Sunday, September 22, 2013

Earning It

After that last post, I was a bit shaken up.

Coach Emily made me feel much better.

So did my next few runs.

Long story short, I had a recovery week where I could catch my breath, and then a really solid week this week.  Tuesday I did a run that looked like this:

15 minute warmup
Mile Repeats:
5X 1 mile, starting at 8:00-8:10 and descending to 7:15
Cool down to finish in 1:20

Nailed it.  Absolutely nailed it.

Thursday I had a solid tempo run where I ran 20 minutes sub-8.

And today I ran 18 with my two buds, Katie and Kim (Ana was on vacation--jealous!) with miles 11-15 at race pace.  It went like this:

Mile 11, 8:17
Mile 12, 8:17
Mile 13, 8:21 (included a long but gradual hill)
Mile 14, 8:18

And our last mile was 8:32.  Average for the 18 was 8:37.

I believe that is what you call a good week.

We finished our 18 miles at 9:15am.  Then I went home, had breakfast with the family, went to church, stopped home for lunch, went apple-picking all afternoon in the chilly sunshine, and went to Daddy's soccer game tonight.  I wore my nerdy compression socks under the outfits the whole time.

I've been feeling really strong and good about this, and I'm also realizing how lucky I am to have such a good crew of friends who are willing to run at Ridiculous O'Clock with me and do these crazy workouts.  If I pull this off in October, make no mistake about it:  it is because I had them with me the whole way.

This one's for them.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Working for it

I'm at the point in training where I'm thinking, damn, this sounded like a good idea a few months ago.  Where it really is hard and I am scared of the workouts.  But I know that's how you get better.  Right?  And that you have to trust the training.  Leave it all out there and do your best, and that's all you can do.

I put in quite a bit of work this week that I know will pay off, but it definitely did not come easily to me.  Because this crazy guy was loose in my neighborhood (they caught him at a nearby nursing home, thankfully!), I was a little hesitant to run outside Thursday morning, even with Ana as she graciously offered to meet me at Ridiculous O'Clock.  So I put in 9.1 miles on the treadmill before school with 4 mile repeats thrown in.  They started at 7:40/mile pace and I dropped it down to 7:19.  Now, I know it's on the treadmill so I sort of feel like that's cheating, even if I keep the incline at 1% like I always do.  But still, I needed that confidence going into this Saturday's run.  Which I had been dreading thinking about all week.


It was going to be really, really hard.  Arguably, the hardest run I've ever attempted.  I couldn't think of any run that was harder than this one, save an attempt at a 5K PR or something.

Here's what it was supposed to look like:

9 miles easy, long run pace (8:40-9:10)
6 miles starting at race pace (8:23) and dropping down to "7:15-7:30."



I decided Emily was trying to kill me.  Or, trying to force me to work out my doubt and fear monsters before the race.  I told her I think that it is most likely a little of both.

I know, consistently, my head has been my main issue in this long stuff game.  So I really, really wanted to nail this one.  But I was afraid.

Ana and my other bud, Katie (who is super adorable and enthusiastic and smiley and OMG FASSSSTTTTT) agreed to "give it a try."  Which is hilarious in that they are NOT officially training for a marathon, and what kind of crazy person agrees to run that kind of workout?

I love them both.

Anyway, we started at 6:50am and it was nice and cool: beautiful sunrise, a perfect running morning.  The first 9 miles went by nice and easy at a 9:00 pace.  I coulda done that all freakin' day.  Despite another forced potty stop (ARG intestines why do you HATE ME SO MUCH), it was great.  We covered everything from kindergarten to teaching to Syria to Browns Football and it's a reminder of why I love love love running with friends so much.

Then, the work really started.

The first mile was fine--8:19.  No problem.  Mile 2 was also fine.  8:07.  Mile 3, I started laboring.  Because it wasn't really mile was MILE 12.  And we went 7:59.

And then I started freaking.

I felt a bit nauseous and stopped to catch my breath.  Ana and Katie looked like they had just started their run--they were totally fresh, and I was totally OMG HOW AM I GOING TO RUN 3 MORE MILES FASTER THAN THIS AGGGGGHHHH.

Here comes the head game.  Which, is closely tied to my stomach, no doubt.

Mile 4 (13!) was 7:46.  Then I stopped and almost cried.  I was so pissed at myself for feeling like such crap.  Why couldn't I hold this pace?  I do faster than this in races.  Why did it hurt so much?  These thoughts quickly spiraled into, "If you can't do this, you have no business doing a marathon" which I know, I KNOW is totally stupid.  But when you're in the middle of this workout, your brain turns to stupid.  Or maybe just my brain.

Mile 5 (14) was 7:42 and then I really lost it.  I did not think I could do another mile fast.  Tears were stinging in my eyes.  Katie and Ana were both killing it like they were out for an easy jog, and I felt horrible for being such a baby and holding them back.  To say I felt dejected was an understatement.

They said we could stop there, but I said no, it's on the schedule, dammit, and I need to man up and do this.  So I did.  But I had to stop one last time in the middle of that last mile and let me also admit it was NOT under 7:30.  But my mile 15 was 7:40, which I guess in the scheme of things is not the epic failure I made it out to be in my head.

Shuffled the last mile in 8:48 which felt like about a 12 minute pace, and collapsed on the ground.

16.1 miles complete, average pace for the entire run 8:32.

I've had a few hours now to soak it all in.  Emailed Coach Emily as soon as I got home because I just felt so guilty.  Guilty that I had to stop, guilty that my legs felt like lead bricks, and guilty that I could not for the life of me go faster than 7:40 for that last mile.

But now I'm feeling okay about it.  Because that was definitely the hardest long run I've ever--EVER--attempted.

I can either wallow in sadness and failure and think about how I couldn't hit that last mile.  Or, I could think about how I did 6 miles at the end of a 16 mile run at an average pace of UNDER 8 minutes per mile.  And how those tears stung my eyes and how I said screw it I'm not giving up and how I took some grit in me and got through it.

I'm going to pick Option B.

Less than 6 weeks to go.  The big, BIG stuff is looming on the horizon.  This is why it's hard.

And this is why it will be so, so sweet when I finally get there.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

And now, it gets hard. Really, really hard.

Back to school, back to reality.  But a new twist:  Bug is in kindergarten.  So a whole new level of craziness here as both of us are getting used to the whole idea.  He much better than I, for sure.
My big Kindergarten Bug

The beginning of the school year is crazy, as usual, and this coincides with my workouts getting harder.

I'm just going to say it: I am really scared.

This is hard.

These are the same things I just told my APUSH students last week:  this will be hard, at one point in time you thought it was a good idea, someone else also had to agree that you could handle it (to register for the course), you will want to drop out, but if you just trust me, you can do this.

Trust me.  Don't give up.

It will be a fine balance of working hard but not giving up your life or sanity.  You'll need to put in lots of time, but you'll figure it out.

I told them how our scores are always really, really good.  Well above the national average.  Last year I had 16 fives and 16 fours.  (If you don't speak APUSH, I'll just tell you that those are really, really good scores.) They just need to breathe, remember they can do it, and trust me.  

Already I have some panicked faces coming to see me.  They are wondering what they got themselves into.  And I'm sure as next week's test approaches, I'll see a few more.

I'm seeing workouts that flat out scare me.  Last week I had a really, really rough time getting through them.  I basically didn't, if you take into account that I had to stop and rest a few times because I was dying from the humidity and I had a pretty serious stomach issue that almost landed me in the ER and OMGOMGOMG WHAT HAVE I DONE THIS IS HARD I DON'T KNOW IF I CAN DO IT.

Maybe I need to sit in a chair in room 2028 and listen to the WORDS coming outta my MOUTH.

I'm trying to remember that there will be good runs, and there will be bad ones.  Sometimes I won't hit a pace and life will have to go on.  Sometimes my ankle will get creaky on me and I'm gonna have to just ice it and keep going.

At one point in time, this sounded like a good idea.

I know it's in there.  But it's going to be very, very difficult.  And I'm going to have to work very, very hard.  Like, get up at 5am to run 9 miles before I teach all day hard.  And then have enough in me to function after school hard.

And, ultimately, to remember why I do this in the first place.

Life is too short to take the easy road and be complacent.  And on those good runs, which really do outnumber the bad, when I hit that pace I never thought I could or run a 7:38 mile at mile 13 of a 14 mile run, I am reminded of this.  Reaching for something just out of reach is good for you.  It makes you better at pretty much everything.

And that's worth the five.  Or in my case, the three-forty.