Week 6 and Mental Fortitude

Not much is said in training about the mental toughness required to complete certain tasks including long distance running. Often, the thing that is preventing completion of a run or reaching a goal is mental. Of course injury and bodily pain and often hinder progress. More often, we find ourselves fighting something in our minds. This is the strength we’re finding when we ‘dig deep’.

I find it difficult to be mentally tough when I’m battling with stress in my life or a relapse in my major depressive disorder. This week was rough with getting the kids back to school and battling with my depression coming in a huge wave of exhaustion and feeling inadequate.

Tuesday was a speed workout with the group. It was humid outside and hotter than it had felt earlier in the day. My speed was declining within my repeats even with coming to a walk during cool down. I could sense that my body wasn’t up for the challenge. My legs never really loosened up and the pain in my foot was not lulling away as it usually has. I cut my own work out short by a mile. I wasn’t disappointed. I actually listened to my body and I didn’t give up because I thought I couldn’t. I stopped because I realized my body said I shouldn’t. How can I distinguish the two? I’ll get to that. I went and had dinner and a beer with a couple friends afterward and that was a good distraction.

Thursday’s plan said 8 progressive miles. I hit the trail heading east, circled a local park to add distance, and ran through a subdivision. I got to another park and had to use the porta potty with no soap for me to wash my hands. I couldn’t stop thinking about how germ filled my hands were using just the non alcohol hand foam. I went home, making my total 6 miles. I washed my hands and the mouth pieces on my hydration belt and added ice to my water. I could have just stopped and said that 6 was close enough. I knew I could get 2 more miles in, so I set back out and ran. My reason for stopping had nothing to do with listening to cues from my body. I needed to calm my mind to proceed and I did what I had to do and moved along. I was pleased with myself once I finished and realized how close I’d come to giving up.

Saturday, I ran a race along Old Route 66 from Funk’s Grove to McLean, Illinois. It was a 6.6 k, about 4.1 miles. I’d mistakenly thought it was 4.4 miles. Participants were offered a shot of sirup [that’s how they spell it] and a strong cup of cold brew coffee. Toward the end, as I was reaching the city limit of McLean, I saw a Blue Note painted on a pallet and I thought “Go Blues” feeling like the sign was just for me. The next pallet in their yard was the STL symbol for the St. Louis Cardinals. I felt like it was just the push I needed to finish strong. I ran the race averaging 10:45 per mile. That’s the pace I want to complete my upcoming half marathon. The post race food and entertainment were fun and it was quite the experience. I didn’t end up making up the miles to get in my 9 for the day and I didn’t end up doing it Sunday like I thought I would.

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Week 6 at a glance

I spent more time last week resting than I would have liked. I did things that were good for my soul, though. I started reading a book loaned to me by a friend. I spent more time praying and less time worrying. I confided in people that I wasn’t feeling well. I could have been a little harder on myself to complete my long miles, but I can’t change that.

I saw the podiatrist today. No cortisone shot, but I got a boot to help me with my achy foot. I also got orders for physical therapy. I miss the physical therapist there, so I hope I get to see her. We spent so much time together after the cast and boot came off last spring and again while I was marathon training last summer. Hang on….you have to see the contraption I’ll be sleeping in to stretch while I sleep:

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This should be interesting.

Thanks for reading! I appreciate your comments and suggestions. I am halfway through training for my first half marathon of the year and then I’ll have a second one just 4 weeks after that. I’m hoping to beat my best half marathon time at one of the two. Best of luck with your training and I hope you can identify when you need to push yourself and when you need to give yourself a break. Is there something that you say or do that helps you to go that additional bit you need to? Do you have a mantra that you use? Mine is that “Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.”

 

 

Week 5 in the books!

I’m done with week 5 and on to the halfway point for the first race! That’s awesome!

Also, I had a lunch date with my husband and he encouraged my lunch beers, so I’m in a more chipper mood than usual on a Sunday. Yes. This post is brought to you by craft beer and a delicious sandwich from a hollowed out loaf of bread (known as a BraiZito).

I had three runs this week, as planned. Tuesday was a 5 mile run near a Dawson Lake at  Moraine View State Park. I wasn’t feeling great, but the run started 30 minutes later than usual. I set out with good intent, but aware that this course was hilly for the region and that it was late enough in the day to provide plenty of summer humidity and bugs. Then, I started to fall into step with someone I’d run with as a mentor in the past. He was mentoring the 10k group at the time and he really let me know how much my mentoring had encouraged him in the past. I suppose hearing someone actually say it made an impact on me. I felt a tinge of value in my attempts at helping people by just being who I was and saying what I meant.

Thursday was kind of nuts. I had one of “those” runs. The things I worry most about going wrong. Those were the things that went wrong. I didn’t get enough sleep overnight, so I didn’t get to run in the early AM hours like I’d planned. Dinner was later than I’d intended, so I ran sooner after eating than I would have liked. My newer headphones weren’t cooperating with the Bluetooth on my phone. The music was skipping on my run. I had a pain that I’d written off as phantom after my first stop and discovered was a hair splinter at my second. Nearly halfway into my run, I needed to eliminate and was not close enough to any bathroom to make a stop. I wound up inside of a CVS pharmacy after a rather uncomfortable jog to the building and feeling obligated to make a purchase, shoving stretchy athletic tape into the pockets of my Lucy shorts while stashing everything else into my Amphipod hydration belt and refilling my hydration in their fountain. I’d been blessed to remember to bring along knuckle lights with me since darkness set in prior to my run home from the CVS. Lights in hand, I set out for the 2 miles home. Along the way, one knuckle light completely died, leaving me with my left side illuminated and my right much less lighted along the way. A few houses from my own, I’d hit the mark I’d aimed for and started to walk. I was so thankful I’d made it the planned mileage instead of having to cut it short. Somehow, completion made it all okay.  I felt more accomplished having overcome the obstacles than perhaps I had just completing the run.

Saturday was the 8 mile run that my mind was prepared for 7. I know I ran 7 last week, but my brain was not having that because I did that one on my own. The course was a 5 mile course (including the 10k group) followed by a 3 mile course.  I spent much of my first 5 miles running with people training for a 10k. It was encouraging and kept me mostly close to my goal pace. Once back at the starting point [Fleet Feet store] I refilled my hydration bottles and once my hips started to stiffen up, I set back out deciding that the others I’d intended to run with would catch up with me if I’d started another warm up. They did catch up and we had an amazing run. The mentor with us spoke encouraging words when I started to feel like falling back. I followed her to the point where I was matching her footfalls to stay in my desired pace. I was actually telling myself that I had to override my mind to take my body where I wanted it to go. It worked. We finished the run near the average I’ve been looking for and someone I’d run with is willing to do the goal race with me so we can hold each other accountable. Last year, I’d had trouble with a 12 minute pace. Now, I’m closer to 10 and that’s really exciting! Mile 6 is obviously where I stopped and refilled, walked as I pleased, and recharged.

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I left this week of training with hope. I’m picking up speed. I might actually PR in one of my Autumn races. I am feeling physically more able than I did in my training last year, which gives me more I  in each run. I also still get to see my friends and talk to people in my training.

My depression and anxiety are not in remission. It is annoying how often I feel like my heart is beating out of my chest or that no matter how hard I try, I’m not good enough. I bash myself more than anyone ever could. I assume the world is not meant for me sometimes. I have a few close friends and I’ve discovered that it is plenty.

Thank you for reading! Please share, comment, and suggest as you please. Remember, craft beer probably had a bit to do with my writing in this particular instance. I hope you try your local brewers and you like Hazy American Pale Ale.

See you next week!

 

 

 

Week 4 and challenges

I’ve completed week 4 of my training. I had speed work, an active vacation, and a visit with my podiatrist.

Tuesday was a speed workout with pick ups. Basically, we had to pick up speed from cone 1 to 2 and go “all out” from 2 to 3 and then cool down going back to cone 1. I was proud of that run. I had a great partner with me for the duration of the speed work and she really helped me rise to the challenge.

Thursday, I intended to wake early and run 7 miles, but I was struggling with some stress related exhaustion and I slept past the alarm.  I did 6 miles instead of the planned 7. I felt the need to slow down and I also just wanted to go home and get on the road for our vacation in Missouri. Trevor the dog was with a local friend. Aurora, my puppy was to stay with my friend, Liz. That meant I actually got to see her. I even ordered her a gift to show up on Thursday. The package arrived as I was talking to Liz. As in, not at her house, but at mine. I saw it on my front door cam. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Liz has a 95 lbs. dog named Buddy. Aurora took one look at Buddy, ran away, and pooped on Liz’s carpet. She finally got over her fear and they were friends over the few days she stayed there.

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That’s Aurora the puppy with Buddy the HUGE dog

Friday was our first full day at the cabin and it was great! It backed up to a small lake and was set back in the woods where we saw a lot of deer and I saw raccoon prints on the back steps. I got into a kayak for the first time and paddled around the lake. My 8 year old son was able to catch on to kayaking in the lake by himself [with flotation]. My kids, nieces, in laws, and I had a full day of play on the lake ending with a get together for my son’s recent birthday and s’mores by a fire after dark.

Saturday morning, I planned to run 7 progressive miles somewhere around the resort. I’d decided on a main road and estimated where the 3.5 mile mark would be for me to turn around. I was surprisingly close to accurate and turned around at 3.6 miles so I’d have less running on gravel than I had at the start. It was hilly. There were beautiful sights including deer so close I could’ve almost touched them and I felt guilty for disturbing them running by. The hills nearly did me in, though. I stopped and took a photo of a hill right before I attempted to surmount it. I made it partially up running, then fast walking, and then realizing walking was fine. That mile was still my fastest despite having walked up that hill. Nature apparently was a good run motivator for me.

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See the bluff? That hill was HUGE.

I made it back to the cabin where my mother in law had made my favorite breakfast of biscuits and gravy, which I ate gratefully. We all suited up and headed out on the lake for more fun. I took the kayak out further and tried going faster. I think I really got the confidence to be able to enjoy pedaling. After lake time, we went to the resort swimming pool in the afternoon and to an outdoor concert in the evening.

Sunday, it was time to go home. We spent time gathering our stuff and loading the vehicles for the trip. I was feeling pretty tired, but I think that was a bit of the introvert in me needing some rest after a social few days. We stopped back by Liz’s house and got Aurora, who had to gnaw on my ear and my ponytail as soon as I lifted her into my arms. The ride home was spend slipping in and out of sleep. When I got home, my neighbor delivered the box I’d meant to send to Liz. I opened it and sent her photos of what I’d bought for her. A 32 oz Blender Bottle with a Wonder Woman design and color scheme that I have since used for myself.

Podiatrist

I was supposed to see my podiatrist a couple of months ago for a checkup from when I tore my peroneus brevus tendon, sprained my ankle, and got tendinitis from running on it anyway [on the right foot] and he treated it. I started having pain in the ball of my left foot, so I thought it would be a good time to reunite with him despite not wanting to hear bad news. I described my pain and after an exam, he requested an x-ray. Soon after the x-ray, he said that there was a sesamoid bone that was in two pieces that shouldn’t be, but it looked like it had been that way awhile and the pain was located in the sesamoid bone opposite of that one. He mentioned that if I’d let it go on, he’d probably have immobilized [put a cast and boot on] my foot. We discussed treatment including him making adjustments to the inserts I use in my shoes and using anti inflammatory medicine. I have to be careful of which surfaces I run on. I have to go back in two weeks to have it looked at and possibly get a cortisone shot if it isn’t clearing up using the conservative methods. I didn’t want to go because I’d honestly assumed I’d broken it after getting my Google MD in the field of feet ouchies. I’m glad I actually went during training instead of spending my late autumn and early winter in a cast.

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I got this from the Dr. office. I must have seemed really confused about the name of the bones there.

How is your training going? Have you ever had an injury you didn’t want to know more about because of the fear of having to take time off? Tell me about it! Thank you for reading. I have a hill workout this Tuesday and an 8 mile run on Saturday. It looks like I’m staying at 3 days a week of running for now. Guess I’ll dust off my bike or maybe even go swim laps.

 

 

 

Week 3 of training

Hello! I didn’t forget to write last week. I realized I was writing my blog in the middle of training weeks, which are Monday thru Sunday.

I have completed week 3 of training. During week 2, I’d questioned my training program. It was adjusted and sent out during week two (not because of me). The program is more manageable and makes more sense than the one the group was given at the start. I’m still making Mondays optional as they have been in past training programs, but that’s for the sake of my ankles and feet.

The long run in week 2 was originally a 6 mile run. It was 5 in the new plan. I’d mentally prepared for 6, so 5 felt good afterward. I even went to brewery yoga which turned out to be barre and a little more challenging than the yoga I’m used to doing. I was sore on Monday.

Week 3

Tuesday, the group runs start at 5:30 pm. I hopped in the car believing I had until 6 pm and arrived at 5:45 pm. I arrived to see very few people, which I found odd. Two of my friends were there and informed me that my group had already taken off. I ran straight to the hill where we were going to be doing repeats after a 1 mile warmup. I arrived just as the first group of runners from my program were doing their first uphill. I was 1/2 mile behind the group by that point. I went down the hill 5 times and up the hill 4 and ran back with one of the last groups to complete their hill repeats. Fortunately, I only needed .3 of a mile when the group was finished and that was easily completed. I would have been sad to miss hills. I actually enjoy the challenge of that workout. Some people refer to Illinois residents as ‘flat landers’ due to the lack of hills or any actual inclines and there really aren’t many hills to train on in my area.

Wednesday was cross training day and my cross training was trying to find clothes for a job interview I’d secured with my kids in tow. I’ve been out of office working for 8 years. It was not a body positive day for me. I was disappointed when I tried on outfits at the store and they wouldn’t fit. I bought a bunch of dress clothes and brought them home only to feel like nothing looked right on me even with my shapewear pulling in the jiggle. I cried about it. I felt completely defeated and wondered why I even try to be healthy when I can’t look the way I want to.

Thursday was a 6 mile run and I needed to get up and run in the morning. My calendar was full and I am not an early riser. I ran faster than I’d expected or planned. I went into my interview that afternoon with a little extra energy. Immediately, the interviewer disarmed me from all of my worries I’d entered with. She asked me about my running I’d mentioned on my resume. The rest of the interview went well and I felt as if I’d just had a pleasant conversation with someone I’d just met. I’m expecting to find out about that some time this week, so I’ll probably mention it if I get the job and try to ignore that it happened if I don’t.

Friday was my son’s 8th birthday. He chose Chick Fil A for his birthday dinner. They were raising money for St. Jude with their cookie sales, so I bought 2 of the 6 packs and used those as birthday cake at home. He blew out his candles and we had delicious cookies for dessert. I hope it was memorable for him like I think it was for me.

Saturday morning, I showed up on time. I had managed to bruise my own eyelid by trying to rid myself of a facial blemish by pinching it. It wasn’t that type of blemish. Go figure. I had a good 6 mile run and was glad that I’d done a progressive run on Thursday so I could take it a little easier in the heat and humidity. I didn’t get in my Sunday recovery run. I’d missed out on sleep and I just wasn’t mentally in to running.

Today is the start of week 4 and I’m looking forward to my long run. There are only 2 more weeks of summer vacation for the kids before school. I think I’m ready for it this time.

Thanks for reading! I am in a 12 week program with an extension after for a second race. I’ll be doing Whiskeydaddle half marathon in Peoria and the Indy Monumental in Indianapolis this year. I’m striving to beat my 2:19 personal best time. Do you have a race goal you’re training for?