Holding Yourself Back

Today I ran 6 miles. I felt a bit sluggish and heavy at the start but I pushed ahead thinking run easy, go with the flow, you are still battling a cold. I looked at my Garmin here and there and halfway through I was convinced it was lying. I knew my route. I knew approximate mile markers. I started clocking and checking and the Garmin wasn't lying to me. It truly seemed to be on target. So why is it that I am "under the weather" and able to pull off 6 miles with an overall pace of 8'45"? Please note, my GMP (goal marathon pace) has been 9'00" in order to break a 4 hour marathon.

I am a firm believer in looking at your running to ascertain what is or isn't working and my past couple of runs have been pretty good since I have been sick. Yesterday I ran 4 miles with an overall pace of 9'03". So what is the secret? And no, I am not going to say continue to get colds so I can run well. Imagine what I could do without a cold!

I think there are a few things at play here.

Vitamin D: Almost 6 weeks ago at my routine physical the doctor found that my vitamin D levels dropped significantly since my last check. I was taking vitamin D on a regular almost daily basis in my multivitamin (1000 IU) so we opted to do a 6 week prescription strength once a week treatment. My final dosage is this coming Friday. Within a week I felt my energy levels coming back up. Perhaps my improved running performance is tied to better vitamin D levels. And yes, I will be continuing to take daily vitamin D (2000 IU) to keep my levels up. I also learned it is better to take vitamin D with your biggest "fattiest" meal of the day since it is a fat soluble vitamin. This aids your body in its uptake. Oopsie....before learning this I was taking my vitamins in the morning on an empty stomach.

Hydration: You know I am big on hydration but as much as I thought I was doing things right, after hearing a report on the signs of dehydration and what it can do to you I got to wondering. Am I really drinking enough? You see, I have been battling sugar cravings, afternoon fatigue, foggy brain, and headaches and been blaming hormones and questioning perimenopause. However, after two doctors confirmed that I am not on that hormonal road just yet and then hearing this report I had to ask...am I drinking enough? Every body is different and ounce wise I feel I am but am I really drinking enough water to compensate the caffeine I drink (a diuretic) and the amount of running and sweating I do? I can tell you with this cold I am hydrating like crazy to flush the virus out of me, thin the mucous, and keep my lungs happy. Well, at least that is my plan and I know I am doing a good job. My urine is a beautiful clear color, I am going to the bathroom more often than I would like, and my weight is up. Seriously, there was a time when my RPE (rate of perceived exertion) that I felt today would be I was running 10 minute miles not sub-9 minute miles. Perhaps there is something here.

The Mental Side: Yep, my mind. I will be completely honest...my mental training is the weakest link. My self doubt can kill a run or race and I have been striving ever so hard to let go of my mental hurdles and my plans in order to trust His plans for me. I feel I am making process but it is by baby steps. Old habits are hard to break and one of those habits is setting the treadmill pace. For many years treadmill running was my go to and I thank God I am running outside more and finding His pace for me versus me telling me what my pace is. If I were to step on a treadmill right now I would set it to 6 (a 10'00" mile pace) and run along not thinking twice. Some days I may tweak the pace and incline here and there to combat boredom but in my mind, I run a 10 minute mile. Even today as I stepped outside to run I thought, okay, 6 miles. It will take me an hour. Am I going to stop setting my treadmill to 6? No. But sometimes I may. Why not all the time? Because I also firmly believe it is good to run slower some days and as long as I am running most days outside faster, a 10'00" mile run on the treadmill once or twice a week won't kill me. In fact, it may help save me from the competitive side of me. Yep, when I am running outside I am less likely to hold myself back to a set pace. If I see my pace quickening I tend to see how long I can hold that "faster" pace. Reeling myself in is a wee bit hard to do on the road but I feel that is a skill I too will need to master.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the ability to switch from a talk show to tunes on my phone while I run.

Daily Bible Verse: The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. ~ Psalm 28:7

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