The Good & The Ugly

I am nearing the end of week 7 of my Boston training. For the most part it has gone well. I’ve been able to run the paces I’m supposed to (or faster really – because who does an easy 17 miler at marathon pace?). I used to dread having to run at tempo pace – okay, I still do before the run starts – but they have become easier and more awesome.

It has not all been fun and games though. Last week (Feb 27th to be exact) I set out for my 15 mile run through Encinitas, Leucadia, and Carlsbad. I was SO EXCITED to run along Coast Highway again, even if it involved marathon pace and tempo miles. It was a little drizzly when I started. No big deal. Had to run through puddles and my shoes and socks were soaked. Annoying, but I can handle it. I made it to about 8 miles and had headed back south towards Encinitas. Cue the nasty head wind. During the tempo portion no less. It was miserable. It started to rain harder. I stopped on the side of the road several times to try to get it together, but ended up crying. I was cold. I was wet. I was lonely. I tried to push on, having to stop every quarter mile it seemed. By mile 12 it really started to pour. That was the end of the line for me. I found some shelter, pulled out my phone, and requested an Uber to take me back to my car in Encinitas. Yeah, it was like that.

I was devastated. The rest of the day I couldn’t stop thinking about how hard and awful that run was. I was so upset that I quit. Thoughts of “WHY AM I EVEN DOING THIS? DO I REALLY WANT TO RUN THIS RACE???” ran rampant through my head. And to think the day before I had an awesome run. Side note: it rained over 3″ that day. I call myself a meteorologist and actually thought it was okay to run in that weather??

The next day, I hit reset. Did my speed work. Everything was okay again. I just had to let that bad run go. You’re not going to kill it every time – that’s why it’s training. Ever since my runs have been incredible. Still hard, no doubt, but I definitely felt better.  That one clusterf***  of a run definitely made me appreciate the successful runs afterwards. I feel more confident in my goals and generally not dying during the race. Now to move on to this Sunday’s 20 miles. The first seven I plan on doing fast-ish, followed by pacing a friend during the San Diego Half Marathon. A medal for my training run? Don’t mind if I do. Short one, out.

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You learn something old every day…

Perhaps it’s me needing to read things thoroughly, or I don’t know, just remember things I’ve read years ago?

At the end of my night shift I was chatting with a friend about our training plans (made by the same person) and how they make us want to die. I mentioned how my next long run was 15 miles – with a 5 mile tempo run in the middle. Of course my reaction when I first saw it was “Are you f&@#ing kidding me?? How is that even possible? This is surely how it all ends. That can’t be right!”.

You see, when I first read through the training guide I saw “tempo” and “30 seconds faster than goal marathon pace”, so on all my tempo runs I have done a ~1 mile warm up (if that, and definitely not at a warm up pace) and then ran at the tempo pace for the remainder of the run.  When I went back and re-read the whole thing, suddenly everything I had once known came rushing back. Oh right, you actually run easy for a solid chunk at the beginning, slowly build up to tempo pace over the next 1/3 of the run or so and hold it for ONE TO TWO MINUTES, then bring it back down for the rest of the run. Just like I read on Runner’s World or whatever 2-3 years ago.

Well. Shoot. I thought when I cut the tempo portion of my run a little short last Thursday that I was a quitter, but it turns out I was quite the over-achiever. Or just stupid. It was supposed to be a 45 minute tempo run. After 36 minutes I was like F. This. and stopped to take a breather before “jogging” the remaining mile home as a cool down. I even logged it as a separate run so it wouldn’t mess up my average pace and make me feel like a loser.

My splits from last Thursday’s run. Serious WTF to mile 2.

Not only was the AVERAGE pace faster than it should’ve been (I was shooting for 7:20), I also held that pace for 34 MINUTES longer than I should have. *Slow clap*

I’m really glad I discovered this before the 55 minute tempo run came at me. That would’ve sucked. No wonder I was doubting myself so much – these runs felt so impossible that I was seriously starting to re-think my race goal. Turns out I was just doing them wrong. So, so wrong.

So there you have it. Reading is imporant and stuff.

I Am Terrible At This

So it’s only been 10 months since my last post. Oops? The truth is my SeaWheeze training was going terrible, I was gaining weight, and aside from the occasional race and November Project I wasn’t really running much.

After a few weeks of not being anywhere near where I should’ve been with my training runs I just flat out gave up. Fast forward to July or so. I was miserable. I hated how “slow” I was getting. I would randomly burst into tears at NP and nearly have a panic attack because I was so upset with myself, my weight, and how hard everything felt. A couple friends were pacing the 1:50 group at SeaWheeze, so in an attempt to put in minimal effort during the race and avoid being disappointed with my time had I actually raced it, I ran with them.

September should’ve been a turning point. I applied for Boston. I got in. I still barely ran. It was torture. I felt like I was dying, would look down at my watch and see my pace, and wanted to quit right there.

By the time October rolled around I was like SHIT. This race is in 6 months. I started to run a little more. A little. It wasn’t really until January when lululemon and Strava had a run challenge, so duh, I could totally run 80 km in 2 weeks for prizes. Nailed it. The week after the challenge was over my marathon training began.

This training plan is hard (thanks Gals Who Run). Really hard. Especially when you’re piling on NP and one or more Group X classes per day on top and your knee has been bugging. Me = not smart. I’m wrapping up the 4th week of training this weekend. My speed is coming back, but for some reason I don’t believe it. I see my pace and think “there is no way I’m running that fast. The GPS must be off.” I upload it and everything looks fine, but I’m still swallowed by self doubt. I’m not really that fast. I’m going to fail at my workout tomorrow. I don’t think I’m going to be able to run a marathon. Why am I even trying to PR? I’ll be lucky if I manage to re-qualify. I’m not going to re-qualify. I’m not good enough.  I’m not skinny enough. I might actually die at this race.

So yeah, I’ll be spending the next 8 weeks stressing the F out because my brain is not nice. That’s where I’m at. I just needed to get it all out because I literally talk to no one about these things. Awesome.

Running Company

I have always trained alone. Every last run during the training for my first half marathon and most for my first marathon were completed totally alone. While it was awesome that I could just go and do them whenever I had time – because who DOESN’T want to do a 16 miler at 4:30 PM on a Sunday – looking back it kind of sucked.

I never had a problem running alone. It was all I knew. I still don’t mind it, and sometimes prefer it. But once I joined the now-defunct lululemon UTC run club and November Project I began running with others more and sow how much more enjoyable it can be. Not only is it more fun, but there are other benefits:

  • Accountability. Do you think I’d show up at the crack of dawn to do speed work at a track if I knew no one else was going to be there? HELL NO. My alarm would be shut off before Finn Hudson could mutter the first words of Faithfully. Yeah I have GLEE music for my track alarm. JUDGE ME. It also keeps me from ditching a run early.
  • Speed. Alone and tired? Yep, immediately make the run a slow run. Something about running with others automatically makes me go a little faster, especially if I run with fast people. I absolutely crushed every lulu UTC run because I didn’t want to make our #fastAF leader run too slow. Even when we were going up that stupid mother effing Nancy Ridge Road hill. I still don’t know who Nancy is, but I don’t like her.
  • Support. I’m not talking about your friends setting up water and gummy bear stations on the side of the road for you (though that would be suh-weeeet). But having someone you can exchange encouraging words with, motivate you, and take your mind of the fact that you are voluntarily subjecting yourself to hours of torture.

 

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Sunset at the end of lululemon Tuesday Trailblazers 4/5/16

I bring this up because this evening I went to the lululemon Tuesday Trailblazers run club. There were only two of us who wanted to do the 6 mile out-and-back. Listen, if I’m dragging myself all the way to Pacific Beach to run I’m going to make it worth my time. We took off running and dashing around people who insist on taking up the entire sidewalk. I knew we were going fairly fast for what was supposed to be a casual run. My eyes nearly shot out of my head when I looked down at my watch, but I didn’t say anything. We kept going. Near the turn-around we both agreed we should take it down a notch since I’m still sore from Ragnar and she had a swim workout tomorrow. It was teetering on that slightly-uncomfortable pace. Yeah, the slowing down lasted about one-quarter mile. We finished strong and ended up with a 7:39 pace. Huh? Casual run club run turned moderate effort run? Neither of us would’ve run that fast had we been alone, but somehow, without saying a word, we pushed each other. We worked harder than we intended. We really picked up the pace towards the end. We both agreed that it. Was. Awesome. While I have to miss the next few weeks of Tuesday Trailblazers due to work and travel, hopefully I’ll be able to make it back and run with her again!