Monday, June 10, 2013

Half-Marathon Training with B: Break Week

I had high hopes for finally getting myself on schedule last week and sticking with it, but that was so not the case.

Not that I didn't run--I will break it down for you below--I just had a rather incomplete week. I am calling it my Break Week and WILL accomplish Week 4 this week.

In my line of work and especially in this part of the country (where winters are slooooow) things go from zero to ohmygodiamsoeffingbusy on May 1. I knew that this would happen, but seeing as June 1 was the first anniversary of my museum being open full-time, I thought it would take at least another year to really get in the busy groove. I was wrong. So between school tours and regular tours and the Division of Highways running path extension through our front yard and the leaning tree threatening to fall on the museum and the groundhogs and the grants and the countless meetings and luncheons and interested renters I have found little time after all of the other non-work things like live music and our friends' pool and boat and visiting friends and visiting family and day trips away and cleaning the house and gardening for anything else.

So, here is how my "Break Week" went:

Break Week, Day 14: Wednesday, 3 miles
I woke up Tuesday after yet another night of little sleep with a sore throat and decided to forego my run until Wednesday. Now, 3-4 mile runs are really no big deal to me. I'm still not running them super fast, but I hardly have any issues accomplishing them. Not that I don't struggle during the run. I definitely have my moments where I have to talk myself into the next .5 mile, but I never have the urge to stop. I think I am running these faster, but until I get a watch, we may never know! Anyways, this run was pretty basic.\

Break Week, Day 15: Thursday, 4 miles
Another uneventful run. Although, I passed a big group of cadets (?) twice during this run. (They were all in green shirts and shorts and there was a guy in the Army camo uniform and hat and boots walking down the path at the same time.) They actually helped me get through it. Every one of them said "good morning" to me, which was sweet and spurred me on a bit. I found myself running faster as I passed them. I actually really like passing anyone on the path. I always get a second wind then.

I was planning to run my 3 miles on Friday as well, but after Thursday's run, the inside of my left shin was throbbing again. I have really been struggling with that shin for the past two weeks. No amount of stretching or rubbing (there is a giant knot in my muscle) seems to help. It hurt all day and night and Friday morning was throbbing just the same. This is when things got busy and I had to make a decision. My former work in Lewisburg asked that I come and help out at their bi-annual (every other year) Homes Tour Friday evening and all day Saturday. I always love an excuse to see the folks who took a chance on a 23 year old and let me run their historical society, so I agreed to help them. I had planned to leave Charleston at 4 on Friday, but they asked if I could please be there at 5. Lewisburg is a 1.5 hour drive away in perfect weather and no traffic, so I planned on busting my butt to get everything done at the museum so that I could leave at 3. I knew Friday morning that the weekend was going to be exhausting. So that paired with my still aching shin muscle made my decision to not run Friday morning.

The Greenbrier Valley is truly beautiful in all of its pastoral glory.

No one is perfect, especially me, and sometimes things beyond our control get in the way of the best laid plans. I am not good at letting things go, so I felt guilty all day for skipping my run. I like to finish things from beginning to end without short-changing myself or what I'm doing. I still haven't really forgiven myself for cutting short my 3 mile run last Saturday by a .5 mile. I am that psycho.

But, I decided that I would still count this week (sans a 3 mile run) and get my first ever 7 mile run in on Sunday.

At least I dream big!

Friday evening in Lewisburg was great. Sure, it took me over 2 hours to get there thanks to "beach" traffic, but I got there in one piece. I got to catch up with some of my favorite West Virginians and help out where I was needed. But, I was exhausted that night and hardly slept a wink (naturally). Saturday morning, I was groggy and my allergies were acting up and my shin was still hurting! I was assigned 4-wheel-drive golfcart duty and spent 7 hours driving people up and down a hill. The gas fumes and dust gave me an immediate headache. I must have driven that cart up and down that hill over 100 times. That is over 100 conversations with total strangers, too! Do you know how exhausting that is?? I didn't! Not until Saturday at 5pm, when I just couldn't do it anymore and still had to drive home. I also had hardly eaten anything all day. And I couldn't stop obsessing over the looming 7 mile run and how I was ever going to get through it.

I finally made it home to W and our favorite Mexican restaurant and before I knew it, I was falling asleep on the couch at 9pm.

My favorite picture that I took in between driving the golf cart.

Break Week, Sunday: 7 miles 4 mile run and 1.5 mile walk
When I tell people that running for me is all mental, they think that I am crazy/making excuses/being dramatic/whining/etc./all of the above, but it is SO true. If you don't believe me, ask W. He is usually witness to my crazy internal dialogue that I actually have out loud with myself. Yes, I talk myself into and out of runs. I woke up Sunday and felt sick to my stomach. And it wasn't from the Mexican food or the margarita or the lack of food on Saturday. It was because I had a 7 mile run before me, and I just couldn't accept it. Even thinking about it now makes me feel sick. I ate a small breakfast and drank a half cup of coffee. I waited an hour. My stomach had butterflies, my heart was pounding and I was jittery, as in multiple shots of espresso jittery. I thought my heart might explode and I hadn't even donned my running gear yet! 10am, I got dressed, steeled myself for the run, walked to the door, turned around and went and laid on the bed next to W's desk where he was studying.

I'm too jittery, I told him. I wanted to ask him to check my blood pressure and my heart rate, but I knew that was a bad idea because they would both be way too high. I laid there for a few more minutes and finally decided to just get it over with.

I started to run and was immediately reduced to a hobble as my shin was so tight. It took about .5 mile for it to loosen up. After that, it didn't hurt again during the run. I decided to run a new route that day as I would be going pretty far and needed to cover more distance (so as to not get bored). I would have to run over a bridge at some point, so I decided it would be best to do that at the beginning. I was to run 2.75 miles to the end of the boulevard, turn around and run 2.75 miles back to where I started and then run .75 mile down my usual route and .75 back to where I started. When I first started running outside back in April, I would bring a water bottle with me. It helped to take tiny sips when I was really struggling. I eventually got to the point where I didn't drink during the run and by the end, the water was warm and I couldn't force myself to drink it. I stopped carrying water with me on my short runs and made it through my 5 and 6 mile run without it, so didn't even consider bringing water with me on Sunday. This was a bad idea. It was already pretty warm by 10:30 and muggy and the sun was beating down. My throat was dry by mile 1 and I still had a long 1.75 miles to go with no shade and little breeze. My only consolation was that there was a water fountain at the turnaround. That pushed me forward. So, imagine my complete dismay when I stumbled up to the fountain and it was broken. I nearly cried, but I turned around and ran on. I knew that there was a water fountain in 1.25 miles right before the bridge. I somehow made it to the fountain and gulped up what I could, pouring sweat and gasping for air. I turned around to continue my run and was met with the sight of the bridge. Its not a tall bridge, but it isn't flat and in that moment, I was completely defeated. I walked the 1.5 miles back home, kicking myself the whole way, because at the top of the bridge was the most invigorating breeze and a .5 mile stretch of sidewalk lay before me in perfect and cool shade. I just didn't have it in me to start back.

So, that is how my 7 mile run turned into a 4 mile run and 1.5 mile walk. I spent the rest of the day sitting by a pool, which helped a little.

Total mileage for the week = 10 miles

I decided to make this my Break Week and WILL accomplish Week 4 this week. Cap and I have also talked about doing a different half-marathon race than the August race in Eerie, PA. Scheduling conflicts and life are making the August date a bit unrealistic. We will keep you posted!

Half-Marathon Training with B: Week 1
Half-Marathon Training with B: Week 2
Half-Marathon Training with B: Week 3

How is your running going? Do you find it as mentally challenging as I do?


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