chords and cadence

Another runner's writ

Archive for the month “August, 2013”

Over-trained and overwhelmed

You know when you’re afraid to ask a question because you already know the answer?

In my case, the question is whether or not I’m over training.

After my disaster of a 4-miler this morning: I’ll take yes for 500, Alex.

Insert exasperated exclamation here.

I think it starts with an increased and overwhelming workload. We are planning the biggest bluegrass festival in the world (not an embellishment), and it happens in less than a month, in another state. The list of “to-dos” and “MUST DO NOWs” never leave my mind, even when I sleep (work dreams stink/are lame), and the pressure to get things done and do them well is huge. And then there’s that marathon training schedule with the mileage increasing and almost at its peak.

Longer, more intense work days + longer, more intense marathon training days = non-stop non-stoppingness.

For instance, in the past five days I have: ran a total of 36 miles, practiced power yoga, strength trained with my boyfriend (who knows better than to take it easy on me at the gym), and lost track of my hours in the office. Moreover, I feel like an awful friend because I have had to consistently turn down “hang time” or even just basic “how is your life right now” catch-ups because of work, training, or being exhausted from both. Friends: I’m sorry. I’ll be back to life in October, I swear.

When I laced up for an easy four miles this morning I just. couldn’t. do it. Not even with the sun rising so beautifully on a Friday morning. Not even with the birds chirping. Not even at all.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to diagnose whether I’m feeling lazy/unmotivated or whether I really am over training or am fatigued. Some days I just don’t have the same get-up-and-go as others, but on those days, I push myself out the door and find myself enjoying the run after the first .50 miles anyway. Today, not the case. So I guess I have my diagnosis.

When I have “bad” runs or when I don’t feel on top of my game, I have a tumultuous battle in my brain over my willpower, overcoming myself, and getting over whatever is bothering me. When you’re fatigued, you have to give in and slow down, which can be just as much of a tumultuous battle if you’re stubborn like me, especially when running is one of the few outlets for stress and feeling overwhelmed that works.

For me, “taking it easy” isn’t so easy.

Another question I’m afraid to ask: When can I feel like Ass-Kicking-Name-Taking-Taylor again?

Because I refuse for the answer to be “not until the festival fat lady sings.”

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Not all days are treated equal

I ran one of the best races of my running life on Saturday.

It was the Tomato 5k in East Nashville, and I had decided to do it somewhat last minute (if you don’t know me, I’m a planner and “last minute” meant three days before). I had friends I was running with, and I knew the course because it was like my home turf with my beloved running group. I wanted to PR and knew I would unless some dire situation happened like missing the gun because I was peeing, or being tripped by a novice rollerblader. Especially with my new baby Garmin, I would be unstoppable.

For my own abilities, I pretty much was unstoppable. My first mile was the fastest I’ve ever known to run: 6:51. From there I kept it consistently under 7:30 to finish the 5k at 22:18. I got 2nd place for my age group, and was 18th in women over all. My friends called me a beast, and I welcomed it. I drank two Corona Lights with extra lime before 10am to celebrate it.

I was riding pretty high after my PR-breaking day, and nothing but my legs knew it better the next day, Sunday, aka Long Run Day. Hal Higdon said I should have ran 13 for marathon training. My legs said, “Shut it, Hal.” And so I took the day off (with minor bike work, a long walk, and stretching at the gym, because I CAN’T NOT BE ACTIVE EVER).

Even though my body told me I was needing rest, my brain wanted to run. I’m pretty good at listening to my body though, and had to tell my brain to think about being Forrest Gump in my head instead and deal with it for at least 24 hours.

When I got up to run this morning to make up for not running Sunday (Mondays are typically ‘no running’ days), I pushed through sore legs to get my butt out the door for at least four. The sun was rising. The humidity hadn’t quite set in for the day. I thought about how fast I ran the other day, and how a day off and four miles would equal success and a brilliant boost in ego. I started off at a normal 8-minute pace…for like, half a block.

After that half block, my legs felt like sacks of flour, and my Garmin was telling me that I was slooooooooow. I didn’t see numbers. I saw SLOW blinking at me instead. I couldn’t believe it! I felt like I was working so hard, and I was running two whole minutes slower than my pace not two days earlier. “WTF. WTF, Monday?! WTF, Garmin?!” I thought.

I got a little pissed at first. But running always helps put things into perspective: Not all days are treated equal. No day is the same when you’re out in the world, making things happen.

Progress happens. Changes take place. Your hair looks different. You smile is a little more awkward than usual. It’s not Saturday morning anymore, it’s Monday, and your soul knows it and it’s spreading rumors to the rest of your body. So your body is not responding, and it’s rendering you slow and feeling weak. You’re not wearing your lucky socks. You’re feeling weak when yesterday, you felt on top of the world.

Like it always does, running helped me look on the bright side.  I decided what counted was the fact that I got my butt out of bed and out the door this morning and pushed through, regardless of the disappointing time on my watch. I may not have given myself an ego boost this morning, but I’ll get another chance tomorrow.

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My East Nasty crew, post-race, pre-beers. These guys are awesome.

In the meantime, I’ll just celebrate fact that I am living a life where no two days are the same. I will keep trying for progress and change, and will have no great expectations because life is different each and every day. And whether I’m a planner or not, that is something I am grateful for.

Rewind: July

“And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game.”

-Joni Mitchell, “The Circle Game”

Mercy, it’s August and there are NFL pre-season games kicking off. Speaking of, let’s pause before going head-first into this blog by watching my quarterback in a new, fantastically awful commercial.

So catchy, right? I hope to goodness there’s a game where Pey Pey takes off his helmet after connecting with Decker for an amazing play and reveals that head of hair. I can see it now…

Back to running.

I didn’t run any races in July (but kicked back into Marathon Training Mode with running 85 miles total), therefore breaking my streak of running at least one race each month since March. I have rectified this, however, and have signed up for the Tomato 5k this Saturday in East Nashville. It’s like East Nasty’s homecoming, and although I am stingy and would rather not pay dollar dollar bills to run for (hopefully) less than 25 minutes, I have a fear of missing out on fun things like that. My goal is to PR, which would be under 23:30. Always one to be competitive, I’m racing a buddy and there are beers on the line, so, you know: IT’S ON LIKE DONKY KONG.

In other news from July: I have a new accessory. It’s better than any purse, necklace or scarf I could possibly find, and I’m sure to show it off way more anyway. Yes ineed, I own a Garmin now.

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Dang, it would be awesome to run that fast!

It’s pink, not green, because I like to feel a little feminine when I’m beating boys up hills in a sweat-soaked shirt.

In the short time I’ve had it, my Garmin has proved that I can run better than I think, and that I’m faster than I thought. It validates all my time spent at the gym, on the roads, and around the trails – through sweat and sore muscles and nights saying “no” to staying out and partying so I can get up early and get my long run in before it gets too hot.

It makes me feel good about me.

Don’t we all need something like that in our lives?

Getting the Garmin came at a really pertinent time when I needed running as an escape more than usual. Like “The Circle Game” things in life were going up and down, and my only surefire way to deal was through running. When I ran with my watch and saw how fast I was going, and felt the burn in my chest, and the soreness in my legs, I was a little more accepting of The Circle Game than before I started.

So: Don’t we all need something like that in our lives, to help us deal with The Circle Game?

Thankful to have mine.

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