For as long as I can remember, I told people "I can't run." But in March of 2009, I decided that this was no longer an option. From my first 5K to my second half marathon, I've endured my highest highs and lowest lows as an official Runner. This year I want to embrace running for something beyond times and distances.

Running is so much more than merely getting out there. I want to get out there and love it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Half Training - Week Nine

I'm officially over yet another hump...the distance. Yesterday was my 14 mile run, and the furthest I'll go in my training. And possibly the furthest I'll go for quite awhile. It's going to be my White Whale. For this was a distance that SERIOUSLY pushed me to my pain threshold.

Let me start off with the fact that while last Tuesday's 5 mile was amazing and quick, my second 5 mile on Friday was horrible. My legs just wouldn't go! They were stiff and I never hit a comfortable stride. It put me in the worst mood for the rest of the day, let me tell you. So I did the 14 yesterday, hoping that Friday was just a fluke. Nope. I could tell right away that it was going to be more of the same: that stiffness that prevents a nice comfy stride. I do have to admit that I decided on a quicker pace than usual. Probably too quick. But I have a running acquaintance who just started, is training for a Half, and totally leaves me in the dust. This person is about my same size, age, etc. Jealousy is ugly my friends, it really is. It gets the best out of me sometimes. That's why I chose the quote that's at the top of this blog. Something to remind me that this is my own journey, no one else's. But meanwhile, jealousy also pushes me to be better. So I pushed this weekend and I pushed hard.

So basically, it wasn't that I was tired during my run, or that I was out of breath, or that I had cramps. It was solely my legs. They ached all over. It didn't feel like a pull or an injury of any kind. Just an all-over pain from the thigh all the way down to the bottoms of my feet. And they felt this way the entire time. So basically I was putting myself through pretty awful pain for a solid 2 and a half hours. I stopped maybe 3-4 times for intersections, stretched, but never walked.

Now, I'm trying REALLY hard not to be a wimp here, honestly. Because DUH running is freaking hard! This I know. Just for some reason yesterday was particularly rough. There were times where I wanted to cry a little, but I tried to pay more attention to This American Life and Girl Talk, my aforementioned saviors on these long runs. There were also times when I felt pure unadulterated glee! Granted these lasted about 30 seconds and maybe there were a total of 3-4 glee segments. Two minutes of glee gets lost in the 2.5hrs of pain.

The last three miles were probably the hardest I've ever pushed my body. I kept thinking: how will I make it??? And then I'd tell myself: Omg you have THREE miles left, just get through it it'll be fine! I also put this "I Am A Warrior" mantra into effect, and that helped a lot. But I could tell, I was running so awkwardly. Not exactly like limping, but picture sort of a waddle? Like a granny running? Or running after riding a horse for five hours? That's what I felt like (probably looked normal though). Around the 11.5 mile, I had to stop to wait for a traffic light. I stretched a little and drank water (hooray for my hand-held Fuel Belt bottle!!!!). But when I started back up??? NIGHTMARISH. It felt like running on broken legs! Guh. The other thing is that I kept thinking: aren't my endorphins supposed to kick in? Whatever those are called? Where's the "runner's high" from being in so much pain that my body just goes on auto-pilot? I think I was born without the capacity for a runner's high. Which kinda sucks because that's half the fun of BEING a long distance runner in the first place!

Anyway, so the final block, I sprinted. I always sprint. Even when there's nothing left. And when I crossed the imaginary line, I cried. Yep, couldn't hold it in. And it was the heaving type of crying, like not so much tears, but heavy jagged inhaling. And it wouldn't stop! I seriously felt like such a pansy! Well from the ridiculous to the ridiculous, I dragged myself up the stairs by my arms, and took off my ipod/shoes/jacket/clothes like an elderly person. I put the bathtub faucet at the coldest it could get. I grabbed my half gallon of chocolate milk and I got into the water. I cried some more because THAT was insanely painful. I put my running socks back on because my toes just couldn't withstand the cold. I sat there for about 15 minutes, soppy running socks, sweatshirt on, drinking chocolate milk and talking to myself aloud: "That was really horrible right? I mean that was seriously painful, am I wrong? I can't do that any more can I? Can I?? Thank God the Half is shorter than that. How do people run marathons? I just don't get it." And more crying. I got out and shivered for a solid half hour while I went on the internet, waiting for my skin to reach room temp so it wouldn't be such a shock when I took the HOTTEST shower I could!!

My boyfriend came home from work with a hot chocolate cherry mocha :) and made an Indian chicken dish...PERFECT for getting some proteins in my system. I spent the rest of the night collapsed on the couch watching that new Life series on Discovery HD, and probably had one of the best nights sleep in history. Today I'm sore, but not too awful. At lunch, I volunteered at my church's soup kitchen, which is a lot of scampering and squeezing around a tiny, tight dining area, and I handled it ok.

So now what's the Plan of Attack from here?
1. I've still got my two 5mi runs during the week, plus cross. This next weekend my "long" run drops significantly by half with an 8 mile, but I'm going to listen really intensely to my body and make sure this will be ok. How HORRIFYING would it be to go through all of this work and pain only to injure myself in the final weeks of training?! I officially know that I can do the 13.1, so that's all that really matters. While I tried really hard not to pay attention to my TIME, considering a good time (for someone with my experience) was inevitable, but I'm going to try not to obsess over it.
2. I'm going to pay more attention to my diet. I don't think I'm getting enough good carbs and DEFINITELY not getting enough protein. Especially right after my runs when those things are key. You can eat all the carbs/proteins in the world six hours after your run but they aren't going to replenish your muscles like they would right afterward. I'm also going to drink more water, less booze. Not that I'm some lush, but in these last three weeks, I've gotta just hunker down. A friend of mine just called me this morning who is in the Police Academy and wanted to know if I would participate in a study they were doing for class. Drink as much as you can in a small amount of time so the students could have experience with drunks. I passed it up. Free booze! I'm from WI, where that's like a mortal sin! ;) I kid of course (sort of), but honestly, I have to take better care of my body! Hopefully it'll help.

Ok that's all I got! Thanks yet again for reading the novels I write here, yikes! I just have to tell myself that this is probably a cake walk compared to being in labor for three days ;)


  1. You can totally do this Katie..this I know! Now you have over two weeks...hit those KNEE and HIP exercises DAILY!! There's time left to build some muscle and offset some of that pain and finish STRONG!!

    And congrats on finishing that....a good part of long distance running is ABOVE the belt....above the neck for that matter...2 in front of 1 girl....

  2. It's true that enduring the pain is a lesson in and of itself. You know now that it can't beat you! And you'll also learn that eventually you forget it (which is why women have second babies, LOL), which is a big and good lesson too.

    It's also very possible that this was your bad run. That the race will be very different. Davie had his bad run AT the race unfortunately (I mean his marathon). But odds are very slim, knowing the nature of running, that the race will be a repeat of this experience.

    I would have passed on that drunken demo too! Ugh!

    And I stole your quote at the top of the page for Today's Pithy on MY blog. I like it!

  3. I definitely have to focus on those exercises! I had to take a complete day off yesterday because my body AND brain were just fried...I swear I almost passed out at my desk I was so tired! I think mostly from the mental stress the whole thing caused, like a domino affect! But today I'm right back into it and hopefully my 5mi at lunch will go ok! Two in front of one!!!!! RESET!! :) :) :)

    Mom thanks!! Excellent words. I'm hoping the race itself will be more like a reward for my hard work! Training is so hard because you know you have MORE training to come and you're worried about hurting yourself. Race Day I picture myself saying THIS IS IT!!! And being more excited about that :) HOPEFULLY! I would hate for a David Marathon Day yuck!