One of the things I miss most about life in California was our anonymity. I was made painfully aware of this a few days ago. Because just in case you thought I was exaggerating about how abysmal my finish was in the 10k last Saturday- our local paper ensured that our entire community can authenticate my stellar performance!
I finished 94th out of 122 runners...I know. I know. I have some work to do. I take some small comfort in the fact that had I run the 5k- I would have finished 77th out of 176 runners. So it does appear that the 10k runners tend to be a more serious running bunch here...which means if I don't want to be at the back of the pack next year- someone needs to suck it up and do some speedwork and hills.
Today's run was a 4-miler with the first two miles downhill (easy to feel cocky and confident), and the second two miles back uphill (I sucked...I had to stop and walk 3-4 times and ran something like 12-minute miles). It was pretty disappointing, but I have to remember that I've only done that run 1-2 times, so it's going to take more than a few months to be able to conquer it.
Nonetheless, today's run has brought me to the following dilemna-
1. Should I suck up my fear/dislike of hills and speedwork (my weaknesses) and integrate some drills into my limited training? It could improve my performance in races, but it could also make me start to dread my runs. Yet, I don't want to automatically say I shouldn't do it, because I may find that once I push past my initial fears/discomfort, I may actually enjoy becoming a faster and stronger runner.
2. Or....should I not focus on my race performance/times and instead focus on what I love about running- which are the long(er), flatter distances that allow me to feel effortless and free as I propel myself forward as far as my legs will carry me?
Please don't tell me a hybrid of the two approaches would be best, because if you do, you obviously don't know that manic people don't do well with 'middle of the road' moderate approaches to anything. If that were the case, I would also have learned to 'eat sensibly' by now (why do they put all those Cheetos in a bag if they didn't want you to eat them all at once?), or accept that 'it's okay' to not have an immaculate home 24/7.
Anyway, at this point, because I'm only a month into the runs and lack time, I think I'm more inclined to go with the latter approach. I don't want to mess with something that once brought me such tremendous joy by getting all anal retentive about it (not that THAT'S ever happenned). ;-)