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Darn it, I may just have to eat more.

2004-03-23 - 9:10 a.m.

Speaking of carbs-as-fuel, on Sunday I had a hearty brunch of one scrambled egg, bacon, toast, homefries, and coffee, and then headed to the gym (the third day in a row I made it to the gym to train Ė go me!). I was facing that particular run with some trepidation as I was feeling pretty full and my head was filled with colourful visions of tossing my cookies right there on the treadmill if I pushed too hard. Instead, I astonished myself by having one of my best runs so far this training season.

I started off fairly slow but once I settled in I decided to nudge the speed up to see how it felt. I had every expectation of backing off again but instead felt that I could maybe do a bit better. I ended up doing the last third of my Ĺ hour at 6.3 or above (I was even bumping into the front of the treadmill at 6.6 by the end). This was a huge contrast to my previous runs where I was fighting with myself to not let my speed drop below 6.0 before the end of my Ĺ hour. Just the day before Iíd succumbed to hitting stop at 25 minutes. Iíd started my usual internal battle at only 15 minutes in, and the scales were tipped when a man wearing too much cologne got on the treadmill beside me 5 minutes later. Yech.

Now 6.6 is still a far cry from the pace of 7.45 miles per hour I need to reach and maintain for the entire 10k if I want to reach my target of 50 minutes, but the fact that I wasnít hot and tired and mentally lamenting how much I hate, hate, hate this damn running and why, oh why, did I sign on for this again, was a huge deal. Over the preceding week I had wondered how I could possibly, in the past, have reached the point where I would feel ok while training and when the heck was I going to feel like that this year? I feel very foolish to have forgotten the lessons I should know by heart by now: one, that having fuel in your body goes a long way towards not running out of steam and maintaining a positive feeling while running, and two, that taking the treadmill in front of the fan really helps keep me from getting overheated. Above all, the important thing that I intellectually know but still, after several years, havenít learned to feel deep down, is that running is more a mental challenge than a physical one. Feeling hot and grumpy sabotages a run more surely than any sort of physical fatigue in the muscles that are actually working.

I think part of the problem is that Iím carrying more weight than Iím used to this year and had been unconsciously viewing my training as a weight-shedding opportunity. And to eat before I worked out would mean I was burning the calories I had just consumed instead of the calorie reserves I have stored in that layer of pudge Iíve developed in the last couple of years. I want those reserves gone! But lesson learned, Iíll try to remember to eat something before beginning my workout. After all, the main reason Iím training is to get faster and that wonít happen if my brain gives up the fight after 15 minutes at 6 miles an hour.

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