As if this wasn’t enough that I cried over not being productive just the day before, I also cried because I thought I wasn’t fast enough. The much anticipated and feared Monday, March 25 was supposed to be the very last hard day of the training camp. Everyone was going home on Tuesday. I didn’t look forward to it because I knew that 5x2000m on a hilly landscape and with tired legs is not the kind of thing I would be good at. As a long-distance runner, I should savor such workouts. I should look forward to them. But my weakness is maintaining speed over a distance. This kind of long interval training is very tough for me. Give me an aerobic threshold run for 75 minutes any time! That, too, is not the easiest but at least I am good at it. When it comes to the kind of training, during which I approach my anaerobic threshold, things get really tough.
I wasn’t feeling very enthusiastic already in the beginning. This could be part of what was wrong. The wrong mindset. The mindset of a loser, not a winner. But I simply couldn’t convince myself that I really wanted to run on the cross-country trail on a day, which turned out to be one of the hottest we’d had while staying in Acoteias. Once again, I was all alone. I was the one with a marathon approaching and was thus mainly training alone. While everyone else was doing 4-5x6minute intervals, I was doing 5x8min. At least, my intervals became a tiny bit shorter than initially intended. About 20-30 seconds or so. I was no longer doing 2000 metres, but 8 minutes. At least some relief. But the workout itself was no relief at all. I found myself under the tree where we kept our water bottles after each one of those intervals because I was dehydrated. The entire workout was a torture. I was mad at myself because I couldn’t go faster. After the 4th lap, I went back to the tree to get a sip of water. Most others had already finished and were comparing their times. I heard a friend say that her pace was 3.51 min/km throughout. What?? I did start with a 4.06 min/km interval, but the 4th one was already 4.26 and I was devastated. I don’t blame her, she’s done all the hard work and is obviously more talented than me. But I felt so small and unimportant. I tried to ignore it and simply do my own thing. I jogged away and then stopped. I couldn’t hold back the tears. I cried when no one else saw me do it. What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I become faster? Was I ever going to improve? The entire training camp seemed pointless, I was only becoming slower with every day. The only things that I was good at were the recovery runs. I could run faster than the others and still keep a low heart rate. But what’s the use of it when racing? I’m not faster than the others.
With anger and sadness, I completed the last interval. 4.21 min/km. Slightly better than the previous one, but still not too satisfactory in my opinion. I joined the others who were already sprinting up a small hill. My husband asked how it had gone. Immediately, I started crying again, saying that I wasn’t fast enough, not good enough. My best wasn’t good. He tried to comfort me, telling me that it was because I had never trained with such volume (145 and 130 km per week, respectively) and my body was tired from it all. It was going to be alright once I rest. I wanted to believe him but at that moment I was too sad. When my trainer asked me how it had gone, I said that I was not born for the hills nor the sand and would never run a trail marathon. Once the workout itself was over, the strength returned to my body very quickly. I’m not fast. I only recover fast. What the hell should I do with this “superpower”?
1. Own and live in a house.
Yet another unproductive day. Moreover, I was too tired to do anything.
2. Write AND publish a book.
Not a writing day either.
3. Win a major race.
Another hard day, which means having 2 workouts a day. First, the hideous long intervals training in the morning, which was simply awful. Then, an easy run in the evening, followed by core exercises, etc.