Tuesday, February 16, 2010

On the Edge

The last couple weeks of running were supposd to be build weeks.  Apparently, I wasn't understanding "build" meant increasing mileage in those weeks.  My feet were quite certain it meant decrease.

My first build week I pigeonholed myself for no other reason than being a slacker.  The goal was to run around 40 miles and since I usually do my long run on Sunday, Mondays make it really easy to do nothing.  Well, Tuesday hit and I still felt nothing was the right thing to do, meaning I would have to run everyday for the rest of the week to hit 40.  It wasn't really a problem until Sunday.  I owed 14 miles to make my 40, but the temps were less than 0 with the windchill.  I really disliked the idea of running in the cold for about 2 hours, but managed to eek it out.  My hamstrings were aching something fierce along with my right knee cap, but that didn't stop me from hobbling into the bagel shop for my victory breakfast.

The next build week I set a goal of 44-46 miles.  I attended a cycling session after pharmacology on Monday night, but again skipped running on Tuesday and Wednesday because my knee was still aching.  I kept wondering if I was pushing too hard and moving closer to the "Injury Zone."  Either way I now had only 4 days to run the goal mileage.  Cursing myself on Thursday I set out for an easy 10 miler, trying to think of an intelligent way cover my mileage wihout getting hurt or being dumb about it.  As I approached the 10 mile marker I realized I was feeling pretty good and the knee was not aching.  I suppose that tends to happen after 3 days of rest.  Although, I had no water or gels I decided right then and there to go for 16.  All was going well until 13-14 when my stomach started crying for sustenance.  I wanted to push the pace to get home and eat but I knew that could be disastrous so I kept up my turtle trot, well I might have run a few seconds a mile faster ;)  I was definitely a bit tight the next day so I opted to split my run into a 2-a-day.  I did 3.85 on the 'mill before heading to clinicals with the intention of covering 5-7 on the roads when I got home, but as I stared out my patients window I saw the snow falling and falling.  Uuuggghh.  It was going to be a long drive home and the roads were going to suck.  I bailed on my second run that day, bringing me to Saturday with a grand total of 19.96 miles run and a little over 26 to go.  Sh#t!!!  I had less than 2 hours to run after a few hours of studying on Saturday so I managed to crank out 11 before heading to work bringin the remainder mileage to 15 for Sunday.  I had high hopes for getting in 11-12, but MK was there Sunday morning and wanted to run 15.  I told her I would be willing but I would need to go about 8:30-8:40/mile because my legs were tight and tired and my hamstrings were again acting up.  She didn't seem to mind and we rolled 15 right on pace.  She definitely seemed to be doing much better than me.  Running 46 miles in 4 days did a number on my legs and all I could think about was getting my feet up and off the ground.  I did not fail to celebrate my mileage vicotry with a pat on the back and some coffee with baileys, even if I was dumb about it.

Week 3 of my build again the goal was to hit around 46 miles.  Not wanting to have a three-peat of the last two weeks I ran 6 easy miles on Monday.  I was extremely tight and my hamstrings were nagging.  I felt very nervous and anxious since it was the same aching I had right before I tore my hamstring last year.  Again, Tuesday I missed. Tuesdays are such a hard day to workout.  I have class for 4 hours in the morning and then I have to work until nearly 11pm at night.  It is just not working out to workout!!!  Wednesday I decided to rest my hamstrings one more day.  Thursday I tackled an 8 miler with AH.  I still felt tight through the first few miles and when the pace dropped below 8:00 minute miles my cavs started screaming at me.  I was really suffering and I shouldn't have been.  I was nearly at race effort and I was dying, not to mention I was getting slower each mile.  I was so frustrated that a 7:38 mile hurt THAT bad.  It shouldn't have.  I am in the best running shape of my life right now.  I know it's cold and I have been building mileage, but I hate overestimating my abilities through excuses so when I hit the 8 mile mark on my garmin I told him I had to walk the cramps were just too bad.  We cooled-down with 3 minutes of frustrated power walking back to the house.  Friday I managed 4 super, slow, tight and painful miles on the 'mill followed by an ice bath.  My legs felt so much better after and I had hoped I might actually cover 28 miles in the next 2 days.  Saturday I did 10 easy to test the legs and although I felt the fatigue in my legs it was a million times better than Wednesday.  Sunday, I planned an 18 miler, but when I went to bed Saturday I was extremely nauseated and just plain tired.  I woke up at 7:00am planning to run with MK, but I didn't feel any better, so I pulled the plug and went back to bed.  I woke up 2 hours later and feeling a little less fatigued and hungry.  It was a good sign I was feeling better, my appetite was back and the nausea was gone.  I ate and studied for a few hours before deciding I would at least make an attempt at my 18 miler.  It had taken me 2:17 to run 16 last week so I figured 2:30ish for this run.  I haven't been using gels for anything under or near 2 hours, but today I packed 2 in my gloves.  I knew the chances of finishing this were not that great.  I hadn't been feeling well and with my hamstrings aching on and off it didn't look good.  I rolled through the first hour feeling okay and took the first gel with some snow.  I wasn't taking any water because it was so cold anyway it would have just given me abdominal cramps.  The second hour went by with only a few twinges in my hamstrings and I was ecstatic.  I wasn't pushing the pace and my hamstrings were holding with less than 4 miles to go.  I knew I could do it and at 2:32 in I finished 18.27 miles...WOOT, WOOT!!! 

The kicker....these long training runs are faster than my best marathon race pace and I am on a recovery week...YES!!!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Voices In My Head

They plague my life with self-doubt and "I can't". The self-doubt I feel about so many things in my life is as much a part of me as my brown hair. I have tried for years to rid myself of it, searching for a cure, but only being able to temporarily escape from it before it finds me once again.

Maybe it is because I am like my father and worry too much. Always trying to prepare for the worst, so I can avoid disappointment and devastation if it goes bad (the scenario I imagine is always much worse than the reality).

The thing is "I CAN." I don't need to doubt myself and my abilities. I need to step it up and at least pretend I am a rockstar in my own mind. I need to vaccinate myself from these doubts and kick this habit.

I read the following today and although I have heard it before, it's always nice to be reminded of our strengths, especially when our weaknesses seem to be in full bloom.

If someone says to you, "You can't run a marathon under three hours," make that your goal.

Or if someone says, "You'll never be able to finish a marathon, EVER," resolve to yourself, right then and there, that that is what you MUST DO.

Or if someone laughs and says, "You'll never finish in the top 100 in the Cherry Blossom 5K. You're not fast enough," set your sights on doing just that.

Draw your inspiration from "can't." No matter who says it, do just the opposite.

Now, it's a much trickier situation if the person who is telling you "can't" is located inside your head. Examine the voice. Who does it belong to? Your mother or father? Sister or brother? A former spouse or an old high-school teacher or coach?

Whoever it is, tell that person what you would any other. Tell him or her, "Yes, I can. You're not going to stop me, not this time. This is too important. I want to do this thing. I want to set a clear goal for myself and achieve it. I know I can, and I will. With your help or without it. Now, if you'll just shut your trap, I'm going to go for a run."

The voice in my head is definitely my own and it never shuts-up! But I am growing so accustomed to proving it wrong, to finishing what I start. When it says "slow down" or "quit" that is when I am learning to hunker down, start dropping "F" bombs and gettin it done.

One day those voices will shut the f*ck up! I will be the confident, positive person I strive to be.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Something Different

It seemed after my high mileage ending to 2009 I needed a few weeks of maintenance to let my legs adapt to the idea that 50 mpw could become a more regular thing. I spent about 4 weeks runnning 30-40 mpw, but I decided add in some speedwork.

I consider myself a self-disciplined person, especially when it comes to running a predetermined set of miles each week, but the idea of running at a pace that makes me want to vomit, REPETITIVELY, stinks! I had also increased my alcohol consumption those weeks, so somewhere between a glass of red wine or maybe it was a Guiness, I vowed to give it a go.

The first week I just wanted to finish the workout and not be dying, so I did the 6 x 400M repeats at 9mph with a 400M recovery. The idea was to see if my clydesdale like thighs could move that fast for 400M. I don't think I own many type II fibers and flying off the back of the treadmill into the wall definitely, was not part of the plan. I made it through 5 easily and on the 6th I did 800M at that pace. I still felt good. I figured it would be a bit slower than what I could do the 400M in or the recovery was a bit too long, but I just wanted to finish.

Week 2, I think was my favorite. I pulled out 6 x 1000M at what was supposed to be 15k pace with a 200M recovery. I find the treadmill extremely difficult to run my road paces at, so again to be safe I ran at a slower pace. Although, I can do it on the road, the idea of running 1000M at sub-7:30/mile was just not clicking in my head, so I went for 7:41/mile. On the 6th repeat I went for 1200M and again completed an extra 400M just like the week before. The workout is by far my favorite. I didn't feel like puking, but it did the job and fatigued my legs, indicating I had definitely gotten a quality workout.

I have never done Yasso 800s, but just the idea of running (10) 800s and running them well is something I would like to cross off my "to do" list someday, so I thought I would start with 4. I was definitely getting more realistic about my treadmill paces, not a lot, but more than week 1. I got very aggressive (for me that is) and decided to run them at the same pace I ran my 400s at in week 1 with a 400M recovery. The workout was challenging to the point where I was struggling a bit, but did not feel like I was totally wsted after each repeat. As I completed each one, I got more and more excited because I could do it on the road, but that dam 'mill was always so hard. I think part of it is a small mental block and the majority is the muscles that I engage to run on the road with are not the major players when I am on the treadmill, so I work significantly harder. Anyway, hit the fourth repeat like champ. Three weeks in a row of speedwork, who would have thought?

Finally, last week I really, really wanted to be outside a lot. I took my Garmin and hoped it would not have a "lost" moment where the mileage gets all wonky. I was going to try 2 x 1600M with 800M recovery and 1 mile at what felt a bit harder than a long run pace or close to MP. It was about 20 degrees, so I was extremely wary of how I had hurt my hamstring in the cold a year ago. I debated and debated whether or not to pull the plug on the workout, before going out. I decided to run near 5k effort and if I felt any twinges of tightness I would just back off immmediately. I ran a 3 mile warm-up, not really getting warm at all, before the first mile repeat. I dropped a 7:17/mile. I was definitely disappointed. I am not sure if it was the Garmin or me. It seems whenever I try mile repeats the first is always the slowest. My brain just needs some physical evidence that my body wants to go faster than usual, I guess. Mile 2 was 7:07/mile. I was 10 seconds faster...WOOT!! WOOT!! (add in the fist pump too). I wanted to try another, but my butt was frozen along with my elbows. I recovered for my 800M and headed home at my made up pace. The Gamin beeped for 7:45/mile, not bad. I slowed to cool down pace for the last 800M and began thinking about what I was going to eat when I got home in less than 5:00 minutes.

Mmmmmmmm, best part about running ... EATING!!

I still don't like speedwork, but with each workout I do, I seem to dread it less and less. I definitely want to keep the 1000M repeats a part of my routine, maybe once a month. The Yasso 800s will have to wait a bit though.