MarathonMaiden's Blog

February 14, 2010

Milestone and DON’T QUIT

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 18:35

Okay so I haven’t been writing out my mileage for recovery runs so I suppose no one really knows how many miles I’ve got under my belt this week.  That’s okay neither did I until last night.  You see I’m playing ostrich a bit, you know sticking my head in the sand so I can’t see how much mileage I’m getting in.  Because the fact that my body is doing so well (*knockonwood*) at such a high level is scary.  In a good way of course.

Yes I have been complaining about minor aches and pains during training nothing serious and nothing a good stretch or icing session hasn’t been able to cure. So when I woke up this morning to calculate how many miles I had so far this week (I like to do this before my Sunday run just to see if I can hit a round number) I was SHOCKED to see that I had 87.3 miles already.  Seriously?!  How did that add up so quickly?

Instinctively (because I’m a math person) I knew that I have 12.7 miles to 100.  And it sounded reallly tempting.  Not to mention crazy.  If you’ve been following along this week I had: 1 hard 800 intervals/hills session, 1 hard snowy tempo and I was just coming off a 21.1 mile LR.  But the more I thought about it the more it didn’t sound so crazy: what better way to cap off a great training week than a total of 100 miles? I knew that my body felt fine (maybe a bit stiff from a lack of stretching last night but nothing hurting) and that if I took it sloooooooooow (like slower than recovery slow) than I would be alright.

So I laced up my shoes and hit the pavement.  I actually was so giddy about it that it was hard to reign in the pace. I kept having to remind myself to SLOW DOWN. I think I even said it aloud too just to make it perfectly clear.

The weather couldn’t have been more cooperative: sunny, low 30s, no wind.  Really just lovely and as I was running along one of my more scenic routes it was pretty easy to get lost in my thoughts.  Which have been racing a mile a minute this whole semester due to stress. It was a very calming run once I got going and settled into my recovery-ish pace.  And after the first 8 or so miles my legs were really feeling the whole running-a-lot thing and I totally didn’t have to worry about me inadvertently pushing pace though.

I finished with a very nice 13.1 miles to cap off a 100.4 mile week.  [Edit: Do you count warm up/down in weekly totals? I don’t and am just curious] And I am soooo thrilled with it.  That said, I have no desire to repeat it any time soon.  Sure, like I’ve said time and time again, my body is feeling fine but I don’t want to keep seeing how far I have to go until I break, which is what I sometimes think I’ve been toying with.  And to emphasize that, once I was done I immediately made my schedule for this week purposely cutting miles out.  No need to tempt fate. 100 miles is a great achievement and I’m EXTREMELY proud of myself buttttt too much of a good thing (running) might not be such a good thing. Heh.  But I’ll bask in my glow for a bit anyway as well as eat all the food in my room 🙂  [Edit: I’ve been asked to put together a post about my daily eating. The short answer is that I’m working on it ]

So I’ve seen this poem on a couple of blogs recently and I really like it. I don’t think I gave it much thought at first. It’s semi-long so I doubt I really even read it completely the first few times I saw it.  BUT this week was really tough life wise.  Lots of school work and lots of stress. I think this also enabled me to run 100 miles this week because I was literally running away from my problems. I did have a good heart-to-heart with a great friend last night which made me feel 1000000000x better but all the stress still has been weighing on me recently. Today I re-read the poem and it struck a chord I guess.

Basically life is tough but I’m tougher. It also reminded me of one of my favorite songs by Rascal Flatts:

Don’t Quit (anonymous)

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and its turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When they might have won, had they stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit!

January 25, 2010

What makes a high mileage runner?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 11:16

I’m still dealing with computer issues UGH.  These rounds are 100% not related to last week’s though and I’m hoping that it will get solved soon.  The computer people seem to think it’ll be okay soon so fingers crossed!

Since I last posted I’ve been feeling pretty good .  After Saturday’s beastly 17 I wasn’t sore at all.  Very surprising because when I got to my mom’s house I had all intentions of stretching and icing butttt that never happened.  Oops.  Instead I just bummed around.  And later I went out shopping and bought another pair of shoes.  Kohl’s was having a sale of running shoes and I found a pair I liked.  Not my usual shoes (I like New Balance 769 and these are Asics Kanbarra(?) ) and they aren’t a “W” (wide) but they will work.  I won’t race in them but they’ll be good for training. I also scored tons of free food.  I should go home more often to help with my grocery budget heh.

My runs since Saturday have been okay.  I think the killer paces that me and Lacey hit at the end took a lot out of my legs.  At least that’s how it felt because both runs were at 9:20 which is much faster than past recovery/easy runs have been. Guess fast running begets fast running. And as a final note the temps were a complete 180* from each other: Sunday morning I had 10* and this morning was 55*.  Seriously New England: I want consistency!

Any way back to the title of the post. This has been a question on my mind lately.  It’s kind of akin to the former fat kid who is now skinny but still feels like a fat kid.  I still feel like a newbie runner.

Maybe a little bit ridiculous as I’ve been running for at least 5 years and even longer if you count sports that include running.  Sure I’ve only been racing for 2.5 years (because I’m not counting high school track which was a joke for me) but even that is kind of a long time.  So why do I not see myself as experienced? Maybe because during those 2.5 years I’ve only done…maybe 8 races? Definitely not double digits yet for sure.

But to look at my training log a different story unfolds.  I’ve put in such hard training and over the past year my mileage has soared (clearly as I hit 3116 miles in 2009).  And I’m not just talking about the recent HUGE weeks.  I remember in the beginning of last year thinking that I would peak for my marathon at ~55 miles.  I peaked at around ~73 (I forget the exact figure but 73 sticks into my mind for some reason). And I loved it and thrived in it.  But still I never really thought of 73 miles as a lot.  Yes it is a lot but it just felt like something needed to be done to get my goal of finishing my marathon (and I’ll admit a debut BQ was a goal too) so I never really thought of it a “high miles”

I also remember when 5 miles felt like the longest run ever.  Now it feels like a warm up.  To stand here at a point where I can bang out 2 weeks of double digit runs everyday and recall this is fascinating to me.  It’s hard to believe that I’ve come so far. I can remember the progression semi-well though.  I remember the first time I ran 75 minutes without stopping and then expanded that each week a little bit.  It’s kind of like the adage of cooking a frog: put him in the pot and then boil the water rather than just throwing  him in with the boiling water.  Of course the adage is more succinct than that I’m sure. Oh the power of paraphrasing.

And yet I don’t think of myself in terms of a high mileage runner.  Even when I write out weekly recaps and total my distances over time.  But, I’m sure it’s pretty obvious, that I really am a high mileage runner.  Looking at this summer when I was running 55-60 mile weeks and not training for anything and still pretty fresh from the marathon.  And this fall when I hit 60 often and then 70 and culminating with my finals week with an 80.6 mile run.  Nothing low mileage about it.

Maybe it’s because I’m not hitting 100 mile weeks, which *really* signals high miles.  Who knows.  It did take me a while to wear the term “runner” with pride and not feel like a fraud.  It was during my senior year when I would go out for runs on top of my bball practices because I just wanted to run.  And then it was reinforced after the season ended and I didn’t have a real reason to run because I didn’t have a sport to stay in shape for but I still ran anyway.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it was a gradual thing rather than BAM I’m a runner. Maybe this will be something similar.  Maybe the shift is already happening and it’ll take awhile for it to click. I have noticed during these first few weeks of Boston training that my body is acting like a high mileage runner and responding as such but my mind isn’t there yet.  Not ready I suppose to “accept” the title even though my body is already there.

This kind of “label” is different from racer which I knew I was when I finished my first race and felt like I had nothing left to give in my body. But I think it’s starting  because I take pride in the fact that I can go out there and put a 13 or so in the books without batting an eye.  And I’d enjoy it too.  I know lots of runners who think a 6 mile run is a long run and that my 13+ is crazy talk.  I have a friend who is 400m runner for her school and is like that.

I guess I don’t have a concrete point here, more just musings because I’m grappling with the whole “high mileage runner” term that I hear thrown around.  So much of it is relative and based on personal history / experience.  Since I clearly have no answers I’m going to throw this question back at you: When did you realize that you were a runner?  What does high mileage mean to you? Do you consider yourself high mileage?

EDIT: Lacey emailed me the pic of my shoes so here it is:

Yes I know that they look terrible and worn and what not but they don’t cut up my heels at all so they still feel fine.  Oh justification hehe

Woot to 2000+ miles

Me and my shoes 🙂

Double Edit: Blogspot isn’t letting me comment on your blogs at the moment! Hopefully that gets fixed soon because I’m not ignoring you 🙂

December 30, 2009

Distance FAIL. But the streak continues

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:31

Wow surprisingly not sore.  Last night when I was lounging around my calves were sooooooo sore from the massage.  Like so sore I didn’t want to move at all.  Even a slight flexing caused my muscle to feel a stretch. My soleus muscle (in both calves) just did not want to relax at all during the massage.  But I knew that going in because that area is always a problem area for me.  I did set up another appt for Friday.  My legs really need it!

And I really think a large part of me not being sore today is that I wore my cheap-ass varicose vein compression socks for a large part of the afternoon / evening yesterday.  I don’t feel a day-to-day difference using them but in moments like this I really do think that I’m doing something right. Because, oh man, it hurt to think about moving last night after the workout and massage.

I think part of the reason I’m extra tight lately is the weather.  Can I just say that I’m sick of the switching up of temperatures? I mean, as much as I hate the cold I’d rather have it consistently be frigid rather than the up / down game of late.  Earlier this week it was 50* (!!).  I woke up this morning to -5*.  Brrrrrrrr. My muscles just bunch right up when it’s this cold. But it’s sunny out and sun trumps the cold. It was a balmy 16* when I left my house. Whoop!

I was even sweating at points on my run! Which, by the way, was an epic failure to keep it at a lower mileage.  I set out on an 8 route but just kept going.  I think that part of it is that my body doesn’t feel like it’s got the kinks out until, like, mile 4 or something.  So if I want to keep my miles low I feel like I’m being cheated out of miles because right around the time I’m feeling great it’s about time to stop.  Anyone else feel that way? It’s not a recent thing for me as I’ve “complained” about this since high school when the daily runs were around 4 or 5.  I just never got to feel loose and relaxed ever. But now I can.  Because I’m doing all this high miles.

Which, question, is there a point where I really should say “hey I need to not run so much?” Because

  • A)I’m not injured
  • B) I show no signs of overtraining
  • C) I really am enjoying all these runs and there isn’t a point where I’m dreading lacing up the shoes.

I guess this is something that’s individual in nature but I’m dying to know what you guys think. Particularly those who are logging around the miles I am or have in the past. I know I know: I keep pondering this and maybe I should let it go but people keep telling me that I’m going so hard so I’ve started to believe it and not trust that my body is okay with what I’m doing.

But I’ve been internally debating this, whether or not  / how much to back off, lately and I’ve decided that I probably should, even if the only reason is to make a distinct break before Boston.  But it feels so good. Then again I’m sure a crack addict would say the same thing. Such a fine line between going hard in a smart way and a stupid way!

I took the pace to be conservative because I wasn’t sure how my muscles were going to really feel once they were being used.  And it would have been stupid to push pace after such a challenging workout yesterday. I ended up with a slightly faster-than-target-lr pace but slightly slower than ideal-gold-mental-standard pace.  Right in the middle of the two actually so the best of both worlds. And it felt right where I needed to be.  Despite my semi-disappointment with not sticking to 8 miles I’m happy that I didn’t beat myself up over a “less than ideal pace” and I was able to listen to my body and speed up/slow down when and where I needed to. Sans judgment.

Like I said above the sun was shining and there wasn’t much wind so it made it really easy to feel like I was going easy.  Sometimes the wind can be really demoralizing as well as the cold.  It seems to force me to expend more effort to hit the same pace.  Which is fine but I’m such a numbers chica that I’m always trying to keep paces and don’t really take into account the fact that x pace today means a particular effort and x pace tomorrow might be a much harder effort. I’m so cerebral that I don’t always listen to my body cues.  But that’s old news ha. Anyone else like that? A numbers freak that it’s hard to be true to your body? That’s definitely on my list of things to work on in 2010.

And last call for questions for me?! I’ve still only got 11 which says one of two things: 1) I spill too much of my life out here and you know everything there is to know about me or 2) The stuff I do share is boring and no one wants to know more.  Heh.  But I’m prepared to post with the 11 I have so have no fear, you *will* be learning about me in the near future 😉

Happy running / living / shopping / relaxing — whatever you are doing right now! I’ve got my compression socks back on, feet up and about to jump into yet *another* book.  I’m logging some serious book-age — maybe more than my miles hah.

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