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.

WTF?

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.” IĀ  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