The Five Mile Meltdown & Why I'm Ditching Nike+ (for now)

Its time to get back in the saddle again. Well, actually, back on the pavement again. Following a week break after the triathlon it was time to put the running shoes back on and hit the road. Marci and I are running the US Half Marathon in San Francisco in November. It seemed like a good idea six months ago when we signed up. We figured we'd both be super trained from the triathlon so training another five weeks for the half shouldn't be that big of a deal, right? Oh, were we wrong!

Marci and I have been following a half marathon training plan for the past three years and its gotten me through two half marathons and Marci through four:


However, this year we wouldn't be starting from the beginning, we'd be starting at week six. The problem was, I hadn't run more than seven miles during my training for the triathlon. The thought of running 11 miles on the first Saturday back seemed like sheer torture to me. So I looked into other schedules and found the popular Hal Higdon Novice 2 schedule.

I decided to start at week seven, but skip the week nine schedule and go right on to week 10. So in the five weeks to train I'd run weeks 7, 8, 10, 11, and 12. But knowing I probably needed some longer week day runs in I decided to mix the two schedules together:


I thought, ok, this is doable. I'm slowing increasing my long runs one mile a week and increasing my total miles one mile a week. My first five miler back was great. I felt good, strong, and fast. My pace was great, my time was great, this was going to be a piece of cake. Then came the second five miler the next day. Two miles in I felt like death. My legs felt heavy, my body was tired, and I didn't know if I could even finish. I ended up walking part of it and killing my pace. When I finished and realized how off my time was the meltdown began. I panicked, started crying, and felt incredibly frustrated with my performance. Then I started hyperventilating - something I've never done. I couldn't catch my breath and I felt my heart beat race. Then, as soon as it started, a little voice popped in my head and said, 'CALM THE F- DOWN!' (Pardon my expletive.) And I immediately stopped panicking. Somehow my mind realized how ridiculous I was acting and gave me a subconscious smack in the face. Exactly what I needed.

So I ran slow and had to walk - big deal! I probably overdid it. I ran the day before, I'm not a professional athlete, today was going to be slower, period. Its just how my body works. But instead of congratulating myself for getting out there I was berating myself for not being good enough. I had become a slave to my Nike+ app spitting out pace and time.

While I am a firm believer in the Nike+ app and love to be able to look back at my run data and see how I've improved or ran under certain conditions, I had become obsessed with it. Two seconds off my pace and I would freak out. Two seconds! So I decided to do something unbearable in the past - I'm ditching the app. For now.

I ran nine miles this weekend without the app, the first five without music, only my Garmin watch to buzz each mile so I knew how far I had to go. I've even changed my Garmin's settings to only show me miles, total time, and heart rate. And let me say, it was liberating. I didn't even notice half the miles as they went by.  

I'm on week two now and I ran five miles this morning not knowing how fast I was going, not even able to be concerned with my pace, and I did something I haven't in a long time - I enjoyed the run.