Everything but the kitchen sink

When you’ve been weirdly “injured” for a few weeks, and you realize it’s oh, around 90 days until your next marathon, you kinda start to freak out.

You check the race time limit to see if you have a chance even if your training is less than ideal.

You panic, you have a bit of a meltdown, and then you go zen. And you decide to throw everything but the kitchen sink at whatever the hell is wrong with your legs.

So over the past week I’ve done yoga, I’ve stretched, I’ve foam rolled, I’ve done hip exercises, I’ve foam rolled again. Yesterday I even got on the stationary bike.

And today…I actually had my best run in 3 weeks.

It wasn’t “normal” but it was progress. I called it at 3.5 because I knew they legs were starting to get wonky and I needed a happy run more than a longer one.

So it looks like all this rehab work is working. Yay!!!!

So I’m gonna keep doing what I’m doing. Rolling and resting and running smart. That way when the bigger miles kick in I’m ready for them.

I’m realizing that my chances of a marathon PR are extremely unlikely now. But that’s okay. The goal for this one now is just to survive the training and get my legs back.

We can do this.

PS… I think it’s a hip/glute issue.

PPS…the race time limit is 6 hours. No problem. 🙂

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Embrace the Suck

Go ahead. Give it a big ‘ol hug. Make it your friend. Because you know it’s going to greet you somewhere along your run. 

Not all runs are sunshine and rainbows. Some are full of clouds and doubt and humidity and pollen puddles and agony. 

Whether you are a newbie or have years of experience, you can’t escape the suck. It finds you. It taunts you. It tries to get you to stop. 

And the best way to beat it? To acknowledge it with a smile, and let it know you don’t care. 

Ultras are the suck’s favorite event. The longer you run the better the chance the suck will pop out of nowhere and join you.  Maybe several times. And ultra training is no different. 

So, where am I going with this? Yesterday’s long run was full of suck. Right from the first step. 

It was humid. So humid it eventually rained. Which I actually didn’t mind until my feet got squishy. 

But my head was just not in the game. And the idea of 16 miles seemed daunting. So I just started slow – practicing my “you’re going to be moving for 12 hours in August, so go easy” pace. 

I looked for things to distract me. Like this cool tree that is some woodpecker’s favorite. 


And the suck sort of stayed at bay…but I could see it out of the corner of my eye, waiting to try to get me. 
And then I saw the deer step out of the woods ahead. And the fawn that followed her. I stopped for a staring contest (was not getting any closer – didn’t want to chance it being more than staring. lol).  When they continued on, so did I. 

And by mile 9, climbing the worst hill on my route, the suck closed in. Strong. Really trying to break me. And I closed my eyes, tossed out my arms and took a deep breath. Welcoming it in, and sending it out. 

And it got better…for a while. Especially when I spotted a rare treasure, a random “runners oasis” .

 nothing like a well placed water fountain and portapotty!

And the downhills that came the next couple miles were great, but by now the rain was picking up. And around mile 13, the suck returned. 

My legs went lead, my mind was fighting with me, everything hurt, and I realized I had misjudged my loop and it was going to be closer to 17 miles than 16. Oops. 

But again, I embraced the suck. I got comfortable being uncomfortable. And somehow I kept moving. 

And watching a chipmunk dash into a hole in a wall, I spotted this…a gorgeous mystery staircase.  

 
No, I didn’t climb it. I thought about it, but decided to leave it a mystery. For this run at least. 🙂

And I made it to mile 14, still running. Somehow. 

I had originally planned to run the first 13-14 and then run/walk the rest. But since I was going further than expected and now off my “expected return time” I knew I had to just run. 

It felt slower than it was. It felt like slugging through molasses with ankle weights. But I embraced the suck and I put my chin up and a smile on my face, and I made it…to mile 17.17.

And you know what?  Maybe the suck isn’t a bad thing. It builds mental toughness. It helps teach you to fight. It’s more of a frenemy than pure evil. 

Which is good – because I have a feeling I’m going to meet it a lot in the next couple months. 🙂

Happy Monday my friends – and happy running!

 

Salvaging the wreckage 

Sometimes your training is just so not what it should be.  And when you have a whole week that falls apart like a cheap bicycle, the best thing you can do is salvage the wreckage, find the highlights, call it done and move on to the next week. 

Part of it was my own fault, part of it was totally the Universe conspiring against me. 

I can come up with quite a few reasons (excuses?) as to what went wrong.  

  • I both stayed up and slept in about 3 hours later than normal (and it was complete worth it)
  • I forgot to take my iron for like 4 days (major oops)
  • I was so off my normal nutrition schedule. Tho I totally hydrated because it was soooo hot on vacation I couldn’t seem to stop drinking ice water. 
  • I raised hell with my nephews and niece dog, resulting in a bruised (not broken, because impossible right?) toe
  • In a moment of either heat exhaustion or sheer clumsiness (definitely the clumsiness) I fell off some cement steps both bruising and scraping my knee and bruising my good hip (glad it was the good one). (Side note – totally earned some tough-girl cred with my nephew for playing off my knee like it was no biggie. Lol)
  • And a couple days ago – came down with the post travel head cold (seriously???)

So bottom line? I went five days without a run. I was okay with missing a few because I knew it was going to be sweltering in Georgia and I could use a few days off anyways. 

But then wednesday my knee was swollen so I needed to ice and rest. 

Thursday I convinced myself it could handle a few miles and that my brain totally needed them so I went out. Knee was great for four miles so I made it go six. The last two? The toe throbbed and the knee was not as happy.  But i iced it and I rested it after. And it played along. 

And friday I attempted my long run. Because we had both guests and Hurricane Bill coming for the weekend and I wanted to get it in. 

The schedule said 18 miles and I knew there was no way that was gonna happen. So I set a time goal of 3 hours.  Due to the magic of sheer willpower and a run/walk strategy I got in 15 miles. Which I am both happy with (it was warm and humid and I was exhausted (no iron = tired runner)) and disappointed in. Because I usually make my scheduled goal. And I had to remind myself I was not 100% but I still gave 100%. 

And Sunday morning I woke up to a sore throat and the feeling that all my energy had been vaccumed out of me. To such a level that even when Bill passed through and it cleared all nice and sunny I could not convince myself to go run.  By Sunday night I couldn’t breathe and had gone full Rudolph from blowing my nose.

Seriously – can anything else happen?? Wait – never mind. I don’t wanna know. 

But this morning, fueled with coffee and hope, and armed with a fistful of tissues I trudged out into the humidity and knocked out 4.5 miles. 

It wasn’t all that pretty but I think it had some good moments. And it’s a step in the right direction. 

And because my cousin is getting married on Saturday, my long run will once again be Friday. 

I am going to spend this week doing everything right (or at least normal) and focusing on what will be a very important long run. 

Because right now I’m 33 days out from my first ultra and if friday goes well I will feel a lot more confident than I did this past Friday. 

It will be proof the salvaging efforts worked. That I’ve righted the ship and  that I’m back on schedule. 

Happy Monday! And happy running!!