WEEK NINE: Mid-Terms & Meltdowns
I’m officially HALFWAY THROUGH my Grand Rapids training cycle. Time flies when you’re wearing spandex.
This week was
a little rough, but I took some time to explore some areas that I hadn’t explored before along the Lakefront Path.
(After HOW many years, there are still places mere steps from my front door into which I’ve never ventured?)
Monday: Miles + Hops
On Tap: 6 miles + jumping
Reality: 4.5 mi @ 9:15-9:30s
My calves had been SUPER tight for a few days, and I knew it was just a matter of taking care of myself, getting a massage in, and stretching/rolling the heck outta my stems. In the first mile, I made the mistake of telling the Guy that “my legs feel great and loose!” Literally 30s later, my left calf turned into a cement boot, worthy of swimming with the fishes. I stopped to stretch it twice, and it felt a lot better after the second stretch session, but we cut it short (and nixed the jumping) to be safe.
On Tap: Rest!
I took advantage of this rest day to have a celebratory/catch-up dinner with my dear friend, Kelly, who recently got engaged. We ate a lot of delicious pizza & toasted with some bubbly at La Madia. All Tuesdays should involve these elements.
Wednesday: Track Time
On Tap: 5 mi -- 2 mi up/ 1 mi time trial / 2mi @ 8:30
Reality: 5.25 mi — 2.25 up / 6:40 / 8:40; 8:20
I was a little bit nervous about this time trial, as I would actually be comparing it to the one I did at the very beginning of the cycle.
What if I didn’t beat it? What if I only beat it by 1 second? Would my results be disappointing? Would they adequately reflect the work I’ve put in on the track?
I wore my Wisconsin Marathon race shirt, and not even a mile into my run, I hear over my shoulder, “Hey! I ran that race!” I turned to see an affable guy in his late 40s/early 50s. I smiled and offered a high-five. We chatted for the next mile or so about the race (it was his first full), and his future race plans/motivations. I wished him luck, and peeled off, trying to mentally prep myself for the next mile. I decided to run along the lake front (instead of a track) on a sheltered, less inhabited, fairly straight-shot, cement path. I wanted to vomit, and I really had to concentrate on holding some semblance of form in the last .25mi, but I managed to knock off 9 seconds from my previous time trial.
I felt pretty wiped out in the ensuing miles, and my body was doing its normal “sensory overload” thing post-intense workout. As I ran past the Theatre on the Lake, the smell of pot was so overwhelming that it actually stopped me dead in my tracks, my body unsure whether it wanted to faint or vomit. After regaining my composure, I hoofed it home on my jelly legs.
Thursday: Speed Sandwich
On Tap: 6 mi easy / 1 mi @ 7:30 / 1mi easy
Reality: 8.25mi – 1 @ 9:30; 5 @ 9-9:10s; 1 @ 7:24; 1.25 @ 9:15
That first mile was a bit slower, as the back of my knees were feeling tight. Since that was a new feeling for me, and I had no desire to rupture things or something equally as unpleasant, I told myself I would take it easy for a bit and see if I loosened up. I did, and the rest of the run was really quite pleasant. My right foot fell asleep about 4-5 miles in, but a quick stretch woke it back up. I went into the final .25 of my speed mile with an epic airplane side-five from Tim, complete with sound effects and “flying” motions. The path between Fullerton and North Ave was completely overtaken by Air & Water Show booths, detours, and fencing, which made me nervous for Saturday’s long run logistics.
Friday: Strength Work
On Tap: Arms + Legs
This didn’t happen. Work and life got the best of me.
Saturday: Long Run
On Tap: 16 @ whatever pace works + day trip to Wisconsin
Reality: 4 (not a typo)
I woke up raring to go (Ok, well, “raring to go” but still kind of “raring to climb back into bed.”), and wanted nothing more than to kick this 16-mile run into overdrive. Instead, I spent the better part of the first two miles slogging down the path with cement-like calves that turned into weird twinges and pulling, and dark clouds of frustration and doubt. The idea of spending another 2+ hours on legs that wouldn’t cooperate, that felt like lead, and that were tighter than they’d ever been made me want to crawl up in a ball. Instead of gutting out the first few miles and letting my legs loosen up, I told myself that continuing would be a bad idea, and that I might hurt myself. I let myself mutter things about emailing the Grand Rapids race director and requesting a change to the half. I felt utterly defeated, frustrated, and broken. I got back home, shot off an email to Coach, and crawled back under the covers (still warm from when I left them…). I spent a good part of the day beating myself up for not continuing on and gutting it out, second-guessing my efforts, and generally pouting. Yea, yea yea. I broke my toys, I held my breath, and metaphorically screamed, “NO!” in response to anything and everything.
Luckily, the Guy and I had plans to drive to Wisconsin post-run, so I had some meeting and greeting to distract me and force me to be on my best behavior. At the party, there was a cooler that was labeled “Beer + The Beast,” which is pretty much the most amazing, Wisconsin thing I’ve ever seen and I’ve been kicking myself for not getting a picture.
Sunday: Shame Run
On Tap: 5 mile tester, 3-4 mile chaser
Reality: 3mi while holding my breath
After chatting with Coach, (and after an excruciating afternoon waiting for and dealing with Comcast), the Guy and I both went out for a test run. I held my breath in the first mile, waiting for the cement blocks to return to my calves. When a mile became a mile and a half, and then two, and then two and a half, I was pretty excited. I slowly pushed the pace from a 9:45 to an 8:55, all without the tightness I had been experiencing all week. Unfortunately, I hadn’t really eaten much, and my body was exhausted, so we called it at three, instead of pushing out another 2-6 miles (Coach suggested testing with 5, and adding 3-4 more if I was feeling good).
40 26.25 …. ugh
Mama said there’d be days like this. This week was hard, and included a lot of self-doubt and angrily gesturing at my calves. It’s hard not to feel like I’m not where I need to be, but when I look back at my Wisconsin training, there were a LOT of missed or moved or shortened long runs. A LOT. As in FIVE (3 missed completely, 2 moved to the next day after a failed attempt). And I still survived Wisconsin (albeit a little slower than I would have liked). Anyway, the point of this dwelling is that I shouldn’t dwell, right?! (It makes sense. I promise.) I need to trust in the training, trust in myself, and remind myself that if I’m going to beat myself up during this training cycle, it had better well be with a lacrosse ball or foam roller. Plus, I was incredibly inspired and envious of everyone’s “OMG RAINBOW RUN!”-type comments on Saturday, and I’m hoping to bring that inspiration with me on this weekend’s long run… you know, the one where I kick ass and take names?