Tuesday, August 09, 2011
So, my race is this weekend and I have already begun the process of psyching myself out.
No, that is not a typo. I am psyching myself out, not up.
This is, unfortunately, something I tend to do to myself too often. I did it when I was in high school and I'm doing it again, now.
Here's what happens. I train and train and train. I feel confident. I feel great. I feel excited. I am a world-beater and the race will be fun and I will do great and I will PR. Then, shortly before the race, I begin to worry not about the race itself, but about all the scheduling issues and things. Once I build those up from a molehill to a mountain, then I begin to erode my confidence in the race, too. Then I begin to freak out - internally. You would never know from observing or interacting with me that this internal battle is going on.
Usually I catch myself before the runaway track jumps the track, or someone grabs me and shakes me silly and says "get ahold of yourself!" But there are other times when I am not caught and the train jumps the track. Like the one race in high school where my teammates egged on my fears of the hills and I ran crying to my coach that I didn't want to run. Fortunately, we had great coaches and he told my teammates to stop freaking me out and that it would be fine and I should just take it easy and go out there and run my own race and it would all be okay. And you know what? It was. I had driven myself crazy for no reason.
So, this blog is me trying to catch myself.
I've known the details of this race for months. I've known that I will be taking a 2 hour bus ride to get to the race site. I've that I have to bring my own water. I've trained with my camelbak and run with my headlamp on. I've known that the race involves an 800 foot rise over the first 6 miles. I've tried to add it some hill work, but haven't managed to get much in, other than some hiking and some runs on less than steep roads around my house, but even then, I did pretty good on the hills in my last half.
Yet, I'm starting to psych myself out with fears of missing the bus, or being over-hydrated before the bus ride and ending up in line for the bathroom in the bus and not being able to nap, or having to use the bathroom and missing the bus from the marathon start line to the half marathon start line, or having to stop during the race to pee... And I don't know why my biggest fear of this whole racing endeavor involves having to use the bathroom on a bus, or a port-a-potty at the start line, or having to stop to pee while running! What is wrong with me!
Once those fears got in my head, I started to break down my confidence in myself for the actual race. I'm worried that I'll repeat the mistakes of my first 5k when I tried to push myself hard uphill in the first half of the race and then had dead legs for the downhill back to the finish. I remember begin exhausted for the last two miles of my last half which was all uphill from the 7 mile mark and worrying that if I burned out in the first half of this race, I would end up not being able to take advantage of the 7 mile downhill in the second half.
I've been managing my weight pretty well for the last month, but suddenly I'm worried that I may not be eating enough to be adequately fueled for my race. Since I'm tapering, I'm not running as much and thinking I should eat a little less to compensate, but then if I eat less during the week, I worry that I won't have enough fuel for my race. But, if I continue to eat as usual, then I'll gain a couple pounds and ruin what I've worked so well on for the past month - especially when I'll be taking a week or so break after the race to recover.
Yesterday I ate a whole small package of cookies and all our leftover spaghetti from Friday, but fortunately I compensated by not eating the rest of the lunch I brought. However, my aunt and her sister were visiting and my wife asked me to pick up some muffins for them for breakfast and I bought myself a couple bottles of Powerade for my race (which is reasonable), but also bought a package of peanut butter m&m's on the pretext that I would use them during my race, but then I proceeded to devour them during the 5 minute drive home from the store.
So, I'm trying to stop psyching myself out and start psyching myself back up (yes, up, not out).
I can do this. I'm prepared. The race will be a LOT of fun, regardless of whether I PR or not. I can do the hills. The downhill finish will be enjoyable. A bag of plain M&M's in my pocket will work out great for keeping my energy up. I'll have my camelbak. It won't slow me down during the race. There will be port-a-potties and darkness. I've done this before. I will do great. I will have fun. It will be exciting and enjoyable. It will. It will. It will!
And I will make it happen.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Yesterday was my rest day, but I got in some unexpected exercise, anyway.
My supervisor and I went out to GPS a spring that could possibly be inside a construction area (but we hoped was not).
Well, we forgot to bring anything that told us where exactly the spring was located, so we had to try to find it from memory. We got in some some great hill hiking while tromping around for 15 minutes trying to find it, and then a few more minutes hiking around it.
Then we went to GPS an old, closed access road to see where it went to after it went off the edge of our construction map.
We figured that it probably just went up a short ridge for access to some power lines.
Well, it actually made a u-turn at the top of the ridge, went past the power lines, and kept going over a mile to the entrance of a Girl Scout camp. We got in a nice 2-mile hike for our walk there and back.
That kind of makes up for me skipping my 3-mile run this morning when I decided to rest my shoulder for a day after my cortisone shot.
Although, my wife asked if I wanted to go run 2 miles with her at the gym tonight, so it looks like I will still be getting in a run, today; and that combined with my hiking from yesterday will give me extra exercise for the week. That should hopefully counteract the cookies I ate during my meeting this morning.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
I just had an awesome idea that will make me a gazillionaire.
A pull that cures dehydration!
Take this pill 4 times a day.
Pill must be taken with at least 16 ounces of water.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
This will be shorter than usual because I have a meeting in just a few minutes, but here goes.
So, I really livened up the doctor's office, yesterday. But first a little background.
I hurt my shoulder right after Thanksgiving last year, but I've only mentioned it briefly in a couple of blog posts, and haven't really elaborated because it hasn't been that big of an issue. It was a silly injury (most of them are) that didn't seem that bad and took a long time for me to figure out what really happened. My daughter was 6 months old and at church on the Sunday after Thanksgiving I was lifting her in her car seat into the car and did it somewhat awkwardly. I thought nothing of it until 10 minutes later while driving to my parent's house I suddenly felt a sharp, fiery, pinching pain in my shoulder.
It subsided a bit, but never went away and stayed tight and painful. My first half marathon was the following Sunday and my shoulder hurt and was tight for the race, but it didn't impede my running at all.
I kept hoping it would go away, but by March it wasn't feeling better, so I finally saw the doctor. The doc thought I might have a rotator cuff tear. I had an x-ray (which showed nothing), then 8 sessions of physical therapy which helped get rid of most of the tightness, but it was still sore and painful. Running seemed to aggravate it a little, but not enough that I couldn't run with it and my therapist and doc never told me to stop running.
After PT my doc suggested and MRI which took almost two months of messed up paperwork to finally get done. Anyway, to end this long story, the diagnosis was tendinosis and I was referred to an orthopedic & sports medicine clinic to a doc that specializes in joints and shoulders who I saw yesterday. He thought it might also be a slight tear, although I didn't have quite the pain in my movements that he thought I should. Anyway, both he and my GP thought that a cortisone shot was probably the best course of action to give me the quickest relief and speed the healing, and so that's what I got, yesterday.
Well, I generated a little excitement in the office by passing out after the shot.
I definitely do not make a habit of passing out. I can count on one hand the times I've passed out (4) and this was only the second time I passed out from getting an injection (the other was from a lower lumbar injection from when I had back problems a few years ago and if you've ever had a very long needle pushed deep into your back through your muscles, you may know why - though I've had that shot four times and just passed out the one time).
I'm not a fan of needles and they make me cringe, but not pass out. I think I psyched myself out a little bit beforehand and then forgot to breathe afterward. The doc gave me the shot which was a little bit painful only because it was injected into the deep tissue which made it contract which I think surprised me. Afterward the doc was talking to me and I started to feel light headed and he asked me if I was okay and I went to tell him I was light headed and the next thing I know I'm dreaming about random things before waking up lying on my back on the patient's table with the doc and his assistant looking down at me. It took me a few minutes to get my color back and for the tingling in my hands to go away, but they were nice enough and once we all decided I was okay, they loaded me up with paperwork and prescriptions and let me go home. They gave me a topical NSAID and some Celebrex samples to take since my shoulder might hurt worse for a couple days before it feels better.
So, hopefully this is the finally kick my shoulder needs to fully recover so I can stop worrying about lifting things and doing strength training and not worry about how and when I pick up my daughter.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Apparently, I have been improving and I haven't even realized it thanks to the weather and my groggy morning runs. I have always wondered if my morning performance hasn't been hindered by the fact that I have to wake up and run after a quick attempt to hydrate and not having eaten for 12 hours. In the back of my mind it seemed to me that I had always felt strong when I used to run at the gym in the afternoons. But, maybe that was all just in my head?
Well, this week I got the chance to test this out with a couple afternoon runs and boy am I sold! I blew away my 10k PR with a 6.2 mile run on Monday, and today I killed my half marathon PR by about 4 minutes!
I set my half marathon PR during my first half marathon (the Las Vegas RNR half marathon) which was on a very flat and fast course and had GREAT weather (40's and 50's with no wind). So, I don't think it's too far off to compare it to running inside the gym on a flat indoor track with air conditioning that keeps temps in the low 70's with the occasional blast of cold air as you pass a vent. Maybe I've been running slower in the mornings because the gym track is flat and my morning runs are on the local roads which are mostly flat, but with some gradual inclines and declines? I can't say either way 100% whether it's the inclines, the fuel and hydration, or the time of day, but the results sure speak to me!
Today was supposed to be a 12 mile run. The last real long run before I start my taper for my race that's just over two weeks away. I had no intention of stretching it out beyond 12 miles, until the event unfolded. I started out with a 9:30 first mile which was a little fast. If you take my 10k time from Monday and plug it in the McMillan Running Calculator, it gives a suggested long run pace of 9:46 - 10:46 per mile. Of course, I checked this out AFTER my run. During my run I knew I was running too fast (my previous calculations suggested I should be running closer to 10:30 miles for my long runs), but I felt good and it felt like a pace I could keep up.
My mile pace began to speed up, of all things, around mile 5. Mile 7 I ran in 9:09. I was really feeling good. It was around mile 6 and 7 that I started trying to calculate how fast I would end up running if I kept running the full 13.1 miles. Eventually, I told myself that if I was able to keep up this pace that I would tack on the extra 1.1 miles to see how it went, but if I was tiring and slowing down then I would just keep my run to the scheduled 12 miles.
Of course, mile 2 which I ran at 9:32 ended up being the only mile I ran over 9:30 and I ran the extra 1.1 miles and finished with a time of 2:02:40 which beats my PR of 2:06:37 by almost exactly 4 minutes! And most of the time I felt like I could run faster, but kept myself to the 9:30 pace (well, it ended up averaging out to a 9:22 pace). The last 3 miles my knees started to hurt and then during the last 2 miles my thighs started to get tight, but I was able to stay on pace without too much extra effort.
Will this all translate to a great race day in 2 weeks? I don't know. The course is the reverse of my last half marathon. This time it will be a 6 mile climb with an 800 foot elevation gain to start the race, then 7.1 miles back downhill to the finish. It is certainly NOT flat. But then again, I ran my last half marathon just 1 minute slower than my PR even those the second half was ALL uphill. So, we shall see.
This morning I weighed myself first thing when I got up and I weighed in at 173.5. After eating breakfast, lunch, and making myself plenty hydrated (i didn't mention I had to make a quick potty stop in between miles 2 and 3 of my training run) and then running 13.1 miles, I was parched and drank a liter of water and then a liter of Powerade. When I got home I weight myself again AFTER my shower and I weight in at 172.0. I know I sweat a lot, so if I had weighed myself before drinking so much water and Powerade, I would probably have weighed in right around 170. That's a lot of water weight to lose! Makes me glad that I'll be doing my race with my camelbak filled with water & Gatorade. I'm also considered bringing along a pocket full of M&M's to much on during my race for some extra energy on the uphill...
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