20 Miles

In my last post, I talked about feeling burnt out, etc. I took a short break from running, which didn’t help. I still felt like crap and didn’t want to run. My solution? I haven’t been running very much. Which makes total sense when you’re a few weeks away from a marathon..

Instead of running, I’ve spent the last few weeks debating what I should do re: CIM. For a few days, I would be 100% sure that I was running it. Then I would go for a run, it would suck, and I’d be out. In the last month, I have changed my mind about CIM at least 10 times.

To add a little context, three weeks ago I was laid off. It was super unexpected and has added a new layer of stress to my life. On the bright side, I am convinced that I will get a better job and it will work out in the end. But right now? Right now I’m in what they call a “transition” period, and it’s pretty tough for the control freak in me.

Back to running. My heart has not been in it, but I think I may be turning the corner.

Monday morning, I was applying for jobs and had the New York City Marathon playing in the background (I already watched it the day of the race, but for whatever reason I saved it on the DVR). Watching it, I remembered why I run marathons and realized that I want to run CIM. I knew I needed one more 20 miler (my only 20 mile run was more than two months ago), so I checked the weather forecast and decided on Wednesday.

Wednesday morning, I woke up earlyish (early for an unemployed person = 7 a.m.) and ran 20 miles. I won’t sugar coat it: The last few miles really hurt. My hips and legs ached, but my heart was happy.

I didn’t worry about pace at all; I ran completely by feel and just tried to keep it comfortable. Around mile 12, I started naturally running a little faster, and I ended up negative splitting the run. When my watch read 20, it felt so satisfying.

Even though I’m nowhere near PR shape, I’m really excited for CIM. I have two simple goals for the race: To finish, and to be grateful that I’m healthy and able to run 26.2 miles. It’s going to be awesome. 16 days!

I hit the wall

In my last post I mentioned that I’ve hit a rough patch, but I was optimistic and ready to take on the rest of my training.

Well, less than 48 hours after posting that, I ran a half marathon. And it sucked big time. By mile 2, I was sucking wind and had a side ache. By mile 4, I was contemplating a DNF. And by mile 6, I started walking. A lot.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 11.16.55 AMNeedless to say, I was super frustrated. I’ve put in a lot of miles (averaging 150 miles/month for the last three months, which is a lot for me) and yet I am getting slower and slower.


At first I chalked it up to the fact that I’ve lost speed. That may be the case, but I don’t think it’s the only problem.

When I looked back at my training log, I realized that my running has been pretty rocky this entire month. The first bad run was on October 5 (18 mile long run). My long run pace is pretty slow (75 seconds slower than goal marathon pace), so I generally have to pull back to hit this slow pace. Not this run. I struggled a lot, walked quite a bit, and almost cut the run short.

Since then, running in general has just felt harder than normal. Paces that should feel easy or comfortably hard have felt tough. I have dreaded my runs and have absolutely no competitive drive.

As an example of my lack of competitive drive and my “I don’t give a shit” attitude, Christina and I stopped to take pictures of cows during last week’s half marathon. Yeah, we are a little odd…

photo-43Originally I thought my burnout was just mental, but now I think there is a physical component as well. I’ve been training for a long time, and I think my body is tired and a little over-trained.

So I’ve decided to take a week off from running. No cross training either. I might do a little yoga, but my priority for the next seven days is to get lots of rest and re-charge for this last bit of training.

Taking time off this close to the race isn’t ideal, but at this point I don’t think I have a choice. If I show up to CIM in the same state I showed up to my half marathon, I won’t make it to the finish line.

Last year I had to take four days off from running about a month before CIM to deal with my shin splints. The break did wonders not only for my shin splits but also for my attitude: I went on to finish up my training and run a really solid marathon.

Fingers crossed this helps.

Also, my dad is having surgery tomorrow to repair his torn meniscus. Please send healing thoughts his way!

New Attitude

I’m just going to dive right in: I’ve hit a little rough patch.

When I made the decision to switch my goal race to CIM, I extended my training plan from 15 weeks (not including the five weeks of base-building) to 23 weeks. 23 WEEKS. That’s just too long to train for one race, and I’m currently dealing with some burnout issues. In hindsight, I realize I should have stuck with my original plan of running Portland. But you know what they say about hindsight.

p.s. Funny story: One time when I was a little tipsy, I may have said, “Hindsight is 50/50.” I  sometimes say really dumb things.

Anyway, back to running. For the last week or two, I have seriously considered not running CIM. My dad is injured (he has a torn meniscus) and won’t be running the marathon, and it doesn’t seem worth the effort to train/race when I don’t think I will PR.

Last night I realized I was being really stupid (and just a tad dramatic).

A little background information (probably TMI): Earlier this year I started seeing a counselor. One of the reasons I decided to go to therapy is because I realized how often I sell myself short. I convince myself that I won’t succeed so I don’t even try. That’s why I didn’t pursue a more competitive major in college and why I hate looking for new jobs. In a nutshell: My self-esteem/confidence kinda sucks, and this definitely spills into my running.

Another thing I’m working on in counseling is moderation. I typically look at things as being all good or all bad — there isn’t much “gray” in my world. When it comes to marathon training, I have no concept of moderation. I’m either all in or all out. Up until a month ago, I was all in. I prioritized everything around my training and was so hyper-focused on my goal (finishing sub 4) that I neglected other areas of my life.

Last night I realized that this is a perfect opportunity to practice what I’ve been working on in counseling. In the spirit of moderation and avoiding the all in/all out approach (also known as sub4 or bust), I’ve revised my time goal from sub 4 to a more realistic range of 4:05-4:15. Not my fastest time, but also not my slowest. Moderation for the win!

And who knows, I have been running a lot, so maybe I’ll surprise myself. But the only way I’ll know what I’m capable of is to go out there and just do it.

At the end of the day, this is just a hobby, and I’m fortunate that I’m healthy and have the resources (time, money, etc.) to train for these silly races.

This is something I choose to do, so I just need to chill out and let go. Six weeks and two days until CIM! The countdown is officially on.

After California International Marathon - CIM

July Recap and August Goals

July was a really good month. In fact, it was the best month of running I’ve had in a long time. It started out a little rocky, as I was dealing with post RNR Half confidence issues and struggling to believe that sub 3:55 was a realistic goal for Portland.

So I made the decision (with the help of my coach) to move my goal race to CIM, giving me an extra eight weeks to train.

A few days later, I participated in Ragnar, my first relay and an incredible experience. I ran better than I expected, and I left feeling re-charged and excited for CIM.Ragnar Northwest Passage Continue reading

Change in Plans and the Shortest Ragnar Recap Ever

I ran Ragnar Northwest Passage (my first relay) two weekends ago. Never heard of Ragnar or a relay? Here’s the short version: 12 runners pile into two vans and take turns running. Each person runs three times, and by the end of it, the team runs a total of 200 miles.

Relay recaps tend to get pretty lengthy, so I’m going to give you the quick and dirty version: IT WAS AWESOME.

The key to having fun during a relay is having good people in your van. When you’re sleep deprived and having GI issues (oh man, my stomach was a hot mess!), you don’t want to be in a van with high-maintenance drama queens. Thankfully, my van was pretty darn awesome. No drama, just lots of laughter, singing along to 90s pop, and encouragement.

Ragnar Northwest Passage Continue reading

Rock N Roll Seattle Half Marathon Race Recap

Yesterday I ran the RNR Seattle half. My race strategy, per my coach’s instructions, was to not look at my Garmin and run by feel. Warm up for the first three miles and then shift into half marathon pace.

Going into the race, I had no expectations of PR’ing, but I did hope to be able to run goal marathon pace (9:00). Spoiler alert: didn’t quite work out.

I was a little scattered on race morning. Due to a stupid long porta potty line, I started the race farther back than normal (corral 17 when I should have been in 10-12). And my head was just a mess. I’ve been really enjoying my easy-paced runs, and I was scared of how much the end of the race would hurt. This was the first race I’ve “raced” in more than six months, and I was scared and lacked confidence. In many ways, it was deja vu of Eugene Marathon.

The race started and I tried to find a reasonable pace. I tapered more for this race than I have any other recent half marathon, so I was surprised my legs didn’t feel quite as springy and light as I expected. This only added to the crazy thoughts circling my not so stable brain.

I felt like I was going at a decent pace, but my was head was just not in it. I questioned whether I was going too slow/too fast. Would I blow up at mile 10? Was I going too slow and wish I had done more?

I had pretty much assumed that I would break 2 hours, so when I looked at my cumulative time around 12.5, I was shocked when I realized I would be finishing in 2+ hours.

I finished in 2:03:44, and I’ll be honest:I was pissed when I crossed the finish line.

But now that I’ve had 24 hours to decompress and I emailed with my coach, I’m over being pissed. RNR was not a goal race, and I’d rather have a bad day now rather than on October 5. Time to move on and use this disappointment as motivation for the next 15 weeks.

hatefireAnd, on the bright side, there were a ton of photographers on the course. Here are a few gems. Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 4.03.46 PM

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 4.03.27 PM

Hooray! Finally a normal picture!

Hooray! Finally a normal picture!

Here are my splits, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Rock N Roll Seattle Half Marathon Splits

17 Weeks Out

I’m now five weeks through base building, and I’m less than two weeks out from the Rock N Roll Half and 17 weeks out from Portland (!).

Overall, base building has been going really well. Last week I had some tightness that was causing significant discomfort in my lower left leg (same leg I had shin splints), so per my coach’s instructions, I skipped two runs and shortened my long run. As much as I hate missing scheduled runs when training is going so well, it was the right call.

Here’s how the last five weeks looked:

Week one: 5 runs totaling 21 miles (long run: 8 miles)
Week two: 5 runs totaling 24 miles (long run: 10 miles)
Week three: 5 runs totaling 26 miles (long run: 12 miles)
Week four: 5 runs totaling 21 miles (long run: 7 miles)
Week five: 3 runs totaling 13 miles (long run: 8 miles) <— skipped two runs due to leg issues, and my long run was supposed to be 14 miles.

In addition to rest, I saw my chiropractor for ART (ART hurts but I love it; if I were rich and/or my insurance didn’t limit the amount of treatments, I would go in once a week) and I’m working with my coach to improve my cadence, to hopefully avoid future issues.

The nice thing about base building is that it’s gently easing me into marathon training. In the past, I often went from taking a break in training to going balls to the wall. On several occasions, I fell into the “too much too soon” trap, got burnt out, and then either rallied to finish a good training cycle (like I did for Eugene) or totally gave up (like I did for both my Portland cycles).

It’s also been a good lesson in balancing running with life. Things are settling down now, but the last two months have been pretty busy. Here’s a quick rundown:

We went to Hawaii.


Maui VacationWe updated/gently remodeled our kitchen. Woohoo! The under mount sink and touch faucet are life-changing. Well, not really, but they are pretty sweet.

Kitchen before (taken right before we moved in)

Kitchen before (taken at the appraisal shortly before we bought the house)

Kitchen after!

Kitchen after!

I went to my friend’s bachelorette party in Vancouver.

bachelorette partyThe following weekend, we went to her wedding.

photo 5

WeddingWeddingI turned 29. This shouldn’t count since my birthday was super relaxed (just hung out in Seattle with my dad, nephew and John), but I’m including it. Plus, I love this picture of Ryder going down the slide on his tummy. I’m not a kid person, but man I love this little guy. He is a total goofball.

photo 3Last but certainly not least, my girlfriends and I saw the Backstreet Boys in concert. It was pretty darn amazing.

backstreet boys

The last two months have been great, but I know all of these activities played a part in my leg acting up. Specifically, for several weeks straight, I averaged less sleep each night than normal, I drank a lot more than I normally do (especially the weekends with the bachelorette party and wedding), and my diet kinda went to crap.

My goal for the next 17 weeks is to achieve a better balance: keep the fun but lose the excessive booze and unhealthy food. And sleep more. Training for a marathon requires sacrifices, but it doesn’t mean I need to forgo all the fun in my life. It just means I need to have fun, only have one glass of wine, and then be in bed by 10 p.m. :)