Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Demise

Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a ride and a half.

So. On Friday, I ran 5k in 33:30. Without water. Without a knee strap. And without stopping. It was great!

I really had to focus and redirect myself every once in a while to "run the mile you're in". I never realized how much I obsess over little things like how far I've run or how far I have to go.

It's pretty awesome that 5k, which seemed so long and far away when I first started, is now easy.

While I was running, I was making a mental list of points to remember about my 10-miler the next day. It included "No Fear" which may seem like antiquated sports doctrine, but is still personally and socially relevant. It also included "Let the mind lead, not the body". And a reminder to pump my arms when I'm feeling sluggish. This may be a Playskool technique, but it works for me.

I also had my first rush of drugs to the system in weeks. . . I was really visualizing my post-10 post and even my post-race post, proclaiming that "I survived Airport Hill" - complete with pics and everything.

Well, that was Friday.

Saturday I woke up later than I intended. It was already a little warm out when I started. I had gone the night before and got some new Spencos, some running socks, and some GU energy gel.

I had also mapped out a 10 mile route and was ready to go.

I did 3 miles, and that 3rd mile was tough because it was uphill. I figured I'd do some GU after that 3rd mile, so I could continue going strong. I drank the sugary, syrupy substance down, walking and rinsing out my mouth - and promptly got back to it.

As my body weakened to the point of being flaccid, I remembered an "experiment" my mom did with me when I was about 15 or 16. She told me to put out my arm and push up against her hand, resisting as she pushed down on my arm. I did. I was able to hold up against her. Then, she gave me a spoonful of sugar (not the Mary Poppins kind!), had me wait a few seconds and we did the same thing again. This time I was weak and could not resist. She pushed my arm down.

Yeah. That happened to me after the GU. My entire body felt limp and weak. I tried to keep running. I tried and tried. I spent much of the 4th mile walking off and on. It was very hard to get going again. And the fear took over. Big time. And my body took over. My mind suddenly had no place there. It was awful. I began to doubt. I began to give up. I knew that passing by the street that led to home would be the point of no return - either for quitting or for keeping going.

As I went into my 5th mile, I knew M had gone ahead of me on his bike and headed home to get me some chapstick. I got to the end of our street, and I suddenly cried out "I don't wanna do this!" And then, I burst into tears. Sobbing.

I walked down our street, found a shady corner, sat down on the street corner and cried. Which made my sunscreen run and sting my eyes. I rinsed it out and cried some more. Part of me was disappointed that I hadn't adequately outlined for myself my motivation for wanting to do this race. Part of me was upset that my body gave up and arm wrestled my mind into quitting.

But, part of me was relieved. Running had stopped being fun several weeks back. While I credit training for this race with getting me up and beyond running 5k in ways I never could have expected, it also became drudgery and felt more like a chore than something I really wanted to do.

I tried to complete my 5th mile. I tried to keep going. I finally just gave it up for good. M supported me and said he wasn't disappointed in me - I gave it a good shot and "5 miles is a lot!" So that was something.

I haven't run since then.

I'm thinking tomorrow I'll go out for a leisurely 5k.

It'll be great.

But, I'm still sad. (And kind of feel like I'm letting you down, Jen.)

'Cuz I kind of don't know where to go from here.

Back to One Hour Runner? Running 3 times a week and doing a 3-4-3 rotation for a total of 10 miles a week?

Who knows.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Did I catch a fiver in there?

It's official! I run an 11-minute mile. Which I thought was pretty good until I saw real racers times online today. . .

Oh well.

5 miles in 55:40 (plus 3 mins of walking) at 77 degrees and 21% humidity.

For the record, it was Not easy. My body wanted to quit. Badly. Then this thought came to me: "OF COURSE your body's going to want to quit! It's YOUR job to make it keep going!"

Hmmmm. Still pondering that one. But it must be true, because later in the day I found this quote:

"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired."

- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

I also made a list of "Notes to Self: How to Prepare for the Big Race Day" which goes like this:
~memorize the body/mind quote or some smaller version thereof
~take some Zyrtec so you're not so snotty and spitty on race day
~new socks? probably
~new shoes? hmmmmm. maybe
~look up tips about what to eat, how to warm up, how not to throw up/poop or pee my pants/trip and fall/die

I looked up some tips today and liked these ones:

Get plenty of sleep, water, and pasta the week leading up to the race.

Don't worry about time, especially if it's your first race.

Eat/swallow an energy replacement gel at the starting line.
And eat/swallow one every 20-30 minutes, especially during the first hour of your race. (I'll try GU and CarbBOOM this weekend.)

Let the terrain dictate your pace.

Let your mind lead the way, not your body.

Run the mile you're in. Don’t think about how far you have to go or how far you’ve come.

Pray for the race, the runners, the volunteers and the medical teams. (and I'll also be PRAYING I won’t see anyone throwing up! That’ll totally ruin race day for me!

Get a massage after your race.

If it seems like I'm excited, I am. But more than that, I'm really going on blind faith here. I'm scared out of my mind. . .

Monday, September 15, 2008

New Week

I ran 3 miles today.

I'll spare you the gory details.

That is all.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Excuses Excuses

Top 10 excuses for being a total slacker:

10. I’m one tired chica.
9. Sarah Palin – you either love her or hate her. I’m on the fence.
8. I can’t be “everything” to “everyone”. In other words, I can’t run, then go to work, spend my lunch hours helping with homework, then work again, cook dinner, help again with homework, get groceries/do laundry/perform household “chores”/go visiting teaching all inside of one day and still keep my sanity.
7. One of my toenails cut the toe next to it last time I ran. That and, oh, I felt totally lonely! ME! Who never likes to run with anyone.
6. I have pain in my left butt cheek. I’ve self-diagnosed it as either piriformis syndrome or sciatica.
5. I’m liking my sleep in the mornings. Going to bed “late” does not do me justice!
4. I’m a little discouraged. I looked up course information for the half marathon I’m training for. (See there under “Half Marathon Course Description”? See what it says? I’m a little freaked out right now. Hold on. Gotta put my head between my knees. . . )
Whew! I’m better now. Moving on . . .
3. I don’t want to be “told” what to do. Even by myself. I want to do it because I want to do it. That doesn’t always work when I’m telling myself that the next hill to climb is the 8 mile hill. Or the 9 mile hill. And so on and so forth.
2. My shins started acting up. . . AGAIN!
1. Sheer laziness.

Reasons I will keep running – but on “my” terms (whatever the crap that means):
1. I miss it when I’m not out there.
2. I really like the weight loss factor.
3. M continues to be impressed (as do a few of my friends) that I can actually run 5-6 miles in one session.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Days Daze

I seem to have confused my days.

Actually, I just made some bad decisions this weekend. Leaving my days dazed and confused.

MISTAKE #1 - staying up too late on Friday night. M didn't get home from moving someone until 11:30. Then he got a message from a member of our stake presidency wanting to see us at 10 the next morning. I just knew in that instant that my long run wasn't happening on Saturday morning.

MISTAKE #2 - eating nothing Saturday morning and a big lunch later. Then following it with no dinner and a "meal replacement" smoothie and pita chips. No way I could turn around and run with all that in my stomach on Saturday night.

MISTAKE #3 - listening to M when he promised we would go later on Saturday. I did, however, get out and work in my back yard. In the heat. Killing my noxious cactus and tossing the cactus corpse and guts into my garbage can. Work out points, there, no?

MISTAKE #4 - not heeding the hint of warning in the first counselor's story when he told me he was planning on doing a race on Sunday when he was the bishop in my ward, and two weeks before the race he got an injury which prevented him from running for 18 months.

After all these mistakes, and all the silly delays, I ran last night. GASP! Yes, folks, I ran on Sunday. I was mapping out 8 miles continuously in my head. After the 3rd mile, I walked a minute after every mile. Being very much my husband's wife, I had a headlamp on my head and my red, blinking bike light attached to the waistband on the back of my running shorts.

At one point, I saw a bike light coming toward me. I suddenly thought it was my knight on shiny bike, that M had gotten out of his meeting early and was coming to meet me. No such luck.

I was more than halfway through - about halfway through my 5th mile, in fact - when I felt very tired. More than that, my left shoulder and neck was in full spasm mode and was tight and achy. Then, a tidal wave of worse feelings cropped up.

I suddenly felt incredibly overwhelmed by life, depressed, and very alone. All at once. I felt discouraged. I felt defeated. I walked over 1/2 mile home. Walked. And like a defeated soldier after battle, I began stripping off the accoutrements of war. First it was my iPod, which I had turned off to be able listen to the crickets and be alone with the tsunami of thought that was suddenly flooding me. Then my knee strap. Then my watch. Then headlight. I hung my head and hoofed it home.

I realized that must be what it's like to have the spirit leave you. I'll never run on Sunday again!

I took today as my rest day.

I'll be back tomorrow.

And I'll try to fight the discouragement. The nagging voice that says "what on earth are you doing!? Why are you doing this to yourself. You'll never be able to run that race!"

Here's to winning.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Week's Worth

TUESDAY - "Running the Line"

This run was H-A-R-D starting with the first mile. I reminded myself of my own saying "4 is the new easy". I didn't really believe myself. So I ran the white line of the bike lane so that I didn't even have to concentrate on where I put my feet.

I hit mile #3. I hit a wall. Didn't see it coming and couldn't jump it, or crawl over or under it, so I pushed it. I told myself to push the wall. "Push it!"

I wanted to stop SOOO bad! But, I didn't want to come here and report it. I told myself "Surely you can do 1/2 a mile!? And finish this thing up? C'mon!" So I did it. I finished 4.

It was only 83 degrees, but 40% humidity. It took me 45:45, not including 3 or so minutes walking.

On the way home I saw two ice water bottles sitting next to two backpacks of kids waiting for the bus.

So I dragged myself home and made a big 'ol glass of ice water. Which is rare around these parts!

WEDNESDAY - "Rest Day Come Early"

Sore muscles + tired body = need a rest day. Swapped out with Thursday, and it's all good.

THURSDAY - "So Much for Overconfidence!"

I woke up today trying to be Neo on the Matrix. You know - where he says "there is no spoon". But instead of cutlery, I said "there is no wall!"

It was 79 or 80 when I went out. I thought "no problem!" Because of time constraints, I decided to run 5k instead of 4 miles. I immediately ran into OR, sans lab and speed walking.

The Neo approach worked for a while. There were small walls, and I managed to jump over them without tripping and falling on my face.

The air was so bloated and round with water that I was sure it couldn't even move. Then I remembered it was "only" 29% humidity. And as I expressed to OR "it's the humidity that makes it worse than it really is!" Then a school bus came along and moved the air and I got a face full, mixed with diesel - but oh how blessed was that manufactured wind!

I was TIRED. That was a wall. Then I wanted to QUIT. Big wall! I had a major slowdown. So much that my pace finishing that 3rd mile was really pathetic. I ramped it up and finished 5k in 30:53 (plus 1 minute walking).

Bonus: I got to see M before he took off for work. YEA!

FRIDAY - "Doubt Enters In"

More Jedi mind tricks today. And I was so preoccupied with running, I couldn't even tell who started it - Body or Mind! Either way, I overheard one of them say "you can't do it! Face it, you like being a 5k runner." And the other one said "No! you liked doing 5.5 miles that one time! You can do it." And the other one was like "Nah uh! I'm telling Mom!" And sure enough, like a mom walking in on a sibling fight in progress, I shouted (internally, of course) "I don't care who started it! Cut it out!"

I got to mile 3 and decided it was bad juju for me to walk in wall country, so I kept going. I told myself "push the wall!" And then I imagined myself like a Mario Bros. cartoon, and pictured my cartoon self running along with a digital cartoon wall hovering just in front of me, but moving with every step forward I took. I pushed that darn wall!

I saw OR, who looked like Jasmine from Aladdin in her little bra top and billowy, teal yoga capris.

I walked a minute between 3 and 4, and finished in 45:30. I also imagined all my spectators looking at me with some strange mixture of pity and respect. The humidity was less today (18%) but still not very nice, even with only 80 degrees!

Tomorrow, I'll attempt 8 miles. Yeah, I skipped 6 and 7 the last few Saturdays, but I'm hoping I can swing it. Plus, I promised to run at the high school track so M can practice his sprints. He has a Big Sprint Race in a couple of weeks with his trash-talking co-worker.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Serious Spelling

I did T-H-R-E-E today, despite sore muscles from the weekend activities.

It was H-O-T on account of it being 10 a.m., 87 degrees and 34% humidity.

I was T-I-R-E-D and S-L-O-W. I did OK the first 2 or so miles. Tired, but good. I had to keep walking to belch, otherwise I would S-P-E-W. And we all know how much I love that. (I L-O-A-T-H-E it!)

Then I walked after the second mile. The wind was glorious to me today! So much so that I didn't notice that W-A-L-L and hit it straight on. And had to walk for several more minutes. I ramped back up and got going again.

I finished in 34:30 (including all walking) - not as bad as I thought, but definitely not great.

Tomorrow, I do F-O-U-R. My muscles are sore, but I'm hoping the walls are less frequent. I want to work up to 8 by Saturday, but having missed miles 6 and 7 these past 2 weeks, I'll have to work it hard this week. So, Wednesday, my goal is the 5.5 route (might make it a round 6), then 3 or 4 on Friday, then 8 on Saturday. *crossing fingers* *and toes*