Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Visions of Good and Plenty and a Slurpee

Today's Run: Temperature: 67 degrees. Linear Trail: 5 miles; splits: 9:33; 9:25; 9:23; 9:06; 7:56; 45:23; 9:04/mile pace.

Today's scheduled run was for 40-45 minutes at a (hopefully) 9 minute per mile pace. I was looking forward to my run since I had a successful run yesterday, I was running the Farmington Canal Trail, and it was a perfect 67 warm degrees. Warmer temperatures again also meant shorts and a short sleeved shirt again. Woo-hoo! I arrived at the parking lot, and was surprised that it was nearly filled. Apparently I wasn't the only one who wanted to get out and enjoy the warmer temperature. I started slowly since I wanted to see how well my legs had recovered from yesterday's run. It quickly became evident that yesterday's run had taken more than I had hoped out of me. I was once again in lead legs land. It usually takes me about 40-45 seconds to get to the a small bridge near the start of the trail. It took me 50 plus seconds today. Not only that, but my stride was off. When it's happened before, I've compared it to a race horse being off stride. The first mile was a joke. Off stride, in lead legs land, and just not feeling it. I looked at Garmin, and he wasn't helping. With about 9/10 of a mile run, I was already closing in on the 9 minute mark. My brain urged my legs to move faster, but legs just weren't responding. Mile 1 passed, with Garmin displaying a 9:33. Wow, that was ugly. I was hoping to loosen up around that time, since that's what happened during yesterday's run at around mile 1.2. Mile 1.2 came and went, and my stride was still off, and things weren't getting any better. Mile 2 arrived, and Garmin ticked me off again with a 9:25 split. Now I was beginning to feel as if 5 miles might have been too ambitious. Wait, I now needed to shut up left brain. No logical thinking allowed. I was also being bothered by the sun shining through the bare trees along the trail. As I ran, I kept going from sun to shade, and the sun being deflected by the bare branches was acting like a strobe light on my right eye. From mile 2 to the turn around point at mile 2 1/2, I was finding it nearly impossible to run between my stride being off, lead legs, and disco strobe light sunlight in my right eye. I almost stopped and walked, but didn't. I just wanted to get to the halfway point so that I could turn around and run back to my car. After what seemed like an eternity, I reached the halfway point and turned around. At that point I was thirsty and mad at myself for not properly preparing for the run. I didn't bring gels or anything with me. I wanted and needed water ASAP. The water fountain was 3/4 of a mile away. The sun was no longer an issue, and my stride was slowly getting back to normal, so I picked up the pace. I wanted to get to the water fountain ASAP. I also had a strange craving for Good and Plenty. Yes, Good and Plenty. I would have sold my soul for a box of Good and Plenty at that point. Obviously I was dehydrated and delirious! I reached mile 3: 9:23. Faster than miles 1 and 2, but still a disappointment to me. I still had 3/10 of a mile to go to the water fountain. My stride had returned and I was feeling like the water would be the cure all. 3/10 of a mile is forever when you have mega cotton mouth. Fortunately no one was using it, and I drank for about 30 seconds, and resumed running. I should have drank more water, but dammit I still had 1.65 miles left to run, and I wanted to go buy my Good and Plenty...and a Slurpee. If I was going to go buy Good and Plenty, then I was also going to buy a Slurpee. Talk about a sugar fix. I guess it was a dumb move on my part not bringing any GU Gels along with me. With my stride now back to normal and water inside me, I was feeling a lot better. At that point, I was trying to find a way to get through my still present lead legs. Time to thank a fellow blogger again. Today's award goes to Lindsay, from Chasing the Kenyans. Here's the advice she gave me yesterday while commenting on another post: "when my legs felt like cement not long ago, i found that picking up the pace helped more than slowing down, strangely enough. have you ever tried doing a couple strides? or even pushing yourself for 20 seconds here and there during a run? maybe that would help shake your legs loose without straining yourself too much (as it wouldn't need to be but for 10-20 seconds)." I remembered her 20 seconds suggestion out of all that. I told left brain that I was going to bust my ass for 20 seconds, then slow down again. Left brain agreed that it was a VERY logical idea since it would only be for 20 seconds. My entire brain liked it because it knew the quicker I finished, the sooner I would be eating the what we decided at that moment would be a LARGE box of Good and Plenty and a LARGE pina colada slurpee. Yes, I wanted and needed a sugar fix BAD! I waited until I crossed a road, and with 1 1/2 miles to go, I was off and running like I was being chased. I tricked left brain into allowing me to continue to mile 4, and Garmin beeped and I saw a 9:06 on it's screen. I had run a 9:06 split with about 30 seconds added in for drinking water. My brain loves math, and quickly realized that I had just run about an 8:36 split. With a mile to go, and visions of Good and Plenty and a Slurpee in my mind, I threw caution to the wind. Left brain and what was left of lead legs were going to have to deal with me running as fast as I could as far as I could. If I needed to slow down, I would. But dammit, I wasn't going to slow down because Lindsay said it would work and I was going to be writing this post and be held accountable if I wussed out, and I wanted my freakin' Good and Plenty and Slurpee NOW!! Across another road, and a slight downhill, and I had 8/10 of a mile to go. Legs were moving, and moving fast. Up ahead in the distance, I spied a familiar sight. The Cheshire High School girls cross country team was heading towards me. I've seen them the past week or so at that time. Now I couldn't slow down, or I'd look like a wimp in front of a dozen or so of them. I continued to run all out. As we passed each other, I had about a half mile to go. I said hello to all of them, told them good job, and got a chorus of "thanks" in reply. Awwww, how sweet! I turned a slight corner, still in an all out sprint. Less than half a mile to go, and I could see the end of the trail....and more cross country runners. There was no slowing down now until I reached the end. I didn't want or need to slow down anyhow. My legs were feeling the best they've felt in a long time (Thanks again, Lindsay), and I had some great music blaring in my ear. I greeted the "stragglers" as I passed by them, and started scolding myself to keep running fast. I looked around, and seeing no one nearby with 3/10 of a mile left, turned into a male version of Jillian from the Biggest Loser. I was yelling at myself to run faster, push harder, hurry up, and don't you dare slow down. I felt great. I reached mile 5, Garmin beeped, and I pressed the stop button. My run was over, and I felt exhilarated. I knew my last mile was good, but was astonished: 7:56. Damn! I guess I've discovered the key to me running fast: Good and Plenty and a Slurpee. By the way, if anyone's interested, I found the actual old commercial for Good and Plenty on YouTube:
P.S. I did indeed buy Good and Plenty and a pina colada slurpee afterwards...


Anais said...

Well after this brilliant post, I have no doubts: you should be JIllian Michaels for Halloween!! ;)

Seriously though, great job! It's almost more rewarding I find to improve drastically during a run and finish when all you wanted to do was quit, then to have an all-out great run.

ps: I've never heard of Good and Plenty. I guess I'll add that to the slurpees :P

Lisa said...

Dang you are fast. You are good with the left brain talk. I do the self-talk too but I'm not sure what side of my brain I'm talking to though lol.

No Good and Plenty cravings here. For me it's all about Hot Tamales. Awesome job on your run Rick. When I'm a grown up runner I want to be just like you ;)

Meg Runs said...

How funny that you were craving candy and a slurpee!
Great job on the last mile, you're going to have a great race!

Tara said...

Good and Plenty and a Pina Colada Slurpee? LOL.

I'm glad that you kicked the lead outta those legs. Nice run!

lindsay said...

haha. ok, you are my hero. "as soon as i finish this run i'm getting some candy and a slurpee" that's my kind of logic!

glad the speed-bursts helped! i kept thinking i needed to take it easy, let the legs recover, but they continued to be heavy. when i threw in a bit of "speed work" they lightened up! don't know how or why it worked, but i'm glad it worked for you too.

Believe said...

OH dear!!! I got a great chuckle out of that!! The Good and Plenty and Slurpee part, I mean. :)

You are doing fantastic!
I admire the way you beat your left brain into submisison-I'm workin on it. Great post!

Irish Cream said...

Great job gutting it out and getting all speedy towards the end! Dang! Talk about picking it up!

Also, this post just reminded me that I have to get a slurpee after a long run sometime soon--I live across the street from a 7-11!! :)