I had my last workout and now all I can do is wait for Thursday's race time to arrive. I actually cutback today to an easy 30 minutes and skipped the 4 sets of 20 sec. strides. I(we) decided to cut the strides because mentally and physically I was just not up to it due to what was suppose to be a simple tune-up workout yesterday.
I started the first 90 sec. interval of the workout way too fast and as I began to feel the lactic acid build up in my calves and quads at 60 sec. all I could think of was crashing and burning in the middle of Thursday's MILE. Since then thoughts of impending doom have invaded my brain, "If you go out fast you are not going to be able to finish", "You are going to blow up halfway and BONK BIG TIME". I could see and feel it all happening almost as if it already had. Just imagine being in the best shape of your adult life and at the end of an amazing period of training and you find yourself moping around the house drowning in a sea of self pity. "What is wrong with me?", I asked myself.
I think what was wrong was that sometime during the last week of training I began thinking that things were beginning to get easy. Short fast intervals with double the recovery had me feeling stronger and faster then ever and I began to believe the mile wasn't going to be so hard after all. Every workout was better then the last and really I was feeling invincible. That's why yesterday's workout turned out to be a huge reality check. Longer intervals with equal recovery(as opposed to double) spelled out what the real deal was going to be come this Thursday. Racing a mile is not like training for a mile I came to realize. During training you cut down the race into short quick segments of running and recovery. In the race you don't get the recovery in the middle of the distance, you don't get to bring your heart rate back down or give your screaming quads a rest. You just have to keep running at that ridiculous speed(3:45+-per km) you never imagined running at but now you are going to be running that speed, the same speed you barely held just yesterday for 90 seconds and hold it for 6 +- minutes. So perhaps now you may be able to understand why at this high point in my life I found myself wallowing in that sea of self pity.
OK so then coach Derrick steps in and gives me some good advice about race strategy and taking it easy on myself and seeing the race as a learning experience and I begin to snap out of it a bit and begin looking around for some inspiration. So what do I do, I decide to google Roger Bannister. I watch his 4 min mile video(he makes it look so easy) and that helps for a moment but I need more. I then move on to the multitude of running videos set to music and I realize when watching them that I am just as moved by the images of the losers as I am by the winners. There is especially one girl in a montage video in the back of the pack who falls to her knees and crawls across the finish line. No one goes to help her because she is still moving forward. Her people wait for her on the other side of that magic line, waiting for her to cross and then they scoop her up and carry her away. "She is not going to be on top of the podium", I thought to myself, however if there was a podium for spirit, for shear effort then I think everyone that day including the winner would have given her the Gold. So there it was, the inspiration I was looking for, I now knew exactly how I wanted to run Thursdays race, I had my plan.
So THE PLAN IS that whatever happens I know for sure that I will never stop trying until I hit the finish line. If I burn out early I will keep running as hard as I can muster however slow that may be. If I take it too easy on the first loop then I will burn all my gas on the last loop and heaven forbid if my knees give out I will crawl on my hands and knees to the finish line. It may not be pretty but I have considered all the possibilities and none of them are as bad as I had worried myself into believing they could be.
Watching the running videos made me realize that in every race the "EFFORT" put forth by each competitor is the great equalizer. How do we determine who tried the hardest or pushed themselves the furthest beyond their limits? We can't. It can't be measured. It can only be felt in the heart of each individual runner. Winning is amazing, winning is great, I want to win but right now I am just as excited to join the ranks of those who try and never give up and who's effort is not heralded on a podium but in their heart when they know they gave it all they had and their prize is taking pride in that.
Wish me Luck,