UGH…what a week. What a terrible, draining, awful week. Lack of sleep, a lot of tears, and…my relaxing weekend was anything but relaxing. In fact, it only served to make me more self-conscious of myself. And that’s what sucks. I wanted to be able to escape everything that was weighing down on me this week…and instead I caught it once again. Seems the only place I feel like myself these days is when I’m out running. And that bothers me.
That being said, my first month of Marathon training is in the books. I am so proud of myself and everything I have accomplished these past four weeks. I’m already anticipating the next month…all the miles, the speed work, the pacing, every easy run, and every hard one as well. I’m going to earn these 26.2 miles…while I am running a couple of other races, I’m treating them as training…not as races. My main focus is that big 26.2.
As many of you might have previously read, I had some very hurtful things said to me this past week by someone I considered a good friend. It stung. It hurt. And, wow, did it every set my self-confidence back, especially on body image. I was heading into a weekend at a sci-fi convention, and I normally never worry about this sort of thing, but it was still weighing (no pun intended) heavy on my heart and in my mind. And then…while at the convention I caught crap from people as well. I am SO tired of feeling as though I am the ugliest person because of my size, build, and the fact that I RUN!
YES!! I run. I’m in training…so I am running a lot. But my body is strong, my heart is strong, and my willpower is stronger. I am no stranger to hurtful words about appearance…I got that a lot growing up. Always picked on. But, we’re all adults here. I don’t want to be told that should I ever get cancer I would never survive. WTF?! I run my body…and my body, in return, runs perfectly. I take care of myself. I eat plenty. I exercise to stay healthy. When I’m in a place I am hoping to escape my problems, I don’t need them thrown at me, loudly.
And…for the record…RUNNING WILL NOT KILL ME!
That being said…my marathon training this week started off fantastic, and then…began to suffer. Mostly because I let things get to me. I let words cut me down and scar me. In fact…I lost my spirit this week…the run just felt so hard. It might have been the humidity. It might have been the hurtful words of friends running through my head. Maybe it was both.
In the end, more nice things by true friends were said to lift me up and help me find my center again. And that…is what got me through.
Sunday is my easy run or rest day. As is usual with me, I took my feet out for a spin on the pavement that morning. It was humid, humid, humid out there on Sunday, so I kept it close to home and headed out before the sun was up. I finished up just as it was cresting over some of the hills. It was a relaxing run and while the humidity was a drag, I managed to press on through. And that was after running an accidental 15.5 miles the day before. I was feeling good.
Monday means it’s back to running in the dark. That’s fine, except the added challenge on this particular Monday was that I was out until about 2:00 a.m. at a concert in Cincinnati. The concert was The Goo Goo Dolls with Matchbox Twenty…and it was wonderful…but the 5 easy miles called for in my training was quite hard on weekend-weary and concert-weary legs and total sleep deprivation. I actually went out running an hour later than usual, because I felt sleep was more important…but I was still just tired at the end of it all. Of course, Monday also means it’s Fun Run night, so the Monday Daily Double was still on. I really just wanted to take an easy run, so Harry and Natalie took me on a great run that went by Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, then through some of the neighborhoods in the Highlands before ending 3 miles later back at the store. We let Natalie set the pace…and, wow, she has a kick there at the end. She promised she’d teach me all about finding that strength at the end of a run. That’s good, because I need it. Monday…was a tiring, but good day. Got in late after running some errands, trying to prep for this weekend.
Tuesday is the usual cross training day. This week I was scheduled for 40-50 minutes of cross training. No problem. I hit up the gym and did 45 minutes on the Arc Trainer on the Pike’s Peak setting. The Boilermaker is this coming weekend in Utica, New York, so hill work is important. I haven’t been taking on hills as often as I should be so I’m feeling a little unprepared for this course. But, as I sad, I’m to be treating these races as training runs, not races, per my sports nutritionist. So…I’ll just do what I can and leave the rest up to how I feel. I set the Arc Trainer for Level 5 so I could have some more resistance and steeper inclines. It was a challenge and one I met. Felt good. The rowing machine was next. UGH. Rowing. It’s a great core workout, working a lot of your upper body, legs, back, arms, and core, but it can be very boring and very, very difficult. I struggled, but managed 1.2 miles on the machine in 10 minutes. Not too shabby. I capped off my gym day with some strength training. Then headed to work.
Wednesday is my speed work or pacing day and this week called for a 7 mile Fartlek run. I used the first mile to warm up and then hit the pavement for some intermittent bursts of speed with some recovery in between each part. I felt good coming in from this run. My legs felt up to the challenge, though they were screaming at me toward the end. I pushed through the morning humidity, and just felt like I had really accomplished a great run. Speed work is something I’m trying to focus more on, but it’s not always easy to do around here. So, this felt like a victory. Then, as I was sitting down on my computer with some water and some time to relax, I got hit up by a friend with some very hurtful words. My legs were taken out from under me. And after I lengthy blog on the subject, I felt I could put it behind me. Wow…was I ever wrong.
Thursday called for 5 easy miles. I really just wanted to get out there and run this day. There was still a lot on my mind. The words that were said to me were still lingering in my brain, and still breaking my heart. I thought I could run it off…but my body had other ideas. I pretty much kept stopping after each mile or less, finding the need to catch my breath or just take a moment. The humidity was awful and stifling. Then, the rain started to come down soon after I came in from my run, because when I left for the gym, it was non-stop rain. And it never really let up that day. My gym workout was awful and disappointing as well. My elliptical effort was not there. I tried to push it…but it wasn’t happening. I felt defeated and deflated. Nothing was going right. The stationary bike was my 10 minute effort that day. And as much as I hate the stationary bike, it was the only part of my workout where I felt I accomplished something amazing. My legs just needed to go fast…and they finally did. I 3.85 miles that morning in 10 minutes. And it made me feel a little better about life. Some strength training followed.
Friday…the rest day. I spent the morning wanting nothing more than to just go out for a short run. Two miles wouldn’t hurt, right? I just felt like I needed to prove to myself I still had my passion for the run. But…it is the day of rest and I vowed to respect and honor that day, so, in the end, I finished packing my suitcase and getting everything ready for the convention I was attending this weekend. I prepared breakfast, went to work, and went for a walk at lunch. I need to just let these rest days do their job. Letting my muscles and body recover from a week of a very draining and hard week just needed to happen. I didn’t want to rest…but I made myself rest.
Saturday was my Long Slow Distance (LSD) pace long run for a scheduled 10 miles, per my marathon training. The trick here was…I was in Indianapolis for a convention. What to do? Well, I knew BlueMile (my favorite running store in Louisville) had two locations in Indianapolis, so I contacted them to see if they had any running groups heading out on Saturday morning for training runs. Both the Broad Ripple and Carmel stores did, but Broad Ripple was closer to where I was staying. So, after a night of being up past midnight, not being able to sleep, and general…BLAH…I hauled myself out of bed at 5:50 a.m. to get ready to head out to Broad Ripple. I got dressed, put on sunscreen, ate half of a granola bar, giving the other half to my roomie. We headed out of the hotel a little later than planned…and discovered that it was raining. Great. Joy. Ah well…I need new shoes anyway. On the way to the store, I ate my banana I had brought with me. We arrived and went into the store. I stretched and soon they were making announcements and telling which races had to run for how long that day. I don’t run by time, I run by miles, so I figured I would head out with them and then just go to the 5 miles, turn around, and head back. I basically did that. There was 95% humidity that morning and a steady misting of rain for most of the run. But we headed out on the beautiful Monan Trail and ran it for 3 miles. At the 3 mile point, there was a water/Gatorade stop and everyone turned around. I did as well, running two miles back down, then turning back around, heading back toward the Kroger water stop to get me to 7 miles. Then, it was three miles back to the store. In the end, I ended up going 10.25 miles that morning…in the humidity and the rain. And I felt good at the end of it. My effort was kept easy due to that humidity, but I was loving my run that morning. New scenery, new people, and just a new experience. Then it was back to the convention and a very late night…er…early morning.
And that was the round-up for my first month of training. In the end, what I’m finding out is…there are so many misconceptions about this sport out there. There are also a lot of people who don’t understand the mechanics of a distance runner. And…they probably never will. I feel rattled and scarred from the hurtful words that were said, and I’m trying so hard not to continue to dwell on it. I have a 15K race coming up this weekend and the best part is…I get to see a lot of friends from high school who I haven’t seen since…well…high school. And that is going to be a fun and amazing time and I really just can’t wait to make it happen.
Here’s hoping I learn to soar again this coming week…