As we drove home from my mom’s house on Saturday night, I got the feeling that I wanted to go back out to the beach and run the bridge. Little man was spending the night with his grandparents so we were pretty much free to spend the morning however we wanted. (Exhibit A of “You know you’re a runner” is “when you voluntarily give up an opportunity to maybe sleep in for a pretty run.”)
I would have liked for Mr PugRunner to join me. It was going to be cool enough that it would have been good to clear his sinuses, and I thought he could just walk a bit and then we could have a breakfast date afterwards. However, when the alarm rang, he didn’t budge, so I packed my things and headed out by myself.
Honestly, I could not have asked for better weather. The sun was shining and the temperature never rose above 60*F. It was a little windy, but it always is by the beach.
What I could not prepare for was my body’s emotional response to the bridge.
I haven’t run a bridge, hill or anything more impressive than a speed bump since the Gate. And while I loved that race, and have a lot of great memories from it, my body apparently disagrees.
As I started my way up, I noticed my breathing was getting more and more shallow, and I wasn’t able to catch a good breath. It felt like when I started hyperventilating at the end of the Florida Striders Memorial Day 5K last year, when I just got completely overwhelmed by everything. It was awful. I was about 3/4 of the way up the first side of the bridge when I had to slow to a walk, take a moment to focus on filling my lungs and get my head together.
Fortunately, the view makes it easy to relax.
I resumed my journey to the top of the bridge and then let myself go on the way down. Rather than turning and starting back up again, I gave myself a chance to relax by running the boardwalk that winds under the bridge. It’s a little quieter and a bit more nature-y, so I was able to give myself a chance to recover.
Then it was back up. The shortness of breath didn’t go away, so I built in little intervals for myself (run for two light poles, walk for one, run for three, walk for one). It gave me something on which to focus and helped me feel better.
I like to run the bridge 2 1/2 times on a regular day. It puts me at a little over 4 miles, and I can push myself while doing it. On this particular day, I gave myself permission to take my time. When all was said and done (my Garmin was on low battery, so I used it for half the run and then switched to RunKeeper for the rest), I managed 4.33 miles at a 12:00 pace. Not too bad for the first time back, and I realize I have missed the change of scenery.
I will definitely be working this back into my training routine. I need to get over my mental wall and I need to have some new things to look at as I get working on my longer runs.
Have you ever been sidelined by a mental or emotional response to a run or workout?
How do you cope and get past it?