The One Where I Bonk At Mile 2

Marathon training was going very well – up until last week.

My training plan involves running 4x per week. Usually, I’ve been doing Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday. I vary it a little, but with the exception of a couple very hot days in the summer, I’ve been able to hit every milage goal. For the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking “Don’t break the chain!!” (from Jerry Seinfield’s productivity theory). Meaning, don’t miss a run! You’re so close now!

This week involved very long days, a sick child, a husband with a strained back, and gobs and gobs of school work. I knew this week would be hard, but I didn’t realize HOW hard. Luckily, this week was a “dip” week (a lower-total-milage recovery week) in the plan, but even that didn’t make my body want to cooperate.

Tuesday I was supposed to do 4 miles + 4 strides, but after last weekend’s 16 miler, my left hamstring was still sore, so I took an extra rest day, and planned to just do 3 runs total this week. I planned to do 4 + 4 on Wednesday morning before work, but because of time constraints 4 + 4 turned into 3.5 miles and no strides. I knew it would be slow so I didn’t even put my Garmin on because I couldn’t bear to look at my pace. It was kind of a dead-legged run, but whatevs, I got most of it done.

Thursday, I was tiredly psyched for 6 miles. I had to wait until hubby got home from work. I headed to the rec center and do as many miles as I could on the paved, flat trails, and then do hopefully little-if-any inside on the treadmill, as I had done before. But I had a lightbulb moment – with that lightbulb literally appearing over my head – I could wear a headlamp! Some of the trail is lit, and some of the trail is in a dark, dark forest, so I was all set to plop my headlamp on my hat, and cruise around and scare the deer. I even took this photo, in anticipation of writing a post solely about the headlamp:

There’s still a glimmer of hope left in my eyes.

After I took the photo, I turned the lamp off so that I could do some pre-run stretches and whatnot. I went to turn the lamp back on – nadda. Nothing, not even a flash. I checked the batteries – they were fresh. I wrestled with the damn headlamp in the parking lot of rec center for 5 minutes, all the while thinking, I’m losing daylight! Nooooooooo! I grudgingly threw the lamp back in the car and moped into the rec center.

I was so pissy about the darn lamp, how dare it ruin my night run! But I never get to watch TV anymore, so I put on HGTV, switched the pace to a pokey 10:45, and started pounding the belt of the dreadmill.

Me no likey the treadmill. There’s no breeze, no sunshine (or moonshine) and I’m at the mercy of the belt speed. It makes my hips sore, I often accidentally smack the emergency stop button and have to reset the whole run, and I can’t look to my side without clotheslining the arm rails…I know, I know…first-world problems.

Being that I got an average of 5 hours sleep each of the past 3 nights in a row, I put in 2 miles and just…stopped. I couldn’t go any further. It wasn’t a matter of hydration or hamstring. I was just plain pooped.

Not one to let it go easily, I decided to at least power-walk another 2 miles, and even that turned into a slog where I found myself lowering the pace bit by bit. That, and I wanted to see how House Hunters turned out. Go for house number 3…number 3, people!

I moped home and went to bed. I knew it was just a minor setback. But still, in my perfectionist mind, I broke the chain. I bombed. Could it happen again in training? Could it happen in the marathon? Ugh, I let my mind go there. And then I couldn’t sleep again. Get me off this crazy train!

Bad runs suck hard. How do you get out of that hole?

A Bizarre Run In Three Movements

When you have just a small window to get things done, sometimes you have to improvise.

September is the craziest month of the year for teachers, of which I am one. All of the kid stuff starts up again. It’s also when fall marathon training starts to amp up to a fevered pitch. With just 52 days to go until the NY marathon, I have little if any wiggle room for workouts, let alone missed workouts. Some have asked me, “How do you do it?”…meaning really “Do it all?” When in real life, the only thing I’m “doing” is sticking to my training plan, working, and trying to give my kids some attention after school. Everything else falls by the wayside. “Doing it all” is a myth. If I were doing it all, there wouldn’t be an overdue litter box to change, forgotten car appointments (oh, it’s just an axle), or a son sent to school on picture day wearing the most hideous Angry Birds t-shirt ever.

Anyway, this past Tuesday I knew I had to run 5 miles + 5 strides (quick bursts of speed at the end of a run) but my only time to do it was after 7:00 when Dan arrived home from work. I couldn’t shift this workout to Wednesday, as the week was already planned to the minute. I was fearing I’d have to run in the dark when my husband had a brilliant idea.

I drove to the local recreation center, and ran on the trails around the property. One loop = 1.1 miles. I arrived as the sun was setting, so I ran as far as I could until it got too dark, which was 3.75 miles.

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See how I’m worried about daylight? That’s my worried look.

From there, I went inside to the treadmill inside the rec center, and ran the additional 1.25 miles. I really cannot stand the treadmill, but that milage was tolerable. The treadmill seemed just a little wobbly, and I didn’t want to waste time finding a non-wobbly one so…

…I went back outside to the lighted parking lot, and did 5 X 100m strides.

Out. In. Out. Somehow it just worked out. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a litter box to change. Nah, it’s time for bed.

P.S. Don’t let an opportunity to make the world better slide by. Donate to my marathon fundraiser for LitWorld today. Less than 8 weeks to go!