February 4, 2013

Confidence, Courage, Commitment

Saturday sucked. It sucked badly. I ran the Double Bridge Run, which happens to be my absolute FAVORITE local race. It's beautiful, unique, and all my buds do it. It's a competitive field; so I never have pressure about winning/placing on podium.

Last week, I had a kick-tail workout with the boys, a not-so-great tempo, and a decent long run in the mix. I was feeling fit and ready to go. Coach has had me on a cycle of 2 weeks higher mileage, 1 week a bit lower, which looked like 90, 90, 70 miles. It fit perfectly that this week be a lower week. My legs were really feeling *it* this week, despite the cutback. I did end up doing workouts on back-to-back days, Wed & Thurs. In my defense, my tempo was cut back a little; so I felt like I should be fine going into the race today. However, Friday night after a LONG day of work and bagging groceries with the track team, my legs were literally aching.

Anyhow, I set off that morning with high hopes. And I won't go into the details of my splits because frankly I might cry again if I get my Garmin back out. Needless to say, it was a major bomb. It wasn't a crash and burn as much as a couldn't get going feeling. It was so bad, that I was barely able to hold marathon pace. I know, ick. After a discussion with my bestie, and a discussion with my coach, I came to a few conclusions. (And I purposely waited to blog about all this when I could calm down and not feel so emotional.)

*I am borderline overtrained. I don't have actual overtraining syndrome (at least I don't believe), but I think I have crossed over that training/running too much/too hard line. While my mileage is the same as this time last year, my workouts are more frequent and faster. And I will take full responsibility for thi,s in the aspect of coach says 8, I do 10. Coach says 16, I do 19... yada, yada, yada. I think those extra miles coupled with faster, more frequent workouts put my body on the blitz.

I've been blessed with very few running injuries over the years, especially considering the mileage I do. Here's the deal, though, just because you aren't injury-prone, doesn't mean you don't have to listen to your body. I've been ignoring this. Leading to my next point...

*I am severely overworked and overtired. I know, I know, aren't we all? And I'm not whining or saying mine is worse than anyone else's, but I know that I've been burning the candle at all ends. (Some candles have more than 2 ends.) My job has taken a lot more out of me than typical years. Teaching children with special needs literally means on your feet all day, even more so than when I taught 3rd grade. And even though we aren't in season quite yet, I do something almost every afternoon for my track team or a meeting of some sort. Many nights I come home with my legs just aching from standing/walking all day. I also believe I've been ignoring other physical needs- like PEEING. I've mentioned before than I purposely dehydrate myself during the day, but hey, what would you do if you were me? You don't leave a class full of special needs students alone, and when you don't have a potty break until nearly 10 a.m.... well, figure it out. I don't drink because I can't leave the room to go pee!  Adrienne also thinks this has a lot to do with why I've been feeling that I'm not recovering quickly from workouts and have the stomach issues. And since we're already talking about peeing, let's talking about eating.

*In between milk cartons, ketchup packets (I could strangle the person that decided to give children ketchup packets), and messes, I try to eat my lunch. I do okay, usually don't finish it, but get enough down to keep me from starving to death. Of course, by 3 p.m. I am about to eat my own arm off, and end up eating miniature chocolates and cheez its from my coworkers' junk drawers. This is also my version of social drinking. All the teachers hover around the junk drawer chatting, I can't help but to join in.

*The next component that needs serious help is my confidence. I just don't have any. I think somewhere in my brain, I think I'm washed up. Despite numerous people that I trust telling me differently, I just can't shake the feeling. One person 3 years ago told me that I would never break 3 because I would plateau, and that voice resonates louder than any other. Self-confidence is always something I've struggled with, and not just in running. I have your typical body struggles like most females, but I also struggle with confidence in my teaching and coaching. This is also ridiculous because I've always gotten the highest marks on any job evaluation; my bosses have always liked me, and I've never had any parent complaints. However, my brain often tells me that I'm not good enough; I need to work harder, or that I am failing.

So, here's the game plan.

*Coach has modified the rest of my training for Woodlands, a slight cutback in mileage, but nothing major, biggest difference being no more doubles. This will hopefully help me bounce back from whatever it is that I'm dealing with.

*I'm going to work on trust and confidence. Trust my coach (because he is more experienced and smarter than me). Trust my training (because I have solid workouts under my belt that should lead to marathon confidence). Trust my friends (because they regularly tell me that I'm a rock star).

*Work on "me" more. I plan on talking to my next door neighbor about possibly watching my class for a couple minutes each morning while I go pee. Crazy, I know, but maybe I will feel better if I'm better hydrated. I bought some mixed nuts and dried fruit for the junk drawer. Maybe the teachers will follow suit.

Saturday I actually said I was bailing on The Woodlands; I cried and said "I quit." Mentally, I gave up. And I'm still feeling kind of sad and discouraged, but that's where courage and commitment come in. The bestie said it best when she said, "Grab life by the balls!" (I actually went from sobbing to laughing in about 1 second.) In the end, you can only do what you can do. However, there is still more I can do! Sometimes training is more than the workouts. It's a lifestyle.

Doug Storey, if you are reading this, that last line is for you. I remember last year when you told me that. I have been thinking on that for awhile, but didn't fully believe it until this past weekend. When I go out and do workouts, I am a runner, but then I put it in a closet for all the other hours in my day. It's time to adapt the attitude of a competitive runner.

Run Happy, friends!


  1. Gosh, I can identify with so much of this post. Trusting your coach and your plan is SO hard because we put so much effort into this and want our goals so badly. I continually doubt whether I have the right coach, even though I'm consistently improving.

    As for hydration, yes, I'm on the Nuun team, but I can't say enough good things about Nuun All Day. I struggle to drink enough during the day, but that really helps keep my electrolytes in check.

  2. You definitely filled your "learning" bucket with this race. :-) Sorry that your race didn't go as planned but it brought to light some key factors that you can now go change. You're doing things differently with this training cycle and figuring out what works and what doesn't work. This race will only make you stronger mentally and will help you tweak your training accordingly. When you think back on this race, remember all these great lessons and let that be a confidence booster for you. You know you won't have a repeat!

  3. Hugs my friend! I am so sorry you had a tough day. No fun. I know how it feels to be overtrained and worn down and it is not a fun place to be. The good news is that I bet with some a little bit of scale back, rest, good eating and hydration you will be feel better pretty quickly. I wish you could see yourself as so many of us do. You are an incredible person and athlete. Hope you are feeling a little better. hugs!

  4. You put this so much eloquently than my, ahem, statement the other day!! We can only control so much when it comes to our preparation and performance, however, It's crazy how many avenues you haven't explored. You have my full support as you start taking care of the business of you-the teacher, the runner, the friend, but most importantly the awesome human being you are!

    I love the 3 C's. We actually talked about them in class the other day...

    Now go grab it!

  5. We all seem to be in the same place... I was also working hard and getting nowhere this weekend, so worry not! I read something about an 80 year old lady who still runs, and every morning she touches her legs and says: they are still here, so I had better use them.

    Good luck as you turn this around and get ready for you race.

    Now I think I'm going to send a link to this to an athlete of mine who needs to read this... and I hope she does!

  6. You have sub 3 in you for sure, just as I do! Maybe I could share my confidence with you somehow ;) Houston was my first real training cycle and now I see what goes into it together with the taper and recovery I am hit with the realisation that I only really have 2/3 races a YEAR that I can peak for. I'd love to race way more than that and I will run more races but they wont be great, they'll be part of training and not trained specifically for. I'm prepared to make that trade of whilst I'm not totally over the hill and can go for the kind of marathon time I want.

    Being on your feet packing bags the day before your race sounds like the WORST kind of preparation (obviously you couldn't help that). I can't stand still in one spot for any length of time before my legs start to swell up, got to keep moving!
    I heard that Doug Storey is a good guy, he makes a lot of sense :)

  7. Trackcoach2482/06/2013

    I heard that Doug Storey was a pretty good guy too. Thank you for the kind words. Most of us, unless we are fortunate enought to be professional runners, have jobs, kids, and all the other trappings of a life beyond running. In order to make this thing of being competitive work, we have to try to be wholistic about working training in with our "other life". Therefore it does become a lifestyle rather than just workouts. Sometimes you have to "bag" a workout, sometimes despite what is going on in our other lives the workout serves as a catharsis to help us with the rest of the day. I use a book called "The TAO of Joy - Every Day" and one of the first entry's into it states: "Every step you take is important as the first because your journey is the sum of all your steps". So there, that is about as freaking philosophical as I can get. "Trust me, I'm a geologist".

  8. That Geologist line never gets old! :D

  9. I really thought I had commented on this, but i must be losing it!

    There is so much information packed in here...like your weekly mileage, hints at frequency of workouts...very juicy. :) You are probably right. Not over trained, just under-rested and maybe under-hydrated. But that rest might be the one piece to the puzzle that you need in order to go sub 3 - and keep from getting hurt/ill doing it.

    I really like your strategy to get someone in your room so you can USE THE BATHROOM. My goodness girl, you don't get to go all day long?? I would have one of those hospital mobile potties If I didn't get someone to give me a break. That's in your contract, I think. 2 breaks in 8 hours... :)