Sunday, June 27, 2010

When the going gets tough... and hot...

Haakan and I did the Father's Day 10k last Sunday, and to say that it was a little bit of a disaster would be an understatement.  We set out MUCH too fast (we realized in retrospect) and by 2.5 miles in, I was burned out.  I had a total breakdown, crying and all, because I felt like such a loser.  I finished a faster 10k at 18 weeks pregnant, in the pouring rain, and having to pee.  After crunching the numbers, Haakan decided that the pace had been entirely too ambitious and I'm actually quite a bit slower than he thought, which is both comforting and depressing.  At any rate, I figured out a few new ways how to NOT run a 10k.  Next up, a 5k in Bellvue in July.

My runs this week were ok.  I did a 7 miler around the lower track of the reservoir, which was fine except for the two ENORMOUS blisters I now have on my pinkie toes.  No idea where they came from or why they showed up, but they suck and they hurt and I can't wait until they're gone entirely.  My speedwork was fine, no big surprises or problems, but it was kind of miserable since it was already 80 degrees and like 90% humidity when I did it at 7am.  Yesterday's long run was like a death march.  I meant to do it early in the morning, but then Charlie had a really bad night (woke up choking on mucus running down his throat, poor thing), so that means I had a bad night, too.  When 5am rolled around, I thought there was no way I was going to be able to run (and it's good that I didn't, since he woke up again at 6am wanting to eat), so I ended up going out around 5pm, which is probably the worst time of day to run in the summer.  It didn't seem that hot until I started moving, and then I heated up very quickly.  My bowels were upset the entire time, so there was more than one potty break involved, plus a lot of walking to make it through.  My hip injury from the last round of marathon training has been rearing it's ugly painful head, and I almost bagged it after 6 miles, but I knew I'd hate myself for not completing the run, so I sucked it up and finished.  By the time I got home I was a mess and I spent the evening in a nauseated low blood sugar lump on the couch.

I won't lie, this bad of a run this early in training has thrown me a bit and I'm having some major doubts about the wisdom of this marathon.  I'm going to give it until my next cut back week and see how it's going before I really decide one way or the other.  I fully expect the 18 and 20 mile runs to be unpleasant, or at least really tough, but if the 14 and 16 are that way, too, that might be a pretty good indication to me that I should drop to the half marathon instead of the full.  Haakan is still very optimistic, though we've reassessed my finish time goals to have me coming in right around 4:45, rather than shooting for 4:30 (I'll try for 4:30 or under in May when I do Pittsburgh).  Unfortunately, there's no 4:45 pace group, so I'm on my own.  I may try to find a group hoping to finish in 4:45 so that I don't have to go it alone, but we'll see.  I'm a little afraid to post about it on Runner's World for fear of being laughed at by the hard core marathoners, for whom a 4:45 finish would be a "why bother?" kind of situation, but that might be a good place to find some other runners hoping for a finish in that range.  I feel like if I could just get the aches and pains out of the way, I'd be doing really well.  Maybe I'll try to get a fuel belt to bring on the 12 miler next weekend so that I don't actually have to stop for water or anything.  I need to get used to not stopping or these long runs will be useless to me, since I don't really plan to keep stopping during the marathon to use the porta potty and all (hopefully!).

The one bright spot of my disaster run yesterday is that I was very pleased with my expensive running shirt from Lululemon.  It held up great and was the one thing that wasn't bothering me during the run.  I was annoyed that my shorts wouldn't stay put (I got some nice chafing on one thigh) and the liner kept riding up, but the shirt worked great.  I may try to get one in a sleeveless style, too.  And some longer shorts.  Lesson learned, for me, short shorts and the long run don't really mix all that well.  I think some longer compression shorts might be in order for the next long run.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Almost like running blindfolded

I would have made a crappy Boy Scout.  I love the "be prepared" motto, and yet, I never seem to be.  I was supposed to do speed work this morning, the last thing to do before my upcoming easy week (of which I am in desperate need - I feel totally burned out and need a break), but my Garmin crapped out before I even got up to the reservoir.  So I decided to turn it into an easy 3 miler and just kind of wing it.  And I have to say, it was kind of liberating to not have my Garmin or my iPod with me.  I actually had some time to think, and it was kind of nice.  And I say this as a die hard iPod lover.  I might try to do one of my runs a week without the iPod and see how it goes.  But I really don't want to give up the Garmin.  I need some way to at least time how long I'm out and then do the math to find my pace.

Next up in races - the Father's Day 10k down on the North Side.  The course seems a bit different this year, though I could be wrong.  Sounds like it's starting a bit farther down the waterfront from the stadium.  The race raises funds for prostate cancer research and they've thankfully changed the name from "Us, Too", which always bugged the heck out of me - since, you know, men's health issues are so underfunded and underrepresented in the world of research - to "Man Up", which I like a lot more.  It's more positive, more calling you out, and less whiney.  I'm trying not to think too hard about my goal for this race and just hoping to have a good experience, and hoping that my mom and sister will be able to keep the kiddos happy for a while while Haakan and I run.  I've never done a race with someone next to me the whole time, so this should be kind of an interesting experience for both of us.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A new look

Like the new blog template?  I felt like my funk necessitated a bit of a change.  Doesn't this look like it would be a nice place to run?  The templates had a bunch of different options, though none really screamed "runner!" to me.  I thought about putting a big mountain in the background, since that's what I sometimes feel like I'm running up, but I settled for the nice tree lined street, which is not unlike where I usually run.

In the wake of my craptastic performance in the Skirt Chaser 5k last weekend, my runs this week have been quite a bit better.  Haakan and I decided I should try to pick up the pace of my easy runs a bit, so I did my 5 miler at a zippy 10:28 minute mile, rather than the 10:45+ I had been shooting for.  My easy 3 miler on Wednesday was slower, because I was planning to do my long run, but forces conspired against me.  First, I wasn't able to get out the door as early as I wanted to because Charlie pooped after I fed him, and then decided not to go back to sleep easily.  Then, about 2 minutes after I got out the door, the sky literally opened up and the rain just *poured* down on me.  I decided to call it my easy run after 3 miles and headed for home, waterlogged and glad that I had the wiggle room to do it another day.  So I did the long run yesterday evening, and it went ok.  I continue to struggle with pacing issues and I went out entirely too fast for a long run.  The first 5.5 miles were awesome.  The last 3.5 miles were pretty harsh.  My feet were bothering me, I was tired, and I just couldn't pull in the pace for some reason.  I was glad to be done.

The high point of my long run is that my snazzy new Nike Airborne Long Top worked awesome.  I'm always on the lookout for a tank with a built in bra that actually works without another bra underneath, and this is the first one I've found that really works the way it's supposed to.  I definitely want to get another one.  It stayed put, was supportive, was nice and airy despite feeling substantial, and it didn't show weird sweat stains (always a plus).  I went down a size in the Nike Speed Shorts, too, and I think that helped with the weird fit issues I was having before.  I am also madly in love with the way too expensive Lululemon Run:Speed Shorts that I splurged on.  Yes, they are short, but I think I can make them work.  And best of all, they work great.  They're super comfortable, they don't ride up, and I actually think they might make me run a little bit faster.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Gen compiles further proof that the 5k is not her distance

I'm writing tonight from the depths of suckatude.  I'm watching DVR'ed episodes of Glee (totally in love with neil Patrick Harris, btw), I'm preparing to eat cookies and cream ice cream, and I'm generally wallowing in my extremely shitty performance in today's Skirt Chaser 5k.  It had the potential to be an excellent race, but the course was challenging - the first 1.5 miles was like straight up hill - and I don't know, I just couldn't suck it up.  I felt like I couldn't breath, I just couldn't push through it somehow.  And it seems like this is what happens lately.  This was even worse than my last 5k, and by all indications it should have been much better.  I can pull out a 9 minute mile fairly handily in my speedwork, but I felt like I couldn't even hit that with the hills.  And I do run hills. I don't know.  I think I just keep psyching myself out or something, like I really am my own worst enemy when it comes to races.  And why?  I have no idea.  I've done labor 3 times without drugs and I can't muster it up for a sub-30 minute 5k finish.  Yes, Charlie's only 3 months old this coming week.  Yes, I need to give it some time.  But damn it, I'm frustrated and more than a little disappointed in myself.

The race itself is a pretty cute concept, and I got a pretty cute running skirt as part of my swag (and I look pretty cute in it, which is nice).  It was out at Heartwood Acres and unfortunately, it *poured* down rain before the race and turned the parking area on the grass into an absolute swamp.  The race was postponed for 15 minutes because of lightning.  It might actually have been more motivating if the torrential downpour had continued through the race, but it didn't.  They played The Beastie Boys' "Girls" as the women took off at the start (the women got a 3 minute head start and the guys had to "chase" us, it was pretty cute) and the first like tenth of a mile seemed promising.  Then we started going up hill.  And up.  And up.  And even more up.  It was relentless.  And then when we hit the top, and went down a little, there was more up.  And a little more.  There was some downhill again, too, but by then I felt so demoralized and so behind my goal time, I think I just let it get to me.  Every hill felt like a kick in the face, like a "you suck" from the course, and I just rolled over and took it instead of fighting it.

So what do I do?  How do I get past this?  I'm afraid I'm going down the path of self doubt and performance anxiety and I'm too much a prisoner of the elements and the course.  I feel like maybe I get lucky every now and again and pull out a good race, but overall I'm just a back of the pack runner, and maybe I always will be.  I'm not quite ready to be ok with that, so I guess I'll keep on fighting it.  Next up: the Father's Day 10k, which I'll run with Haakan beside me to pace me.  We'll see if that goes any better than the last two 5k's have.