Tuesday, August 28, 2012
I was due for a setback. That's what I keep telling myself anyway. Things were going SO well, and this weekend, I ran headfirst into a wall. I'm bummed. Totally disappointed in myself. And more than just a little bit freaked out. All you need is one minor thing to happen and it can really mess with your head. You start doubting your ability to really do this thing.
So this blog is about putting things in perspective and talking myself back out on the road...
I was looking SO forward to my 18 miler this weekend. So much more than all the other crap I was committed to this weekend. The 18 miler was mine - I was going to run the Lakefront Trail top to bottom - the entire city of Chicago along the lake. An epic feat! But all the other stuff got in the way.
Problem # 1 - This weekend the temperature in the city spiked again to 95 degrees. Bad news. There were air quality warnings, and people were collapsing from heat stroke. A crazy weekend schedule dictated that I had no choice but to do my long run on Saturday - the hottest day of the weekend. And not only that, but due to an 11am meeting that I SHOULD have skipped, I couldn't start my run until 3pm, in the height of the heat warning. But I am committed to my other life activities as much as I am committed to this marathon, so I attended the meeting...in my running clothes, ready to sprint out the door as soon as it was over.
Problem #2 - I was improperly fueled. I had breakfast before I left my house for the meeting, but had only brought a small snack with me to stock up before I took to the trail. Not enough. I estimate that I'd consumed about 700 calories by the time I set out to burn approximately 2400. No good. Despite gels every 5 miles, my stomach was growling by mile 4 and continued to get worse the more I ran.
Problem #3 - The muscles that seem to be having the hardest time adjusting to this training are my lungs. I have never had asthma, but I used to suffer from bronchitis as a kid, and I have noticed that my lungs HURT after my really long runs lately. Add the air quality alert to this issue and it does not bode well for finishing the full 18 miles.
Problem #4 - Inadequate sleep and a propensity for sugar. Last week was pretty terrible for late nights and sugar binges. I seem to have gotten into my head that I really can eat "whatever I want". The scale is holding steady at 187 no matter what I do, and so I seem to think that this is the best excuse to be irresponsible with snacks and to stuff myself full of all things that are NOT good for me. And my body feels it. I feel crappy. So enough of that already. Eat good things, and then you can have lots of them, not crappy things that are going to hurt your performance!
So add all these things together and what happens? You struggle to run 12 miles, bargain with yourself to make it to 13, and then drag every last fiber of energy from your body until you collapse in a heap on a park bench at mile 14, unable to draw in full breaths and just thankful that you decided today to run with your cell phone so you can place an emergency call to a friend to come get you and bring food asap. Yeah - I could have killed myself this weekend. Stupid, stupid, stupid. You can all slap me on the wrist now.
The plan was for Nikhil to come get me at the end of the trail at 6:45pm. By the time I made it to mile 14 it was already 6:15pm - not a chance that I was going to finish in time. Slowing my pace and walking a good portion of those last 3 miles wasn't even helping my case. I was DONE. And yes, I cried about it. Laying on that bench, gasping for breath and waiting for him to come rescue me. By the time he got there I was feeling a bit better, having taken in as much water as I could drink. He brought with him a recovery drink that tasted like heaven and made me feel instantly better. Had it been up to me, I would have finished the last 4 miles, but it was getting late and he had to run the Chicago Triathlon the next morning which meant waking up at 4am. So we opted to call it a night, and dejectedly, I walked back to the car, feeling like a failure.
Consequently, he did really well the next day. Completed his very first Swim, Bike, Run and my spirit was rejuvenated watching him finish and seeing how excited he was by it. I have my work cut out for me to keep up to him in 2013! But for now I still have my own goals to meet.
Luckily, I have had enough of a built-in contingency in my scheduling that this isn't going to set me back too much. But it does mean that this weekend, I need to go out and FINISH the 18 miles, and attempt 19 or 20 if I can make it. For what ever reason, I am still drawn to completing an official "20 Miler", even though I should be replacing this past week with a 19 mile and then a 21 or 22 mile over the next couple of weeks. I guess it's because all of the training books make such a big deal about that 20 Mile Marker. It is still my goal to finish at least 22 or 23 before I start the taper - for my body and my mind, I feel like I need to do at least that. So that means I have my work cut out for me this week.
The good news is that I have officially finished 3 Half Marathon distances in 3 weeks. So I'm still on track for my 7 in 7. And despite the heat, my Half time has stayed fairly consistent - but it was pretty evident how much harder my body was working and how much slower my pace needed to be this past weekend when I added a full 10 minutes to my finishing time.
Lessons learned. And isn't that what this is really all about? So this week we're eating better, sleeping better, fueling like I do for a race, not for a day at the park, paying attention to heat warnings and running earlier in the morning, and continuing to listen to my body. I cannot be angry at myself for stopping. My body needed to stop and it told me so. And deep down, I know it was the right thing to do regardless of my own disappointment. I will get there. And I have another chance to try (not Tri) this weekend.
Week 20 Schedule (Completed):
Mon - REST
Tue - 4 miles
Wed - Pool Closed :(
Thu - 6 miles
Fri - Rest & Stretch
Sat - 14 miles
Sun - Rest
Total Weekly Miles: 24
Total Weekly Calories Burned: 3448
Weekly Friday Weigh-In: 187 - holding steady
Week 21 Schedule:
Mon - Sulk & Rest :(
Tue - 8 miles
Wed - Swim
Thu - 6 miles
Fri - Rest
Sat - Rest
Sun - 20 miles