Posted by: pursuingsub17 | July 31, 2009

Pain is not an excuse

I think that’s what it says on one of Marc’s tech shirts that he bought at last year’s Ironman race in Ceour d’Alene. We were watching the Penticton Ironman 2008 and I had an epiphany. I proclaimed to Marc that this year, if I start having trouble with my IT band again, I’ll just ignore it. I don’t think I will. I’ve had virtually no troubles this year at all except pulling my shoulder and breaking my finger. Other than that, no problems with the IT band or my ankle. My back was tight after one of my long runs a month ago but it’s fine now. Stretching, ice, and changing my posture thanks to reviewing some Yutube videos on running form recently.

Marc smiled and nodded. “Really,” I said. “I didn’t have to stop and stretch and do 5 and 1s. If I had have just mentally got over it, I probably would have finished 10 or 15 mins faster.” Marc agreed. That’s what he does in Ironman distances.

So today I headed out on a 75 minute run – after drinking 3/4 of a bottle of wine last night. I wasn’t feeling pain but after about 6K, I started getting tired. I looked at my watch at my turn around point and realized I had run about 6.5 kilometers in 36 minutes. So I slowed it down a bit – no sense in injuring myself two weeks before the race. After I got home, I did the calculations – just shy of 13K in 75 minutes. That’s 9:30/min miles. I’ve been averaging that pace on my short runs for weeks now. At one point I kept wanting to stop – rationalizing that I wasn’t failing myself if I stopped at 10k and walked the rest of the way. But I didn’t let that happen. I told my brain that my legs were fine and that they didn’t need a walk. Pain is not an excuse – neither is “feeling tired”.

I figured it out. Worst case scenario – if I’m having a completely crappy day – I’ll finish in about 5 hours (still 40 mins faster than last year). If I’m having an amazing day, I’ll run the first 32k from 3:20 to 3:30 and then if I’m feeling really good, I’ll speed it up and finish anywhere from 4:20 to 4:30. If Zeus blesses me with his strength and will, I could quite possibly do 4:15. That would rock.

Regardless, at this point, the mental training needs to kick in – some visualization with positive self talk and not letting physical pain and exhaustion be an excuse to slow down. From here on in, the game is mental.


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