Posted tagged ‘training’

How to Mess Up a Perfectly Good Saturday Run (and ache for days afterward)

February 7, 2012

After several years as a runner, I should know that my performance on a run depends as much on my mental state as my physical state.  I should know this.  I never seem to really remember it, though.

I do my long runs on Saturday.  I wake up early.  I head out no between 6:30 and 7, so that I am finished no later than 9.  Amy respects my need to run, but I don’t want to make the whole family’s Saturday revolve around my running schedule.

I started feeling a sneaking dread about last Saturday’s run on Friday night.  I felt tired.  I didn’t want to blog.  I didn’t want to do anything.  In fact, I laid about on the couch from the time Janie went to bed until I went to bed playing the free version of Scrabble on my phone.  That’s right… I don’t care enough to buy the actual app, yet I wasted an entire night messing around with my online Scrabble opponents.

Maybe dread is too strong a word.  It was really more like apathy.  I didn’t want to do a long run.  I hadn’t run more than 5 miles a pop for more than two weeks, and I felt ambivalent at best about putting forth the amount of energy a 13.1 mile run takes.  So, I kept hitting snooze on my alarm.  Even though I knew I needed to get up and eat, so I could get out of the house on time.  Even though I could smell the brewed coffee waiting for me in the kitchen.  Snooze.

All this is a long lead in to say that, while I made decent time on my Saturday run, it was painful.  In fact, I decided to cut my run down to a 10 miler, because my right calf began cramping around mile 8 and my left quad tightened a bit more with each mile.  And my knees felt every connection with the pavement.  I am not fan of stopping short of my mileage goal on a run, but I also know running shouldn’t hurt.  Especially not in a training run.  A stubbornness inflicted injury also would not get much sympathy from Amy.

Why all the aches and pains?  Remember that apathy/dread I mentioned?  It manifested itself in tension in all my muscles, an obsession with my pacing, and a bizarre (and misguided) need to push off with my calves to gain speed.  My head just wasn’t where it needed to be, and my body responded by completely freaking out.

I am actually looking forward to this Saturday’s run.  My calves finally feel normal again (I could barely walk for two dang days), and I am excited to see what I can do out there.  And this is a much better way to approach a run.

13.1 miles.  Bring it.

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Ilene (get it?)

January 10, 2012

I am lopsided.  Right now, my pelvis tilts slightly down to the right, making my left leg longer than my right.  This causes some serious issues when I run.  Simply put:  my knee hurts and my lower back pulls constantly.  I skipped my run today, for fear that I would cause damage right before the 25k this weekend.  (I should totally get a gold star for being responsible enough to skip a run.  Who is in charge of the gold stars, anyway?)

And, before you get all up on your high horse, you foes of running:  running doesn’t throw my back out.  It has always been weak and prone to aches, pains and compression.  But, now I have an 11 month old monkey clinging to me a large majority of the time.  Kind of throws a kink in my posture, you know?

I am really looking forward to the visit to the chiropractor tomorrow to sort all this out.  And that will give me two more short runs before my rest day on Saturday.

I am really excited about this 25k.  Running in the woods–and trying not to fall flat on my face–has a zen kind of quality.  And, trail races make me feel pretty badass.  Oh, AND I get to wear my red & yellow trail shoes!

Yep, I am definitely ready to get rid of this nagging pain so I can focus on the awesomeness of this Sunday’s Croom Zoom.

Zoom-zoom.

Parenting, Running & Pizza–This Post Has It ALL!

December 2, 2011

Three tidbits for your reading pleasure:

1) In a lame parenting moment, I told Amy to mix some brown rice from the refrigerator into Jane’s tomato & carrot baby food.  Neither one of us could figure out Jane’s lackluster response to dinner, even though she usually practically makes out with the tomato & carrot combo.  As I was cleaning up after dinner, I realized that the rice was hard as a rock.  Seems as though you have to actually warm up cold rice for it to be edible.  Poor monkey.  She got a consolation dinner of plain yogurt.  This development pleased her.

2) Jane and I did some speed work on our run today.  Earlier in the week, I had to deal with some frustration in trying to get a midfoot strike going.  After watching a couple videos, I could finally visualize what I needed to do.  So, armed with my new knowledge (and with a much more successful run on Wednesday buoying my confidence), I decided to work on my speed.  I have never done speed work before.  My running has always been about making sure I could cover the distance.  My time just naturally improved with practice.  But, since I want to be more serious about my training, speed work seemed in order.  I did the first 2K at a very easy pace.  I went all out for 1K.  Went to an easy run for 1K, and finished out with an all out for the last 1K.  Then I took my time with the last two miles.  All in all, pretty successful.  Jane slept through the whole thing.

3) Our new favorite pizza:  wheat crust from Whole Foods, pizza sauce from Publix, Gimme Lean veggie sausage, mushrooms and green olives.  Amy’s half is missing the sausage but has cheese.  This pizza is for real good.  Every time we make it, I find that my half just doesn’t seem like enough.  It is that delicious.  Good thing for Ames her half has cheese; otherwise, I couldn’t make any promises….

Universal rules are universal?

November 21, 2011

Universal rules apply to me.

I struggle with this lesson.  

For the first hour or so of labor, I wondered what women complained about so much.  4 more hours and an epidural later, I completely got it.  Turns out labor hurts.  For everyone.  Even me.

When my Iron-Man-completing-friend told me to watch my pace during my first half-marathon, to keep it steady because mile 8 would be the physical halfway mark, I truly did heed his wise counsel.  Until race day.  Then, as I began to run, I thought I would run at my 15k speed.  Surely, I could manage that speed the whole way.  Surely, I wouldn’t bonk.  Because I am different from other runners.

Universal rules apply to me. (See how I am repeating this mantra?)

The half-marathon truly was a phenomenal experience.  I covered the distance 3 minutes faster than I did during my training runs.  I pushed myself as hard as I could go.  And, let’s be honest, running 13.1 miles isn’t a small feat.  I am pleased with my performance.  And I feel accomplished.

But I did learn some things (see mantra above): 

1.  I should have run a bit slower at the outset; I could have maintained a slightly slower pace consistently throughout the race.  As it was, I had to walk in short intervals after mile 10.5.  I dislike walking during a race.  It feels like a letdown.

2.  I need to stay where my Brooks are.  I lost heart when I looked up and saw how much distance I had to cover to make it past the next landmark.  Every second counts, and every second can feel like a battle during a 13.1 mile run, so I need to stay in the present.

3.  The battle comment above denotes a problem in perspective.  Battling the pain is counterproductive.  I need to find a way to welcome it and push through it.

4.  I will train harder for my next race.  I felt confident until mile 10 because I had run that distance so often, and I knew exactly how hard I could push up to that point.  I overestimated how hard I could push for 13.1, because I wanted to be faster.  Oops.  Can’t decide I want to be faster on race day. The time for that kind of decision passed about 16 weeks before race day.

5.  I can’t sprint 1.1 miles.  Not after already running 12.  It doesn’t matter how bad I want it.  My only regret about this race is having to walk for a short stretch during the last 1.1 because I tried to sprint the whole way, and there was just not enough reserve energy to pull from.  

But the biggest lesson I learned is that I just love to run.  I know I will improve.  And I am really proud of my 2:16:37 for my first half.  And now I can try that barefoot running bit…

 

When a Half is Better Than a Whole (for now at least)

November 5, 2011

Today marked the last long run I will do before the Women’s Half-Marathon in St. Pete on November 20th.  And I killed it.  

I love running.  Amy swears it is an unnatural love.  But, I see running as a kind of meditation.  It keeps me focused and (relatively) tranquil.  I understand myself better because I run.  I don’t really know how to explain that, but I know for certain that it is true.

I am excited about this half-marathon.  It will be my first.  I have trained diligently, with a well-planned strategy, and I have avoided injury (except for a minor back/knee issue that got resolved quickly through chiropractic treatment).   I understood my boundaries.  I respected my body. I am a much stronger runner for this.

And I felt like today’s run was a celestial nod assuring me that I am ready for November 20th.  

Bring it.