This weekend I D.N.S.ed (Did Not Start) my first race ever. There… now it’s out there. It’s Tuesday and I’m still not 100% “over it”. You guys know that my knee injury has had a flare up this winter and I made the decision back in January to defer down to the half marathon from the full for the Rock’n’Roll USA race. It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be able to do the half. But that’s exactly what happened.
Friday, I was certain I was running this race. I picked up my packet, chatted about running with other coworkers who were racing, and even enjoyed some pasta for dinner in preparation. But slowly over the course of the evening the doubt started creeping in. My knees were hurting. Now, for some unknown reason, my right ankle has also started hurting. Was I really ready to run 13.1 miles? As much as, in my mind, the half marathon isn’t an intimidating distance for me (I’ve run like 10 before… not exactly new), it’s still a lot of miles for your body.
A year and a half ago, I pushed myself to run the Rock’n’Roll Savannah half marathon injured and it was freakin’ miserable (not to mention it took me like 2.5 hrs to finish, felt like a very painful eternity). Did I want to do that again? Cue… the… FREAKOUT.
Thankfully my bff Sarah was there with me (she is my lady life-partner) to talk me down off. I set my alarm, laid out some clothes, and got into bed still thinking I was going to run. But I laid there… and laid there… and laid there. I couldn’t sleep. My mind my racing, my joints were throbbing, and suddenly my stomach was hurting (just nerves I think). At 5:30 am my eyes were wide open again (even before my alarm, which NEVER happens) and I knew I shouldn’t run this race. I crawled back into bed in miserable defeat and lay there in a pathetic pile of self pity.
Intellectually, I know I did the right thing. Could I have finished? Definitely. Would it have been fun? Probably not. Would it have been the kindest thing I could do to my body? Definitely not. Could I have potentially injured myself? Extremely likely. I run a bajillion races … what is one race in the grand scheme of things? Even though I intellectually knew all of this… emotionally, I was still super bummed. I was SO embarrassed at the thought of telling people I hadn’t raced (which let’s be honest… no one actually cares except me). I was disappointed in myself because I felt like I had “given up”.
But I remind myself that holding back is a sign of running maturity. I remind myself that running for many years to come is more important than running one race. I remind myself that I am human, I am imperfect, and that is absolutely fine.
So that is my sad, melancholy eulogy for the race that just wasn’t meant to be. I am shifting my focus to healing my knees and getting back in the game. Everyone loves a good comeback story right?
Questions for you guys:
– Have you ever D.N.S.ed a race before? Tell me about it!
– How do you show kindness to your body?
Let’s make today short and sweet… just wanted to check in with you guys about marathon training (wanna know something weird… 9 times out of ten when I type the word “marathon” I initially spell it “Marathong”… what is that all about??)
Here’s what the schedule looked like this week:
|8M Tempo||Strength + Yoga||Speed (1k Repeats)||6M + Strength||5M||15M||7M|
I did a great strength circuit on Tuesday that I shared on the blog but also topped off the day with a 75 minute advanced yoga class at my old studio. I was supposed to meet a friend, but sadly she got stuck in traffic. In hindsight, even though this class ROCKED my socks off, I overdid it for what was supposed to be a “rest day”. This is definitely where I struggle with marathon training. It’s just so much RUNNING and I like to do other stuff too. So I tend to cram my other favorites into my rest days and they end up being well… not that restful.
Good news is my 15 miler on Saturday was a DREAM. My legs felt awesome. I did 15 miles in 2:37 which about a 10:30 min/mile pace. Perfecto (I should’ve probably run it a bit slower but WHATEVER) I finished that run being like “I’m going to kick this marathon’s ASS. Marathon training rocks, why do I hate it so much??”
Bad news… my knees were KILLING me by Sunday. I did my 7 miles but it was not pretty. By the end I could barely bend my left leg. I took an ice bath on Saturday but Sunday I had ice packs on and off my knees almost all afternoon. This is not good because this is exactly how my knees felt when I got injured fall 2011. Since that injury (which had me out of running for over 2 months and I was NOT happy), I went to a physical therapist who helped my build up more strength in my hips. She and I also worked together to fix my stride a bit. I was originally using a very quad-dominant stride with somewhat of a tendency for heel striking. Now my stride is more balanced with my hamstrings / glutes and I am much better about mid-foot striking.
I wasn’t anticipating this injury to flare up again. I thought I fixed my stride, I’m strength training again, I focus on all the right stuff… this shouldn’t be happening! Also… UGH. What else is going to go wrong this training cycle? First mono and now this?? This makes me feel frustrated. And a little sad if I can be completely honest.
This all has gotten me to thinking… is The Hanson Method the right approach for me? Honestly, I don’t know. The whole point of this training program is to reduce your risk of injury while also turning you into a marathon running beast. But maybe 6 days per week of running is just not what is right for my specific body?? I have been looking at a couple other training plans to see if maybe I could do a switch. I’m considering one of Hal Higdon’s training programs (either Novice 2 or Intermediate 1… depending).
I woke up this morning knowing there was positively NO way I could do an 8 mile tempo run. I did 75 minutes of cross-training to somewhat simulate the workout (purely time wise, not really in intensity) and even that was challenging. I think for this week I’m going to take a week from Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 plan and see how I do. Here’s what I’m thinking:
|Cross Train||4M + Strength / Yoga||8M||4M+ Strength / Yoga||Cross / Yoga||17M||Easy Cross|
Anyone else ever changed training plans mid-cycle?? I’m freaking out a little over here (I know… BIG SHOCK. Whatever I’m just your run of the mill emotional trainwreck people!)
There is so much research out there that proves that rest is equally as important to athletic performance as effort. Disclaimer to this post – I am really, really, really bad at resting. Mike and I talk about it all the time because he thinks I push too hard and am not always kind to my body. He’s probably right.
I try to workout 5 – 6 days per week with 1 – 2 days of rest. However, I tend to find that my “rest” days end up being days that I just can’t possibly fit in a workout. It’s not like I actually rest my body and my mind on those days. I think that is probably the case for most people. There are days that you workout and days you are forced to rest. But what about rest days where you CHOOSE to rest?
About once a month, I find I have a day where I just feel like… ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Yesterday was one of those days. According to my workout schedule, I was supposed to run 5 miles yesterday at lunch and then go to a 75 level 2 hot power yoga class after work. I did neither of these. I got a really solid day of work in, and then I changed in my workout clothes (because they’re more comfy) and went to Target. I shopped a little bit (bought a few clothing items for Bonnaroo this weekend and a pack of iced animal crackers because they’re awesome and they were $1), and then I went home to snuggle with my kitty.
Fig and I parked ourselves on the couch and watched the season finale of Glee (that show has seriously fallen off so I usually just fast forward to the songs I like) and two episodes of Mad Men on my DVR (OMG Peggy! OMG Lane!!). Today I feel a lot better. I love working out so when I really, really, really don’t want to work out… that’s typically a sign for me that something isn’t right. Sometimes I need to just push through it and get it done. Yesterday, I felt confident in my decision to rest.
Today, I’m trying to remember that one day is such a tiny party of my life journey to wellness. I have committed myself to healthy living forever… and sometimes that means giving myself a break. If I force myself to always, always, always exercise 6 days a week for 90 minutes a day for the rest of my life… I’m going to burn out. I know myself well enough to know that I need to feel like I have choices and options. I can’t be confined to too rigid of a schedule for too long. So if you’re finding yourself in a rut or you’re feeling stifled by your current workout routine… maybe you just need a truly restful rest day. It does the body and the mind a world of good 🙂
So as you may know (honestly how could you not know at this point), I ran a marathon three weeks ago (well, three weeks on Saturday, so I guess like 2 and 3/4 weeks ago). Anyways, I’ve kind of been having a hard time getting back into a rhythm since then. I’ve been working out but it has not felt the same. I was slightly sore the day after the marathon, but the next morning I felt like I was back to normal.
Mike was quick to remind me that even though I felt like I was back to normal, I was most definitely not back to normal yet. This was even more obvious to me when I woke up on Tuesday morning with a horrific head cold (This article on post-marathon recovery says that is pretty common). I worked out some that week because I didn’t have a fever, but I also figured this was my body’s way of telling me I needed rest.
I got over my cold, got in a run on the weekend and then I hit the ground running the next week (pun semi-intended). I figured I was totally recovered, so I shifted right back into high gear with running, strength training and yoga. Come Friday, I. Was. SORE. As in, more sore than I was after running a marathon. I also had a deep, aching pain in my left quad muscle, that hurt even when I wasn’t exercising. This was not good.
However, Mike and I had plans to visit some of his cousins in Delaware and go on an 11 mile run with his one cousin, who just ran his first 10 miler (woohoo you rock!) and was hoping to try a half marathon in a couple weeks. I had a half marathon coming up too, I hadn’t done more than 5 miles since the marathon, and I really wanted to go on this run with them. A new runner trying out a new distance?? How could I not be a part of that… it’s so EXCITING!! So I did what I do, I pushed myself too hard. I did the 11 miles with Mike, his cousin, and his cousin’s friend and it was a blast. But I was really hurting afterwards. I could barely stand for the rest of the afternoon (not to be super dramatic or anything).
When I finally came clean with Mike about how much pain I was in, I got a little lecture about being kind to my body. He’s always looking out for my best interest, even when I’m not. Thanks honey 🙂 So I took Sunday completely off, and it was glorious. But then I got back to work this week and I had an unbelievably crazy week, which meant working much longer hours than usual. I haven’t been able to get out of the office for my normal lunchtime workouts and I’ve been staying too late to get my evening workouts in. I’ve gotten a few workouts in but definitely not even close to what I normally like to get.
It’s hard to get back to normal after training for a distance event like the marathon, but all I can say is that I’m trying! I’m trying to do what is right by my body, strike a balance between exercising for health and pushing myself too hard. I am heading out of town tonight with two of my favorite ladies to spend a four day weekend at my parent’s house in North Carolina. We will be maxing and relaxing on the beach, hanging out with my mom and dad, playing a round of golf, and then on Sunday, Haley and I are going to run the Diva’s Half Marathon in North Myrtle Beach.
Next week, I’m going to get a fresh focus on my workout routine. Three runs per week will probably be it for me, and then three other cardio sessions (I’ve been going to this high intensity cardio and strength intervals class at my gym and I am totally hooked), 3 – 4 days of strength training, and 3 – 4 days of yoga. I think I just need to switch things up a little bit. Keep it interesting! But above all, I’m going to give myself a break! My workout targets are ambitious and I know that, but it is only because I genuinely love it. I love how I feel WHEN I am exercising as well as after. Exercise keeps me happy, carefree, and positive! I enjoy being all of those things 🙂
In blog news, I’ve added a recurring feature every Friday (I’m calling it “Friday Favorites” which isn’t cool or original, but you know I’m trying here!). This is a round up all some of my “favorites” from the preceding week. Mostly it’s pictures of events / activities or things I’ve been enjoying. I’m thinking of adding a recap of my week in workouts in this feature as well. I don’t get a chance to share all of my workouts with you so this might be a good way to share some workout ideas. We’ll see how it goes.
I also added a Race Calendar (it’s a separate page, the tab is next to the About tab in the upper right hand corner of the page). Please feel free to let me know if you are running any of the same races, or if you have race suggestions for me!
As a runner, I demand a lot from my body. I do my best to train smart, do my research, run with proper form, and all that good stuff. But the truth of the matter is, I am tough on my body… and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Before I started marathon training, I used to try and ice my knees and ankles after my long runs (which prior to marathon training were between 10 – 13 miles), but once I got my long runs up over 15 miles, I knew I needed a more hefty recovery. Enter the ice bath. I am a complete convert…. swear by the ice bath.
Picture Found HERE
This being my first marathon, every long run I did (beyond 13 miles) was the longest I had ever run. I did an ice bath after every single one and I was never sore, not once. Prior to marathon training, I only ever felt like I needed to ice my joints. But marathon runs were fatiguing my hips, my calves, my quads / hamstrings, AND all my joints. Not to mention… my feet were KILLING me after long runs. At one point I was actually a little concerned about getting a stress fracture, but that’s a story for another day. Anyways, I digress. Ice baths were the perfect solution to icing down my entire lower half, and allowing me to train for the entire marathon with no soreness. In fact, I took an ice bath after the marathon and I was only moderately sore for one day after. I woke up on Monday morning with nothing… a miracle!
This all being said… ice baths are literally like hell on earth. They SUCK… at least initially. Today I thought I’d share a couple tips that I use for a better ice bath experience.
- Wear Clothes. I always wear shorts and a t-shirt in an ice bath. Believe me this will make a world of difference.
- Get in the tub first, then start the water. For me personally, it was nearly impossible to dunk my body into a giant tub filled with freezing cold water and ice. If I got in the tub first and then started filling up, I was able to adjust more gradually to the cold.
- Water first, then ice. Along the same lines as my above comment, cold water is startling enough. Let your body adjust to the cold water first, then add ice.
- Stay in at least 10 minutes, no more than 20 minutes. I actually find sometimes I want to stay in longer because once my body adjusts to the cold it feels so darn good on your muscles after a long run. Less than 10 minutes and you won’t totally get the benefit of the ice bath. Longer than 20 minutes and you risk negative consequences. I set a timer on my phone usually.
- Drink a warm beverage. I usually make a cup of coffee or tea to take into the ice bath with me. It’s just a nice treat after a long run and helps a little bit with the cold. It’s probably more mental than anything… but I don’t see an issue there.
- Distract yourself. Don’t sit in the bath and think about how cold it is. Get a buddy to keep you company or bring it a book / magazine. Mike and my kitty Fig usually keep me company, or I bring my kindle or iPhone in to keep me occupied (just don’t drop them in the tub… yikes).
- Relax! The beginning is going to feel really, really, really cold but your body will adjust after only a few minutes so just hang in there. If you start to shiver or shake, just focus on taking slow, measured breaths. You’re going to love it in just a few minutes!
Ok… it might not be a warm beverage, but I like this guy’s idea.
(Picture from HERE)