Monday, June 17, 2013

Half-Marathon Training with B: Week 3 Repeat

I guess that you can tell from the title that I once again did not conquer the 7 mile run and that would be correct.

I came really close though, but no cigar. Oddly, I wasn't as disappointed in myself as I thought I would be. (So, I hope you aren't either!) Technically, Sunday was the third time that I had run my farthest distance ever in my life. And that (un)lucky number is: 6!

Let's get right into it, shall we?

Since I have already screwed up how I am counting these weeks, I am just going to start doing it chronologically and not stick with the training schedule "weeks". I hope its not too confusing. Technically, I was hoping to accomplish Week 4 of the training schedule, but instead, I had a repeat of Week 3. So, what I deemed "Break Week" was actually the fourth week of my journey, making this the fifth week of it.

Fifth Week (Week 3 Repeat), Day 17: Wednesday, 3 miles
For some reason, I can't get my act together during the week before Wednesday. Oh well. So far (except for Break Week) I have maintained my weekly short runs without any issues, so I won't worry about it too much. I also prefer to do my long runs on Sunday as that was my pre-running day of laze, so I just seem to not have as much to do on that day, which makes the long run a little less stressful.

Again, the 3 mile runs are pretty uneventful. I should probably start working on my times, but I am trying to not put too much pressure on these runs as I still have my low points at about 1.5-2 miles. I tend to be a perfectionist with almost everything in my life, and running is one thing for which I am trying really hard to not be a complete psycho. Not that I find running fun or enjoyable, but its not like it pays the bills or is necessary for life. I'm just trying to be chill about it, you know, because I am so chill at life anyways.

Highlight of this run: I passed a woman, probably in her mid to late 30s running in the opposite direction about .15 from my 1 mile turnaround (at that turnaround, I have already run 1 mile and it leaves me 1.5 miles to a turn around and .5 back to my house). She was about 50 ft. ahead of me by the time I turned around and she had a pretty good pace going. And all of a sudden, I wanted to beat her so bad. Beat her, as in pass her and leave her in the dust. No violence. Have I mentioned that I am extremely competitive? So, naturally, I start booking it and begin gaining on her. I finally catch up to her after 1.25 miles and pass her and it was the best feeling ever. I turned around after running another .25 and passed her going in the opposite direction. She gave me the biggest smile and a wave, which made me feel even better, because that fast pace had caught up to me and I was struggling to breath for the remaining .5 mile. I wonder if she was smiling in encouragement or enjoyment at my obvious sputtering and struggling. Oh well. It was an accomplishment for me. It was the second time I passed a runner instead of getting passed by one myself!

Fifth Week (Week 3 Repeat), Day 18: Thursday, 4 miles
This run was tough. It was overcast and muggy--not hot but not cool. The clouds were low and dark and swirly and the wind kept whipping my braided pony tail around my face in cold bursts. I thought a tornado might sweep me up at any moment. (Sidenote: I have always had an irrational fear of tornadoes.) So, I was a little distracted and not in a good way. I also was getting a later start than I intended, so was feeling a little stressed. Also, it kept torrential sprinkling (that is so a thing) and stopping and sprinkling and stopping and sputtering and stopping. So, I kept ducking under trees only to have it immediately stop. Then, I'd start back and the sprinkling would start, so I'd sprint to a tree and so on and so on. Exhausting.

Also, I'm not sure what kinds of struggles I will encounter during my runs but it usually isn't what I expect. I always think it will be an inability to catch my breath that will ultimately cut my runs short, but I am usually just fine aerobically. In fact, sometimes I even close my mouth and breath quite normally through my nose just to prove to myself that it isn't a lack of lung capacity that is causing me to feel like DEATH right then. I then take account of my body to see where I am struggling. Lately, my legs from the knees down, have felt like lead for the majority of my runs. And that is a bummer. I feel like more than anything, the state of my legs, knees and below, dictate how successful or unsuccessful my runs will be.

Or, its my sheer boredom. I knew this day would come, but dang, running can be SO boring.

I don't get those people who are like, "It clears my head!"  
Yeah, because you can't think about anything else except how much it sucks to be running right now! Admit it!

Or, "I get the best ideas on my runs!"  
Really, because all of my ideas usually feature large amounts of violence or death or just near death experiences.

"I just love all the time I get to think during my runs."
I just can't stop thinking about how much farther I have to go before I can finally stop running.

None of these things are positives for me. All that time in my head just leaves me counting down every tenth of each mile. Do you know how maddening that is?!

Such a good book! I read it in a day.... yes, one day.

Fifth Week (Week 3 Repeat), Day 19: Friday, 3 miles
This run actually included a milestone. I ran my first 8 minute mile! (But don't worry, the remaining 2 miles took me about 23 minutes to complete. I mean, to say that I was dragging it for that last .5 mile would be the understatement of the century.) Right out of the gate, I could tell that I was running fast and I just went with it. I think back to it now and realize that I was flying up the sidewalk. Maybe it was my successful passing of the woman on Wednesday that boosted my confidence or just my muscle memory, but it felt good and natural!

Fifth Week (Week 3 Repeat), Day 20: Sunday, 6 miles
Going into this run, I was determined to make it the 7 miles. And thankfully, my gut agreed with me. I was still a little nervous, but nothing like the previous week. However, I still wasn't feeling all that confident.

WARNING! TMI Explosion. Leave now if you don't want to hear gross girly, runner stuff. You can come back after this paragraph though. It will be back to its normal G-rating then. You've been warned! I was on my period. I have yet to find a sports bra that supports anything, so I double-up on my long runs. I can't wear shorts on my long runs. I'm such a wimp, but the inside of my left thigh chafes. Just the left one. Weird. Cornstarch doesn't work either. I wasn't cramping during my run, but my periods always leave me tired and with a dull headache that persists even through my ibuprofen/tylenol/ibuprofen/tylenol cocktails every 2 hours (W is very worried about my liver). So, there was that. Then, my double sports bras tend to squeeze a bit too tight around my chest and mentally, for me, this means I have lost lung capacity. Finally, the only running pants I have are black and the only clean pair I had left on Sunday were super thick Nike dri-fits, which actually hold in a good bit of heat. Thankfully, it was a relatively overcast day, but with a triple layer on top (two bras and a dri-fit shirt) and my thick capri Nikes, I was hot before I had even finished the first mile.

Heat tends to be my downfall. For some reason, as soon as I get hot on a run, I can't shake the lethargy that comes with it. I felt good for the first 3 miles; struggled the next .5 mile. Convinced myself I was a machine for the next 1.7 miles. Hit the wall hard at 5 miles. I prayed and prayed that I would experience that elusive runner's high. I desperately needed it at that point. And, lo and behold! It came. And I felt like I might actually be able to go the full 7 miles. Kid you not, .25 miles later and I was right back at that wall. The runner's high is a cruel, cruel joke. By 5.5 miles, I thought my legs might just stop responding to my brain. At 5.75, I thought my heart might explode. At 6 miles, I had to stop. I was barely moving anyways and my feet were so heavy. My shoes kept scraping the pavement, too. So, I figured that rather than risk facial disfigurement due to extreme road rash from face planting, I would just go ahead and stop. And I did and I felt like CRAP.

There were no endorphins. There was no high. There was just HEAT, lots of HEAT. GOD, I was SO hot. I wanted to rip my clothes off and swan dive into the river from the path. Also, I had forgotten how to walk, or at least my legs had. The .5 mile trudge back to my apartment was the longest, most miserable I'd yet experienced in this town.

And, today, well, my calves are burning and the fact that I have to get in bikinis in two weeks is the only thing keeping this running ship sailing for the time being.

Total Mileage for the Week: 16 miles

Half-Marathon Training with B: Week 1
Half-Marathon Training with B: Week 2
Half-Marathon Training with B: Week 3
Half-Marathon Training with B: Break Week (Fourth Week)

How's your running going?


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