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Monday, March 24, 2014

Low Point

Saturday, I attempted a long run. I had planned on doing the same route I did a couple weeks ago, from my door to my parents, and then, depending on how I felt, looping around a few blocks to add in an extra mile to hit 10 miles. My training has been less than stellar lately, so I was nervous and a little anxious to get out on the trail.

The weather was cold, but I felt if I bundled I should be fine. I layered some running tights under my lined running pants, a long sleeve base layer under a short sleeve tech shirt with my running jacket over that. I even wore my fleece hat and my gloves. As warm as I was inside getting ready, I felt I'd be fine. And I was, in fact right around the first mile I felt like I had maybe over dressed a bit, and took my gloves off.

The first sign that something was wrong came early, my calves felt really tight around mile two, so I slowed my pace (I had gone out really fast for me and might have burned up a little too much energy) and eventually the tightness worked itself out.

Mile 2-3 was a slog. The canal path was straight and flat and I really felt like I wasn't getting anywhere fast. Mentally it was really rough, especially knowing how far I still had to go. Mile four felt good, not awesome, but good. I figured I had hit that point again where I settle into the run, and find a comfortable pace.

Sometime between Mile 5 and 6, things started getting hard again. I was inordinately tired. I ran out of water. I felt miserable. Really really unhappy. At the end of Mile 6 I took my fateful first walk break. I walked a short distance to get off the canal path and onto the side walks for the last leg of my run. I started running again once I had crossed the street, but my legs felt dead. My hips had started to hurt just enough that I had to really work at keeping myself running. I kept myself going until I heard the mile seven mark from my phone, and took another walk break.

That was really the point where it was over, I think, but I hadn't admitted it yet. I kept trying to do run/walk intervals, but really I was walking more than running through mile 8. You can see it in the complete drop off in my pace. When mile eight chirped in my ear I tried one more time to push it, and see if I had anything left.

I did not. I really didn't. Beyond the weird exhaustion, I was Freezing. My ankles hurt and my Knees hurt. I basically fell apart. I ended up calling my husband to pick me up shortly after that.

Some advil, a long hot bath, a hot shower, and a delicious dinner later, I was feeling mostly better, physically. Mentally this was devastating to me. I had not only failed to finish the route I had planned, I had failed it spectacularly. I had failed in my training so completely that I had required a ride home 8 miles into a 10 mile run. With only about a month left until my half marathon.

Sunday brought almost fully functional legs, and a little bit of perspective. While my legs were fine, a lot of the rest of me was not. I was stuffy and congested and achey. Either I had been coming down with something on Saturday, or running in the cold had done a number on me. Not sure which caused which.

I was still upset with my training, or rather lack there of, which I'm 100% sure contributed to my epic bonk. So I came up with a new plan. Inspired by Running Meg and her early morning runs, I decided I needed to sneak in a couple more runs by dragging my butt out of bed. My plan was this: Add in a Monday Morning short run (really short I only have half an hour in the mornings to run), Tuesday, run as normal in the afternoon/evenings (that's been working), Thursday drag my butt out of bed and do a short run but plan on failing at that and running in the evenings (I work late wednesday nights so an early thursday morning might not work), Saturday, try the epic run again.

This morning was my first, get my butt outta bed and run, morning run. I'm not gonna lie, it was awful. I am not a morning person. I went to bed as early as I could, which didn't end up being until 10:30. Not early enough. When my alarm went off at six most of me wanted to stay in bed and just give up on the idea. But my ego was still stinging from Saturday, so up I got.

It was cold. It was dark. I was really not awake. It took me about 15 minutes of fumbling to get everything I needed (laptop, phone, clothing) and start my run. Once I started running, my legs, which had felt fine walking around all day Sunday, reminded me that they hated me. I was unable to maintain my usual pace, so I settled into a much slower pace and resigned myself to toughing it out for half an hour.

The entire run felt awful. My legs were slow and heavy, but nothing really hurt, which I'm taking as a positive sign that I didn't do any lasting damage on saturday. I finished the run, took a shower and got ready for work. I ended up running a little late, but I think once I get my set up streamlined (and learn to take a shorter shower), this will work.

I refuse to let this be the point where I quit. I refuse to let this be where I hit a wall and fall apart. Tonight, I'm going to enjoy the fact that I got my run in for the day already, do some yoga, some foam rolling, and prepare myself for a longer run tomorrow. Fingers crossed it's a good one.


  1. I have been running in the mornings for almost three months now and I spend pretty much every morning stumbling around and grumbling about how much I hate running in the mornings. The best tip I can give you is to lay everything out the night before, EVERYTHING, (goodness knows I have whined because I couldn't find my headphones). Plus, another thing I use for motivation is the fact that even if I turn my alarm off and just wake up at the normal time, I'm only getting about 45 more minutes of sleep and is it really worth it? Not gonna lie, I actually got a little emotional there seeing that I inspired you to run in the mornings. Thanks for the shout out!

    I'm sorry you had a crappy run. Hopefully it was just the onset of a cold. It happens to all of us. We runners are an odd lot. We take that kind of torturous run and say "screw you, next time I'll do better!"

    1. Thank you for the support ^_^ I definitely need to get more organized for AM runs. My other runs this week have felt better, so I'm hoping to redeem myself this weekend!

  2. Are you fueling during your run? I'm deathly afraid of running out of steam mid run, so I started fueling during any run that I expected would last over 90 minutes. As long as you keep at it, you'll be fine! We all have yucky days.

    1. I was fueling, but I don't know if it was enough. I ran out of water halfway through my run, and stopped eating (I didn't want to eat without water to wash it down) Thanks for the support, Hopefully this weekend will go better!