.  I wanted to cut the route short, but I knew that if I kept pushing to hang onto the group that my dear friend LongLegsLeslie (3L) would loop back to me, and WineNOTwhine (WnW) would be near by to encourage me.  I thought, I’ll borrow some energy from Harry Potter as he runs by me next time.  MTT Coach Michael escorted me up a long dark hill, feeding me words of strength as we climbed.

I remember thinking that this was a hard run, maybe the hardest run of my life, because it is mentally difficult to watch the group pull away.  I suppose some people would quit; some would choose to cut the route and go a different way.

That's not where I let my head go.  I wanted to be in the group.  I wanted to go faster, to push harder.  I was hungry for the pain that accompanies running faster than one's comfort zone.  I wanted to run side by side, in the conversation, rubbing elbows with the pack.

Mental toughness today wasn’t about the run. 

It was about hanging on to the hard effort even though my effort would only ensure that I was still dead ass last.  I didn’t really finish dead ass last, exactly.  The last group of “back to last” nestled me into the fold and we all ran in together... at an 8:25.

Brook, another runner I don't know at all, said, "What was the mileage?  My watch must've thought it was a hard run too, 'cos it died."

I looked down and my mouth formed a little "oh".  

While the "back to last" gang must've run further, I still managed to knock out 7.20 miles in 1:03:07.  not bad, not bad at all.

Today at the end of the run I was raw.  My legs felt like ground beef... beef that had been pounded with a mallet... and possibly fed to some carnivore...  I flopped on a chair near some other runners in the brightly lit coffee shop.  The buzz of endorphins was as impossible to miss as the caffeine in my cup.  It felt good to hurt that bad in the company of others.

Despite the pain and misery of the morning, as soon as I got home I looked at my calendar.  I wanted to know when I could have the privilege of being dead ass last again.

~ savor the run ~ respect the distance ~

1 comment:

Pam @ herbieontherun.com said...

Love it. Dead ass last or not... that's bad ass.