A couple of weeks ago I ran the Squaw Mountain Run for the 4th time. It is a really fun race. 3.5 miles and 2000 feet of climbing up the ski slope at Squaw Valley. Jen and I enjoy doing this race together, and we did it again this year. Since my legs are meaningfully stronger than 2 years ago (the last time I ran the race), and my cardio was pretty good (based on my solid, for me, 10k time on July 4), I had visions of beating my PR of 45:00 for this race.
Boy was I wrong.
I completely sucked. The three other times I did this race, my times were all between 45:00 and 45:30. This time I dropped a 49+ minute bomb. I tried to pace myself intelligently through the first mile, and then when I tried to push the pace, I completely ran out of gas. I sucked so bad I literally hiked the entire last 2 miles.
30 minutes is a solid amount of time to spend on self loathing and disgust. I spent the time effectively, making sure by the finish I truly hated myself, my lack of discipline, my lack of consistent and intelligent training, etc. I could have sped up a bit at the end and passed a few people, but those people were working way harder than I had, and they earned it. I didn't.
I even walked past the photographer near the end of the race. No speeding up and pretending to run for the camera for me.
To add insult to injury, a week after the race I ran a 10 miler, and it was one of the more miserable experiences of my life. I only ran at 9:00 minute pace (I used to do longer runs like this comfortably at 8:00 to 8:30/mile pace) and I thought I might die. I felt like I had run an ultra. I haven't done a ton of long runs this year, but I have enough 2 hour trail efforts under my belt lately that 10 miles at this pace should not be that painful.
So I feel like I'm back at square one. I pretty much wasted the last year. The Squaw race is as much a test of fitness as running, and my fitness sucks. My strength is better, but it's not that great, at least not enough to justify my sorry fitness level and crappy body composition. And who cares how much weight I can lift anyway?
So the last couple weeks has been a steady diet of bodyweight squats, situps, etc. and interval work (jump rope, Airdyne and sprints). I did 500 bodyweight squats 10 days ago and I literally couldn't walk for 4 days. That kind of punishment is necessary right now and good for me. Add in a renewed focus on a very low carb intake diet, and we will see if I can turn this train wreck around.