The Perfect Storm

 

According to Wikipedia, doesn’t every great blogger refer to Wikipedia when they need information, a perfect storm is “a confluence of events that drastically aggravates a situation.”  Or as a person who was raised in Oklahoma and have been around when the weathermen begin to go crazy weeks before storms come into the state, I begin to think of those moments when all the right things are happening to create a big weather event a perfect storm.

IMG_4200

Looking good for 44!  Happy Birthday to me!

Now I am not saying that this week was a “perfect storm” in the form of a weather event but more of a “perfect storm” for many moments of melt down in my life.  Okay maybe that is a little much but it was a tough week and this was the only way I could think of it.  (If you can’t handle any whining now might be the time to step away and come back tomorrow for motivational Monday! 😉  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

As many of you know I am training for my 6th marathon and have tried a new training plan.  This one had me doing up to 70 miles in one week.  I have worked harder than ever before to get better at this crazy marathon thing.  I have felt pretty good the whole time and have completed more miles in a short amount of time than ever before.  For the month of April alone I ran 286.17 miles.  That is more miles than I even drive in a month.

IMG_4207

My 16 mile bike ride from this week.

Anyway, things have been going well and I have felt very confident that this was going to be my best marathon ever!  Then on Monday morning of this week (the day after my last 20 miler) I woke up with so much calf pain in my left leg, I struggled to walk and my mind took over.  I started to doubt I could complete my marathon in 3 short weeks, I started to count my dreams out of ever getting a Boston Qualifying time.  (Can you say, Drama queen much, I know!)

This was one ingredient to my “perfect storm”.  In fact here are all the “confluence of events” that made this week my perfect storm.  One: calf pain, Two: taper time – basically time to reduce the amount of running to prepare for my marathon.  During this time I am usually very anxious because I start to visual the race and how I am going to handle it all and my expectations begin to really come into play.  Third: hormones!  For those that don’t have it, that time of the month is no cakewalk and for me I tend to be even more emotional during it.  Four: added work stressors, really no need to explain that one, we all have them.  Five: Turning a year older.  Not really that stressful but I thought I would throw it in because it was an added event that happened this week.  All the ingredients were present for the “perfect storm” in my mind this week.

IMG_4225

14 miles almost all pain free!

I am happy to report that I survived it!  I didn’t get the t-shirt but I made it through.  Thank goodness I work really hard to stay motivated and in the present moment. Here are some tips for how I survived:

  1. Slowed things down and tried even harder to stay in the present moment. Taking a deep breath when I felt overwhelmed with not only the pain but moments at work when I thought I couldn’t handle anything else.
  2. Went for a massage! I highly recommend them.  I go at least once a month so my therapist knows me pretty well and she was able to really work my legs and hips so I felt so much better.
  3. Spent time doing other things with my family. You know those people you don’t see when you are running 70 miles a week and working a full time job.  I find it is so much better to stay busy than sitting around feeling bad for myself.
  4. Slowly easing back into running and riding my bike more. Even though the plan called for a certain amount of runs and mileage, I was able to not run as much and realize that all my training will not go away if I take some time off or take things a little slower.  In fact, I might even feel better and more prepared for the race.  Plus I was able to take my bike out and go for a nice relaxing 16 mile bike ride, which I have not done in forever!
  5. Finally, looking at my last plans and results. I know this sounds weird but for me I was able to look through my running journal and my tracking miles and realize that I am farther along than I have ever been before and I am prepared (well as long as I don’t just sit on my butt for the next 2 weeks).  It was a great boost of confidence.
IMG_4224

Stretching and rolling while being protected from the winds and cold and happy that “I got this!” feeling is back!

So I guess what I am saying is that when faced with the perfect storm, if you are prepared you can make it through.  Your family me get tired of you for the week because there might be some whining, but if take a breath, take control of your mind, you can make it through.

Anyone else ever struggle with this?  How did you make it through your taper time?

My second job…

 

IMG_3987

In the midst of my 18 miler a few weeks ago.

As I was leaving my work today and headed home to change for my workout/run the thought popped into my head that I was actually headed to my second job.  I don’t know about you but when you work hard all day the thought of going to your second job (that pays you but only with better performance and healthier life/not financially) I get a little overwhelmed because I’m tired.

I tried my best to change the thought, get excited about the 9 miles I had ahead of me but no matter how hard I tried it was just not happening.  I went to the gym and pounded out 3.5 miles on the treadmill and then the sun came out so I decided to jump off the mill and head home to complete the last 5.5 miles.  I even stopped 3 miles in and helped an elderly lady with her trash bins since tomorrow is trash day (she informed me).  Always glad to help and take a break.  She was very cute in asking me how far I was going and how wonderful that is for me.  If she only knew I was really just trying to avoid the run by helping her.  I probably would have cleaned her house if it would have qualified as my 9 mile run.

I know we all have bad runs and not every run is going to be a moment where I think, “woohoo, I can’t wait to work out this evening, let’s do this.”  Today was definitely not that moment!

IMG_3984

Recent recovery run through the woods

I remember when my friend Judy was doing this training plan for the first time and her and I were chatting.  She mentioned that she was feeling tired and ready for it to be over.

I don’t think I am there, yet.  I think I am ready for the race to be here, to put this training plan to the test.  After my 20 mile race I feel pretty good and last weekend’s 22 miler was strong.  I already feel ready for the marathon but know that these last 7 weeks are crucial to keep this all going and then of course the all-important taper.

Tomorrow I have a 14 miler on the plan and I really need to get out of the mode of thinking of this running as my 2nd job. I need to change the thoughts to a little more positive.  Like what a huge accomplishment I have already completed this month with 113 miles completed in only 12 days.  May not be an actual 2nd job but is sure does take up a lot of my evenings.

IMG_4017

This weekends 22 miler

So my thoughts now are how thankful I am that I get to do this.  That I do have the time in the evenings to put in the time, the mileage and the effort to all this training.  I can hardly wait to get to that moment in the marathon when I cross over that starting line and know I am prepared.  I have done everything I need to do to get there and it will be only 26.2 miles to complete this path (well until the training for the NYC marathon starts).  No longer my 2nd job but something I “get to do” because not everyone has these opportunities.

How is your training going?  Any struggles?  Feeling ready?

Here we go….

running motivationI haven’t written very much in a while, mainly because I have not had much to say.  Okay maybe that is not a great way to start a blog, with a lie.  I always have a lot to say.

I have started a few blogs but found them whiney so I deleted them.  Today when I was at the gym, once my music stopped and I actually had to think, I was thinking I could just start talking about my training that started officially today.  Maybe this will help Dave, so he won’t have to hear about it every day when he gets home.

So here goes….

Because I am crazy, I signed up for my 6th marathon about two months ago.  It’s called the Vermont City Marathon and we are excited to go up and spend a little time with the oldest child.  When I signed up I was thinking I would maybe hire a trainer to help me with my goals but then thought about it and realized that if I bug my friends enough about their trainers than I can gain their knowledge without the cost (wink, wink).  Okay maybe that is not the truth (what is it about you all that I seem to be lying left and right now).  I really don’t know the first thing about hiring a running trainer but I did ask my friend who has had a lot of success lately what she is doing.  She said she has been utilizing her trainer and they are working through the book “Advanced Marathoning”. IMG_3548

Well that I can handle.  I can buy a book, read it, follow a plan and get better.  So that is what I have been doing.  Although the plan starts today, there is a lot of ramping up you have to do to follow this book, I mean after all it is “advanced” marathoning.  First of all I had to get my running to 6 days a week.  Then I had to get my miles up which made me start to feel I was in marathoning stages way before today.  My plan is to do the medium level training which is 55 to 70 miles a week.

The good news is that I got my miles up to 50, I’m completing the 6 days of week running, and that I am smart enough to realize that my plan is going to be a little modified smaller than the 55 miles but at least it will be more than I am use to.   So with that, today I begin.  And here is what that means…..

Monday =  Rest Day/Cross train

Now don’t get me wrong, I struggle with rest days so I did get to the gym for a light bike ride (10 miles), upper body and core workout.  Some stretching and then the highlight to my every other Monday’s at my gym, Massage Monday.  It’s a 10 minute chair massage but felt so great at the end of the day.

I have to say that this training plan seems a little daunting and I am somewhat scared of it but really things we want don’t come easy.  Well I guess I just found my theme for my training plan.

“Things we want, don’t come easy!”

Here we go…. I hope you will join me on this great adventure.  My real hope is to complete the marathon more successfully.  What that means to me is:

  • Not hit that wall at mile 20 where I start to question why I am even alive, not to mention why I do this to myself
  • Run or some type of continued forward movement without stopping or walking through the length of the full marathon
  • Not have leg cramps so bad in my legs that the next week after the marathon do I question my ability to walk nor do I want to be in the med tent for two hours like my 3rd marathon
  • Enjoy myself. I have enjoyed my running adventure and most of the time I think I should stick with the half marathon distance but apparently twice a year (oh yeah did I mention I am hoping for a fall marathon maybe NYC I registered for the lottery but if not that one, I will find one) I like to test myself and my sanity!  I am clearly insane, glad I have the mental health license so I can diagnose myself!

So join me as I make my quest towards a successful Vermont City Marathon on May 29th and this training adventure to get me ready.   If you have any tips, please let me know.  🙂running motivation3