It’s been so long…I’ve neglected to post and basically abandoned the blogosphere for months, including following the blogs of so many readers. I apologize and hope all has been well and that everyone is smashing PRs. I just needed a break.
Though writing is easy for me in general (if not quality assured), writing about running can at times be a bit tedious. There are only so many ways to describe a Wednesday morning run, right? Plus, by the time I write about my run and then read the blogs of thirty other people describing their morning run, then go out for another run myself, the world can end up looking pretty small.
What’s more, writing burnout has coincided with running burnout. No surprise, huh? I have been mentally and physically fried.
I talk about how running is a gift, and though I’m snarky as hell, I hope that my overall message is a positive one. I love to run. I appreciate the gift of good health and am grateful for each day that I am able to lace up my bright Smurf shoes with the custom orthotics and head out the door to kick some ass.
Still, the summer running has done a number on my attitude and my running times, and so I haven’t wanted to write much because it would have been 90% bitching, and who wants to read that? I’ll try to condense my whining in this post yet keep it real as I describe what I’ve been up to this summer (assuming anyone will still take the time to read…and if you do, bless you!)
I’ll start with the running and then move on to some personal summer bits and bobs in the next post for those of you who love all of this very special flower and not just my running petals.
NYC Marathon Training
(Quick summary: FML.)
If you’ll recall, I got into the NYC Marathon on the lottery drawing. I did not expect to make it, but when I did, I (like many others) freaked out with excitement. If I can make it there, well, you know…I can make it anywhere!
Here’s the problem. I am a complete lazy bitch princess when it comes to summer running. I fucking hate it. What’s more, it doesn’t like me one bit either.
I typically run spring races for longer distances and take most of the summer off to rest my body and just do maintenance running. It gives me a mental and physical reset. I have run one marathon (Spring 2013), and I chose it specifically for those winter training months (Viva la Winter Running!)
Unfortunately, the NYC Marathon doesn’t set its calendar based on my training whims, and so I’m stuck with summer training for the first time ever (I will run fall half marathons, but those are much easier to train for.)
Now, I’m all full of admiration for those of you who knock out the lengthy summer runs with nary a complaint, especially you Texas folk, as I lived in Houston for 12 years and still remember the weather. Some of you get up at 4 or 5 am to power through long miles and then go to church, work, etc.–
but as for me on a Sunday morning? I love my king-size bed and the chance to sleep in. So does HH (Handsome Hubby for new readers), and I hate to wake him up.
I’ve been getting up far too late (no one to blame but myself) and heading out the door too late in the morning to escape the heat. In fact, the one morning I did get up at 6am and get out the door, I came in dying around Mile 9 only to have HH ask me if I’d checked the forecast and noticed that cooler weather was going to blow in around noon that day.
Such has been my luck, and boy have I paid the price.
I now know my sweat patterns and can time their appearance down to the half mile (do you know yours?). The first running river of sweat always trails off the inside of my right elbow starting at the end of Mile 1, followed by the river trailing down the front of my tank followed by buckets of sweat dripping into my eyes and burning my corneas from Mile 2.5 on. I have tried bringing a towel (tucked into the band of my SpiBelt) to wipe or at least hopefully redirect the flow, but by Mile 6-7 the towel smells so bad I can’t bear to bring it to my face.
I read once that more experienced runners might in fact sweat more (source), and I think that’s true. I didn’t used to be a heavy sweater, but in the decade-plus that I’ve been a runner, I have turned into a SWEAT MONSTER. I don’t just glow with sweat, I open a faucet somewhere in my pores and MAKE IT RAIN!
Just don’t come near me. It’s gross, and what’s more, I’m flicking beads of it off my ponytail. Be warned if you are running behind me.
All this sweat distracts me and makes it hard to relax and just get into the zone–not that I could anyway because my heart rate is elevated and I feel like I’m running through a sweat-flavored milkshake. Humidity and I are not friends, and it makes 10 miles seem like an ultra. Suck it up, right? I know…but I’m just being honest.
To complicate matters, my plantar fasciitis in my left foot is as bad as it’s ever been, to the point where I am hobbled after runs and can barely limp for most of the day after a run. Given that I run 5 days a week, this means that I am walking around like an invalid the majority of the time, which means that if I am not running, I am gimped out. Fun stuff!
I think this is mostly due to to the plan I am using this time around. I am a Hal Higdon devotee, and for my first marathon I used his Novice 1 plan. This time I decided to step it up to the Intermediate 2 plan.
That lasted a few weeks until I recognized that I was cutting too many corners for other obligations/laziness/time issues/injury and leaving off too many miles. So I dropped down to Intermediate 1, which has the same basic problem as Intermediate 2–a required medium-length run the day before the long run. Hal says the medium length run the day before will ensure that you are tired so that you run the long run at an appropriate pace. I say that Hal, you are the damn devil, and why not just trust me? To quote Tommy Boy,
“I can get a good look at a T-bone by sticking my head up a bull’s ass, but I’d rather take a butcher’s word for it!”
For example, on Sunday I ran 7 miles at goal pace, which ended up around 9:30/mile, followed by 14 yesterday (I’ve adjusted the schedule so that my long runs are on Monday, and I will adjust back a few weeks before the Sunday marathon.) It was just too much for my foot (the total for the week was 36, which isn’t so bad.) Usually my PF only hurts in the morning and after runs, never during, since running loosens up the fascia. Right now, though, it’s intense pain through the whole run, plus I’ve got pain shooting up both sides of my ankle, which I think is tendon pain from not landing on the foot right and from limping around when not running trying not to put weight on it. I am icing tons and applying my special compound cream, but the pain and inflammation is winning. I made an appointment with my podiatrist for next week. She loves seeing injured runners limp in and insist that backing off miles is not an option.
If it were any other marathon, I would bail right now, but I can’t. It’s New York!
So I hang by a thread, bitch and moan a lot, rub my cream, ask my kids to fetch me stuff, and run with a bad attitude, because I am running with pain, mentally am not in my happy place and further have nothing to prove, which was a huge motivation for my when training for my first marathon. I wanted to show myself that I could do it, I was raising money for my sister’s disease, and in a strange way I think I felt like I was running those miles as an apology..a penance for being healthy while she suffered. I had mental motivation and strength out the wazoo.
This time I feel like I have nothing to prove to myself or anyone else but plenty of things I ‘d rather be doing other than spending quite so many painful hours on the hot asphalt, and I am struggling to find the desire to run the training miles, which is is the REAL marathon as most of us would agree–not the race itself with the support of family, friends and strangers and the medal and perhaps the Facebook/Instagram/Twitter bragfest, but the lonely miles, 20-40-60+ each week, known only to you and spent in your own way, one minute, one mile and one sweat drop/river at a time.
I am not giving up, just searching for some healing in my foot and some mental motivation. It’s been a fantastic summer, just not where running is concerned.
What I’m running to: I’m Not the Only One by Sam Smith, Pusher Love Girl by Justin Timberlake
Coming in my next post…what I’ve been up to this summer and a description of Penis Thumb!