Friday, March 19, 2010

I'll give you something to cry, whinge and moan about!

But first of all, thank you all for your comments and emails last week. Once again I threw my complaints out there and once again you all responded - amazingly and kindly and most importantly - very helpfully. I took pretty much all of your advice. And guess what? You were all pretty much right..

- I am tired. I feel like I've done so much training and, barring a few weeks of 40M training, I have done a lot of 50M + weeks. I keep comparing myself to those amongst you who seem to be able to do these without tiring but that, truly, is a bit of a useless exercise - I guess the point is that it does tire me...

- I am, also, possibly, slightly overtrained at this point. I was considering doing my 3rd of 4 20 milers for this training cycle this coming weekend and I'm actually at the stage where I consider an 18 miler not too far. I have never reached that psychological point and while I would say I don't necessarily find them easy (that was kind of the point of my complaining right?) I don't fear them.

- I don't eat enough protein. I really don't. And as soon as I thought about it and you all emailed this in I realised I needed to work on it. Days after changing my diet - breakfast is toast, peanut butter and a freshly-laid egg (thanks chickens!) and I make sure that lunch and dinner are not as carb heavy as they were before and include some protein - I am feeling better.

- mental fatigue. Yes I am also mentally tired. All in all, in the course of a traiing cycle, you spend a lot of time on the road, on your own, training. It does take a lot of self-discipline. In honesty, it probably takes most of the self-discipline I have. And sometimes that is wearing.

So. What did I do after I posted my post? Well, I went and did the 18 miler that I failed on the first time round. I managed 14M at not quite race pace (8:35 min/mile) but was happy with that, given the circumstances. I completed another 50 mile week.

However. Hrmm. What is always lurking in a runner's life, when you're down and out and tired and a bit overtrained? That's right. Injury. Something to really cry about.

I took Monday and Tuesday off - very busy - and went out for a slow 11M on Wednesday. This went fine, I was tired, but it was fine. My right knee was slightly sore but nothing to stop me running or have me worry. However, I set off Thursday morning for my 8 miler with 5x600 at 5K pace and - no go. I could feel my knee was really sore within the first mile and decided to just call it a day. I came home, iced my knee and phoned my osteopath. Who I've just been and seen.

He had a good old feel around (glad that my periformis is fine this time ;)) and says that most important things are fine but there is some swelling. Most likely the result of driving 370 miles (and a lot of this on scenic English country roads, windy and slow) on Tuesday with tight muscles. Man! What a pain! However, he is hopeful and I am listening to his advice. Which is to take the next few days off (so not running the hilly Ashby 20 miler this weekend) and then doing an easy 5 on Monday before coming in to see him again on Tuesday.

I am, of course, pissed off / annoyed / angry and upset. But, overall, I'm fairly philosophical. As always, when something actually happens you just have to deal with it. Having had similar injuries in the past (4 weeks before Berlin) I am hopeful that resting up and backing off now will mean that I can toe the starting line in Hopkinton 4 weeks on Monday. I guess it's unlikely I'll BQ at Boston (haha don't worry - I wasn't actually aiming for that) but if I can get round okay and experience it all I will be really truly happy. And in a funny way, I knew that those of you who recommended a rest were right. I needed it. Not in the way it has come about, but still. So, so far, I'm good.

Finally - going off-topic here - we have been online for a few hours in the past week. Our broadband connection is just broken - boring and really annoying. I've written this post on Ecto and am uploading it in Starbucks. So I won't be commenting on blogs etc. much until we get back online.. Apologies now if it seems all I'm doing is asking for comments and not giving any out - I will catch up!

In the meantime, I hope all of you are doing well, turning corners, working hard - all that good stuff. Thank you again for that outpouring of good advice - don't you all feel better knowing how right you are? You truly are wonderful. Go run and reflect on that!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Not feelin' the love.

I am not feelin' the love at the moment. Yours, yes! Oh yes! But the running love. That's not coming my way right now. I am just exhausted. My non-running buddies look at me and tell me it's because I'm running too much. But I think that's unlikely to be it - I have, after all, trained at this intensity twice before and the first time I was holding down a demanding job as well as doing it - and I had far more energy than I do at the moment.

I am finding my runs hard. I got my 53 miles in last week but not with great grace, style or speed. My long run - 17 miles in windless sunshine - was run at a slower pace than my crazy 20 miler in torrential rain the week before. My speedsession was okay-ish. Sunday I set out for 13 miles with 8 at HM pace. I managed 5 at an 8 min/mile pace before I called it a day and slowed down and settled for 11M in total. Just wiped. Now - in all honesty - I have to tell you that I went to a friend's birthday party on Friday night and drank too much white wine and stayed up too late. Saturday's dismal 5 miler was therefore to be expected. But I must be getting old if it's still affecting me on Sunday? I didn't drink that much.

And this week it feels like concrete has been poured into my legs. 8M at 5:30 am on Tuesday morning? Slow. 12M yesterday? Slow.

And today? Today has so not been my day. I had all my long run kit laid out for me this morning but realised after I dropped my son off at school that I had forgotten my gloves. It's around freezing, so that wasn't going to work. Running a post-office errand I then went off and bought some gloves from a charity shop across the street. Good, cheap but a tad snug. Then on my way back to my car I dropped 50 dollars I had just exhanged - had a good samaritan not pointed this out they would have been lost. I then got to my car just as the woman parked in front of me backed into it. She damaged my number plate and front grille. She was very apologetic and I was feelings so defeated by this stage that I didn't have the energy to argue. Took her name and number and now need to get this fixed. Then realised I had lost my car keys. Back to post office where I had left them. Finally finally finally got to my running place. This morning I was meant to go out for 18M with 14M at race pace. I got to about mile 3.5 when my phone rang with an urgent domestic message which meant I had to turn around and cut my run short - and I have to say I was relieved. Although I had been doing 8:25 min/miles until that point I was beginning to doubt I could keep it up - I was just feeling whacked and exhausted and a bit dizzy. So I made it 6.5 miles and will try again tomorrow.

So what's going on? I am sleeping enough - 8 hours a night. Taking my iron pills. Not running more than I have done before. Eating well - I think. Lots of fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, carbohydrates. Not much wine or junk. I wonder whether I am not getting enough protein though. Any views on this? Maybe I need to have some of those disgusting shakes sometimes. Ideas? Suggestions? I am in the process of trying to get a doctor's appointment - I don't suspect anything is seriously wrong at all but I am somehow not on top of things right now. Which is a bit demoralising with only 5 1/2 weeks to go until Boston.

Otherwise, things are fine though. All the above may also just be mental fatigue from training for so long - I feel I have been at this a long time. I am conscious of the things I am not getting around to doing because I am training. Hrmm.

And another ray of sunshine has just been delivered, courtesy of the lovely Melisa - 4 gigantic bags of dark chocolate M&Ms. This may just be the food of champions. We shall see... Hope everyone else's running is going okay - keep at it and I will do the same.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

February? Done.

I can't quite believe we're racing into March - February just flew by! Because of my stepback weeks (x2) my mileage for the month was not off the charts - 136M - but the monster month is upon me so I think I'll be glad for any rest my legs have had.

Quick summary. The flu went by Tuesday and Wednesday last week I headed out for my first run (7M with 8x100m strides). This went fine but Thursday's 11 miler with 7M at 15K / hm pace did not go so well. I felt like I was losing my lungs and my cold had definitely not left my chest. I managed the pace (7:52 min/mile average) but not without two stops. It felt like a fail, though I knew it wasn't. Now I know most of you are pretty similar - we tell ourselves it's okay to miss the occasional workout but secretly we beat ourselves up over it. Am I right or is it just me? So I was feeling very slack because, although I had not done too badly in the weeks before being ill, I also hadn't quite done everything Pfitz had prescribed. And being a drama queen, if I miss too many workouts I turn it into a personality issue - i.e missing the workouts or not doing them right shows that I am the loser / incompetent / fat slug etc. which I secretly know I am. I know I know. It's really ridiculous. So. I was determined that, despite having missed 2 days of the week due to training, I was going to get at least 50M of the prescribed 55 in this week and that I was going to kick ass on my 20 miler.

Friday dawned and it was pouring with rain. Cold rain. And it was windy. But I was going to kick ass, remember? So after dropping my son off at school I parked in my little spot and set out on the 9 mile loop I was going to extend and do twice. My mile 3 I was soaked to the bone. I was wearing my parka, not my running jacket, but even this proved incapable of protecting me from the horizontal rain which occasionally, for the fun of it, turned to sleet. On I trudged, listening to podcasts and music. There were very few motorists out on the road as it was such awful weather and the ones who were out looked disbelievingly at me as they splashed me driving past. At mile 11.5 I stopped at the car to refill my water bottles (yes, amazingly, I was still thirsty) and peeling off my soaking gloves to do this and then putting them back on took such a mental push. At mile 15 I was overtaken and splashed by someone I know - I recognised him but he, thankfully, did not recognise me. I did not look human anymore by this stage. My hands were freezing and my feet were numb, I tripped over them twice in the last mile, but I brought the run in. 20 miles in 2:59 in probably the worst conditions I have ever done a long run in. Garmin autopaused for potty-breaks but that was it. I can't tell you how happy I was to get it done. Having wondered whether I was perhaps a loser / incompetent / fat slug I now felt like a rock star / superstar / elite athlete. You can see that moderation is not my strong suit.
me at mile 3 - you can see the wind blowing my hood up but i'm still smiling. haha! 3 miles into a 20miler you have NO idea!
The rest of the weekend went by very quickly with various family commitments - I managed 12 miles over the next 2 days but without any style or speed - the 20 miler had knackered me out.
So - 7 weeks to go yesterday! I don't know how I feel about the race yet, really. I don't think I am faster than I was in training for London, but I am better at getting the paces and I think I am stronger. I can last longer, I think. I've got another race coming up in 3 weeks, the Ashby 20 miler, which I ran last year with my friend Michael and we will be doing it together again. It's a very hilly race, so once again I can practise my race strategy of going out slightly slower and speeding up as I go along. Let's see if it works!

Otherwise, it's another high mileage week for me. I started off with a 29 mile bikeride yesterday. My new bikeseat has not arrived yet and my padded cycling shorts do not provide enough insulation. I am in pain. I am meant to be doing an 8-15K tune up race this weekend according to Pfitz, but that's not going to happen this weekend. Too much going on my friend! I shall just head out and run my own 10K race and see how I go. Bearing in mind I hate 10Ks.

Hope everyone's running and life is going well - things here are still pretty up and down and I am really working hard at trying to let things go and not getting too hurt and upset. Without my running there wouldn't be a hope of getting through the weeks without meltdowns. But I have my running, (and some pretty incredible friends) so all is dealable with.Happy trails everyone!