Thursday, February 18, 2016

Learning to Hurt Again

   I realized something during my run last night - I've kind of become a wuss when it comes to my workouts. Oh sure, I'm out there doing it. I'm swimming, biking or running pretty much every day of the week. And it frequently hurts, as exercise generally will...but it doesn't HURT. And that's bad.
   Before I go too deep into this post, let me say that I'm not referring to the kind of hurt that actually causes injury. Because that's just stupid. No, I'm talking about the kind of hurt that breaks you down so far that you want to puke. Or cry. Or makes your legs burn so badly that you don't think you can take another step...but you keep going anyway. THAT kind of hurt. And unfortunately, it seems that I've kind of forgotten how to do that.
   I say "unfortunately" because that kind of hurt is what makes you a better athlete. That's the kind of hurt that makes you faster. That's the kind of hurt that makes you so mentally tough that you feel like you can do something as insane as covering 140.6 miles in one day under your own power. I knew how to hurt when I did IMCHOO. But that's gone now.
   That I've become a wuss hit me last night when I was running with East Nasty. I was supposed to do 3.5 miles of tempo - about 8:30/mile. The kicker is that while I can generally do this on flats, last night's route was hilly (as every route in East Nasty is). I tried to not let that throw me, and I lined up to run with the 8:30 pace group. One of my VFF (very fast friends), Bree, even offered to pace me. All I had to do was follow Bree and not think about the route or my pace or anything. But what I couldn't block out the was hurt. Those hills just killed me and I had to walk. The kicker is that the old pre-IMCHOO me would have kept going once the hurt started. The last two months before IMCHOO something kicked in and I WOULD NOT stop my training until I hit my pre-determined stopping point no matter how bad I felt. Now, I hit a hill and I'm like "This hurts. I can't run anymore." And so I don't. My mental toughness is shot.
   So now I just need to figure out how to love the hurt and not let it stop me from accomplishing my goals. If anyone has any suggestions as to how to make this happen, please let me know. In the meanwhile, I'll over at the Pedestrian Bridge doing hill repeats.