First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is

The Donovan fans among us (the RBF, NOT the RFB as I previously referred to you) and others will recognize those lyrics. The beginning of the song goes like this:

The lock upon my garden gate’s a snail, that’s what it is.
The lock upon my garden gate’s a snail, that’s what it is.
First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.
First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.
The caterpillar sheds his skin to find a butterfly within.
Caterpillar sheds his skin to find a butterfly within.
First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.
First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain.

The mountain is me, as are the butterfly and the snail. On a good day I can overcome the mountain, shed my skin and fly. This week I have had to push myself out the door because I felt more like the lock on the gate – a snail. I’ve failed to even show up on swim days and was only marginally successful on Tuesday, a run day. Today was better but I pretty much had to toss myself out the front door as though I were a cat who had just peed on the bath mat.

I was successful, though, heading out the door at about 5 PM with the intention of running 8 miles. I looked at my Garmin early in the run hoping I hadn’t hit 2 miles yet because I felt really whiney and I just wanted to go home but I know that I usually get over that by about 2 miles. And so I did. I was running hard and I was proud of myself and I felt strong. Inhale step, step, exhale, step, step, inhale, step, step. My cadence was good and I was cooking – no more mountain. I got to a water fountain at about 2.5 miles, stopped for a drink and realized I was breathing hard and my heart rate was up. OKAY NOW! GO! But the voice within thought “uh oh – you should probably cool it”.

On I went pumping and huffing and pushing it.

On the way home my hammies started to tighten up and I was tired. So tired. There was the mountain and I was a snail again. Damnit! At about 6.2 miles I started walking. I turned off the Garmin and thought, “screw this – I’m walking home”. And then no – I couldn’t do that. So I lurched home, sometimes running sometimes walking and finally gave up running all together at 7.5 miles. And that was okay, close enough.

So there was a mountain and then there wasn’t and then there was. The lesson I learned – AGAIN is that going out too fast just doesn’t pay off on a long run or even a longish run. My over all pace was 10:30 but had I gone out at that pace it could have been my pace for every mile and I wouldn’t have had to walk. As it was my first miles were 10:03 and then 9:43 and that’s all it took to put the mountain right back in my way.

Saturday I am going to try to be a runner who runs at a 10:30 or 10:45 pace and who does that mile after mile for 8 miles. Then I’ll ride my bike 35 miles and then Sunday I will be a slug who sleeps in, drinks coffee and reads the paper.

The whole story:

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9 Responses to First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is

  1. susie says:

    I have learned that about pacing myself. It’s all in the first mile.

  2. Bob says:

    Pacing is important but I think you really hit on it when you said your heart was racing. The heart rate monitor on my new techie toy has changed how I run and really gotten me more in tune with my body. There are days when I just can’t run fast at a good heartrate. I have really found myslef running much more off heartrate then pace. I love it, it factors in Hills, Wind, Heat, Fatigue, it’s all there in one little number.

  3. jeanne says:

    Oh how I could have written this post! Not until I stopped looking at pace (for the long runs anyway) was I able to manage it. I HOPE you feel good that you went the distance, because you DID, AND you learned the lesson (again), so it’s ALL GOOD. (Of COURSE I remember donovan! Sunshine comes softly…)

  4. Stillwater Heron says:

    I’m the same way!First 2 miles or so are just tough and I have to gut it out at a very slow pace.Somedays it feels like torture, even at a low HR.But if I get that far my body goes into automatic around mile 3 and the flow begins….I love the flow… :)You got out there and did it!Way to go!

  5. Dori says:

    Thanks for the reminder to not start out too fast. And for explaining the lyrics to Donovan’s song. Hope your hammie’s OK.

  6. Susan says:

    Those splits are awesome! I do the same thing – start out too fast like I have to win the race . . . I have to remember that at San Diego.

  7. Stefano says:

    We have always something to learn. Indeed we have also some reason to complain but only why we are runners: too slow, too fast, too cold, too hot, too early, too late, wrong food…..but we are always there: on the road!

  8. Veronica Mitchell says:

    I am not a runner. I came to your site through crazyhipblogmamas. I thought I would comment becauseI just read Jay Leno’s autobiography, and he used to pretend to be Donovan when he was young to get attention from women. Apparently it was creepily successful.

  9. David says:

    ewwwww; Leno lurking around as Donovan?Just start slowly. It is really quite easy. But then, the more you run long and longer, the easier it will be to run faster shorter. Huh?

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