MarathonMaiden's Blog

February 27, 2010

Slow and Fast: Let’s Light a Fire

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 19:45

Mmmmmmmmm. I’m sipping a “rich milk chocolate” carnation instant breakfast and it is soooo tasty.  I’m not the biggest chocolate fan but there’s something about long run days that make these shakes sooooo yummy!

Hahaha guess that was a random way to start my post but leads to the perfect segue into my long run today (because those guys taste sooo good for some reason on a long run day).  To be 100% honest I wasn’t sure if I was up to it this morning.  The lack of sleeping really has started to build up and despite getting 8 hours last night I was still very groggy! As I was getting caught up in 24 and Psych I could feel my eyes being really heavy.

I did some stretching to loosen up my calves and hamstrings while I watched because they, yet again, were WICKED tight when I got up. I think it was a result of having very intense speed workout sessions this week (plus dealing with the shin thing) It felt good though and before I knew it the time had come for me to set out on the long run.

And LONG was right. Kind of the trend for the day seeing that it’s already so late and I’m looking at a long night. Where does the time go?

But back to the run.  I was slightly less worried about bathroom issues this week because, even though I knew they would happen, last week was amazing in going 20 miles without having to stop.  So I knew that come race day I’d likely be good too which takes the pressure and worry off. And sure enough my bladder was full quickly into the run. How quickly? About a half mile.  For real.  Gahhh.  But I told myself that it was mental at that point and plowed on.

Well it wasn’t because the feeling stayed for the first 11 or so miles until I came to a DD.  The funny/interesting thing is that I tried to distract myself from my bladder but all I could think about was drinking water, the rain that we were supposed to get (and obviously didn’t.  NONE.  Not that I’m really complaining here but c-mon weatherpeople!), milk in cereal, the soda that I was going to enjoy post-run.  Anything liquid and it was on my mind.  Obviously didn’t help the cause.

And  it slowed me down HARDCORE.  This was the same loop that I had run two weeks ago (and had to stop at the same DD) and I was about 6 minutes slower than the previous time.  But I knew that the slowness was related to bladder, tight muscles, lack of sleep, amazing intervals AND tempo etc. so while I’m loathe to make excuses (and I don’t see myself listing that stuff as such) I wasn’t really all that upset over the slowness.  Because I knew what to expect there and I definitely wasn’t feeling fast. Doesn’t mean I liked it but I understood.

After the bathroom break the pace picked up too. Maybe relief from my bladder, maybe a subconscious effort to salvage the pace.  Because, while I try to practice the whole don’t-judge-my-pace thing, I suck at being non-judgmental of myself.

So when I finished the first loop and saw how slow I was, I was really disgusted with myself. Terrible, right? I realize now how silly it was to feel that way but I want this blog to be honest and that’s honestly how I felt.  Even after saying I understood why I was slow it still stung a bit.

For the second loop I knew I wanted to push the pace for real.  My plan had actually called for a race this weekend so I figured that if my legs could give a race effort for the last 6-7 miles then I should try and do that.

And it worked. Kind of.  I’m not quite sure what kind of race pace I was suppose to give (still don’t in fact haha) but it ended up being GMP.  So I’m quite pleased that I was able to end on a strong and happy note. My legs ached in that amazing way: the you-gave-it-all-you-had. So I think that the pace ended up being appropriate for the length I was doing.

Here are the stats to let the numbers speak for themselves:

  • Loop 1: 12.7 miles. 121.58 minutes. 9:36 pace
  • Loop 2:   6.6 miles. 53.07 minutes. 8:00 pace (YAY! GMP!)
  • Total distance: 19.3 miles
  • Total time: 175:05 minutes
  • Average pace: 9:04

So clearly I was able to salvage the overall pace.  And as a numbers person that will likely always be very important to me.  Making it a bit displeasing that the first loop was really slow for me.  That’s recovery range not LR. But overall I was able to make this workout a workout.  I was able to pick it up and finish strong.  And that’s important to me.  I didn’t just accept that I was running slow and resign myself to it.  I lit a fire under my ass and charged.

And I know that the factors I listed above (tight muscles, lack of sleep, bladder, 2 amazing quality workouts already this week) surely played a role but I have to ponder my motivation for the long run.  It used to be my favorite run of the week.  A chance where I could see how far I could run.  I would get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it.  No more though.

I think as a result of me running so many miles I’ve become jaded with the long run.  I know that I could bang out a 15 mile run tomorrow no problem.  I wouldn’t even have to think about it.  So no butterflies because I know I’m capable and I trust that I can because I’ve been doing it for so long. It’s not hard or a challenge anymore. I don’t even have to bat an eye. (And please don’t eye roll and think What a tough problem to have haha 😛 )

Totally different from my interval and tempo sessions.  I get VERY nervous for those suckers.  I have less of a trust that my body can be pushed faster and faster.  So the butterflies are there.  And we’re talking some big ass suckers. But I think that it’s part of the reason I’m starting to like my speed work more than the LR.  Because I “dread” it more. Hahaha

Yeah so I don’t really know where I’m going with that train of thought. It’s obviously not very well flushed out but it was something I was thinking about.  I don’t really know if there’s a solution per se or, for that matter, if it’s really a problem.  I don’t hate the LR by any means.  And after having such a great one for the past two weeks, and even ending today the way I did, clearly I get pumped up by it.  But only after the fact.  I guess I’m just getting jaded.  Any tips or games I can play with my LR to make them go back to the way they were?

Wow. Kind of a deep topic for a Saturday night. And a long post too (I always say to myself that I’m not going to write a novel but then I go ahead and do.  Oops!).  Guess that’s what happens when I need a break for a physics lab. I don’t even know if people read my blog over the weekend! (And I can see the stats and the readership does drop off from Friday to Sunday haha).  But I’ll just throw it out there, think about it more and come back later I suppose 🙂

On a lighter note: check out the giveaway from Tricia. Great stuff.


  1. i’ve gotten to the point where i can bang out 10 no problem, but 15 is still my LR (what i ended up doing today actually, totally could not keep going, sigh). you’ve really worked yourself to an amazing point– you are at a top of a high high mountain (how are the endorphins up there/?!?!?! hehe!). congrats karyn! nice job on the gmp too!!!

    Comment by Lacey — February 27, 2010 @ 21:38

    • Awww this totally made me smile 🙂 You are too sweet!!!!!!! And trust me the endorphins are kick ass haha

      Comment by marathonmaiden — February 28, 2010 @ 22:44

  2. I’m the same way with pace. I try not to look at my watch until the halfway point. Still, if I’m slow I’ll push it. Way to bang out the last 10k @ GMP!

    Comment by Nick — February 27, 2010 @ 22:13

  3. I am totally with you on banging out miles. I could probably run 15 everyday if I had time. It would be slow, but I could do it.

    Way to knock it out of the park! Hopefully I can do the same tomorrow!

    Comment by Matt — February 27, 2010 @ 22:15

  4. TCL loves Carnation Instant Breakfast. When I saw “rich chocolate,” I thought you were going to say “Ovaltine.” Wow, I’m old.

    OK, I will judge your pace. Your pace is awesome. So ordered. Next case.

    Comment by EE — February 27, 2010 @ 23:17

    • Hahah i LOVE those commercials. Think they still sell the stuff?! And thanks for judging me 😉

      Comment by marathonmaiden — February 28, 2010 @ 22:44

  5. Hey I know what you mean! We always find the challenging workouts more pleasurable…that’s why we set time goals for marathons right? If we just had a goal to finish a marathon in a time that you know you can do, then it becomes not as gratifying. So my solution is for you to turn every other long run into a long progression run or a long run with ladder finish. The first variation is to separate your long run so you’re doing MP+30 secs for 5 miles, MP+20 secs for 5 miles, MP+10 for 5 miles and MP for 5 miles. The second variation is to run the first 5 miles at normal pace, then MP+10 for 5 miles, MP+20 for 5 miles, then finish with MP for 5 miles. These are hard tempo effort LR so make sure you get enough rest before and after. And I’d do them only every other long run. See if that helps. Good luck!

    Comment by The Laminator — February 28, 2010 @ 01:23

    • Great solid advice. Definitely what I was looking for. I’m totally writing this down and highlighting it so I don’t forget! I totally think this will help, thanks 🙂

      Comment by marathonmaiden — February 28, 2010 @ 22:45

  6. I’ve started getting nervous for my intervals, mainly cause every interval session feels harder than the last, I have a love/hate relationship with intervals haha

    Comment by Laura — February 28, 2010 @ 05:01

  7. I’m going to echo the Laminator, but I because petrified of my long runs when I was loosely using the “ultimate” half marathon training plan (it’s on the RW site) for a half. On some of my long runs, I would spend five miles in the middle alternating one minute hard (10Kish pace) with one minute easy. Others I would throw in three to six miles of tempo in the middle, and some I would finish the last four miles at half marathon or faster pace. It was hard, but it made me WAY stronger mentally for the race…which is kind of what you’re looking for, right?

    Comment by sarah — February 28, 2010 @ 08:04

  8. Way to rally on the final 6 miles! No nearby races … even cheepo ones? It might be good to get the routine going in a low profile race. BTW – I watched a replay of 2009 Boston on Universal Sports. Very inspiring stuff.

    Comment by a marathoner — February 28, 2010 @ 09:32

    • Sadly my wallet cannot afford even the $20 ones. Even if I could there isn’t anything within a reasonable distance for me to get too. All 60mins +. Oh well, it’ll just make me even more ready to go come Boston.

      Comment by marathonmaiden — February 28, 2010 @ 22:48

  9. ok everytime I see you mention DD, I become jealous. There are no DD in California. And I crave French Vanilla with cream and sugar sooooo badly. Jealous.

    Comment by runningfiance — February 28, 2010 @ 11:23

    • Heh. If I could I would totally mail you some! Can you buy the bags to brew yourself? Then again, it’s never the same as fresh from a store.

      Comment by marathonmaiden — February 28, 2010 @ 22:49

  10. Ughh, that must get so irritating to feel your bladder full and then continue to think about it. Running with a full bladder is one of the most annoying feelings.

    Awesome job on the mileage! The fact that long runs do not mentally challenge you is a great sign for the Boston Marathon. Instead of dwelling on the mileage you’ll be able to focus on running as fast as possible:)

    Comment by Ada — February 28, 2010 @ 17:22

  11. Awesome job on those GMP miles in the LR!!! Can’t wait to see you ROCK Boston!

    Comment by Rebecca — February 28, 2010 @ 18:34

  12. Congrats on the great LR! I get it totally, I used to be more enamored of long runs but not so much now. Though all those things you mentioned would definitely effect the quality of your run, so cut yourself a big ole break. And you got those MP miles in so big yay! Lately, I just try to enjoy the LRs by not putting pressure on it since, like you say, the intervals and tempos are hard enough and since the main purpose for LRs is time on our feet, comfort has become my main goal. Maybe a new route would get those butterflies back, it definitely made it more interesting for me today going somewhere new and unexpected.

    Comment by Flo — February 28, 2010 @ 18:54

    • Good point about the new route potential. Even running a route backwards might be beneficial to me. Didn’t think of it before now so thanks 🙂

      Comment by marathonmaiden — February 28, 2010 @ 22:50

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