Saturday, August 25, 2012

MiddleFork Savanna Long Run Recap: The Battle of the Bowels

This week was another epic fail for me.  I failed to get all the weekly runs done this week.  I was supposed to run 17 miles during the week and 12 on Saturday.  I managed to run 4 during the week and 10 on Saturday.  Super epic fail and I'm very disappointed with myself.  How can I go from such an awesome week last week to this?!  Not good whatsoever.

So, during the week, I scheduled a lot of personal appointments, which I think hindered me from running at night.  Plus, I didn't home until relatively late in the evening so I didn't get enough sleep and chose sleep over a morning run.  I did run Tuesday morning and rolled my ankle on an acorn about a mile into my four mile run.  I powered through and finished.  However, I was so exhausted for the rest of the day since I had gotten up a 4am to do the long run.  Needless to say, I was tired and did not run the 8 miles on Wednesday.  I had another appointment Wednesday night and didn't get back until late in the evening so Thursday's morning run did not happen.  And, I figured that it'd be better to rest on Friday then try to make up for the 13 miles I failed to run Wednesday and Thursday.

Our long run this week was 12 miles and I've done 12 miles on numerous occasions so I figured that I would survive it for sure especially since I survived 18.5 with minimal issue last weekend.  Ha, little did I know.

To be honest, I almost did not run this morning.  I really did not feel like it at all and my dad wasn't coming either so that made it even more tempting to skip it.  I was out late at my sister's birthday dinner and again, failed to get enough sleep.  And, I didn't get ready until really late this morning so I didn't have time to properly eat or warm up before the long run.

This morning, we ran along the Middlefork Savanna, which is near Lake Forest.  The trail itself was OK, but there were parts that were really tight and I just was uncomfortable running so close to the other runners today.  I have a hard time staying in a straight line and I was worried about bumping into people or being bumped into.  Also, I rolled my ankles 3 times on various dips and grooves in the trail.  That definitely threw off my focus so I had to spend some time looking down at the ground to make sure I didn't stumble over anything.  Not fun.

I was feeling pretty good for the first half of the run.  We took a little break at Mile 6 and I had a Vanilla Bean GU Energy Gel, which is had caffeine in it.  This was a mistake.  Also, I didn't wash it down with water since I had some Nuun (electrolyte tablets) in my water bottle instead.  This was another mistake.

I started to lose it between Miles 7.5 and 8.  We reached a hydration station and I really just felt like shit.  Mentally, I was out of focus, my right ITB was pulling (nothing severe enough to throw off my gait but still annoying nonetheless) and my hips felt tight.  I just really wanted to stop, but we still had another 4 miles to go.

Also, my stomach decided to start churning at this point thanks to the stupid GU with caffeine.  I figured that I could still finish the run since we only had 4 left to go.  I've finished runs having to go to the bathroom before and I've managed to hold it in long enough to make it.  

Unfortunately, this was not the case for me and I really lost it at the 10 mile mark.  One woman in our group had already started to walk so our group leader went back to walk with her.  My running friend, E. had fallen a little back to and she was walking by me.  She decided to run and our group leader went with her.  I tried to keep up and I ran for a little bit, but then I really had to walk since my stupid stomach had developed a mind of its own.  And, it only wanted to do that one thing and that one thing only.  Running just make it worse.  So, I figured that I would just start walking before I had an accident.

The woman that started walking earlier caught up to me and we walked the last 2 miles together.  I felt like shit (literally and figuratively) and I almost pulled off into the woods to do it there and get it over with.  Also, I spotted a porta-potty on the highway by this construction area and I almost ran there to get it done, but I decided to try to hold it as best as I could.  

Once we got back to Old School I knew that we were close to I just held on for dear life and made it safely back to the bathroom.

I bumped into other runners for my group who asked me how I was and I told them that quite frankly I felt like shit and just was out of it.  Another runner from another pace group told me that it is better that I felt like shit on a cut back week as opposed to feeling like this on a longer run.

We have to run 18 next week and to be honest, I am terrified.  I failed to finish the 12.  What if I can't finish the 18 next week?  Also, the intermediate runners are supposed to run 20.  There is no way in hell I am going to run 20 especially if we have an organized 20 miler scheduled a few weeks from that time.  That's just too damn much.

Right now, I feel like shit about my training and I know damn well that I'm not doing enough and right now, I really doubt if my ass is even going to get to that starting line (let alone finish the fucking thing) since it's having such a hard time now.  

I need to re-group and get it together.  I still have time and I can get this done.  I know that I would be so disappointed in myself if I didn't at least show up to the marathon and give it my best shot.  I've learned so much with my training and I've met some great people.  I don't want to give up on myself right now just because I had a bad week and a bad long run.  I know that I can do this.  I just have to find it within myself to keep pushing and get back on the boat in terms of the weekly runs.  I felt so much better last week and I know that it was because I ran during the week.

So, the adventure continues next week.  Hopefully I'll have better things to report!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Week 11 Long Run Recap

I RAN 18.5 MILES THIS MORNING AND I SURVIVED!!

Mentally, I was not ready this morning.  I didn't get as much sleep as I would have liked and I didn't get to prepare as much as I wanted to since I got up later than I wanted.  But, I figured that I would just make the most of the long run and get it done.  I knew that I would not run the miles on my own and definitely would prefer the support and organization of the group.  Plus, my dad runs with the group as well and he picks me up in the mornings so that helps me stay motivated.

I originally planned on just running 16, but it didn't seem like anyone in my group wanted to turn around and go back.  One lady turned around, but I figured that I would just try to hang in there and run all 18.  We take breaks every two mils to hydrate and there are hydration areas along the way where we can fill up our bottles with water and Gatorade.  It's a nice way for me to mentally break up the run in 2 mile increments.

Our group was larger than usual and I think we had 15 total runners.  So, I started out in the middle oft the pack in hopes to keep my energy up and not crap out after 13 miles like I had last week.  Plus, having a lot of people around helped me stay motivated.  I knew that I wouldn't quit or drop back if I had a support group of people around me.

Today, we ran along the Des Plaines River Trial (DPR) North.  We ran through Independence Grove in Libertyville and I think we ran past Route 137.  We had hydration tanks set up at the 4 mile mark, 6 and then a little over 9.  Knowing that those were coming up helped me as well since I knew that I'd get a little break.

And, I can't really describe how I felt, but I felt AWESOME!  Mentally, I was on top of it and I didn't have any negative thought cross my mind at all.  My legs felt great for the majority of the run.  I didn't experience any weird left hip pain (like last week) and my calves weren't burning as much as they were last week.  My right ITB started acting up toward the tail end of the run - maybe from Mile 12 to 15, but it wasn't super painful or throwing off my gait in any way.

I was really trying to just focus on remaining calm and focusing on maintaining my form.  I would try to remind myself to take deep breathes in and out (like what my pacer Kerl told us during the half I ran in July) and to focus on how many miles I have left and not how many I had already run.  Also, I would make sure to take shorter strides going up and down any inclines or declines.  I also really tried to keep my arms at my sides and not use them to propel myself forward (unless I was going up or down an incline).  And I think that focusing on my form and staying calm really helped me take my mind off the amount of mileage in front of me.

We hit our last hydration tank at mile 15 and I knew that we only had 3 miles left to go.  Also, I knew that we would get another little break 2 miles after that.  I started to move up toward the front of our group and soon I was running with our leader and another woman who is always toward the front of the pack.  We got into a shaded area in the trail where we took our final hydration break.  A lot of our group had already dropped back a bit.  We lost two runners along the way as well.  One guy was going to drop off on purpose, but I don't think that was the intention on the other runner.

Our break was a little long since our group leader decided to turn back to find the missing runner and he told the rest of us to go.  So, I started running with another woman and I don't know what happened to me, but I felt really good so I decided to push the pace a bit.

We only had about 1.5 left to go so I figured that I'd take it out a little faster so that I could get the run done.  And, the weather was great and my legs were feeling good so I went for it.  And, it paid off.  I was the first person from our group to finish the run and I felt AWESOME.  My legs were a bit sore, but nowhere near as bad as last week.  My breathing was good and I wasn't sucking wind, gasping for air or anything like that.

So, overall, AWESOME run!  And, we have a CUT BACK week next week (woo hoo!) so we'll only have a minimum of 12 miles to run.

This week has just been awesome!  Everything has been going well for me and it's such a GREAT feeling.  Hopefully I can duplicate this next week!

Week 11 Recap

Total Mileage: 32.  Total Miles Run: 30.5
Achievement: Ran 18.5 miles, which is my longest run my life! (see separate post to follow)

So I only skipped one run this week, which is good saying that I skipped 3 last week.  I've also made an effort to go to bed earlier and I haven't been up all night watching TV because there really isn't anything to watch.  MasterChef started up again, which is good.  And, I also watch Suits, which wasn't new Thursday night.  And, the odds must be in my favor because Jim has come home at a good time most nights so we've been able to eat dinner early.  So, overall, this week has gone well.

And, it's Friday as I type this to you and I feel pumped up, energized and ready to have a kick ass weekend!  I've been on this strange OBSESSION with cupcakes and I ran downstairs to get some from Flirty Cupcakes on wheels.  On lunch, I close my door, chow down on my food and eat the cupcake with a fork and with my door closed.  Weird, yes, but it makes me feel better being all quiet about it. :)

Anyway, my 4 miler Tuesday morning was good and was done in a little over 39 minutes.  I actually ran a 10 minute mile and a little over 10 minute mile for the first time on my own.  I then ran the next 2 miles in 9:36 each.  I felt really good, but was really tired during the day.  I should have gotten another coffee, but skipped it.  I won't do that next time.

Wednesday:  I had an 8 miler scheduled and was going to go in the morning, but passed up on it for more sleep.  I went to bed before 9:00 Tuesday evening since I was so EXHAUSTED.  I decided to do the run when I got home and was orignally going to run 6 that evening and another 6 Thursday evening.  I got out there and went for 8.  My splits were wonky and I ran way too fast in the beginning and really paid for it at the end.

Also, I started to get weird pain in my left hip area, which really threw off my gait about 4 miles into the run.  I really struggled and my splits shot up from the 8:30s to the low 9:00s and them into the 10:00s with a split at 10:38 (!).  I really wanted to quit on the run, but I couldn't since there wasn't a shorter way to get home.  So, I turned around and ran back.  My left hip issue managed to work itself out toward the tailend of my run, but then the right ITB started pulling away as usual.  Quite frankly, I was just pissed that I hurt so bad during the run.

Hence the skip for Thursday - I was intending on running and was taking a little break at home.  But, Jim showed up early so we made some good use out of the extra time if you know what I mean. ;-) And, I don't feel bad about that one bit!  Besides, this way, the legs will be rested for the 16 mile beast which will pretty much kill me on Saturday.  I thought briefly about doing something today, but eh, maybe I felt like shit after last week's long run because I did do some cardio (albeit light) the day before.

Oh, and PT is fine - I'm trying to cut down my session and my PT is working on my left hip tightness, which is caused by weak hip flexors.  He did these stretches on my left hip since evidently there are four places for the tip and they definitely felt uncomfortable and I'm not sure how much they helped if I had hip pain during my last run.

Mentally, I'm back on the boat, but there is a little piece of me that doubts if running this marathon really is a good thing for me and if I can really pull it off.  I have not missed a long run (thanks to the group), but I haven't been exactly diligent about my weekly runs.  I haven't been cross training, strengh training and I'm hit or miss with pre and post warm-up/stretching as well as my at home PT exercies.  Diet?  Ha, that's a joke - see cupcake rant above.  Sleep - meh... I'm lucky to pull off 7 hours at best.  And, I can't seem to sleep in on Sunday either.  Last weekend, I was up at 5 to watch the marathon. 

So yeah, I mean, as of now, I'm going to run it.  Physically, I can.  Mentally, I'm still trying to stay on that boat.  This new feeling in my legs that I experience after the long runs doesn't feel good at all.  In fact, it makes me just want to stop and stick to half marathons since they are a lot easier on my body.  But, we'll give this marathon thing a go and see what happens.  Hopefully I can make it to that starting line.  If I make it there, I know that I'll finish (no matter how long it takes) unless medically removed from the course.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Week 10 Recap - Lacking Motivation & Epic Fail

"Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it."  - Oprah Winfrey.

How true.

This past week, I didn't put anything into it.  I was supposed to run 29 miles and I only ran 15, which was the long run.  I failed to run any of the weekly miles.

Why?

Well, I was just exhausted all week because I had been going to bed way too late do to watching Olympics late into the night.  Also, I have been getting to work early and working later due to PT, which affects my normal working schedule.  I kept telling myself that I'd get back on the boat and that I'd get it the next day.  I thought that I could be OK if I could get the 7 mile weekly long run in.  But, I rolled over when the alarm rang at 4:00am.

So yeah, overall, it was just a bad week.  Even my PT noticed that I wasn't myself when Friday rolled around.  He mentioned that I should be eating properly and sleeping enough, which is just a given to stay healthy even if you aren't training for an athletic event.  And, of course, I haven't been doing either one of those things.  I don't diet or even make an attempt to do so.  And, of course, I never get enough sleep.

So yeah, a big whopping goose egg fo the weekly runs.  *SIGH*

Honestly, I thought about just skipping the 15 mile long run and getting back on the boat next week.  However, I knew that if skipping that run would open the door to making it OK to skip even more runs.  So, my PT told me to do the run and if it hurts to just slow down or stop.  Also, he recommended that I do something on Friday just to get some kind of cardio in.

So, I worked out for an hour on the elliptical just to get the legs moving.  I felt a little better about things, but I was still dreading the run.

The long run went relatively well given that I didn't run any miles during the week.  The rest of my running group decided to run 17, but two other runner and I didn't want to run that far so we turned early and ran back.  One guy in our group of three dropped back so I ran with another woman back to our starting point.

My legs felt really great until our turn around point, which was about 7.7 miles into the run.  My legs really started to feel it probably after 10-12 miles.  The last were an absolute killer.  Both IT bands were pulling.  I also was experiencing some weird pain in my left upper thigh and my calves were burning like crazy.

I was happy to have gotten the run done and to have survived it.  My legs were very sore after the run.  I could not go down stairs without issue and my calves were on fire.  I tried to ice them and that helped a little.

Jim and I went to the White Sox game last night and my legs definitely didn't feel 100% and going up and down the stairs was somewhat of an issue.  Thankfully we went down the ramp on the way out so I didn't have to go down any stairs.

I took some NSAIDs and I think I'm going to put BioFreeze on my legs before I go back to bed for a few hours.  I've been up since 5 watching the Men's Marathon.  Ryan Hall and Abdi from the US dropped out after about 15 miles, which sucked for them.  Meb finished in 4th, which was awesome and really just inspirational.  I watched about how his family left their war-torn country of Eritrea and they eventually ended up in California where they built their lives.  Maybe watching him come back from being back in the pack a bit to finish in 4th will inspire me to get my ass back out there and keep running so I can finish the marathon.

This week, I really began to doubt myself and my ability to complete it.  I mean, it would be so much easier to stick with the half and just do that since the runs would be shorter, I could run more races during the year, etc. etc.  However, I know that deep down, I do want to run a marathon and accomplish that goal.  I just have to get myself back on track, get the runs in, take the runs on run at a time and get to the starting line so I can accomplish that goal.

We'll see what next week brings!


Friday, August 10, 2012

Week 9 Recap

Runs:
Tuesday: 3 miles treadmill during lunch
Wednesday: 7 miles in the morning before work
Thursday: 0 miles, but did 4 on the elliptical during lunch because my legs were a little sore after the 7 milers
Saturday: 11 - program said 10, but went for 11.
Total Miles Run: 21.  Elliptical: 4.  Program: 24.

I felt GREAT this week.  I was extremely pleased with myself for being able to get the midweek long run done.  I woke up at 4:00 and was out the door by 4:20.  I ran 7 miles in 1:06:18 (sub 10 minute miles) which wasn't really what I wanted to do, but I had limited time since I had to get home, stretch and get ready for work.  I paid for it afterwards since my legs were sore the following day so I did the elliptical instead of running.

My commute really sucks.  I hate wasting two hours of each day on the train going to and from the city.    I know that I did this to myself.  I made the decision to by a house in the suburbs instead of renting a place in the city.  In theory, I probably wouldn't be saving that much time if I lived in the city.  There's no way I could ever live downtown (nor would I want to).  And, the thought of having to run along the crowded lakefront path doesn't really appeal to me either.

Anyway, I was just happy to be disciplined enough to get most of the runs done.

The 11 mile long run felt AWESOME!  I felt GREAT toward the end of the run so I was able to pick up the pace.  My group took a mini hydration break with probably about 1.5 miles to go.  Another runner and I decided to keep going so we ran it in together.  We caught up with the 10:30 pace group who I think only ran 10.  One guy picked up the pace to run along with us and he went ahead a bit, but I was able to catch him at the end and run strong through the parking lot and toward the finish.

It's so weird that I felt that good and it was ONLY 11.  I remember when the thought of 11 miles would be so daunting on me back when my maximum long runs were only 5.  Now, 5 is just a warm-up.

Anyway, the week was great and I definitely was excited about my progress.

PT went well and I only went once during the week.  My therapist decided to only see me once and wait until I got my detailed running report from the guy who did my gait analysis.  So, I had Friday off, which was a great start to the weekend.

Now, if only I could say the same for Week 10...