Last week and the week before that

So it only takes me one lame race to get really down on myself and start doubting my ability as a runner. Even just as a below-average runner. And just in general, I’ve been beating myself up lately about how slow I am. I’ve been thinking about how I used to be soooo much faster, and maybe I’m not remembering 2013 accurately, but it all seemed so effortless. It was this brief, magical period of time when I was running 30 or 40 or 50 miles a week and I was PRing in like, every race. It’s hard to believe I am even the same person who once ran 7 miles at an 8:00 pace (6.9 miles @ 7:59 actually, but who’s counting?!) I can’t even run a 5k at that pace now. And that was only three years ago!

I mean, I do have two kids now and I don’t sleep much and I’m 10 pounds heavier and I’m just not putting up the mileage that I used to. So I get it, kind of. But really? Really??! AND I WOULDN’T CHANGE A THING. It’s not like I regret having more kids! But it’s a little discouraging to know I’ll pretty much never be that fast again.

nihilist-memes

This post brought to you by Buzz Killington.

Anyway, miles. I didn’t really do a planned taper during race week except that I didn’t run Thursday and I just did an easy 2 mile shakeout on Friday.

RACE WEEK

Monday (Sept 5 sooo like 2 weeks ago, sorry and thanks for reading I really do love you): 5 @ 9:51. This was a failed progression run. 9:55, 10:03, 9:40, 9:52, 9:42. As I recall it was hot as balls that day.
Tuesday: I can’t remember but I either lifted weights or did nothing.
Wednesday: 6 @ 9:57. A sort of a tempo. (10:32, 9:58, 9:42, 9:33, 9:37, 10:21)
Thursday: weights
Friday: 2 @ 10:13. Shakeout
Saturday: Hendricks County Half Marathon – 13.1 @ 9:42. You can read the miserable race report here.
Sunday: 4 @ 10:11. Miraculously (or perhaps not so miraculously), I felt pretty great the day after the race and went out for an easy jog.
Total: 30 miles

LAST WEEK

Monday and Tuesday: I did nothing. I didn’t plan it that way, but I had some shit going on plus a couple nights of very little sleep and I realized I could use the break.
Wednesday: 7:5 @ 9:54. I did 2.5 miles with Codie in the stroller (10:31, 10:22) BECAUSE IT IS FINALLY NOT 85 DEGREES IN THE MORNING. And then another 5 miles by myself (10:01, 9:50, 9:34, 9:40, 9:36)
Thursday:  Weights + 2 @ 10:11
Friday: 5 @ 9:20. Finally nailed that progression, barely. (9:31, 9:24, 9:21, 9:21, 8:56).
Saturday: 6 @ 9:50. And another one (10:12, 10:02, 10:06, 9:45, 9:39, 9:13).
Total: 20 miles

Twenty miles. Twenty miles of slow running that for some reason felt like 30 miles of hard running. BUT the weather is getting cooler. I’m hoping to start seeing some improvement soon when I can run in the 60s instead of the 80s. I mentioned last week that I would really love to start doing some hills at least once a week, but it’s difficult to pull that off without having to pay for child care. I could add some hill repeats to my Saturday long run, but that would require driving somewhere and I like to hurry up and get back so I can spend the day with my family.

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Question: What do you like to do to revitalize when you’re feeling like a piece of hot garbage? 

Spoiler alert! This race sucked.

Saturday I ran my first half marathon of the fall season, and it had the makings (can you see where this is going?) of a perfect race: low cost, very small field, country roads with beautiful scenery and gently rolling hills (okay maybe not the hills), and it took place just 10 minutes from home.

Unfortunately torrential rain and my own stupidity ruined all that. If I hadn’t paid to run, I might have just stayed home. I don’t mind running in the rain, but running for the better part of 13.1 miles in a downpour is not my idea of a good time.

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I finished in 2:08:06, about 10 minutes slower than my PR, 4th of nine in my age group, 76/123 overall and 37th of 64 females which means if I’d been on top of my game, I probably could have placed. (A race with 123 runners is the only chance I’ll ever have to place.)

Anywhoozles, I showed up around 6:45, just as it was starting to sprinkle. The hourly forecast showed like a 30% chance of rain by 8 a.m. despite a massive front on the radar. I knew the hourly was wrong but I tried to lie to myself and pretend it wasn’t going to rain much. So I was thinking about all that and I was sitting in my car in the dark going through my bag and I somehow forgot to grab my gels.

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I did a slow mile to warm up and it was still only sprinkling. The real serious stuff started coming down as we gathered at the start. I snapped a photo as it began to pour because I have an Android phone and it’s waterproof af.

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Face-palm guy is all of us.

Miles 1-3 (9:07, 8:54, 8:56)

I wasn’t really going to RACE-race (I told myself) since I am signed up for a couple other half marathons this fall, but I did want to do a solid run at around two hours. I maintained that pace for the first few miles before things started going downhill. It was somewhere around mile 2 or 3 that I realized my gels were still in the car.

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Mile 4 (9:15)

I wasn’t dressed for heavy rain (IT WASN’T SUPPOSED TO RAIN) and my tempo shorts and tank were saturated and dripping. I yanked off my bib and reattached it to my flipbelt and then pulled my top up over my head and wore it around my shoulders.

Like this, but without the chiseled abs.

Like this, but with a sports bra and love handles and a c-section scar. Also…are chicks supposed to be into a veiny pelvis and nobody told me??

Mile 5 (8:56)

I felt better as soon as the shirt was off but I was already kinda spent, working way too hard for just a 9:00 pace.

Miles 6-8 (9:22, 9:41, 9:31)

I was running in a small group of men and women and I started falling farther and farther behind. A few people passed me. A couple others walked and I passed them. I honestly just wanted to pack it in at that point but since we were out in the country, there wasn’t anywhere to pack it in TO. During mile 7 a giant wet Saint Bernard ran with me for a while and that made me momentarily happy. He seemed baffled that there were a bunch of humans outside running around in this mess.

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This is the only picture I got of the dog because of course as soon as I got my phone out he stopped running with me.

At the mile 8 aid station a volunteer yelled that we were almost done and that it was downhill all the way to the finish. That was right before we approached a long hill and another one and another one.

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Mile 9 (10:14)

By then the rain had let up but I was depleted and thirsty and needed a drink in the worst way. I had been taking water or Gatorade at every aid station but it wasn’t keeping up and I was dismayed to find the mile 9 aid station deserted. There was a porta-potty and a mile marker and a folding table with some gallon jugs of Gatorade sitting underneath it. But no people. I briefly considered grabbing one of the jugs and just drinking straight from it, but I refrained. Only because there were other runners around.

Mile 10 (11:11)

At the next aid station I stopped completely and drank both a cup of water and a cup of Gatorade and one of the volunteers was laughing in my direction and in my weakened state I thought she was laughing AT me. Maybe she thought I looked funny wearing my top as a backpack? Or maybe I just looked melodramatic and desperate. Either way I did not think anyone should be laughing while I was in so much misery.

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Mile 11 (10:45)

At the next aid station I stopped and drank again. The knowledge that I was almost done lifted my spirits a bit and I tried to pick up the pace again. Some women were gaining on me that had been waaaay behind me throughout the race and even though the whole thing had fallen apart, I still didn’t want them to beat me.

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Mile 12: (9:54)

Last aid station: the volunteers were firefighters so I didn’t bust their chops, but they didn’t have any drinks poured and they were working the station like they were tending bar. (“What’ll it be?”) Like I said, it was a small race, so I’m not complaining. That’s just never happened before. (If I’d been close to a PR, or not so desperately in need of a drink, I would have just kept running. I mean shit, who even stops at the aid station at mile 12??)

Mile 13 (10:13)

Any energy I had in that mile sort of dissolved again and I crept along at an awkward jog. I could tell my feet had blistered and every foot strike was uncomfortable. One of the women that had been closing in on me finally passed me.

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.19 (10:35)

I trudged across the finish line. I was fumbling my phone out of my flipbelt to shut off the runkeeper app when I realized a photographer was right in my face snapping photos. Something about the whir of the camera made me furious and I glared at him and simultaneously tried to disappear. (I haven’t seen any race photos yet but rest assured you will see me in all my horror as soon as they’re made public.)

Of course every day since has been absolutely gorgeous.

Literally every day since.

Literally EVERY DAY SINCE.

Lessons

Meh? I don’t know if I can blame just the lack of fueling for my spectacularly poor finish. I’ve done 12 or 13 miles with only one gel before (and no Gatorade) so I didn’t think it’d make that much of a difference. I think the rain soaking my shoes and socks and the resulting awkward stride had something to do with it too. And maybe not being as prepared as I thought I was? And maybe just a shitty day. I’m trying not to be that disappointed about it, but since I can’t afford to just casually sign up for races whenever I want, it bugs me to waste 40 bucks on a crappy run.

My next half is October 8 and it has the potential to be a beautiful little race through a hilly state park. My plan this month is to maintain mileage and recommit to doing some hills at least once a week.

And stay healthy.

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Running last week and the week before that

It’s race week! We camped at a music festival ummm…like two weeks ago? And then it apparently took that long to get my life back together.

This might have had something to do with it.

This might have had something to do with it.

I did run once at the festival. Saturday morning I woke up early (because camping) and I felt pretty good so I scarfed some coffee and a granola bar and ran to the hills.

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I’ve been struggling a little since. My knees and heels have been achy and one butt cheek has been sore on and off. I’m not really sure why. I’ve been obediently doing my weightlifting and stretching and conditioning and maintaining around 22-30 miles a week. I should be feeling good.

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Anyway since I didn’t get around to blogging last week you get the ultimate treat of two weeks worth of runs.

Week before last

Monday: My usual weights + an easy run, 2 @ 9:47. A little tougher after running 10 the day before. Also, all the 7.5 pound dumbbells in the entire gym were being used so I had to use 10s. Oof.
Tuesday: Fast people: don’t laugh. This is what passes for speedwork when you’re me. 1×2 (9:12, 8:57), 1×1 (8:39), 1×800 (4:04), 1×400 (1:48), 1×200 (:50) for a total of 7. Also in the first mile of the 1×2 I accidentally yanked my earbuds out of my phone and then dropped the phone as I was trying to shove it back into my flipbelt. Let me tell you about blind fury. I screamed “FAAAACK” and probably someone heard me.
Wednesday: Weights? I don’t remember anything about this because it was two weeks ago.
Thursday: 5.5 – I don’t really remember anything about this either except that I ran one mile at 9:08 and still averaged 9:57 so it couldn’t have been that great.
Friday: Nothing. We were busy packing up and taking Kenzie to preschool and then as soon as we got to our campsite I started drinking.
Saturday: 5 @ 9:40 with some moderate hills. I ran out of the camping/music park area and took a farm road a couple of miles out of town. It was humid but not unbearably hot yet, and I always enjoy running in a new place so I had a lot of fun.
Sunday: Nada. We slept in as much as we could and then had to pack up our shit and drive home. I was exhausted and bloated with junk food and beer so I pretty much laid around like a beached whale for the rest of the day.

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Country road…something something…

Last week:

Monday: Weights. I was eager to get back to a routine but I still felt achy and bloated so I did a kind of halfass weight workout with some stretching and and floor exercises and that’s about it.
Tuesday: 9×400. I didn’t get out early enough so it was really hot and I couldn’t hit the pace I wanted but I tried some 400s anyway. My best was 1:51, my worst was 2:20. But they were mostly around 2:00.
Wednesday: 3.3 @ 9:34. (9:56, 9:54, 9:01, 9:07). Basically bleh.
Thursday: Weights.
Friday: Meant to do something but I thought Kenzie was getting sick so I stayed home with her. Turns out she was just really whiny that day.
Saturday: 12 @ 9:50. I did 4 tempo miles at 9:05, 8:55, 9:07 and 8:52, which is about what I wanted but it felt harder, I thought, than it should have. This tempo has been a huge confidence builder for me in half marathons past. I did it the week before my best half ever so now I like to do it whenever possible. Oh, and I had a shitting situation in mile 8 but luckily there are a lot of new homes going up in that neighborhood and I found a porta-potty. I was in and out in less than a minute.
Sunday: Nada.

I’ll be doing sort of a mini taper before this weekend’s half marathon. I’m excited! It’s a new race (for me), close to home and if I’m lucky, the weather will not suck too much.

I thought this post could use a picture.

I thought this post could use another picture.

Last week’s running

Last week was pretty light on the mileage since the kids and I were both sick, but I ended up with a couple of decent workouts and don’t feel like the whole week went to waste.

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday: Nothing. Not even walking.
Wednesday: 4.85 @ 8:49. Heh, I overdid it a little. I was excited to run again after a few days off and a local running store was holding a group run to let people try new models of Sauconys. I ran from my house to the store and then did three with the group (in the new Kinvara 7s and they were glooooorious!) and then ran home. Bonus: the running store had water, Gatorade, beer, fruit, and sandwiches from Jimmy Johns, AND a couple people I knew were there so it was a good time. (Side note: I’ve lived here for 10 years but it’s hard making friends when you’re in your 30s. Also, I’m something of an introvert so I have to balance my desire to have friends with my aversion to interacting with strangers. Basically, the novelty of running into people I actually know has not worn off yet.)
Thursday: Weights. I spent a while doing my hamstring PT exercises before my workout and then did a nice long slow weight routine. I even sort of enjoyed it.
Friday: weights + 3.3 @ 9:50. I went to the gym with the intention of just lifting but after my workout I impulsively decided to go outside for a quick run. I didn’t have my Garmin so I just ran by feel, which was interesting since I never, ever do that. My pace was pretty much what I thought it would be.
Saturday: I got up at 6 a.m. to run but Codie woke up at 6:15 (after also waking up at 2 and 4:30) and I was really tired so I stayed home with her and pushed my run back to Sunday.
Sunday: 10 @ 9:26. I slept in and headed out for my run at around 7:30 a.m. I was feeling ambitious so I threw in four miles at HMP for good measure (9:04, 8:57, 8:47, 8:58). It was a bit cooler Sunday and I had an absolutely fantastic time. Real hints of fall! SOON.

Total: 18 miles

I have two more weekends before the half but this weekend we are camping at a blues fest (SANS CHILDREN and OMG I am SO EXCITED [obligatory statement about how I love my children]). I want to do some longer runs this week because I know if I run at all this weekend, it’ll be short, and probably hungover. I’d like to do a 12 mile run before the race but this isn’t my goal race so if it doesn’t happen, [shrug]. It might be interesting to see how I hold up in a half with my longest training run only 10 miles.

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Non-running commentary: why I hate the ‘white lady journey’

So the other day there was a story in the New York Times about a woman who traveled to Newfoundland in order to recover from her “first adult crisis.” I obnoxiously commented, “Eat Pray Love II: a white lady’s journey of soul-searching, self-discovery and cod.”

Now, maybe I’m missing something, but it seems like if you can afford to just take off on a road trip, things aren’t all that desperate (terminal illnesses notwithstanding).

The NYT piece also made me realize that in all these years of blogging, I’ve never written a blog post about how much I despise Eat Pray Love. Incredible.

Okay, so I did not actually read the book or see the movie, but the whole concept of traveling as a means of coping with your problems is a privilege afforded to almost nobody. Many of us have problems. Many of us would love to escape them. Many of us have never been to Provence. Many of us would be homeless if we quit our jobs to go there.

I call this the “white lady journey,” but there are men who do it too.

We treat these people as if they’re so brave and courageous for “leaving their comfort zones” to “follow their dreams” but it’s actually only people with serious reserves (or wealthy parents, or a ton of job flexibility) who are able to do these things. For the rest of us pathetic losers living paycheck to paycheck, it seems patronizing and cruel to recommend to us that we not settle for anything less than our ~*wildest dreams*~

The woman in the Newfoundland story says says she spent the “dredges” of her money on “ferry passage and a rental car; a driving atlas of Atlantic Canada; bread, tomatoes and tins of anchovies,” yet somehow she comes up with the funds for sea scallops and beer. And a place to come home to.

“Sometimes you just have to leap and the net will appear,” said this dreadful woman in a humblebrag-laden Cosmopolitan essay about how she quit her $95,000 writing job to move to an island. Except for most people, it won’t. (Did she mention she went to Yale? And was making $95,000? Yes, yes she did.)

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You too can be an inspirational white lady doing handstands on a beach. Photo cred: cosmopolitan.com

A lot of bloggers have also tried the whole permanent tourist gig and I was pleased to learn that some of them end up scrubbing toilets (an activity suspiciously omitted from their instagram feeds until their blog profits inevitably dwindled and they needed another boost in page view$).

And let’s not forget about those wholesome YouTube couples! Turns out internet stardom is also not an attainable goal. Not everyone gets a reality show.

I think you get my point already, but just to hammer it home one more time: if you quit your job on a whim but you have a bank account, a home, light skin, a college education, rich family members, you are not brave (DID SHE MENTION HER SALARY THO?).

You’re just lucky.

Last week this morning

In case you don’t feel like reading this whole thing here’s the TLDR version: I ran 23 miles last week, I’m sick and I have a possible back-of-the-knee-lower-hamstring-area injury.

Before that happened though, man I had a nice week. I cut back on my long run but did a couple longer ones during the week so I ended up with about the same mileage as the week before.

Monday: weights + 3 @ 9:50 (splits: 10:06, 9:52, 9:42).
Tuesday: 5.2 @ 9:35  (Warmup;3 miles @ 9:17, 9:15, 9:12/cooldown)
Wednesday: Weights + 30 minutes cycling. The idea of running after my weight routine nearly brought me to tears so instead I did hill intervals on the stationary bike.
Thursday: Treadmill – 6. We went to the state fair in the morning and I didn’t run until 4 p.m. when it was approximately 170 degrees outside so I ran to the gym (half mile), did 5 on the treadmill at about 8:45 (with some moderate hills thrown in for good measure) and then ran home.
Friday: weights + 3 @ 9:48 (splits: 10:32, 9:32, 9:28)
Saturday: 6.2 @ 9:50. I set my alarm for 6 a.m. but just as I was sneaking out the door at 6:30, Codie woke up. I didn’t want to be an ass and wake up my husband on his one day to sleep in so I hung around and handed her off to him when he and Kenzie woke up around 7. It’s been really hot lately and there was a rainstorm moving in so it was also obnoxiously humid. I kept the pace relaxed and finished with every article of clothing I had on dripping with sweat.

Unrelated: Later Saturday we did a bottle share at a friend’s house. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed I got about 50 new Untappd badges in one day.

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Relax, the kid was napping the whole time.

Total: 23.4 miles

So, the leg thing. I believe the injury coincided with me deciding on a lark to use the seated leg curl machine at the gym. I generally don’t use a lot of the machines except for the calf press because I think they’re useless and boring. I do squats and lunges and dead lifts and a bunch of body weight moves I swiped from Jillian Michaels.

Anyway, the next day the area behind my knee on the back of my left leg felt weird. Not really all that sore, but weak. I noticed it mostly when I was trying to get up off the floor after playing with the kids. I went about my business and continued running and lifting (sans leg curl) and it didn’t hurt during my workouts but felt sore later on. I’ve been icing it and doing PT exercises consistent with a hamstring injury. (I don’t know that it’s a hammy, but it seems safe to treat it that way until it either goes away or gets worse.) I haven’t run since Sunday because I’ve been sick anyway and it feels better today, so I’m hoping by the time I’m well enough to run, the leg thing will have resolved itself too.

Running lately

I’m about a month out from my first half of the fall (for some reason I signed up for three of them) and even though it’s been hot and running has been awful at times, I think I’m about where I want to be.

I’ve been averaging 20-23 miles a week and I’m up to 10 mile long runs. I’ve also committed to lifting three times a week, which I used to hate, but it’s actually become…dare I say…not intolerable? And I’m seeing results. I’m going up in weights, feeling stronger and not feeling so creaky and broken after running five days a week. And my “relaxed” pace is a little faster than it used to be, which also feels good.

I’d hoped to race a 10k before the half in September, but in August I didn’t have a lot of options aside from a couple of obnoxiously expensive trail races. So I’m mostly just doing the solo thing.

Here’s what last week looked like:

Monday: weights + 3 miles outside @ 10:15 pace. I don’t have time to work out twice a day so I lift and then run at a very easy pace. My legs feel like lead for the first mile but then they kinda feel better. My splits were 10:32, 10:20, 9:50.

Tuesday: 3.3 @ 9:05 pace. I didn’t run until 4 p.m. when it was obscenely hot and humid outside so I did a fairly speedy hill workout on the treadmill and ended up feeling pretty rekt.

Wednesday: Leg day + 2 @ 9:19. I wailed on my quads and then barely made it to 2 on the treadmill.

Thursday: 4 outside @ 9:42. Warmup, 2 miles @ 9:27 and 9:16 and a cooldown.

Friday: Weights. Mostly upper body and core, making sure not to hammer my legs too hard before my Saturday long run.

Saturday: 10 outside @ 9:50. This pace pleased me because it felt relatively easy. I’ve struggled lately to maintain a 10:00 pace on my longer runs but I got up hella early Saturday and it was still fairly cool outside.

Sunday: REST

Total: 22.4

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