Know When to Fold ’em

Guten Morgen (or tog…depending on when you are reading) from Hamburg! I arrived yesterday and had a relaxing day, including an easy recovery run on the treadmill and some lower body strength work. I didn’t sleep on the plane, so it was everything I could do to stay awake until I could attempt to sleep for the entire night. I made it until 7 p.m. before I gave in and slept like a rock until 6 a.m. when my alarm went off.

With 11 hours of sleep, I was more than ready to hit my favorite running trail this morning for some speed work. I have mentioned it several times before, but Hamburg is one of my favorite places in the world to run and 40* and drizzling made for perfect running weather.

run 2 hamburg

From an old post…

I headed out with a plan of doing 10 miles, with descending intervals, starting at 1600.

The first sign that I was “off” was in the warm-up when my steady pace that usually is around mid-8’s was 9:15.

After a 3-mile warm-up, when I got to the main trail, I saw the trail conditions and briefly considered skipping speed and doing a regular run. I had figured that the consistent rain would make the hard packed trail a little soft, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the massive amount of debris. Apparently the river flooded last week leaving sticks, rocks, sand, etc. covering the trail.

I dismissed the idea of skipping speed and started the 1600. Since it was dark, I was really struggling to dodge crap, but I kept pushing, knowing that even if I didn’t hit my goal pace (6:50), the effort was still there. The first mile clocked in at 7:08.

I should have called it then.

But after a 200m rest (walking) I moved on to the 1200. The section I was on was pretty clean and I was only hopping around the puddles, so I maintained pace pretty well at first. Then I came up on a big pile of debris, stopped my watch so I could walk around it then continued on. I probably walked a little more than I needed to though. Then around the 800m point, as I was contemplating if I should turn back to avoid going out too far, I all of a sudden found myself stopped. I have no idea why I stopped, I wasn’t even really considering it, but there I was with my hands on my knees, resting.

I yelled at myself for stopping, rested a little more, argued with myself some more, then finished it out. 5:05. 2 seconds over my target, but with 2 stops. 

I should have called it then.

But I walked another 200m and started the 1000. Now I was going back the other direction and the trail was again covered in debris. My pace was way off, but I just kept telling myself that the effort was what mattered. I knew at that point that being off my pace was not solely due to the trail conditions. I finished the interval in 4:46. Almost 40 seconds above my goal.

I should have called it then.

I could hear Jess in my head saying that when your body doesn’t do what you think it should be able to do, you are not doing yourself any favors by pushing. You are only risking injury.

But instead of calling it, I walked another 200m and started the 800. It was lighter at this point so I could see, which helped, but my pace was still way off. I finished the 800 in 3:46. 30 seconds over the target.

I should have called it then. 

But of course, I am stubborn and despite knowing I was making a mistake, I took off for the 600. I had to turn around at one point, so I tried to stop my watch. Apparently it didn’t stop, so when I “started” it again, it wasn’t going. I looked down when I thought I should be close to done and saw it wasn’t going and finally…I called it. 

I slowly jogged back to the hotel, finishing with just over 9.5 miles.

I don’t know why I was off this morning. Sure the conditions weren’t great and I have just traveled here, etc. but I have flipped time zones with way less success than this and had great runs. I am honestly not super worried about the workout itself…I know one bad run doesn’t determine my marathon success. What I am most disappointed in is that I wasn’t able to see what was happening and call it a day sooner. Listening to my body and doing what it needs is the ONLY thing that is going to get me through higher mileage weeks healthy. I pushed myself when I shouldn’t have and didn’t listen to my body and that makes me really mad at myself.

Next time I am having an off day, I hope that I will be more in tune with what my body is trying to tell me and will know when to fold ’em and call it a day.

About Corey

I am a 30-something swim, bike, run addict married to my best friend and in love with my two schnoodle doggies.
This entry was posted in Goals, running, training, Travel, work travel. Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Know When to Fold ’em

  1. carotabi says:

    Oh….aren’t we all bad at that though?! I know I am. I would walk a 10 miler just to say I covered the distance instead of calling it and I know it does not do any good to do that but I do it…I have completed crappy run in a crappy way just because the plan said 11 miles….for me it is all avoid feeling guilty and like a looser…I exaggerate with the looser but you know what I mean..right,,,it is hard to call it I think especially when we are out already…listening to what the body is saying when it’s not saying what we want to hear is not easy..hey look I am old like a dinosaur I should know better….and well I don’t most of the time…:)

  2. Terzah says:

    We’ve all been there! Sometimes you don’t know when it might suddenly click, and a bad workout turn good. I’m sure jet-lag plays a role in this case, even though your night’s sleep was so good. You’ll get it back next time.

  3. Jodi says:

    It’s that never quit attitude!!! I would do the same darn thing. Enjoy Germany. Don’t know how long you are there for this time, but totally jealous. Itching for our Switzerland vacation this summer.

  4. Oh yes, we are a stubborn lot. I would have done the same! In fact, I did the same.. after having some shin pain last week, I still went out and pushed myself for a virtual 5k this morning. My shin is better but not 100%… I know the smart thing would have been more rest, but why can’t we be smart sometimes?? At least you’re not injured! Those bad runs come.

  5. hmm so you had numerous times where you should have called it…I think for me that’s every speed work session 🙂 No truly I think sometimes we get in our own way, not sure if we need to stop because our brain is tired or our body

  6. oh, you know i can relate! and don’t be too hard on yourself for this one. just LEARN from it (and yes, I’m telling that to myself as much as to you)!! 🙂 it’s so hard to listen to our bodies when we know we’re capable of more. can’t wait to hear about your redemption run!!

  7. Nina says:

    Welcome back! Hope your next run is better. There are some nice picture of how flooded the river was last Tuesday, you can find them here

  8. Lauren says:

    Definitely been there…many times. Once I’m out there running, it’s so hard to call a run even when I know it’s for the best. It’s part stubbornness, part pride, I guess. I’ve even continued running on pain that I KNEW deep down wasn’t typical soreness and wound up injured. It’s stupid, but yet my default is to always yell at myself for being a wimp and try to keep pushing…every single time. It takes being able to step back from the situation and really reflect on why I’m feeling this way (ie am I just tired or is there something else going on) for me to recognize when to call it, and when to push through.

    I’m sorry this run was so tough! Hope the next one is better!!

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  11. elizabeth says:

    ahhh, totally understand. i ran through “off” for a month. be smart and listen to it! sorry it wasn’t your best.

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