Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Week 12 / The Long Run Madness

It’s so strange to me to be in the running pattern I seem to be in lately – that being intervals are my friend and the long run is my foe. I used to dread intervals, so much so I’d have anxiety on Monday for Wednesday’s interval sessions. I’d literally lie awake at night, worried I wasn’t going to make my mark or pass out mid-way with some sort of head explosion embolism due to lack of oxygen. Funny, cuz I always survived, best I can tell anyway, and actually can only recall one time that I had to cut a workout short for not feeling up to par. But the long run was always my baby. I loved it. I loved going out there for hours and just run. Run and run and run and runandrunandrunandrun! I loved how it gave me time with my inner self; it was detox for my soul, my emotional chiropractor to click back into proper perspective.

I don’t know what’s up with the ole switch-a-roo but I can tell you that lately, my speed work is over the top incredible but I can count the number of long run over 18 miles I’ve done in the past several months where I felt like celebrating. Not even a simple smile on my face. Even last summer while training for Portland and then Tucson, my long run felt forced, difficult, far far far off the pace and the mark where I need it to be. Sunday was just such a case – again! My friend, Jim, met me for the last 18 miles of my last long, 21-miler. When he met me at mile 3 (he wanted a few miles less than me, he’s not training for anything right now, just wants to remain in fabulous running condition…) he immediately asked me how I was doing. I’m certain I didn’t need to even utter a word, it was written in my body language – it just wasn’t happening. Ugh. I was up most of the night with my allergies, I’m frustrated with the excess lbs of weight I don’t want, my left hamstring was tighter than cello strings, my back’s been bothering me again, and just overall sense if blah. At mile 9, I was practically begging to turn around and go back, my legs were just achy and my back was starting to throb. But Jim wouldn’t let me (bless him!) and I trudged along, listening to him talk so that I could get my mind off the task at hand. At mile 16, my back was screaming so I stopped at the gas station, refueled the water bottle and applied some Icy/Hot to the ole back, which never does really help but it feels good to at least do something. The last 6 miles are that same, gradual uphill and my pace slowed to a pathetic crawl. I was done; I spent every last morsel of strength to get up that last stretch of a hill and end the run at 21.5. This long run is beginning to turn into my nemesis. I think after Boston, I'm putting the long run on a temporary time out until I can get my mind back into the mental game of this thing called long-distance running.

Ugh!

I don’t know what this means for Boston as I lie here each morning with a heating pad on my back but I have a feeling that it’s not going to end pretty there. Because I have no formal taper time beings I had not much mileage buildup, I’m not sure there’s a “peak” – which is where we all want our marathons to be at race time. Since Katie’s trying to petition Boston to be somewhere tropical, like Hawaii, I’m going to see if they’ll also sport a Boston-now-held-in-Hawaii 7x1 mile interval run instead of a marathon.

Though I’ve struggled for the past couple months finding a happy place with my running, running still takes me in, and continues to comfort, heal and challenge me in magical ways. I am forever grateful I am running Boston and am going to enjoy my experience there no matter what. My back my give out at mile 9 and I’ll have to walk the rest of the way, who knows, but I will never take my training for granted again! My “issues” right now are so petty compared to people like Meg, who have larger health concerns to tackle. I can run, maybe not where I want to right now, but I can run! Many cannot!!! know I can offer so much more to the sport that continues to consume me, but for now, it’s time to just get out there and give it whatever I have and be grateful I am running it and stop whining about my lack of perfect conditioning. Geeeeeez, get over it already, Jilly – suck it up!!!!!

So in other news…

I have not yet cleaned the bathroom while on spring break, I found the $ key under "symb" on my BB, I have not even looked at the Garmin manual nor have I even touched my resume. I did rake a bunch of leaves, which was not on my week off agenda. I'd say I'm doing well.

While Denver was facing amazing spring-like record-high temps in the 70’s, I was in the mountains enduring more snow and cold temps, to watch my boys ski and indulge in a little mountain sledding. I guess I’ll let it slide, since we actually had a really nice time and I did get to endure some of this lovely springtime weather yesterday before the next round of cold temps hit us this weekend. I’m going to see if Kathleen and Steve want to get a group discount admitting the 3 of us mental patients, sick of snow, to the psych hospital in Pueblo if we land more snow this season, which is quite possible. I’ve seen snow as last as mid-May here in Denver before (pic of the sledding hill in Breckenridge, ski area as the backdrop).


Had a great lunch with college daughter today and then in typical A.D.D. moments, left my wallet in her dorm room, only finding this little tidbit out an hour later after a cart full of groceries were scanned and bagged and I went to pay for them. Figured I had't shared my A.D.D moments in awhile so had to let you know that yes, they still occur on a regular basis.

My allergies were at an all-time high on Saturday and Sunday, giving me a PR of tissues used in a two-day period! What I won’t do for a PR!!!

Okay, heating pad back therapy session complete, though I’m still in pain (that’s not a complaint, that’s just a comment) so off for a little run.

Run strong!

Week 12 2010:
Week’s Running totals: 43.5
Running Total for 2010: 502.91
Weight training: 2
Swim: 1 (yes, I actually went to the pool on Saturday, believe it or not)

36 comments:

Aneta said...

hey sometimes ur body needs to run fast, and sometimes it needs to run far. feed it what it wants!

Jamoosh said...

I know we are all a bit different, but I never get the speed out of my long run until I do a longer run. For example, if I did 18 miles, the first time it would be slow, but if I did a 21 and then did another 18 a few weeks later, it was faster. I think it's a confidence issue with me.

elaine said...

Good to hear from you again, yeah that's weird you're not liking your long runs, that is a switcheroo! You'll get it back.

Jennifer said...

I usually have the same thing happen, love the short and intense but the long ones I could do with out or the complete opposite. I just figure my body knows what it's doing so I just play along! All in all I think your training looks great. P.s. I gave you an award, check out my blog. Cheers!

misszippy said...

Interesting phenomenon you have going w/ the long runs and speedwork. The important thing is you got through the long runs and now you can kick back and recover a bit before Boston.

Psyche said...

Hi, Jill!
This is a really good post. Most of us can relate to this phenomena- at least to some degree. My current nemesis is MP intervals! They seem so hard to me and I am convinced they should seem easy since it's just a few miles (3 x 3 mi) at MP. It messes w/ my head and my confidence.

I can also relate to the back pain issue- although for the life of me I can't track down what brings on the pain.Feel free to share your insights:)

Whatever your assessment is of the the work you're putting in, just remember that you ARE putting in the work. Trust your training in Boston. You've earned it.

Have a great day!

BTW...I have MP Intervals today and I'm a nervous wreck. You are not alone...

Marlene said...

Sorry to hear that the long runs have become such a struggle. Maybe you just need a good break form long distance... after Boston of course! Count on that race day adrenaline and excitement to get you through.

Glad you're enjoying Spring Break!

Meg said...

Hi Jillsie,
Too bad we can't break up the 26.2 miles into interval increments for you! In some ways, I think the switch to the speed work is good and it is definitely something you accomplished compared to other training, right? Our coach is SO conservative with the long runs anyway. He thinks(now, he's not from here...he's from Eastern Europe), that our max runs should be at 18, especially if you do two or three marathons a year. He considers 14 miles a long run and he has a lot to say about training on the track faster and leaving the longer miles for the actual race. I know many disagree, many...and you're a coach so you have your ideas but...I'm just saying that you can do this, you're ready and you have some good mileage out there AND in the bag for Boston. You haven't over done it. I actually see this as a pinnacle for you. Trust it.
Thanks for your support, Girl!
Party Plug:
HEY, if any Boston bound friends are out there, reading this, please visit my email for our post-marathon B-DAY party for Jill and marathon completion celebration!
lingfam@cox.net

Katie A. said...

After Boston/Big Sur/the Relay - long runs are taking a back seat if they are longer than 14 or 15!!! I love to run like you, but I am done with the miles and miles :(
I know you won't be walking - it's just not in you! 43 miles with all that going on - be proud my friend - you're doing awesome! Huggss!!

Kenley said...

I am new to the distance running as my highest miles are 11, but I can understand how you might feel there. Sometimes, you are happier doing the other thing, and then your body does a switch on you, as with a lot of things in life. I love the part were you are just grateful to be ABLE to run as a lot of people can not even walk. When I am trodging on my last few miles, I think of the ability that I have, and just get to it. My ability with the body that I neglected for the last 20 years, and now I am fixing it, like taking an old car into the shop for an overhaul. Wow, your post really has me thinking. lol. Sori, Ill end the comment here. Just wanna say that I will be praying for your running and for you to find it, whatever it is. lol. Take care Jill.

Adam Culp (Crazy Floridian) said...

Your still getting in some good miles at 43.5 for the week. Perhaps your letting your mind get the best of you. Maybe a new route for the long runs?

Run Jess Run said...

Enjoy your week off!! Just remember to relax and take it one mile at a time, but don't let yourself give up!!

Abby said...

I'll bet the excitement of Boston will serve as an adrenaline replacement to propel you through the 26.2 miles with the same kind of energy that you're getting out of intervals.

Chad in the AZ Desert said...

It's hard to know the cause of it, but if you are struggling with back pain that might be the big factor if your body is compensating for the pounding. If you are not already, maybe try doing your longer runs on softer surfaces and see if that make them more enjoyable again.

marathonmaiden said...

i've been struggling with the long run a bit this late in the training cycle too while i've been getting more comfy with the speed stuff. funny because it used to be the other way around. sometimes i think i'd pr if i look at boston as a long interval run and split it up with repeats or something hah!

hope your back starts to feel better and the pin goes away!

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

I really wish I could say I was lovin' interval work. Maybe if I was speeding through it like you are!

Heather said...

I love your comment about how even when you're not happy with your running, running still sucks you in. So true. Hope your back starts to feel better!

Julie said...

Hi Jill,
I am sorry to hear that your longer runs are a challenge. On the flip side, your speed workouts are amazing:) I think you have a great attitude about Boston and I like how you said you would enjoy it no matter what:) Take care of that back of yours...hopefully the heating pad idea will help some.

Funny about the ADD! Jill, I am pretty sure that I suffer from ADD at times too:) I am not joking about this! I have lost my keys, cell phone and misplaced countless items!! It seems to be getting worse the older I get:) Happy Wednesday Jill!

Char said...

Sorry to hear your running woes. It's interesting (to the science side of me) that your hammies are tight and you have a sore back. I'm wondering if the sore back is linked to the tight hammies.I prescribe a massage.

Running and living said...

My track workouts have always been going better than my long runs. I always thought that's because I can endure a lot of pain for short amounts of time, but it is harder for me to endure milder pain for a long amount of time. Your mileage is pretty high. That was my peak mileage for my last marathon, which went pretty well. I say, get some speed in during these last few weeks, maybe another long run on Saturday, and you'll be great on April 18th. Just trust yourself!

akjenniekt said...

I think that it's amazing that you were still able to get the 21.5 done even with the inner/outer struggle! I am way to new at this to offer any advise but it does sound like you might need a mental break from the long runs (after Boston :-)). Maybe it's just time to switch up what your body is more comfortable doing :-).

ilikemargarine said...

Wow. I always come here and read your posts only to find that 380 people have already left comments. I'm too scared to say anything at that point under the assumption that everything that could possibly by said has been said. So, congratulations, I'm sorry and always be wary of plaid. I think that covrs it.

ajh said...

I'll take a long run over speed/tempo any day! Hope you don't get any more snow as you don't have time to check into the mental hospital! You are one busy person who accomplishes a lot!

Sherri said...

You are amazing! I think I tell you that every time...but I am always amazed at the miles you put in! You have such a strong base built up already that if you chose to lay off long for a week or so...it would not harm you a bit!

I am sorry about the allergies...I have them too and I do not look forward to the time that they flair up...in the near future!

AZ said...

There's still time, you can turn it around. Either way I still think you'll have a great time at BOS.

Anne said...

I hope you find your long run groove again soon. You're such an inspiring woman...I know you will get through this and have a wonderful time in Boston.

onelittletrigirl said...

Sorry to hear of your struggle but I love your attitude! I think, no matter what, you are going to have a fabulous time in Boston!

Glenn Jones said...

When you figure out the whole long run thing let me know. I'm fine right up to about 14 or so. Anything longer and I tank!

What I'm contemplating is just doing more long slow miles on weekends. I don't have a marathon or anything on my calendar - and probably won't put anything there until next year (maybe an L.A. mulligan), but I'm thinking about just putting a 16 plus miler on my training plan for every weekend. When I pull that off at least I know the problem isn't physical!

Chad said...

Ya I find my lower back can get stiff after a long run. Great post!
Here is my blog
http://runningfool-ootaynee.blogspot.com/

Megan said...

Sometimes training can feel like a job. Its tough when your race is close enough to be training hard but too far to feel the excitement of race day. You'll figure it out.

I start to feel that way about the Louisiana heat & humidity in late summer. Come September and all I can think is enough! Enough already.

Adam said...

Oh my gosh... I always feel SOOO bad for people who forget their money at the store! I sometimes want to pay for them, but inevitably they are stocking up for hibernation and it is $200 or something. Yeah, i'm not THAT nice

LMC said...

You're lucky that you had someone running with you and that kept you going on that 21.5 miler. You did it and you should take credit for it. Shout it from the rooftops!! You're doing an awesome job with your training and you have a great attitude about Boston. The excitement of Boston and all of our positive thoughts will keep you going. You'll hear us all cheering for you! It'll be great. Have a good weekend!

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

Yes, let's move boston to hawaii and then I will work much harder to qualify!

Speedwork has been my nemisis forever, but as I've started trying new things like hills and tempos, I'm getting better at it. Long runs have always been my favorite, but my legs are tired lately from these new hard runs.

lindsay said...

i dunno about add... maybe alzheimers? ;) kidding!!!

i vote for boston-in-hawaii! yes please. ugggh spring allergies. sometimes i think i should just hibernate through the winter and right on into summer.

The un-Zen Runner said...

500+ miles in 2010! Absolutely amazing. Great post, I can definitely relate to dreading certain workouts. For me it's always going for my PR on the mile or 5K, since running all out is a tough endeavor.

Mikey B said...

Running with icy hot? Ewwww... not sure I could have endured that. Good to hear you still managed to complete the 21 miler. Good for Jim to cheer you on.