Believe

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I ran across this poem by Derek Walcott online today:

Love After Love
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

For my easy run today, I decided to try something new. I wore my Garmin watch, but did not look at it. I ran my favorite route in the park, so I knew the distances. I ran at a pace that felt easy. I thought I was running 9:30s or higher.

After hitting 6.2 miles, I saved my workout (without checking the time), then jogged a bit until I hit a good, flat straightaway. Then I performed 4 strides (which is running fast for a set amount of time, in my case, 20 seconds) with a recovery jog between. Again, I did not look at my watch, but I did hit the lap button for each segment. I counted for the seconds.

I turned out to be wrong about my speed being slower today. My splits over the easy run were:
9:03
8:39
8:41
8:22
8:27
8:56 (there were two significant hills in this segment, and I ran it to match the effort of the flat portions)

I beat my previous best time up the largest hill by 28 seconds (over the course of a half mile climb).

My stride workout was this:
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I wasn’t even trying to increase my speed over the four strides. It just happened.

What this poem and workout say to me is that I need to find more belief in myself. I fully believe that of I’d eyed my watch during this workout, I would have freaked myself out and made it feel harder than it should’ve. Instead, I had a wonderful, relaxed run.

I am my own worst enemy. I think I learned something valuable about myself today.

Trust the training. Trust myself.

This is just silly

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Feeling more positive

Thanks to everyone who wrote kind words and wisdom. It really helped. I allowed myself Sunday to mope a little and today went for my 24-miler feeling better.

It went well. I felt awesome the first 18. The last 6 were a little harder, but I also ran them faster because I felt solid. I practiced fueling and water and those both went well. My husband may try to have a refill of my UCAN bottle for me at mile 18 if we can swing it. I have noticed that I get super thirsty around this time and I need to work on hydrating well in advanced. I don’t need to be obsessed with water when I’m trying to finish the race.

This was my last long run of the training cycle. I’ll have a few runs around 10-15 miles, but that distance seems less stressful after all the miles.

Now if I can come close to this performance on race day…

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Disappointing 5k Race

On paper I should be happy. My unofficial 24:25 5k (7:52/mile pace) is a new PR. I was 4th female and 9th overall. I’m not sure what the final race participation was, but it was more than last year which the race website said was around 200 people.

Just for comparative purposes, I ran the same race last year in 30:11 and was 50th.

But first, the course was short according to my Garmin (again, like last year). And while I probably felt considerably better than I did running last year as a newbie runner, I still felt pretty crap. Basically, I ran my 10k pace from January, but I felt far better in that race.

I’m hoping that this is a function of where I am in marathon training. I’m not going to make excuses. But I am bummed it wasn’t a better time. It should be more in the low 23:xx or even high 22:xx on a great day. Today was neither. I let a woman pass me in the last .10 mile, which was just dumb.

I need to put it behind me for my 24-miler on Monday.

The Foam Roller is my Friend

20140411-161944.jpgI’m grouchy today. After a fabulous Yasso 800 workout on Wednesday, yesterday’s run in the park was lousy. It was supposed to feel easy and it didn’t. I Today’s run on the treadmill felt better, but not great. I have a 5k tomorrow morning and I’m feeling discouraged. I chose the treadmill because I knew if I tried the park again, I’d push too much to prove I don’t suck, and I needed to be easy on myself the day before a race. Or as easy as I’m capable — I still probably pushed pace too much today.

I hate that the lousy run affects me more than the awesome one did.

I’ve got a tight right calf, so I’ve been foam rolling it. Nothing dire, but I don’t want it to get worse. I can’t believe that in two weeks I’ll be in DC for the Nike Half Marathon. Check out my new Newton Distance Elite Ironman Special Editions. Cute, no? I have no intention of ever doing an Ironman, but I liked the color of these better than the regular Distance Elites. These sneaks are by far my favorite running shoes. So comfortable and lightweight.

I don’t feel like figuring out what’s for dinner, but if I don’t, no one else will. I know, tough life. I just want to loaf on the sofa and feel sorry for myself.

Just one of those days.

Channel Swim Team

No, I’ve not taken up swimming, although at least one of my husband’s friends would love it if I did. Those who have been reading my blog for the last couple years know my husband swam the English Channel last fall. I tagged along and ran around the countryside and tried not to strangle one guy on our trip who was making me bonkers (and admittedly, my issues with him were at least half my own fault).

20140407-102936.jpgOne of the women who crewed for my husband last year is making the attempt to cross the channel this September, and I’m tagging along again. Although I won’t be on the boat (my husband will as her coach), she still included me when she had t-shirts made up for her crew.

This woman is one of the nicest, best people I’ve had the pleasure of being friends with. Part of the reason she is swimming the channel is to raise money and awareness for building a pool in her area in Vermont. Currently there isn’t a facility for anyone to use, and she often drives all the way to our area in New York in order to train. She’s such an inspiration. I’m so excited to be a part of her adventure.

Besides being thrilled about going back to England and hanging with my friend in a trailer park, and hopefully buying blogger Furtheron that cup of tea I owe him, I’m also looking forward to tackling this one giant hill into and out of the town of Folkestone. Last year I was recovering from a foot injury, so I only practiced running down it for the 2.5 or so miles. This fall I want to run it both ways. I think. In theory it sounds like a good idea, but it might kill me.

Yesterday I ran 18 miles and it went pretty well. I wasn’t as fast as I was when I did a similar run two weeks ago (4 minutes slower), but it was a way more comfortable run than last week when I was sick. I mentally went into this run nervous about my performance last week. But I also knew that it was mostly mental and that last week if was severely impeded by not being healthy.

This week I also incorporated hills into the run that were of similar distance and incline to those in the Providence Marathon. The last 8 miles were at faster than marathon goal pace. It was a tough run, but I feel alright this morning.

In two months, I’m participating in the Runners World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon Festival. I’ve signed up for the “hat trick”, or all three races (5k, 10k & half marathon). I’ve also signed up for a shakeup run they will be hosting on Friday night. I’ll get to run with Bart Yasso! I’m so geeked out.

I have a Yasso 800 workout on my schedule for this Wednesday. Maybe knowing I’m going to meet the man will put extra oomph into my workout.

It’s funny that the hat trick doesn’t intimidate me anymore the way it did when I signed up for this last year. I guess running 50-60 miles a week during marathon training will do that to you. I’m really looking forward to this event, especially since I am originally from the area, and hell, Boston! I’m actually staying on the Boston College campus in a dorm room. My dad went to school there, so I’ve visited a few times. It’s a really nice campus.

Just in the interest of disclosure, I’m paying my own way for the event. I’ve seen lots of bloggers who got free race registration. I’m not one of those lucky ones. So all my blathering about any race is unsponsored and 100 percent my own blathering.

Now, if anyone wants to sponsor me, I’d be glad to blather on your behalf.

A Keeper & The Blues

I met with my new trainer on Wednesday and I think he’s great. It’s weird how certain motions are difficult for me. His goal over the next month is to open up the tension in my neck, shoulders and back so that on race day I feel light and full of energy. The idea is that I’ll have more energy because I won’t be fighting the tight spots in my body. I’m so happy I made this switch. He’s a keeper.

I also am finally getting over this sickness. I had a great tempo run yesterday, even though breathing is still a little labored. I averaged a 7:44 over the tempo portion, which was 6 miles this week. The total run was 13.1 miles in 1:47. That’s 10 minutes faster than my half marathon PR from November. Yay!

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I’m not a big Facebook or Twitter person, but I stop in both time to time so as to not be the relic I actually am. This morning I saw that my “baby” brother is having an art show tonight in Kansas. I so wish I could go. I am not close to my siblings and never was close to my brother except a brief period in my early 20s and his tween years (I didn’t live at home — go figure why that was when we got along. Also, we bonded over Beavis & Butthead). My sister and I have had our moments of closeness, but not much at all in the last 8 years when she moved near my parents. My parents think nothing of going into my sister’s house and rearranging her furniture and pictures on the wall when she’s not home. They say horrible things about her behind her back. I’m sure most of it isn’t even true judging from the things they’ve said about me behind my back that aren’t even rational half the time, nevermind a realistic portrayal of me.

20140404-122137.jpgLooking at my brother’s Facebook post, I was hit by sadness and by how much I miss him and my sister. By my longing for a relationship with them. To a degree, I understand why that is so difficult. When my sister lived in another state from our parents and she and I were close, my mother gave her hell for talking to me. So my sister would either cancel plans with me to escape the wrath or not tell my mother she was speaking to me. It was hard on my sister. Now that she lives near them, I don’t stand a chance. I’m grateful that she still emails me on my birthday. That’s an act of defiance on her part.

Our mother is terrific at one thing: driving wedges between her kids and our dad. No lie is too small. I gave up fighting it for my own sake, but I gave up so much in doing so. Sometimes, like this morning, it hurts so badly. I want to do something drastic to try to make it all right again. Lay myself on the train tracks so my mother can run the train over me. Again.

But I won’t because it always ends badly. I try to be strong, but I’m not strong enough for that, for the malignancy that is my mother. I may never be strong enough. So I stay safe instead.

A Solid March Deserves a Solid Rest Day

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Got the Garmin mid-March. Injured in Aug/Sept.

March was a banner month. I ran my first marathon, fired and hired personal trainers, recovered from a minor injury and ran a total of 248.2 miles.

Egads, no wonder I’m a little worn out.

I did a 6 mile recovery run yesterday, which went fine at an 8:48 pace, but after I had a painful cough. I’m not sure if this bug is settling into my chest or if it was just accumulated exertion from Sunday. This morning I planned to go to yoga, but I decided to take a complete rest day instead. I hope to feel better for my session with my new personal trainer tomorrow. I also have a tempo run on the schedule, but I think I can safely shift it to Thursday.

I discovered an interesting fact when I received my final 4 weeks of marathon training from my coach yesterday: McMillan Running plans don’t really have a traditional taper. That’s right–I won’t be sitting in a hammock with a mint julep (not that I’ve ever had one. I’m not even sure what’s in one. I’m the worst alcoholic ever.) those last days heading into my race. I’d kind of been looking forward to a taper. Alas, it’s not mean to be.

Greg McMillan explains the training phase he calls Peak in this article. Basically, volume of training is reduced around 20 percent, but intensity is maintained. Which is good since I have two races prior to the marathon. I’d asked my coach about how to approach a 5k race I have in less than two weeks, and she said I can do an “honest effort” vs. taking it easy. I know I can beat my previous course time of 30:11 from last year, and it would be nice to beat my 5k PR of 24:45 from July (the last time I raced a 5k). This 5k was my very first race, so it should be fun to compare how far I came since I started running. It’s funny to think of how disappointed I was that first race that I didn’t come in below 30 minutes. And how hard that 30:11 felt at the time. I wouldn’t expect this year’s attempt to feel any more comfortable — it’s all relative.

I’m not yet sure what strategy my coach will suggest for the Nike Women’s half marathon, which is the week before the full. I think McMillan¬†usually would have another 18 mile fast finish run after the 24 miler, but since I have a race, it’s been eliminated from my training cycle and replaced with a 90 minute easy run. I’m not planning a PR for the half marathon, but it would be nice if one happened and it felt easy ;)

 

FINAL 4 WEEKS MARATHON TRAIN PLAN

Easy runs in minutes

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Although I’ve been hitting my paces, I’m still not sure if I’ll be able to qualify for Boston this race. It is within my abilities, but everything has to go right for it to happen. I don’t think I’ve got much wiggle room to finish faster than 3:55. I’ve signed up for a backup marathon in the fall (Baystate), but it would be great if it is unnecessary. I don’t know why I’m feeling so insecure at this moment. Maybe because I’m sick and feel low in general. I’m nervous that I spent so much of this winter¬†on the treadmill rather than the road. The pros are that it was easier on my joints and I avoided the crappy weather, the con is that it can’t substitute for the feel of the road.

Regardless, I’m going to give this marathon my best. It’s all I can ask of myself.

…And then the body craps out

I’ve been feeling sick all week. I had some great runs despite being sniffly, sore-throated and achy, but it all came to an end today.

Last night I had the shivers and I suspect I was running a fever. But I didn’t check because I didn’t want to know. I had an 18-22 miler on my schedule today.

I had a restless night and debated pushing the long run off until Monday. Finally, I decided to turn off the alarm set for 7:30 am. If I felt better, I’d go run, but it meant missing yoga class. Yesterday’s yoga class was spotty at best, so it wasn’t too big a sacrifice.

I got up at around 9:30 and felt a bit better, ate some breakfast, drank coffee and left for the Y. It’s in the low 40s, rainy and with flood warnings around here, so my unwell self wasn’t keen on running outdoors today. Maybe the only less dumb decision I made today.

20140330-170346.jpgMy first 12 miles felt fine. Not great, but solid. Then the wheels started coming off. Miles 13-15 were tough, and I took an unscheduled hop off the treadmill to get some plain water and splash some on my face. I didn’t feel like I was cooling off effectively despite that I was sweaty.

The next five miles were at best, crummy. Everything ached. The arches of my feet felt tight, which never happened before. It felt like a large monkey (not quite a gorilla) was hanging out on my chest. I’d really wanted to get to 22 miles, but my body was having none of it. I got off the treadmill at 20 miles and sludged my way home.

I’m now sniveling and sneezing on the sofa and my husband is helpfully tossing DaQuill liqui-gels at me. My brilliant son suggested that since I was feeling sick, I probably should have scaled back the miles some more. I told him I was stubborn and stupid — a great combination.

Now excuse me while I wipe the snot off my iPad. At this point, the only thing running well is my nose.

The Body Doesn’t Lie

20140327-105342.jpgI loathe drama. I grew up in a minefield of sorts, and it taught me to stir up as little trouble as possible. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with PTSD, which seems to be in remission in part because I eliminated interactions with the person who causes me the most agitation, my mother. But from time to time, I feel the fight/flight/freeze reactions when in situations that echo my childhood experiences. While no one has threatened me bodily harm lately, sometimes my body doesn’t realize that danger isn’t imminent.

For instance, with the running group coach who uses irrational yelling to try to spur his trainees on (even when we are performing as asked), I find myself getting very angry and muttering inappropriate insults under my breath. The only thing that has kept me from acting out with him has been that I recognize that the guy is insecure, especially after I caught him lying about his race performances. Being able to feel sorry for him kept my behavior at bay, but it’s also tinged my attitude about running with the group. I start every session with him feeling cagey.

I met with my new personal trainer yesterday. It was primarily an assessment session with lots of questions and a little checking out my form with some basic exercises. What the trainer noticed right away was my general tightness/restrictive motion in my back from my neck down to my lats. Earlier he had asked about my stress levels, which I said were low. After checking my form, he questioned me about stress again, saying that I was really limited in motion in those areas. He said, in his experience, that sort of restrictiveness is stress related.

20140327-105354.jpgHe’s not the first to ask me what the hell is going on with my back, shoulders and neck. I get massage therapists clucking over it all the time. It’s especially bad on my right side (I have pinched nerves as a result of all the tension, and my chiropractor is helping me work on it), and I tend to not mention it because I forget what I’m used to living with my whole life.

Yah, so I’m not he best assessor of my own state of mind. I numbed with alcohol to chill out my emotions. I avoid confrontation. My body pays the price whether I pay attention to it or not.

I honestly don’t feel super stressed at this time and don’t think there is too much unconsciously going on. But I also have my 19-year-old son home on a leave of absence from college due to his disastrous first semester at college. He’s finally got a part time job, his first, and is taking community college classes. He’s not being a jerk most of the time. I’m pretty sure drugs are not in his system because he has no access to his car. I do think he might have been smoking at work, but despite that I don’t approve, it’s not illegal for him. It’s annoying to have to drive him places, but it’s not been completely miserable. Assuming his community college grades are ok, we’ll be sending him back to his university for second summer session. He had thought he’d be changing his major from engineering to business and wanted to transfer schools, but he’s since changed his mind to stick with where he is. I think these are positive changes. I’m worried about sending him back because the kids he was partying with and feeding idiot-brained schemes with will still be there. We can hope he makes better choices, but beyond that and cutting off the gravy train if he fails again, we have little control.

20140327-155016.jpgWhat I am saying by all that is that although I am not hand-wringing and crying in my soup, I do have a pretty big stressor that I try not to think about because I can’t control his behavior. I could make things worse by hair-tearing and lecturing, but it serves no one.

The meeting with my new trainer went well. I liked him a lot. He’s a cyclist as well as a personal trainer, so he understands endurance events. He is going to start me with corrective exercises for my wonky back and core work until after the marathon, which will be when he will add weight lifting to the workouts. Until then, training will be about body weight exercises and keeping me in the best condition through peak training. I think this trainer gets it in terms of what I need as his client. He’s a bit older than me and has weathered a lot of fitness trends and sticks with the proven things that work. He’s also going to coordinate exercises with my chiropractor. I feel a little like a real athlete with my team of professionals ;)

I also liked how honest I felt I could be with the new trainer. I didn’t tell him the son story of my son, but I did tell him about my history with alcoholism and eating disorders. I think it’s a positive that I felt comfortable outing myself about those. I do generally out myself (it’s one of my ways of staying straight and accountable) about the drinking, but less so with the eating disorder. I hope that this will put us on track to a well-balanced, healthy me.

He also suggested that I get more regular therapeutic massages. He doesn’t have to tell me twice.
;

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