Monday, August 25, 2014

Highs and Lows

This past week definitely played with my emotions. 

Before I get into the details, let's review the week prior: I went back to work for teacher training and ran 2 miles...total. Readjusting to 6am wake-ups and badly timed inclement weather made for a sub-par week. 
At 6am, nothing tastes better than coffee.
This past week, I was determined to get back on track. I woke up at 4:30 Monday morning and did my 2-miler before work. My first day with students went swimmingly...I think my confidence and experience is finally paying off. I never even got butterflies. 

We start earlier this year so I've been at work by 7:15 and I have stayed late everyday to make sure my room is ready each morning. And in case you've never really paid attention to how teachers do their thing, I'm on my feet for literally 8 of the 9 hours I'm at work. By Wednesday, my hamstrings were screaming. 

Still, I was determined to prove that I can run in the mornings before work and actually get my training done. Thursday I ran hill repeats, completing four miles before I had to leave to shower and get ready for work. (I need to work on timing and maybe wake up at 4 instead of 4:30.)
My bridge, long before sunrise.
I had paused to stretch my hamstrings on the bridge when Adria ran by me and stopped briefly to say hello; she's way faster than I am and we don't train together, but she's running the same marathon, so it was an awesome morale booster to see her!
6 repeats in the bag!
The week finished well, but this is where I hit a snag. Matt had a SUP race scheduled for Saturday, and I was due to run 16 miles. I decided to go super early so I could still make it to the start of his race. 

We didn't get into town until 11pm. In the back of my mind was an article I'd read earlier in the week; it said that when marathon training, if you take a week off for illness or whatever, the week after should be a little easier to help you ease back in. 

It wasn't a good thing that this piece of advice was rattling around in my brain when I started out for my 16-miler because I think it gave me an excuse right off the bat. My calves and feet were tight and cramping with the first step, tired from the week, I'm sure. My Fuelbelt felt ridiculously heavy even though I only had two bottles in it. Despite the slightly cooler morning, I was covered in sweat by the first half mile - stupid humidity. 
This is not the face of success.
Basically, I got about six miles in before I called it quits. 

Back at the house, I felt torn. I wanted to go back out and at least do one more 5-mile loop, but while the desire was there, the ability wasn't. My legs were shot.

I know beating myself up won't do me any good. It won't make me a better runner. I need to build a bridge and get over it, use the disappointment to fuel my runs next week...And I need to shake this weird mental block I have going on all of a sudden in regard to my long runs. I think the humidity has kind of scared me into thinking I can't complete them, even though just two weeks ago I did 12 with little trouble.

So, the highs of the week included a renewed sense of dedication and ability in that it proved I can wake up early and fit my runs in before work; but the low - not completing my long run - has got me pretty down. 

Next week I intend to foam roll and stretch every day to try to ease up my leg muscles. Standing and walking all day is rougher than running, I swear!

How do you deal with mental blocks?
 Does it still feel like summer where you are?
What were your highs and lows last week?

ABK 

18 comments:

  1. I know just how you feel! Last week I ended up 9 miles short of my 16 required for my training. I was pretty bummed when my coach rearranged the schedule...but it's true, you gotta get over it and move on! It seems like runners are always so hard on themselves! The summer is winding down in Philly (it's been a mild August!), but we've got a few more humid days ahead of us! You're doing great, keep it up! :)

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    1. It's so true, we're our own worst critics!

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  2. Ali....you're doing great....your dedication to getting up early and running is amazing. Give yourself a break and let the new schedule settle in....I bet you adjust no problem!!! It is still feeling like summer this week in Nova Scotia...I spent a couple hours at the lake in 27 degree (82 degrees for you) weather. Today is supposed to be even hotter. I've been in a bit of a funk exercise/running lately and need to snap out of it. Today is my longest run ever and am hoping it goes well!

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  3. Being on your feet all day teaching is no joke. I do the same thing- get up butt early so I use my energy for my runs. Humidity is also no joke. These are obstacles you must overcome, and overcome them YOU SHALL.

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    1. haha, I SHALL and I did, I think! But yeah, for about the first 12 days my calves were NOT happy!

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  4. I totally know where you are coming from! All summer long I felt like I was really doing well getting through the hot and humid runs but lately they have been SO draining. My paces have fallen off a bit and even a moderate pace is a struggle mentally. Some nights I can barely encourage myself to get out for 3 or 4 easy miles. Taking a rest week last week definitely helped me recharge a bit mentally (and physically), so I hope it did the same for you! I bet standing all day at work is a total killer on the legs though. I know sitting at a desk all day actually helps me want to get out and run at night.

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    1. I think fatigue from the summer builds up and then leads to some burnout. I, too, think taking some time off helps a lot.

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  5. Still very much summer here... in fact it really only got to feeling like our regular summers in the past week or so. Grateful for air conditioners in the bedrooms.

    In a situation like that I stop and walk until I can get myself running again. Do whatever self-talk I need to. I am truly a stubborn fool and will cover the distance even if it's not wise. And break it down... "only a half mile and then I can walk"... only to this lamppost... only to the end of this song... again and again and again. And (this will sound horrible I know), I think about how people around the world and over time have had to endure so much worse - that shames me into continuing if I'm really low. And then the thing is, I invariably get some moments of grace and joy again, enough to keep me going.

    You can do these long runs, you know. They may be ugly, they may hurt, they may shake you, but you can do them.

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    1. I try to guilt myself into continuing by thinking of the people who can't, but that method never seems to work for me. I think you're right, I just need to look for the moments of joy and grace and know they'll come back if I just keep on.

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  6. Wow - great job on those super early morning runs. I think that your body probably needed to stop when it did - adjusting to the early mornings plus the super long days on your feet is rough!!!

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    1. Yeah, it was definitely one of those times my body was just not having it and I had to listen!

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  7. You are so dedicated! Seriously, even if you "only" ran 6 miles, that is still amazing :D And waking up at 4:30 = a rockstar! Seriously, I was just whining about 5:45!

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  8. You are so awesome! Great job getting up to get your runs in, that is super amazing! I enjoyed the conversation we had the other day about our runs and such. I loved what you said "build a bridge and get over it." We are going to have "off" weeks but we will push through it. I remember last year (when I was training for my second half), you told me that "summer miles bring fall smiles!" {Or something along those lines!} YOU CAN AND WILL DO THIS!!!!!!! Go get it girl! :)

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    1. I should really learn to take my own advice!! lol

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  9. Okay, hats off to you for getting up a dark o'clock to do your running! I think we will both settled into our new routines in no time. Let's just keep each other motivated! My high this week would be setting up my new office and getting some nice quality runs in on the trail. My low would be my 2005 Honda Civic breaking down while I was driving it. I was very sad about this because this is the first time it has ever happened. :( now I am just praying that it does not cost an arm and a leg!

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    1. Eesh, car trouble is the worst. It's always SO stressful!!

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