With a new pair of socks and new compression shorts, I headed to the local park this morning to conquer the dreaded and feared W5R3. 20 minutes of running with no breaks was a frightening prospect. I figured a change in scenery would do me good. The local park is nice and at around 10:00 this morning, it wasn't too busy, though there were several runners/joggers on the trail. The trail around the park is marked, come to find out, with distance markers at 1/4 mile intervals. That was a nice surprise. It's not as flat as I'd have liked, but it has areas of shade that were welcomed at points during my run.
I started out with the 5 minute warm up and was ready to give the 20 minute run a "run for its money", so to speak. However, I'd psyched myself up and may have been a bit over-eager as I think I started out too quickly and found myself gassed early on. Laura's notes about where I was in the run were helpful, but I adjusted my speed before I hit the 1/2 way point so as not to run out of steam before the end. I have taken to chewing gum when I run as a way to keep my mind off the length of my run and to keep my mouth moist. I purchased some "Quench Gum" and was using that today. It worked well for the first part of the run, but by about the 15 minute mark, my mouth was terribly dry and felt like I was chewing cotton balls. I still haven't found a good way to run with a water bottle as carrying it along during the entire time is distracting and seems to disrupt whatever running rhythm I have. So, at about the 15 minute mark, I slowed down long enough to take a quick drink from a water fountain along the path. It helped, but I felt like I'd cheated and decided to make up for it later.
The last 5 minutes weren't easy for me. I was pretty tired and ready for the final 5 minute warm down. Laura's voice telling me that I was done couldn't come soon enough. I never felt like I'd found my rhythm during the run. My stride didn't feel right. My ankle held up well, but I could tell it wasn't 100%. It didn't hurt, but it didn't seem as strong as it normally is (if that makes any sense at all). When I finally finished my 20 minute run, I walked for about 1/2 of the 5 minute warm down period before I stopped by my car for the bottle of Gatorade in it. I then drank it while I finished my 5 minute warm down.
But, something inside me kept nagging me about not running the entire 20 minutes. So, I got the wild idea to run another mile. I recently purchased a Nike + sensor to track my runs and it needed to be calibrated. It had not been properly calibrated as of yet because I've not been able to figure out exactly how long my runs have been since I purchased it. So, with the fact that the trail had 1/4 mile markings, I felt like I couldn't pass up the opportunity. I started out with the intent to run a full mile, but 1/2 a mile was all I could tolerate. So, I stopped there.
I've been home now for several hours and my body is pretty tired. Truth be told, I didn't rest a whole lot when I got home. I had to mow the yard and do some other Honey-Dos around the house. My legs are tired, though, and I am looking forward to a day of rest before I embark on the week 6 challenge.
All in all, I feel pretty proud of myself for running the better part of the 20 minute period today. I consider it a success, but it wasn't easy. I am convinced that many of you are right and that this is as much a mental as a physical challenge. At times, I'm a bit short on the mental toughness index, but I'm learning that I can push through the tough times and come out on the other end.
Thanks for reading and good luck to all of you runners out there. It's good to know I'm not alone in this journey. Until next time, keep running!