MarathonMaiden's Blog

May 21, 2010

D-1. Eeeek.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 19:03

Phew. What a long day! I know that I’ve had longer but I’m all zapped out of energy at the moment and all I want to do is lay down on the floor.  Because my bed is lofted and I don’t think I can hoist myself up onto it hah!

I guess part of my exhaustion is my own doing.  After Rosecliff (thanks for all the compliments! Glad you liked the post and my dress and told me that I looked wonderful 🙂 ) and getting very little sleep that night, I was out late again Thursday night celebrating the last Thirsty Thursday.  Normally not a big deal but I wanted to get a run in before my graduation rehearsal this morning.  Which started at 0900.  Ugh.  Oh well.  At least I’m not a hardcore drinker.  Some of my peers were still drunk when they showed up ha.

So I got up at 0600 (good thing I’m graduating because I sure don’t act like a normal college kid!) to run because I knew that by the time it ended it would be really hot and I’d be unmotivated.  And sure enough by the time I finished my run at around 0730 or so it was already 70*.  Hello summer?

The run itself was pretty unremarkable.  A tad on the humid side but it felt bearable.  I need a gradual build up to full blown swimming pool.  Think that my runs would count as XT at 100% humidity and I could call them pool runs?

It’s bittersweet to be running this week.  Obviously I’ve mentioned it enough but graduation is tomorrow an dI’m moving on in my life, exciting!!, but moving into a very unstable world, scary!! For my running this means I likely won’t ever have reason to run these routes again.  They’ve been with me (through some modification of course) for the past 4 years.  I could, and probably have, run them asleep.  And I know I’ve run some of them still drunk after a good Thursday night.

But enough nostalgia.  Today’s run: 9.3 miles of goodness.  It didn’t feel good the first 4 miles and I questioned whether or not I really wanted to be doing this.  This meaning 0600 running, not running in general.  Especially since I had had such an amazing run the day before. When that happens sometimes a little lethargy and lead in the legs shuts down the go-get-em mentality.

Regardless I had another mile to go before I passed by the dorm and by the time I got there my legs were feeling good to complete the rest of the run.  I negative splited the run, not too hard to do when the first half is wicked slow ha!, and ended on a semi-fast note.  A strong note.  Another good good-bye run.

I also did some core work right after the run.  I was planning on going to the gym after the rehearsal but I still like to do my core immediately after finishing.  I think it started when I needed to make my gym time shorter when I was doing doubles and the natural thing to do was to move my 15 minute core routine to right after the morning run but I’ve kept it there because I like feeling hardcore and the burn while I’m still wicked sweaty.  Today was a mix of that and the fact that I had that picture of my abs on my brain from yesterday and wanted to keep those abs rock solid 🙂

And I’m not vain at all.  Promise 😉

After the rehearsal I did make it to the gym and man, it was HOT in there.  I know it’s a small school with a limited budget so I’ve never expected air conditioning in the gym (or in any other building really) but it was stifling.  So I did my thang and got out of there.   And I also wasn’t really in the mood to be lifting either.

Which brings me to a question I’ve been pondering: how much of what you do, do you do because you feel like you have to? I mean, I obviously love running and never feel like I have to do it but rather I want to.  But sometimes with lifting I’m questioning why I’m there.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve written about how awesome I think weights are for you and the fact that I grew up with a father who was wayyyy into lifting so I don’t see it as evil.  But sometimes I think I do it because I know it’s going to make me a better runner and that’s the only reason I head over to the gym.  Yoga and stretching are the same way although I avoid them like the plague and never do them.

It was nice to read this post from Jess saying that she hadn’t lifted in about a week and a half.  Sometimes I wonder if it’s really necessary to make sure to hit the weights 2-3 a week, every week.   Oh well, just some musings.  I’m definitely not pushing my body to do something I don’t want to do and after my date with the weights I felt really good and powerful and strong.  But sometime it’s so hard to take that first step.  Guess how that it with many things in life.  The whole inertia thing.  Yup Newton’s first law.  I am getting my degree in physics tomorrow 🙂

Speaking of tomorrow, I plan on getting up early to run and calm myself before the ceremony — yes I know that means I’ll not be sleeping a wink tonight so maybe “getting up early” is misleading haha. Final goodbye run.  Don’t know where it’ll be yet but I think I have an idea.  I probably should be hyping these runs up so much — I told my friends about them, the whole saying goodbye thing, and they looked at me like I had two heads!   But the run will likely be one of the first routes I can recall running regularly.

Oh man! Look at the time! And the length of this post! Gotta go get ready for my last night on campus.  We’re doing a sentimental night and the second half of the candlelighting ceremony (the first half was done our very first night on campus).   And then the Last Chance Dance. Wooooot!

Check out the giveaway that ErikaH is having. And I apologize in advance if I’m not around much this weekend to comment on all your lovely blogs.  I may have a few moments here and there and I still love you guys but I’ll be too busy graduating 😉

March 31, 2010

Lady GaGa Hour

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 20:41

No joke.  When I was at the gym this morning (grrrrr XT-ing) MTV played AN HOUR of Lady Gaga videos.  I was unaware that she had an hours worth of music videos.  Bummer that I couldn’t listen along because, even though I have headphones in my gym bag, the little device that hooks the sound from the tvs on the wall to me is broken.  Well it cuts in and out which is annoying.  And not just on the equipment that I was using but on all the machines.  I think it’s because their old and too many people have plugged and unplugged their headphones.  The same thing happened to my discman (gosh did I just date myself?!).

Anyway I mention it because I know that Sarah (the shu box) would be happy and enjoy that.  🙂

As you probably could tell I did the arc trainer this morning.  I had a little extra time (sleepless night = able to get out of bed early) so I did another 2 hours on the darn thing.  Sadly no one gave me any exciting XT workouts to do sooo I did this:

  • 30 minutes @ Resistance =25
  • 60 minutes @ Resistance = 30 (30 “forwards motion” 30 “backwards”)
  • 30 minutes @ Resistance = 25

It was interesting to see how, on one machine R = 25 felt WAY harder than R=25 on another.  I did the first 30 minutes on the harder machine (because my fav one was taken) but quickly jumped on the fav when it opened up.  I’m pretty sure that on the machine I started on the resistance of 25 was a resistance of 30 on the other machine so if I had just adjusted then everything would have been okay.  But then again, if I hadn’t switched I wouldn’t have been in perfect position for Lady GaGa 🙂

And I’m right there with you guys for going off of HR and perceived effort guiding my workouts rather than the machine readouts.  I just found it interesting that the calories were SO HIGH.  Regardless my HR was around 140 or so the whole time which is typical for me and ~70% my “max”.

For some reason, even though lots of you praised me for being able to handle 2 hours yesterday, the time doesn’t really pass that slowly and it’s not really that boring. I guess I can entertain myself and I have exciting thoughts to think about.  I don’t have an ipod so music is out.  I can “watch” tv but I don’t have sound.  And I absolutely cannot read while working out.  It just doesn’t workout nicely for me. So it’s just me and my thoughts.  And the occasional people watching 😉

I suppose all the not running is helping my shin.  I am pain free for another day and the allure of running proved too much.  So after my Spanish class I laced up my shoes and went on a test run.  Not really a run because it was so short but something just to see if the pain free living would translate to pain free running.

I’m happy to say that YES it did.

I was really really nervous about heading out for this test run.  I think once I succumbed to the no-running mentality it made me feel like I’m really frail and I almost didn’t want to run anymore. Crazy right? I know Jess has blogged a bit about this before, well maybe  not the no running but the scared feeling of getting back into it.  I plan on running tomorrow and, although Thursdays mean tempo, I’ve already decided to nix all speedwork this week.  I just don’t think I’m mentally up to it regardless of the shin status.

Now I know that many of you probably would like to see me wait longer before jumping into any sort of running but I did the test run for a couple of reasons:

  • I’m an even kind of girl.  Meaning that it’s been 2 days.  Waiting until tomorrow means 3 days.  And 3 isn’t happening.  I’d have to wait until Friday to get to the next even number and I really didn’t want to wait that long.  Plus if I waited beyond Friday it would have to be 8 days because I like multiples (or fractions) of 4. OCD much?
  • I have PT tonight so any “damage” (because let’s face it, running and working out causes damage no matter if you have shin splints or are 100% healthy) would be worked out through massage and stretch and stim.

Which I just got back from and it was comical how ridiculously tight my calves are.  Seriously. The faces my PT was making were…well let’s just say my calves are tight.

And she was really surprised at all the edema that is in my (newly affected) shin.  But she was happy that the “old” shin was feeling great.  So now we need to get the swelling down in this guy which I’m confident that we’ll do.  I mean, we did it with the last one.

Off to go do some work.  And maybe get some sleep tonight.  Send some sleepytime vibes my way please 🙂

March 29, 2010

Eastern States 20 Miler: Operation Get It Done

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 20:01

So I’ve been hemming and hawing sitting down to draft this race report. [Warning: it’s on the long side even for me]

Race report? You might ask yourself

Yes race report because yesterday was the Eastern State 20 miler that I ran with Lacey. You’ll notice I said “ran” instead of “raced”.  Ummmm that’s because this was the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. You can read Lacey’s report here.  I loved reading it because it totally captures the essence of what went down.

In short this race went according to NONE of our expectations.  I didn’t really hype up the race too much because it was a part of the larger picture: Boston.  I figured it would be a good confidence booster as a last run before tapering (as Boston is 3 weeks from today!?!).  Lacey and I had talked a bit about what our goals were and we had two:

  • Finish stronger than we started
  • Maintain a good GMP (~8:00) throughout

As I’m sure you can tell by my tone so far neither of those happened.

To start with, the race conditions were much worse than the weather forecast had led me to believe.  According to weather.com it was suppose to be cloudy but with some sun, temps of upper 30s at the start to low 40s throughout.  Well okay, I suppose both of those are true.  BUT the forecast neglected to mention that since we were running along the Eastern sea coast (Kittery ME to Hampton Beach, NH) it was going to be a cold 40* and WINDY.

Luckily both of us had packed tights and gloves so we were okay. And as you can see all smiles and hardcoreness at the start:

Note: All pictures stolen from Lacey!

BAMFs

And despite looking ready to go we actually missed the start! We ended up being, literally, at the back of the pack. Since it was such a small race (no chips or mile markers on the course) it wasn’t the biggest deal but when they say the race starts at 1100 they really mean it!

Wait, was that the horn?!

We eased into the pack and I know Lacey was chomping at the bit to GO! We had talked about race strategy and since one of our goals was to finish strong we held back a little bit.

Full Disclosure Time: I entered the race on Sunday not feeling 100%.  Lacey and I had emailed back and forth and I was considering dropping out of the race and, if this had been a training run and not a race I had already paid for and committed to, I wouldn’t have done it.  I think.  My left shin (the one that I don’t have the PT ‘script for) was bugging me and I wasn’t sure I could do it. Now before you guys start hating on me and bashing me know that I went into the race knowing it wasn’t the best move for me.

The first couple of miles were around 8:45-9:00. Therefore I kept telling Lacey that I knew I was holding her back and that I wasn’t going to be able to hit the GMP and that I was taking this as a training run and going to shoot for 9:00 pace (roughly a 3 hour finish).  I knew that she was trying to encourage me but I just didn’t have it in me.  In addition to my shin throbbing, I was soooo sleep deprived that my body just didn’t want to do it.

Around mile 5 or 6 we saw Elliot, Lacey’s boyfriend, and Kyle, their friend from high school.  They were on picture duty and following in a car and I have never wanted to climb into a vehicle so badly in my life! I told myself that if I felt like shit at the halfway mark I could drop out.  At this point Lacey asked me how I was doing and I had to be honest “I’m just looking to finish on two legs”.  I again told her to go ahead but, bless her soul, she told me that finishing together was more important.  I seriously almost cried.

I can’t tell you how much Lacey being there with me helped. I was in agony every step.  I don’t think I had a pain free step the whole time.  I was nauseous, shin throbbing, groin screaming because it was compensating.  And those were the physical symptoms. I was also worried about slowing Lacey down despite her protests of us being in this together.

Miles 7-16 were kind of a blur to me.  It’s really too bad because I’m sure the NH coastline was beautiful.  But the wind and my body were all I could think about.  My nausea was getting worse.  I don’t know if it was the awkward start time & time I ate breakfast (ie low blood sugar), dehydration (despite the cold I was sweating whenever the sun came out) or pain.

Around mile 14 we saw Elliot and Kyle again and I (successfully) hid behind Lacey when the camera came out because I was NOT feeling it.  It was at this point I knew that I didn’t want to see them again because I for sure would hop in their car.  Which is SO not like me.  I usually take the attitude that I can handle anything.  It’s a point I pride myself on.  Lacey told me that we can walk at any time and I knew that if we did I wouldn’t likely find the motivation to keep going.

But I had to stop a water stop at mile 16 or so and I drank down 4 water cups! And Lacey offered me a gu chomp in order to fight my nausea.  I don’t think it helped much physically but mentally it gave me a little boost.

Which at this point, with 4 miles to go, I kept telling myself that I do this all the time and I can do it again.  Which were the words that Lacey told me at mile 8 when she said “Only 12 miles to go. You can bang this out no problem”

Around this point Lacey was sidelined with a terrible cramp in her abs.  It was awful to see her in pain and we stopped a bit for her to stretch.  She kept telling me to go on without her but I couldn’t.  At one point I didn’t notice that she stopped to walk and I promptly stopped (despite Kyle telling me not too haha) and waited for her to catch up to me. This was around mile 18 and from this point on we faced a tremendous headwind.  Our pace drastically slowed and it felt like I wasn’t moving.  Those last 2 miles felt as long as the first 18.

Ughhhh wind

I really like the way Lacey summed up the race so I’m copying and pasting:

It is kind of encouraging to have someone run with you, see you at your very worst, and not think badly of you. Talk about a tough run. And talk about an emotional ending. The last two miles were right along the beach boardwalk and the wind was PUSHING us back. I mean, it had been windy pretty much the entire run. But the last two miles were something else entirely. It was a wind tunnel and all I could think of was JUST KEEP GOING.

It was a very emotional ending for me.  As soon as we crossed (arm in arm and we told the people recording the times and numbers that we finished TOGETHER) I started crying.  It took so much to NOT cry during the race that I let it all out as soon as we were out of the shoot. It was part pain, part happiness of being over and part pride of actually finishing.

The final stats?

  • Official: 3 hours 10 minutes (taking into account all the walking)
  • Unofficial: 3 hours 6 minutes

Obviously the numbers (while all in all aren’t that bad) don’t tell the whole story.  Like I said, it was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done.  It was awesome to have a partner to share this experience with regardless of the outcome.  So thanks Lacey 🙂 And Elliot 🙂 And Kyle 🙂

At some point during the race I told Lacey “I need to say this aloud. No running tomorrow!”.  And it actually happened.  Although I really don’t think that I could have physically run even if I wanted to.  Again, please no bashing here. You can’t possible say anything about how stupid I treated my legs that I haven’t said to myself already. Butttt it’s over. I can’t change what I did.

It’s also taper time.  Thank god.

Whew that was longer than I intended this to be and I wasn’t sure I wanted to post anything on this at all.  But as Lacey wrote, They can’t all be good runs or good races. And when they’re not. Just let it go. That’s what I’m doing. Letting it go. Writing this out was a good step in that process 🙂

March 27, 2010

I Got Nothing. Including Sleep.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — marathonmaiden @ 19:27

Writer’s block maybe? I’ve just spent so much energy this week on school stuff that I am spent.  Not sleeping due to the exam then not sleeping due to Relay = exhaustion.  I’m sure many of you can no doubt relate.

Relay was fun as always.  Since it’s still early in the calender year my school holds Relay in the field house.  Some years it’s a bummer because we do get a nice evening.  Last night the low was 16*.  Smart call planning committee.  I did get there late (annoying because I’m on the planning committee!) but it was still fun.  There are games, contests, performing groups etc.  Very fun.

And yet still tiring.  Since I’m a person that cannot sleep when the sun is up (so no naps for this chica ever) I couldn’t go to bed after the event was over.  So what did I do? Run. Duh.  Or tried too.  The combo of stress + no sleep + week 4 of training proved to be too much and I *struggled* hardcore.  I don’t think that my recent shin tenderness (read: not an injury. Please keep that in mind people) helped too much either.  So I cut the run short.

Not much to say on it .  Very upsetting but I know that so many factors went into this bust of a run.  And my rational brain can know this but my heart aches over it.

I’m sure the biggest contributing factor is the lack of sleep.  I slept maybe 3 hours a night this week (thank you quantum! and thanks for your awesome words about me being done with the exam.  And unfortunately 20+ hours is the norm for upper level physics and math classes.  Which is why I roll my eyes when humanities majors complain haha!) and when I did get some sleep it was restless (thank you allergies!).  I’m feeling a bit crabby and emotional today, just because of not sleeping. In fact, despite not really having a solid relationship with my mom, when I called her about something small and then started balling she decided to drive down and take me out tonight.  And she should be here soon.  So I’m not proof-reading this. Oh well. Such is life sometimes.

But sleep is REALLY important.  So rather than bore you with more woe-is-me tales here’s a little blurb I wrote a very long time ago but never got around to posting, originally titled: Poppies Will Put Them To Sleep. Sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep

It’s definitely something that most people don’t get enough of.  Between really hectic work/school schedules and social obligations (aka my drinking on school nights during the semester haha) it’s really tough to get in a training regime nevermind unwinding with a good book, bamf television show or unwinding in some capacity. I think I’ve read that the average American sleeps only 6 or 7  hours a night which is a reduction of 1-2 hours in the past 20 years and a more significant reduction compared to 100 years ago (the exact figure escapes my mind).

But sleep is really important.  The average person sleeps for about a third of his or her life! Sleep deprivation is associated with many dangers both psychological and physical (and behavioral.  Who wants to be around a cranky sleep deprived person?!). Sleep is actually an active process and not just the absence of being awake: when you sleep there is all your neurons are firing at full force and hormones being released, so it’s kind of like being awake but the difference is the change in type of activity that the neurons are doing.  Sleep is for the brain and that is reflected in said change in activity.

When you’re awake the important things that the brain directs neurons to do are: breathing, keeping you’re heart beating, digesting, movement.  You know the stuff that keeps you alive. But when you’re asleep the brain directs neurons to heal. The exact reason / mechanism we sleep is unknown but there are a couple of proposals that are suggested such as:

  • Releasing hormones, specifically growth hormone (GH), which repairs muscles and replaces dead worn out cells. This includes the immune system.
  • Allows the brain to repair itself from icky by-products built up during the day that it couldn’t get rid of because it was so busy.  Our muscles, for example, just make new cells to replace damaged ones but the brain doesn’t regenerate itself so damage must be cleaned up.
  • Lets the brain play “catch-up” and restore the energy sources in the brain that have become depleted during wakefulness.
  • Sleep allows neural pathways to regain sensitivity.  When we’re awake our neurons are constantly being attacked by neurotransmitters (NT).  This is a good thing because NTs direct the brain signals to muscles, organs etc  but over the course of the day the neurons themselves become desensitized to NTs and sleep resets that.
  • Learning and memory.  Some researchers believe that sleep is important in allowing the body to accommodate the chemical and structural changes needed to create memories.  For example infants need LOTS of sleep and their brain are in a state of change because they’re growing and older people’s brains are pretty much set up structurally and don’t need as much sleep.
  • Integrating daytime experiences. Life is so complicated and there’s only so much information that the brain can catch the first time around.  Sleep might be the chance where new pathways are connected between information.  “Sleep on it” anyone?

But how much is enough?

The common number thrown around is 8 hours – although there is no magic number.  Like amount of food needed each day and how fast you can run everything is individual.  For athletes more is needed and I’ve heard that for runners you need one minute for every mile per week you run extra.  Personally I’ve always needed 9 hours to function and feel my best.  Unfortunately I *can* get my body to adapt to less (remember those weeks last semester where I was only sleeping 4 hours a night?) but I don’t feel my best and my mental sharpness — while not gone — isn’t quite there.  I feel a bit off.

I’ve read (but never had the time to actually do this) that to determine the amount of sleep that’s right for you is to basically take a vacation, not set an alarm and sleep.  The morning when you wake up feeling refreshed (not sleep hungover like the first few days will likely be) then you’ve found your number.  Unfortunately many of us sleep-deprived people don’t have the time to do this.  Otherwise we wouldn’t be sleep deprived already!

What does this have to do with running specifically?

Well a lot.  If you don’t have enough sleep then you’re going to feel tired.  Duh.  And then you can’t get the maximum out of a workout.  I can’t even imagine running a hard tempo on very little sleep (although I’m sure I’ve done it).

There’s also the little factor of GH, which I mentioned above. It stimulates growth of muscles ie) it increases muscle mass.  As an athlete this is something that we want because when our muscle mass increases we become stronger and can lift more weights or run faster.  And who doesn’t want that? If you shortchange yourself on sleep then repairing your muscles will take a long time and you’ll need a longer bout of recovery time between hard sessions.

The take home message?

Sleep is good and necessary.  By skimping on sleep people are skimping on their health.  For an athlete, not only is health involved but performance is affected too.  Runners are typically very driven people so why allow a controllable factor to handicap maximum achievement?

And check out this giveaway from Evan and one from Sophia

March 22, 2010

Congrats to Racers & PT Session Numero Dos

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 19:36

Hey guys, it’s been a busy busy day in MM land.  Going to try to make this quick as I just received a quantum take-home exam and I am going to have to devote all the time I can on it!

The first day back from break has been well so far.  I didn’t have any work over break, so there was nothing to procrastinate from and therefore as soon as I clocked out of tutoring last night at 2100 I promptly went to bed.  As you may recall I hadn’t been feeling so hot.  Although I am not one to discount allergies or dehydration as the culprit I’m suspecting a cold of some sort because after drinking more water than I care to think about and popping a benadryl I still (and pardon my language here) felt like shit.

So sleeping it off was my solution.  I don’t think there’s any validity to this approach at all (not the sleep but what I’m about to say next): I also turned my heat WAY up to “sweat out the bad”.  When I was little my dad always used to say that the cure to not feeling well was / is to curl up in a warm blanket and just sweat out the toxins.  Maybe it’s a mental thing but 3 pairs (!!) of pjs later and I’m feeling back to normal. Well kind of. Still a little congestion but THAT is likely allergies.

Good thing that my dad’s “trick” worked because, as I opened the post with, I had a busy day that started off with a run.  I was secretly hoping that my feeling better would translate to a good Monday run — at least time wise.  I did feel really good physically while running but wish that my pace had shown that.  I ran the miles in 9:28.  Eh. I’m going to chalk it up to sickness related and just move on.

I’ve been really hard on myself lately with how “fast” I am.  I know I shouldn’t be but I am. And I’m falling into the trap of comparing myself to others.  Especially when so many of you raced this weekend and put up STELLAR times.  A huge congrats to Sarah (washingtonranhere), Sarah (theshubox), Sarah (skinnyrunner), RunDateEatSleep, Nick (midpack runner), HurdlingHam (corre! run! run like a llama!), Erika (DrTriRunner, Flo (Girl in Motion), Lizzy (Healthy Bites conquer Athlete Appetite), Pen (penatpeace), Amy (secondcityrandomness)Mel (tall mom on the run), Kristen (therundown), Heather (with a side of sneakers)

So you can see where I’m coming from: these peeps are awesome! (Although I should have linked to their RRs where appropriate. Oops. But y’all are smart kids and can figure out how to show them some love!) Hopefully I didn’t forget anyone.  So many of you!! But such inspirational to read 🙂

Luckily I don’t have to wait the 4 weeks (!!) until Boston to get my race on.  I’ll be able to do that next week with the Eastern States 20 miler (with Lacey!)

But yeah.  So I wish the run this morning had been faster.  I’m kind of surprised it wasn’t just because of all the race reports I’ve been reading lately buttttt whatever. The weather was even close to perfect: upper 30s/low 40s, cloudy, a little damp (like you knew rain was coming).  Really nothing too taxing.  *LeSigh*  As you can see I’m failing miserably at not dwelling on it haha

I went to go hablar some espanol and I realized that I missed not speaking it for the week of break.  I’m going to need to find someone post-G day to keep talking to me in Spanish! And since I wasn’t lifting today (did the circuit yesterday) I was able to take a long hot shower before heading off to my second PT appointment which was cool.

Since I remembered to pack shorts, socks and shoes in my big ole bag of a purse (since no PM lifting = actually getting to wear real clothes!) my PT was able to get me on the TM and video my running.  It was interesting to say the least and in the interest of time here are the conclusions from the tape:

  • Yup the right shin in a-hurtin’.  I knew that it was “slapping” around but I guess I didn’t know how loud it was until I hopped on the TM and became very self-conscious about it
  • I’m a heel striker
  • My right hip is weaker than my left one, although both are pretty weak
  • My IT band in both legs are tight
  • I tend to rotate in my trunk more to the left than I do to the right
  • I have “chicken wings” when I run

While cool the video wasn’t really all that informative for me, I probably could have told her that before doing the video.  That said it was nice to see the evidence.  As a scientist I love having proof to back up my claims.

So after that we went to work on exercises for my hips.  And we stretched my legs.  The PT also massaged my (still) inflamed ankle as well as my IT band and calf.  It felt amazing.  No tenderness anywhere but I can tell (and obviously so could she if she broke out The Stick for my IT) that stretching hasn’t really been a priority for me lately. That’s going to have to change!

I left after some icing and e-stim (which by the time we got to this step it was past the time my appointment would end but I *really* wanted it so I decided that it was okay to chance running late for my PM class!) with printouts of the exercises and stretches.  I knew that if I didn’t request physical copies than I wouldn’t do them!

And WOAH it is later than I want it to be! I’m going to leave you with that.  I had wanted to delve into nutrition a bit but it will have to wait until another day later this week (yup I’m a tease 😛 ) and assuming I remember haha.

Also I have some intervals tomorrow to do.  I’m on the fence as to whether or not to do hills.  I’m leaning towards no.  The last time I did them (3 or so weeks ago) was a bit irritating to the shin/ankle area and my PT advised me against them and I’m inclined to agree with her.  I’m just hoping that I can fit another hill session in before Boston.  I’d hate to think that the last time I did hills was 7 weeks before race day! I’m sure that I have enough “oomph” in my legs to handle Boston’s hills but I still worry. Haha!

March 9, 2010

Intervals With A Twist of Lemon

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 18:07

Okay so no lemons here.  There was the potential for lemons, however, as I attempted my first outdoor interval session this morning. I’ve done them before outside but never this cycle and never as a part of a structured plan.  I really crave the immediate knowledge of pacing feedback that the TM gives me.

That said, the weather was just WAY TOO NICE to pass up.  Upper 40s when I started to low 50s when I ended. Life is good. SPRING?! Please Mother Nature: don’t take this away!

And while I’m really happy I went outside, I suffered the worst “guilt” ever about it. It was a pretty agonizing decision.  I mean, it’s not something I got an ulcer over, but I went back and forth, back and forth. On one hand:

  • The weather
  • Getting a good evaluation of where I am with pacing myself
  • The weather
  • I wouldn’t feel obligated to add hills afterward (no hills in my area and I wouldn’t be hitting the gym up after) which would be a plus to the shin thing (hills aren’t the friendliest)

On the other hand:

  • I love having the pace dictated to me so that I can maximize the workout
  • Boston has hills and I would include them
  • I would get to watch The History Channel
  • No garmin meaning I’d be doing laps of the school (1.14 miles) repeatedly.  Boring and I’m sure people would also think I’m crazy given my workout
  • Late night the past few nights + big miles = very fatigued MM

Okay so the decision doesn’t look so hard when I write it out like that.  The biggest thing going for the gym/TM was that I was AFRAID OF FAILURE and that I wouldn’t be able to A) hit my paces or B) be able to be consistent with paces.

I told myself that consistency would be the name of the game here and that I’d force myself to be happy with just even pacing. The workout I was doing was a 1-2-2-1 mile, kind of a semi-ladder at 10k pace.  On a TM that equates roughly to 7:08 pace (my real PR pace is around 7:13) so I was shooting for around there and my guess was that I’d be a little on the low side although I wouldn’t know it until after I was done and had run the numbers through a calculator.

Even though so many people love their garmins I think NOT having one is a PLUS for me.  Sure it drives me a little crazy that I don’t know how my splits go but I think it helps keep me somewhat relaxed as the best I can do is the best I can do and I’m not worried about being off during the workout when my focus needs to be on the current interval.

How’d I do?

  • 3.8 mile warm up @ 9:04 pace
  • 1.14 (7:15 pace) – 2.28 (7:08)– 2.28 (7:16) – 1.14 (7:07) miles with .5 and 1.1 miles recovery respectively (Avg pace for total recovery:838 )
  • 3.8 mile warm down @ 8:46 pace

Total time: 144 minutes 25 seconds
Total distance: ~17.6 miles
Average pace: 8:13

I have mixed feelings about this.  On one hand I’m very happy that I was able to keep my pace as fast as it was.  There’s totally something to say about the influence of weather (as many of you guys reminded me on my last post where I mention SAD).  Another positive was that my shin only started bugging during the last mile.  *Not Pain!* but a “oh hey I want ice when we’re done”. I’m a bit bummed that I wasn’t consistent the way I wanted to be.  But the numbers are right where I figured they’d be.

Another shocker to this workout was how fast the recovery as well as warm up/down times were.  It definitely didn’t feel that fast at all and I questioned how accurate my watch was!

That said, I really was feeling all happy and smiley.  Right around the halfway mark (you know: the point where the rest just seems like nothing because you’re halfway done) I really started feeling good and like I could do this.  I think what also helped was that I had just read this from TheFitnessista before heading out:

““Make it yours, and own it.” Many of you asked me about the pilot’s pep talk he gave me before the half marathon. Since I know many of you have races and events coming up, I thought I’d share the almond-shell version with ya’ll. We were sitting at Seasons 52, waiting for our friends to arrive, and I was telling him about how nervous I was. He said, “You know what, it’s going to suck. It’s going to be terrible, hard, and you’ll be hating it. But the thing is, you can let the ‘suck’ beat you and take you down… or you can make it yours, and own it. If something’s going to be painful and terrible, you might as well make it worthwhile. It’s a temporary thing and before you know it, it will be over.” So while I was running (sans iPod!! GAH!), I kept thinking about the fact that it was going to be over eventually and I might as well make it worthwhile, no matter how difficult it was. Before I knew it, we were in the car driving home”

And it totally ran through my head when I wanted to slow up because the wind was blowing really hard or I was going up a slight incline that felt like Everest the billionth time I hit it.  I just kept telling myself that “YES THIS IS HARD. But it’s going to be over soon.  Make the most of it”.  So thanks Gina (if you read my blog) for the help!

Another interesting note is that, while I’ve been really open about my struggle with pacing outdoors, I find intervals outside is easier that tempos.  Maybe because it’s such a short time frame (although I guess I wasn’t totally “on” since my paces weren’t exactly even) but I never felt like I was going fast. I think this has to do with roads and the elements vs tm and controlled climate.  I know that the inherent differences between the two will likely make me sore tomorrow because I know I was using muscles that haven’t really been tested yet.

I had to keep telling myself to pump my arms hard to go faster, but I’d easily forget and then have to re-remind myself hah! I also kept telling myself to be “light and effortless”.  I think that this mantra of the day was helpful because it regulated my breathing a bit and got me to calm down.  Which in turn likely helped me go a bit faster.

So overall: I’m very happy. I doubt I’ll give up my lovely TM for intervals anytime soon but it’s a good mental relief to know that I can do an interval workout.  And who knows: maybe I really am getting faster.  It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I’ve been training for a bit over 10 weeks so it’s natural to be getting faster and making improvements.

Either way I’m very proud of my accomplishment today on the track on the lap of campus that I used as a large track.  What I’m not proud of? Not getting enough sleep last night because I was up so late doing work!! So I’m going to wrap this novella up so I can go be productive and hopefully not have a late night.  Because there’s no way in HELL that I’m missing watching LOST live.

Have a great Tuesday night all! (And doesn’t it feel like it should be later in the week?! Booo to that! 😛 )

March 4, 2010

Funk & Another TM Tempo

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:36

Awww you guys are soooo nice for saying awesome things about my February mileage! Way too kind.  Each of your comments have made me smile 🙂

Which I’ve been needing lately.  I don’t know what it is exactly but I’ve been in a horrible funk.  I hate making excuses but I think that the grueling semester, grueling training schedule and everything life related has practically beaten me down.  I still have some fight in me (hence why I don’t feel like I’m making excuses completely) but man, it is tough to make myself get going and do what I need to do.  Nothing really serious or anything (I’m not staying in bed all day or anything) but it’s just been difficult to motivate myself.

I think it’s that time of the semester AND of training where this is suppose to happen.  School-wise it’s always tough right before spring break (T-9 days!!).  And running wise I need to keep in mind that I’ve been going at this for almost 10 full weeks. I’ve been pushing and going hard every week (I was going to say every day and that might be true even if it’s not physically hard per se).  It’s that point where the actual race isn’t in sight yet BUT I’m so far into the training program that it’s all I can remember.

So while I feel like I just made a bunch of excuses for why I’m in a funk I’m also being proactive in trying to change it by attempting to sleep more, set myself up for success with my quality runs, and making time to watch my favorite shows with my friends. It’s kind of working which is why I said earlier that I have some fight in me.

Another part of my funk is the weather.  It’s being soooo New England lately.  You know the expression “if you don’t like the weather in New England just wait 5 minutes” Pretty basically what’s been going on and I was told today to not discount how that physically makes me feel (ie crappy). It ended up raining/snowing last night so the roads were slick and wet and I really didn’t want to deal with it.  When I woke up this morning I just KNEW that the weather plus my mood was NOT going to allow me to run my tempo run optimally.

So for the 3rd day (out of 4 for March — which I was told by J that it’s the only day that commands you to do something. Think about it) I was on the TM.  As much as I keep saying I don’t mind the TM I can’t do it so frequently! And I’ve been getting some questions about why I don’t use a track and it’s because my school doesn’t have an outdoor track.  Sure we have an outdoor track team but they have drive to some high school or other college to use for track workouts.  Trust me, I’d sooooooo be using a track if I could.

Anyway, despite my blahhh mood (because I’m sure that I could complain about it foreverrrr if I wanted to) I got in a great workout in.  At least I think it was a good workout, my mind was just kind of floating around so I don’t really remember it haha. BUT I was able to feel really good post workout.

  • 3.5 mile warm up
  • 7.1 mile tempo @ 7:19
  • 3.5 mile warm down

Total time: 112 minutes
Total distance: 14.1 miles
Average pace: 7:56

The tempo miles actually flew by.  I set the TM to manual and inputted 52 minutes which I knew would give me slightly more than 7 miles which I was okay with.  This way I didn’t have to keep checking the clock and could just keep running until the belt started to slow down.  Muy Bueno.

I wanted to push the tempo another mile but I didn’t because my body was at the point where it was time to stop.  This point is soooo subjective but I think that over the course of this training I’ve been able to read my body pretty well so I actually said out loud that I didn’ t need to go further and that doing so would be bad because my body had taken everything it needed out of this workout. Plus, like Tuesday, it was also the point where my ankle / shin was making itself known so it was the smart thing to stop and I even iced immediately after the run (yes it’s a plastic baggie surrounded by an ace bandage. I’m a college kid who is not part of a team, hence makeshift ice wrapping):

And I ran into a girl that I know who is on the swim team and she told me to just walk in boldly to the trainer’s office and ask to be seen.  The one catch is that I would probably have to go during odd hours (like in between practices) because I’m not a school athlete. But she said that I’m working just as hard, if not harder, than some school athletes and that they would likely be willing to check me out.  I’m going to try and fit it in but the hours I’d have to go are weird so I’m not sure at the moment if I’d have a class during that time. But I’m trying to be proactive about it even more than I am already.

And as much as I was kind of dreading the run I felt great afterward, like  I really worked hard. I know that if I were to have tried this outside all my mental stuff would have shown so I set myself up for success again like last week.  Now I totally think the best thing is to do tempos outside (I mean races aren’t done of the TM man) but sometimes I think that the mental aspect of running — ie me running on the TM and keeping my spirits up due to my funk — needs to be put before running in conditions.  I think that I’ve run in enough bad conditions to feel prepped for Boston 😛

And check out this giveaway from Marcia!

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.

February 19, 2010

Keep It Steady Now

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:06

Wow.  So last night I went to see a speaker on campus.  His name is Travis Roy and he’s motivational speaker who was left paralyzed from the neck down after an accident just 11 seconds into his first BU hockey game. He talked about conquering life’s hurdles, change in plans, as well as hope, humor and pain.

Let me just say that I was feeling a bit sorry for myself yesterday.  I think you could probably get that from my post.  I think I’ve found my new source of motivation.  Yes, I know that I’m not a quadriplegic or anything serious like that but there were soooo many points that resonated with me. But the biggest one was that he posed the question of “What are you going to do with challenges that you choose and challenges that choose you”  It really made me think about taking control of my life and not letting my stress and chaos get to me.

Obviously easier said than done buttttt I’m going to try. This man was so positive in a situation where he could have easily turned into a very bitter person.  It totally shut my inner voice up! I am choosing to embark on a very challenging course of study at the same moment as taking on a very challenging training plan.  I need to remain positive and keep my goals in mind.

So inadvertently I found rejuvenation in life.  And I felt soooo bad for feeling down on myself pretty much all day. Oops. Then when I got back from the event I read some of your comments on my post and I was so uplifted by it.  I always hesitate on posting those posts because I’m always afraid I’m going to get the comments of “well youre so amazing” or “great job even feeling off” or telling me stuff that’s obvious and those comments just always feel…I don’t know. I always feel rubbed the wrong way because they just seem so impersonal.

But I could actually feel the support with your words.  Which was another of Roy’s points: having a great support system makes a huge difference and that we should all tell the important people in our lives that they mean a lot to us.  So I’m telling you now 🙂

I also did a bit of research on running stuff, mostly different types of running and paces and all that and I’ve come to the conclusion that what went down yesterday was a worthwhile training run.  Not classified as a tempo but as a “steady state run”. I’ve never actually considered doing steady-state work.  But what I did yesterday was classic steady-state. Like the description that follows says, lots of runner nowadays tend to think black and white: fast and slow.  That’s me!

From the McMillian website:

Steady-state runs were once a staple in the training programs of U.S. distance runners but somehow fell out of favor. Runners now seem to have only two speeds, slow and fast – no in-between. But the steady-state run is one of the most beneficial types of workouts especially as you complete your base training and during the initial parts of your Stamina phase (see Lecture 5). The appropriate pace range for steady-state runs is between your 30K and half-marathon race pace. Your heart rate will likely be between 83 and 87% of maximum and the runs should last at least 25 minutes and can go as long as an hour and 15 minutes.

These are pretty tough efforts not because of the pace but because of the duration of running so be prepared to increase your concentration to stay on pace and to take a good recovery day afterwards in order to reap the full benefits. Begin with shorter steady-state runs of 25 minutes at 30K race pace and build to one hour runs at 30K pace with shorter (25- to 45-minute) steady-state runs at half-marathon pace.”

There’s some really great stuff on that site and I totally plan on reading more into it.  But the combination of reading that, your comments and the Travis Roy talk really made me feel more confident.  I WILL be ready for Boston.   Oh silly self-doubt.

So when I woke up this morning I was raring to go mentally.  My legs probably had a different idea.  I took your ideas and suggestions to heart from yesterday’s post and, while I didn’t give myself complete rest, I made sure that I took it extra easy.  Not too hard to do because I don’t think my legs could have gone faster.  I’d classify today’s run as a progression recovery: the first few miles were slooooooooow but it felt better by the end and I was probably in “easy” range.

That’s not to say I did my typical superhuman double digit: I was only out there for 40 minutes.  20 out, 20 back.  I’ll map out how far I went at some point (don’t want that unknown screwing up my weekly numbers haha) but for now I’m content with not knowing.  And the weather was AWESOME.  35* (with it being 46* now in the late afternoon).  Such a tease because it’s New England and obviously winter isn’t over.  Not by a long shot.

I also hit up the gym for some lifting but I cut back there too.  I debated whether or not to drop weights or a set, either one had it’s advantages.  I ended up choosing to only do 2 sets rather than 3 for the sheer fact that I was (and still am) very time crunched today.  It was kind of nice to be in and out with 20 extra minutes.  Not a hell of a lot but enough to make me not feel so pressured.

Before I hit “publish” I also want to address the potential for overtraining that many of you have brought up.  Yes I have been thinking about it too and I do have some of the “symptoms”.  It’s really hard to tell though whether or not these symptoms are a result of my running or all the other stress in my life.  For example: I think my lack of sleep is a result of stress because I can’t turn my mind off and I’m staying up late doing work because I get all anxious if I don’t.  I also checked my resting HR (like I kept my phone in my bed so I didn’t have to move at all this morning to do so) and it was right about where my resting HR should be.  But, that said, I do recognize that I am primed for overtraining and definitely have the potential to develop it.  So it’s on my mind but as of now I think a lot of the signs of it are due to stress.  Unfortunately there’s nothing I can do about it: this is just life right now.

Happy Friday! Whoo-hoo weekend!! Not that I’ll be enjoying it.  It’s a pity too because I think it may hit 50 at some point.  How I wish that homework didn’t exist.  Or any type of work really.  But I hope that someone enjoys the weekend for me 🙂

Check out these giveaways from ErikaH and RunZoeRun and ShutUpandRun and Allie

February 18, 2010

Self-Doubt

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)]


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