Monday, May 16, 2011

Running Yourself Into the Ground

I have a love-hate relationship with concrete. For one I should say that there is nothing like hitting it hard and letting all of the days frustrations and anxieties crunch under my stride. But after doing this over and over again there's more to me that's being worn down--like my hip and my knees! I went out for a run the Thursday after I completed my 13 mile run anticipating a nice 8 to 10 miles. I had gotten out to my 4 mile halfway-ish point and was in a lot of pain. My hip-slash-glut was throbbing and I figured it was from the impact on the pavement. On the way back I tried to run on as much of the grass as possible but I have to admit I ended up walking for some time too and was somewhat disappointed because it was the first run I've had to stop and walk in since I started running outside. The good news is that I made it back to the gym (which was my starting point) without severely hurting myself. But I was in quite a bit of pain as I asked my manager to bag me up some ice and laid down on one of the bleachers to "ice my front bum" to the entertainment of one some of my friends. (Get Over It reference for anyone who caught that:

Well I guess I broke my butt. But that wasn't going to stop me. Well, it did for that day but Sunday was right around the corner and I was determined to rest it so I could try again for a 10 miler. When Sunday did come around I didn't end up going out until later in the day, but my determination didn't wain. I told myself that I wouldn't push but I would go for as long as I was comfortable and I would do it by running the entire time in the grass. Well that worked well enough because I got my 10 miles in! Woo Hoo! See the thing is that Sunday runs set the scene for the weeks runs to come. Finish them and you feel accomplished. Don't do them or not finish and it plays with me psychologically.

I've had some hip and knee pain this past week but I just won't let it get me down. More than anything I keep hearing, "You're gonna get sick" or "You need to slow down" and my personal favorite, "You're crazy". Well my friends let me just tell you I don't think I'm crazy, but rather I am just a highly motivated and ambitious individual who takes joy engaging in highly rigorous activities that most would view as undesirable. Take that! haha......Well I ate those words a bit yesterday.

So Sunday was my long run day and I had set a mental goal of 15 miles....the longest I had gone. Ideally I would have loved to have run before work but since I started at 7:45am there was no way I would hit the trail at 4am, that's a little too ambitious even for me. Sitting at work though thinking about the run is hard mentally. You have to continually remind yourself that you are running, no exceptions (Rule number 76: No excuses play like a champion (Wedding Crashers! No excuses means just because it's freezing outside and the wind could literally blow me away, you're still running. Even if I wanted to run outside I couldn't because I didn't pack anything more than a t-shirt and shorts (pneumonia is a no-go). What's left? The treadmill! Yup, that's right I did a 15 mile run...on the treadmill!

This is definitely something I am really proud of because it's an art that takes a lot of discipline to master.....haha. Or rather after an hour the treadmill will turn off on you and so if you don't want to go flying over the front of it you need to time it right to turn it off and start it over again. Shouldn't be a problem since there is a clock on the treadmill, right? Yea well let me tell you something buddy, have you ever tried to do a long run on a treadmill? Those numbers, if you stare at them long enough, will eat you alive. You feel like you should be farther than you really are and so you speed up but you're not really going anywhere and the whole self-defeating cycle starts over again until finally you're conscious convinces you to get off. No excuses though, remember. The solution? Throw a towel over it...kind of like in Big Daddy when he...well you can youtube it :)

Ok so here's how it works. I get up to the treadmill, number 14 looked pretty good, and I signed up for a 3 hour time slot...jeeeesh! At this point I needed to talk myself up a bit, convince myself it was only 15 miles, go slow and you'd be done in no time. Turn on the machine, crank up the pace to a nice easy 10:31 and start the timer on my watch (this was key because as I was approaching an hour I would check to see where my mileage was so I could stop on a whole number and start the machine over.) After 5 miles I was starting to feel good. I picked up my pace a bit and before you know it I had another 5 down. That leaves one more hour and 5 more miles but believe it or not, those were the hardest. I started to feel pain by mile 12 and I was literally in my head yelling at myself not to stop. It's probably a good thing that people couldn't hear my thoughts :) So I was at the end of mile 14 when I cramped and boy did it hurt! I paused the treadmill and stretched out my calves. "You're getting back on that treadmill and finishing that last mile" I kept repeating to myself. I had 30 seconds before the machine would erase the miles I had put in so I sipped away at my water and prepared to finish this run.

The last mile was good. I ran faster than before in the first half of it and by the second half I was sprinting. Just finish, just finish! I was up to a 7 minute mile the last .20 of the mile and it was exhilarating!!!!

15 miles. DONE! What an accomplishment. But, oh wait, note to self, when running for almost 3 hours you need to consume carbs and protein otherwise your blood sugar levels will deteriorate which could lead to one passing out.....I didn't pass out but hot damn I was feeling woooozy! I ran downstairs and bought an orange juice and just put it down because I needed the sugar like whoa! I felt better after a while and managed to get a good stretch in before I headed home. I had wanted to get in a few sets of weights but I just couldn't do any more. I went out to dinner with my family that night to the Olive Garden to celebrate my graduation. I found it somewhat ironic though...I felt like eating all of those carbs should have come before the run rather than after but oh well.

Monday morning was not pleasant. It's the one day a week I don't have to get up at 4:30am but I still like to be up by 6 to start my day but today I just couldn't, it hurt so bad! I didn't end up getting up until 8 and even then I was slow moving. After getting through some chores I shuffled myself off to work, fully intending to get some kind of workout in after my shift. I had to force myself to workout though because I wanted to get my muscles moving a bit so I did some bis/tris and a 30 min swim for cross training. I went home exhausted and spent the whole night on the couch, which actually was really nice.

Today I still feel a little a little sore and so I decided to hold off my run until Thursday. I did weights, abs, cardio (bike & stair master) and a quick swim instead. I was writing out my actual training for my marathon in my notebook and it has me running a lot more than I am now so I figured maybe I would slow it just a little bit. Official training starts June 6th...til then :)

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