Training for a marathon has not been easy, and there are a lot of days I wonder if I can even finish a marathon. Although I have a love/hate relationship I can proudly say that I can now run a half marathon distance and not feel like complete crap after, and I can still walk around the next day, that at least is a big improvement for me. I want to share with you my highs and lows and honest thoughts of training and running. Motivation is still a big struggle for me, there’s definitely days that I drag my feet before slipping on my running shoes, so I’m grateful to have the BF that is also on the same plan to motivate me. I always need to remind myself that there is never a day that I regret working out or going for a run.
Since I’ve been so focused on finishing the marathon I’ve looked to build endurance rather than speed. I don’t consider myself a fast runner in any way, I’m quite comfortable chipping away at a 9:00 – 9:30 pace for the majority of my shortertraining runs, however the competitive athlete in me would beg to differ. It’s been a bit of a struggle to balance these two “sides” of me out. On one hand, I’m thinking “just keep moving for 26.2 miles and you’ll accomplish something you’ve never done before!” On the other, I’m thinking “sorry girlfriend, slowing down to a 15:00 mile and walking on your long run isn’t going to cut it!” I have to constantly tell myself that my goal is to FINISH the marathon, not shatter any records. Even my goal of finishing the marathon seems out of reach and impossible on my horrible training days, because believe me they haven’t all been great. It’s been a bit hard to figure out the whole pacing thing when I’ve never run a marathon, also, I chose a wonderful marathon course with a lot of hills for my first go round (why didn’t I choose a flat one like SD or LA?) geez, great decision making! Oh well, I figure if I can finish 26.2 on hills, I can definitely look to improve pace on a flat course in the future, that is of course if I want to resume training again at some point in the future.
The other day I was looking at my runs on my Strava account, trying to see if I could notice if my times have been improving. It looks like although my averages have remained pretty constant, I have been able to increase mileage at the same pace, meaning I can run farther and maintain a certain pace. One of my recent training “highs” was a 7 mile run at Shoreline last week. I’ve never run out there before so getting to know a new trail was nice. Pro’s to shoreline: soft dirt/gravel, zero elevation (no hills!!), new things to look at, and it was pretty populated so I wasn’t afraid to run on my own. Cons: none really, except it smelled awful: It smelled like bird poop and other icky things. I guess the area where Shoreline is located used to be a dump for San Francisco’s trash until the city of Mountain View bought it from them and turned it into a park in the late 1960’s. I don’t know, maybe I’m being dramatic and high maintenance, but it still smelled like poop and trash to me. J Regardless of the smell, I had an awesome run and broke a few of my PR’s! I ran the 7 miles at average pace of 8:08, PR’d at my 10k pace in 50:20, and PR’d on my 5k in 24:56. I was honestly surprised when I looked down at my garmin and saw that I ran my 5th mile in 7:53, I don’t even remember the last time I ran a mile sub 8, especially one smack in the middle/towards the end of my run. I was also pretty stoked that I ran mile 8 in 7:56. Although I don’t run that pace often it was nice to know that my training has helped my endurance and I was happy that I didn’t feel like I overexerted myself to get there.
If you know me, you know that I have pretty awful allergies. I never had them as a kid, but I started to develop them during college. They’ve recently gotten a lot worse, so bad that I had to see an allergy doctor and be tested for my allergies. Turns out I’m allergic to a whole bunch of different grasses, pollens, mold, dust, and dog dander!!! (Oh no, Luna and Lucky!). My allergies affect me in different ways, I have sensitive skin and will scratch if I don’t take my daily zyrtec, my nose and throat itch constantly and I have a difficult time breathing when it gets really bad. I have this big ol air purifier that we placed right next to my bed to help me breathe easier while I sleep. Even with all my modifications and allergy meds my allergies found a new way to be pain in life, they resurfaced as ear pain! I’ve been dealing with ear pain/pressure for the last month, I’ve had my ear washed out, I’ve been prescribed drops, and still have had painful pressure in my ear and head. The doctor said that when pressure from my allergies in my sinuses builds up it sometimes has nowhere to go but into the ear canals. Gross right? Well I have to say it has been a painful experience. I’ve had muffled hearing and pain on the right side of my ear for two weeks. I felt like half of my head was underwater and I when I ran, I heard each foot step reverberate in my head. Not fun. Last Saturday Dave and I had an 18 mile run planned. We headed down to Morgan Hill to run a portion of the race course to give us a better idea of what things would be like on race day. We started really early, before the heat kicked in and I was good for about the first 8 miles, then slowed to a trot and fought to mile 10. Once I hit 10, I was done, I couldn’t even power walk. Dave walked the next 3 miles with me as I tried to recover and gather the strength to finish the last 5 of planned run but I just couldn’t do it. It was the first time that I gave up and abandoned a run. I found a shady spot off the road near Uvas Rd. and waited for Dave to run back to the car and pick me up. Ugh. Fail. I was so overwhelmed, felt nauseous, but most of all, I felt defeated. The run was definitely a huge blow to my confidence, I mean, if I ran the course and failed at the 10 mile mark, how could I possibly finish the full distance? I’ve honestly thought more than once to switch my registration to the half instead.
I’ve taken it “easy” this week. I’ve had 8 miles scheduled for M/W/F but because of my ear/head pain, I’ve had to cut back. I ran 5 miles (slow) on the treadmill on Monday and Tuesday this week because I wanted to be in a more controlled environment (treadmills have a steady pace, it’s climate controlled, and there are no hills or bumps in the road). I felt better yesterday after yet another trip to the doctor so I decided to head out for a 6 mile run. Verdict after the run: I feel at about 75%, very much improved from this weekend. I’ll probably rest tonight then try to complete the scheduled 8 mile run on Friday morning and look to a 20 miler on Saturday.
Cheers to getting better!