This is part of my weekly series tracking my training for the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon. To read the rest of my training posts, please click here.
I’ve officially reached the halfway point of this training cycle – Week 6 is done!
Week 6 was not an easy week for me. Most of my runs were what I call “just get it done” runs. My heart wasn’t really in it and I didn’t necessarily enjoy my runs this week. Physically, I was fine, save for what are turning into chronically achy ankles. But mentally, I was a mess, for two separate reasons.
Selfie with Mike before the Run for the Park 5k!
First, I have been stressed out and cranky for over a week and it didn’t really click with me until Wednesday night after yoga why (all that deep breathing DOES clear the mind!). What I finally figured out while I was laying in Shavasana at the end of class was that I’m currently feeling very frustrated with my lack of ability to control my own time and to use it the way that I want to. I’m enjoying a relatively quiet stretch at work after completing two enormous tasks that have been consuming me for the last six months. In my past life as a graduate student, slow time at work always meant that I had more free time to do the things I want to do outside of work – run, blog, fundraise, etc. I would bang out my work in lab and then head home. But now with this whole “real” job thing, I don’t have that freedom anymore. I’m at my desk for eight hours every day, whether I have eight hours of things that need to be done that day or not. It’s a whole new thing for me to adjust to. I’m honestly surprised this hasn’t been a frustration for me before this, but like I said, I’ve been REALLY busy at work almost since I started. I’m still not over the stress of not being able to use every hour in my day the way I would prefer to use it, but at least I can recognize that that’s the reason I feel tense and try to let it go. Oooooooohhhhhmmmmmm.
Second, I did something this weekend that I almost never let myself do – I compared myself to other runners. And of course, I immediately became discouraged. The truth is I’m not a strong runner. I don’t have the right body type for it, I have weak hips, and I’ve never been an endurance athlete. My sports growing up were gymnastics and softball, coupled with decades of dance classes. Strength, muscle control, agility, and quickness were and are my bread and butter. But endurance? Never my thing. Running isn’t a thing that will ever be easy for me. But I LOVE my self image when I think of myself as a runner. I love taking part in races and I love seeing that even though I’m not great at running, I AM getting better. I just have to work extra hard for it. So, as I followed the #NuunHTC ladies as they tackled the Hood 2 Coast 200-mile relay, I couldn’t help but want to be them one day. And when I realized that my average paces are almost two minutes per mile slower than all of them, I was a little heartbroken. I had a decent little 5k race on Saturday morning (with PERFECT negative splits to boot) and yet all I could think was how hard I had to work just to run a 29:41. I lost sight of my own successes this year (Lots of PRs! Lots of sub-30 min 5ks!) because I was too focused on what other people were accomplishing. So I was in a mental funk for a good part of this past week from that too.
So that was what I was thinking about as trained this week. I was stressed and down on myself and questioning if it was even worth to get up before dawn to get in my runs before work. Truthfully, I brought a little bit of that with me into this new week that started yesterday. And then I read this fabulous post from Jes at rUnladylike.com who just took part in the Hood to Coast relay and I was forcefully reminded that even though I may not finish my miles as quickly as others, my miles are the same as everyone else’s miles. My ten mile long run this past week was still TEN MILES. I also bring something else unique to my running that many others don’t – a cause that I care about., deeply. So going forward this week, not only am I re-embracing my training for the Allstate 13.1 Atlanta Half, I’m going to focus on the truly valuable parts of running that make me happy. That includes FINALLY kicking off my American Cancer Society fundraiser. I signed up for the DetermiNation mini-team yesterday and as soon as I have my fundraising page set up, I’ll post the link here. My commitment to this fundraiser is going to be the motivation that propels me through the second half of this training cycle and all the way to the starting line in October!
Oh right, I’m supposed to be telling you about the actual miles that I ran and all of that. Let’s do this relatively quickly, since that I was a pretty lengthy “intro”!
4.57 miles before work + lower body weights after work
Same recorded mileage as last Tuesday, but not because I’m a consistency machine. The rain and drizzle from the previous weekend was still sticking around and I didn’t want to ruin my new phone so this is the mapped mileage of my 4.5 mile route. Also, I know it helps, but I hate the jelly legs feeling the day after lower body strength day.
3.96 miles before work
This was supposed to be a 40 minute tempo, which is usually about 4 miles for me. However, it was STILL rainy in the morning, so I couldn’t take my phone. Without my RunKeeper app, I didn’t have any way to track my pace, so I didn’t really worry about giving it that extra effort that a true tempo demands. I was also SUPER grumpy during this run in particular and somehow felt worse post-run than I did before it started. In fact, I felt so grouchy that I decided to wear one of my Sparkly Soul headbands to work in an attempt to cheer myself up. It only partly worked.
I also went to Core Fusion yoga at Atlantic Station after work, which was where I had my “revelation” that I mentioned above. Unrelated yoga thing: during said Shavasana, the instructor gave me a posture correction. I didn’t think that was a posture you could actually do wrong, but I apparently it is.
[For the non-yogis, Shavasana is the last pose of every yoga class where you just lay quietly on your mat. It is VERY relaxing.]
5.03 miles before work
Five miles is A LOT for me to get in before work. This was the peak of my “is this really worth it???” mental funk. At least I still finished my planned miles!
Much needed rest!
Raced in the Adams Realty Run for the Park 5k, the race associated with the Grant Park Summer Shade Festival
This was a last minute addition to our “festival race series”. Grant Park is one of our favorite parks in Atlanta and we ultimately decided that we just couldn’t skip this one, especially since it benefitted the park conservancy. Plus, we got tickets for free beers for finishing. Can’t argue with that!
As for the race itself, it went well. As I said, I finished in 29:41, which is a little slower than I’d like but a great improvement from the ATC Jog Days 5k two weeks ago. I started this race on the slow side and I’m not really sure why. I kept pushing through though and was able to log progressively faster miles. As I mentioned above, I ended up with perfect negative splits, something I don’t do often:
Mile 1: 9:47
Mile 2: 9:27
Mile 3: 9:08
Mile 0.1: 8:44
I need to remember how to do that for future races!
9.93 miles with Mike
Sunday Long Run Day! I felt great through the first six miles or so and then my leg muscles started to reflect my mental state – they felt heavy. But I trudged on and, with some excellent motivating from Mike, was able to finish all ten miles.
So that was my week. It wasn’t easy, but I got through it. Thankfully, I have vacation days I have to use by the end of September so I have some free days coming up this week. In fact, I don’t have to work another five day week for the next FOUR weeks. Hopefully I’ll be able to use that time to catch up on some things outside of the office and get back on top of my game, both mentally and physically. Plus, I’ve got that new fundraiser to focus on starting this week. Things are looking up again!
Total Planned Miles: 26.5
Total Completed Miles: 26.59
Total Cross Training workouts: 2/3 – never got around to my second strength workout. Planning to make it up this week though!