MarathonMaiden's Blog

February 18, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 10:20

So before I get into talking about my tempo I want to say I’m so glad that you guys liked my Gym Crazies post.  Again, I want to reiterate that the people I described were *stereotypes* so I know that it’s generalizations and that doesn’t make them bad people.  I think you guys understood that and I got lots of first time commentators too, hope you guys stick around! I’m fun, I promise (even though this post is very self-doubty) 🙂

Okay yesterday I finally got my Christmas present (!): my camera. Yay. So the first picture I want to share with you is one of my Quantum homework because it kept me up for a bit last night:

Oh how I love my major (and you can click on it to enlarge)

and thereby did not let me get a lot of sleep.  Note that the portion I have in that picture isn’t really even any of the math, it’s mostly set-up.  And not that I’m sleeping much anyway.  But that’s a story for another day.

But I had a tempo today. The weather was absolutely wonderful: clear, sunny, 35*, no wind, no snow on the roads.  I was really hoping for redemption from my tempo last week where conditions made my pace slower than I would have liked normally.

Definitely wasn’t the case.  And I really don’t know why. There isn’t any real explanation for why today sucked.  Perfect conditions here!

I’m honestly a little (actually VERY embarrassed) to share my info for this run.  But since I want to be honest about my training, both the good and bad, here it is:

  • 3.2 mile warm up @ 10:21
  • 7.1 mile GMP @ 7:53
  • 3.9 mile warm down @ 8:58

Total time: 124:01 minutes
Total distance: 14.2 miles
Average pace: 8:44

Such a struggle. But I feel like I’m a broken record when it comes to tempo runs.  Same story different week.  Any tips to break this cycle?

I think I should have known going into the “tempo” portion (notice how I can’t even bring myself to call it a tempo?) that my pace was not there because I never run slower than 10 minute miles. Sure I may hit 10:00 at some points but my average? Never.  So it was such a shock to see that. Not to mention that I typically end my warm ups at a much faster clip than I start.  Which means I was even slower at some points here.

But I was able to shake that off by knowing it was only the warm up and not the meat of the workout.  My legs just had other plans.  The funny thing is that during the faster part I actually felt like I could salvage the run.  Like, I wasn’t really going that slow.  But it was self-delusion because I never felt like I was hitting a tempo effort. And clearly wasn’t.  7:53 is WAY out of my range and is even slower than my half pace. I even took my HR at the end of that portion and it was 140.  Kind of low, no?

I don’t think it was a purely physical thing though because my mind just didn’t want to push any more.  It took all I had to not quit. And if you’ve been reading this blog at all then you know that I’m not like that.  I usually have to have to tell my mind to not push too much.  It was just really weird and not like me to not have that feeling.  I felt like I was kicking back and didn’t have that hunger to tackle this workout. And yet when I finished with the “tempo” and roughly calculated my pace, I just wanted to burst into tears because I do want this soooo badly.  I just couldn’t execute and that hurt.

Basically a HUGE confidence shaker.  As of this upcoming Monday there will be 8 weeks until Boston.  Meaning my training plan is half over.  I know that the next 4 or 5 weeks are The Monster Weeks.  It’s only going to get more intense.  If I can’t handle thing now what makes me think that I’ll be able to hit my key workouts then?

Maybe this is the portion of the training where the doubt creeps in (although I’ve always been told that it’s during the taper…) Last cycle I didn’t have a real goal nor was I being so aggressive with the training.  I was want this sooo badly right now.  It’s like I know I have the potential to do great things but potential means nothing if I can’t produce results. Rebecca put it really well in a recent post where she was talking about how running sets her apart from the Average Joe and without it things just seem off.  I completely can relate and today I just felt average.  And it didn’t feel good.

Maybe I’m not giving enough credit to the un-tangibles in my life affecting me. Whatever the cause of my funk this week (because even though Tuesday was a kickass workout it wasn’t “on”) I need to snap out of it.  Pronto.  On one hand, better now than the week of Boston, but I don’t want to lose focus on what I’m training for.

Maybe I need a fresh source of motivation.  Where I’ll find it? Who knows.  I finally got around to reading the Kara Goucher article from RW (because it was finally put online) and I love how she talks about confidence being her hard point and biggest obstacle.  I felt like every word she said was something that I had been thinking at some point.

And to wind down this post on an optimistic note (because I’m trying to change my glass half empty ways!) I will say that I really liked the idea of affirmations that the article presented.  Very corny concept (basically you tell yourself that you’re worth it) but a very good one.  Life is tough and there isn’t any one that’s going to pat you on the back every second of every day.  You need to be your own champion and advocate.  So I’m on the hunt for the affirmation that will take me through the second half of this training cycle.

Off to go to meetings, do homework and blast this song that I heard and immediately had to download.  It’ll snap me out of the bad mood / heaviness that I’m feeling. And it’s Thursday.  Thursdays are good (they’ve always been my favorite day of the week for some reason. Maybe even as a 5 year old I looked forward to Thirsty Thursdays haha)

[Edit: I wrote this post right after my run so it’s a bit “downy”.  But I just had a long meeting with my advisor about quantum, research, life, running EVERYTHING and I’m feeling a bit better.  This run still stings but I’m not as worried or feeling really anxious about life anymore.  Yay for advisors basically being my therapist haha)]



  1. I love that video! Thanks for posting it! And Thursday are amazzzzzing, hehehe 🙂 And YAY for camera, I’m stoked to see pics on yo blog!

    Comment by kathleennnn — February 18, 2010 @ 19:54

  2. Not every run is going to go exactly as planned but I’m sure your next run will be a success. I know you tend to run double digit runs everyday but have you ever thought of taking a rest day 1x/week or toning down the mileage one day/week? Sometimes your body just needs rest 🙂

    Comment by Jenny — February 18, 2010 @ 20:10

  3. I don’t think of you as glass-half-empty. I think of you as glass-jostling-with-many-commitments. That might not make sense. Don’t be so down on yourself — you deserve better. 🙂

    Comment by EE — February 18, 2010 @ 20:41

  4. You are an amazing runner. We all have a bad run once in a while that makes us rethink things. I truly believe that you have nothing to worry about. You are a great runner and often a source of motivation/inspiration for myself 🙂

    Comment by Nick — February 18, 2010 @ 20:43

  5. I have also struggled with tempo runs. They can be intimidating and mentally a challenge. I think its subconscious. You are a great runner BUT if you were up late last night and didnt get a good nights sleep you cant expect your body to preform! With proper sleep and rest you would have hit the pace. It still is a good pace even if it isnt in your range that you want to be in. Keep your head up – glad you are feeling better about the run now. You still have 8 weeks!! That is so much time! training while in school is one of the hardest things I have ever done so I know what you are going through. You will run great at Boston and you will be ready! Just keep thinking positively! and get some sleep girl!

    Comment by J — February 18, 2010 @ 20:52

  6. oh and I agree with what you said in your comment on my post today. I think that Lent has been turned into a second new years of sorts when it should be a chance to get closer to God. That really made me think today about what Lent is really about.

    Comment by J — February 18, 2010 @ 20:58

  7. Ok. I just want to put it out there that you are a great, amazing, hard core runner. With that said, you are also human. The training plan that you have embarked on is intense, to put it mildly. You are asking alot of your body (and mind!) day, after day, after day. And 90% of the time, it is doing a great job for you. YOU are doing a great job for YOU>! I know everyone has already told you this, but it is one run, among many great ones. I’m glad you were able to find comfort in convos with your advisors. It’s nice to have people in our lives who are able to talk us down a bit! I’m wishing you the best for your run tomorrow and beyond. I have confidence in you! 🙂

    Comment by tmart — February 18, 2010 @ 21:03

  8. well hey even if you didn’t feel quite on, you still got in a GREAT workout. and you still worked your pace. i mean you COULDA thrown in the towel and not gone (i doubt that would ever happen to you lol) or you could’ve even just kept an even pace and not picked up to GMP. and 7:53 is pretty much exactly your goal pace! so heayyy you actually did the exact prescribed w/o!!! 🙂 i know how you feel tho,, wanting a certain ON feeling and like you can go faster and faster. i had a modified tempo run today as well, was totally not in the game. but i did what i could and that is still good!!!! i’m such a “there is never a good enough” type of person but i’m really just trying to be more all around accepting of my fitness level lately!!!! as long as you are enjoying yourself and seriously you are in a REALLY aggressive training schedule- never forget that for a second you are kicking some boottaaayyy.

    Comment by Lacey — February 18, 2010 @ 21:37

  9. “There are days that I just can’t get my HR to the zone I want it to be in,” says Ironman and World Champion Karen Smyers. “This is a sign of not being recovered, and I reschedule the hard workout planned for that day. If you recognize it early, you can usually recover in a day or two. If you have pushed through it for a long time, you may need a much longer time to pull yourself out of the slump.”

    We usually think of the red flag of overtraining as high resting HR but inability to elevate it with exercise is a potential warning sign as well. What would happen if you took tomorrow totally off, or 30 minutes followed by a long nap? Maybe that is what you need so you can hit your long run on Sunday.

    And screw self-doubt! I think you’re awesome.

    Comment by kristinschleicher — February 18, 2010 @ 21:43

    • Wow I had no idea that was a sign. Like I said in my post today I’m keeping an eye on this kind of stuff and it’s great to have all the facts at my hand. Thanks!

      Comment by marathonmaiden — February 19, 2010 @ 22:30

  10. That homework gave me a headache just looking at it…

    Has it crossed your mind that you might be pushing to hard? Maybe take it easy for a few days and see what happens. I know that I lack motivation and I struggle in workouts when I am overtraining.

    Comment by Matt — February 18, 2010 @ 21:59

  11. I know it’s blasphemy at this point, but what about a rest day? Alternatively, how about a message? Remember, you are coming off your first 100 mile week. Your body is tired. It might be time for either a break or go even slower on the LSD or recovery runs to let your legs heal a bit.

    Comment by a marathoner — February 18, 2010 @ 22:04

    • I wish I could get a massage! Unfortunately I don’t have the time or the money, maybe over my spring break in a month or so. And yes, rest = blasphemy haha

      Comment by marathonmaiden — February 19, 2010 @ 22:32

  12. Maybe you just weigh more than me 😉

    Comment by Matt — February 18, 2010 @ 22:22

  13. Don’t worry about it. During every training cycle, there will just be some days that don’t click — what’s important is that you pushed through, not how long it took you. You’re probably pretty tired, mentally and physically. Just try to put it behind you 🙂

    Comment by caronae — February 18, 2010 @ 23:14

  14. Yay, I’m glad you feel better now after your talk with your “shrink” advisor. I think you’re doing great, but it’s so normal to feel burned out and tired sometimes. I agree with the above commenter…perhaps you just need a few days rest?

    Comment by sophia — February 19, 2010 @ 00:26

  15. Hey! Sorry about your sucky tempo. It happens sometimes. I wouldn’t dwell too much on it except to take note of it ans assess possible reasons. For example, have you been getting enough rest, both in general and in running (any step-back weeks recently?) Is your nutrition in the right place? Weather related issues or extra stress from school/life. I’d say that if you find that you are beginning to have a few workouts where you find yourself not being able to reach your goal pace, it’d be better to take a step back and recover with a lower volume week/more rest days before you tackle your Monster Weeks coming up. Your body might be telling you that you haven’t recovered enough from your previous hard workout before tackling the next one.

    Comment by The Laminator — February 19, 2010 @ 00:55

    • Great sound advice. I think I have so much life stuff going on that it’s spilling over into my running. It’s just so hard for me to accept that my “real life” and “running life” can affect each other so much.

      Comment by marathonmaiden — February 19, 2010 @ 22:34

  16. Don’t feel bad, maybe you were just having an off day, it’s not even a bad time honestly I would be proud to run those times, don’t beat yourself up. You push yourself really hard maybe it’s just your body’s way of saying I need some rest.. re the comment on my boxing post, you should totally give it a try, you might find yourself addicted like me! only maybe after Boston as it doesn’t really give you much time for lots of running if you get really into it and want to compete 🙂

    Comment by laura — February 19, 2010 @ 05:17

  17. Also, I found this off someone elses blog, it’s about how your pace can change around your menstrual cycle, I’m not sure if it would be related to you but have a look anyway

    Comment by laura — February 19, 2010 @ 05:18

  18. My roommate showed me this video a couple of weeks ago- I love it!! I didn’t know you could download it! I’m definitely going to get on that.

    As for the training- I wouldn’t let a couple bad runs funk with your confidence. Eight weeks is a long time and you’re doing great! I think this a point in training that all these doubts and even lack of motivation starts creeping up on you. I know it’s happening to my friend here at school too.. if that makes you feel any better.

    Comment by BostonRunner — February 19, 2010 @ 09:31

    • Glad to know that I’m not the only one who is having doubts with 8 weeks to go. I thought I was going crazy because I’ve always been told that craziness doesn’ t happen until the taper

      Comment by marathonmaiden — February 19, 2010 @ 22:36

  19. I think you need to rest. Period. Adaptations come during periods of rest. Hopefully this is a one-off thing, but I think the question you need to ask yourself is if you are willing to risk burnout before you get to the race or are you willing to back off a little bit and not be so BAMF once in a while. I wish the best for you, but I’m callin’ it like I see it.

    Comment by EarlyRunner — February 19, 2010 @ 11:33

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