Week #8: “So it turns out this isn’t easy”

DAY | PLAN | ACTUAL
MON | REST | REST
TUE | 3M/STRENGTH | 3.2M (8:56/MI)/STRENGTH
WED | 6M | 6.2M (10:26/MI)
THU | 3M/STRENGTH | 3.1M HILL INT (9:20/MI)/STRENGTH
FRI | REST | REST
SAT | REST | REST
SUN | 13.1M | 14.0 (10:23/MI)
TOTAL |25.1 MILES | 26.5 MILES

A blogger friend commented so rightfully the other day that she doesn’t really fret about “bad” weeks in training anymore, because she knows a good week is coming up right after it. I feel like I’ve been following a similar pattern. While there haven’t really been any “bad” weeks, there have been tough weeks that have been followed by a gorgeous string of strong runs where I feel like I can fly.

Enter week 8–the most challenging son of a bitch thus far! While week 7 was a real confidence booster, I did end the week feeling a bit drained. My body and my brain were exhausted since the beginning of last week which meant running and writing were a serious trudge. I need a massage, but I haven’t been able to fit it in. I’ve forced myself to foam roll all week but I’ve still maintained a fair amount of soreness. On top of that, I finally had to say goodbye to my last pair of Clifton 1 running shoes. Cliftons are by Hoka and I have stockpiled the 1’s from EBay and have been wearing them for several years. Sadly, I was at over 400 miles on my last pair and I knew it was time to say goodbye. (It seems like my whole body starts to feel sore early on a run when I need new shoes so I go based on that and mileage.) So, that means this week was spent breaking in my new Clifton 3s. I’ll be honest, I don’t love them. At all. It’s kind of making me sad just writing about it. The Clifton 1’s changed everything for me–they were like running on pillows– I just felt like they really forced less impact on my body when I ran. My new shoes are not as light and not as cushiony. I think I’ll soldier on in them for the next few hundred miles of training (how fucking crazy does that sound!) but look for something I feel better in for my taper weeks and the actual race.

One thing I’ve learned about training–and about life for that matter, is that a bright spot always seems to emerge from the fog. In spite of feeling stiff, sore, and tired all week, my 14 mile run on Sunday was a definite triumph. While my training plan called for a half marathon, I was anxious to push past that threshold for the very first time and run the furthest I have ever ran. Besides my feet feeling sore earlier than I feel like they should (I blame the new kicks), the run felt great and I was really happy with my pacing. Check out those last 4 miles! I am always happy when I am able to push it at the end of the run and pick up speed, it makes me feel like I have fueled correctly and conserved my energy efficiently. As the runs get longer, I’m really focusing on slowing down even more, especially earlier in the run. It’s an immense confidence builder to be able to finish strong and fast. (Yeah that’s right, I called myself fast. You heard it.)

IMG_0381

I finished this 14 miles in the park and forced myself to walk a mile before heading up the hill to my apartment. (I’ve been making this extra mile of walking a practice after long runs and it has worked to relieve a good bit of my muscle soreness.) I’m not gonna lie, I was in some pain. In some ways it was a humbling experience for me. It’s as if I had gotten so wrapped up in training, I had forgotten that I was trying to do something that I have never done before, something that was actually sort of, well, hard.

So many of you people that I have had the privilege of getting to know through my blog and yours, are superstar athletes. I know you don’t call yourselves that, but I consider people who have run multiple marathons and/or are dipping their toes in the ultra world, to be seriously impressive. And the triathletes, forget about it. Since my emergence into this new world I think I briefly fooled myself into thinking I was one of you! As I limped around in the park after my long run I felt confused and disappointed. Why am I so sore? I wondered this, probably out loud, since I have a tendency to not filter or stifle myself when I’m exhausted. Then it hit me–running 14 miles is a big deal! I’ve never done it before! I think with getting into a real groove in training and going back and forth with people who basically live in race prep mode, I had taken for granted that all of this was new for my mind and my body. I had lost sight of the fact that I am pushing them both further than they have ever gone before.

When all these thoughts finally came together for me on Sunday it made me insanely grateful. The second half of my cool-down walk was spent talking to my body. I told it how awesome it was and how thankful I am that it’s hanging with me and continuing it’s willingness to grow. I reminded it that this was week 8, and that I needed it to keep on this path and prepare for even more intensity over the next 2 1/2 months. I promised it that I would continue to treat it well. I would rest plenty. I would fuel it with whatever it told me it needed. And most of all, I would listen.

I walked out of that park feeling complete; like my mind, my body, and my heart, are all working together now. Every part of me is all in. When I got home and logged my last miles of week 8 on the fridge, I glanced at my chicken scratch that now covered a good chunk of the page, and that thought came to me again: It’s for real…you’re doing it. This is pretty cool.

 

 

Whether it’s training for a race or starting a new job or having a kid–when did you realize the big thing you were trying to do was really big? At what point did you go–“Ahh, I see why not everyone does this?!” Come on, I want some stories…

 

 

 

header image: vance osterhout

50 thoughts on “Week #8: “So it turns out this isn’t easy”

  1. Oh my gosh I loved that! It’s so true! I wanted to comment before I even finished reading ha! But really I have been annoyed at myself in the past.. how crummy I’ve felt after a long hard run, expecting myself to feel better, but it’s so true! Though I’ve run a few marathons, it’s been years! I ran 20 miles yesterday (my marathon is in 3 weeks) and I was a crumpled heap at the end and a little hard on myself for a minute, but then was reminded by my sweet husband that-holy shit I ran 20 miles! Hours of RUNNING! That’s hard stuff hahaah I read somewhere that with marathon training, we need to respect the distance-put in the work and the miles. That it’s really real. Hitting “the wall” and getting through it is hard! And painful! Ugh.. I’m a little scared because this was my longest run I’ll get in this training cycle and thinking about adding 6 more miles on top of that hell seems almost impossible. But it’s not and we can definitely do it!

    I was also in NY last week and was so blessed to run in Central Park for the first time! You live there right? It was AMAZING! What a trip! It was slow, cuz I had to stop and take millions of photos, but I loved every minute of it.

    Like

  2. I never thought I could run a half marathon, then I flipped my frame of though and accepted the challenge. While training sucks, you learn a lot about your capabilities, persistence and how amazing the human body is. Fitness truly changes SO much of your biology for the good while training.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s pretty amazing what we can do when we change our thinking!! I think the body and mind influence each other–the body does something amazing and changes the limits of the mind–the mind gains this perspective and pushes the body even further. It’s a pretty awesome process, right?

      Like

  3. I hear what you’re saying about recognising the gravity of an accomplishment. When we’re immersed in running or fitness or any other passion, its really easy to forget that its taken effort and discipline to get where you are, even if that feels like ‘standard’. Everyone has someone who they look at as doing extraordinary things.

    My friends and family who don’t run think it’s incredible when I go for a long, slow training run that might be further than they travel by foot in an average month. And I look up to the people who turn up at parkrun on a Saturday and run a 5K in under 18 minutes: it seems superhuman to me, but the men and women who do this (particularly the ones who are in the veteran or masters age category) are an inspiration to me. And beyond that, I’m sure the super-fast athletes think nothing of their incredible times, but are similarly wowed-and-inspired by national standard runners as I am of the speedy parkrunners. In my experience, if you’re passionate and dedicated about something, you will inspire someone and the people who inspire you are inspired by someone else.

    That’s a really solid training week, fantastic run! Finishing strong feels great and I’ve found it to be the best way for me to run well and as fast as is feasible. Getting to the point where you can run within yourself and then really push is a good feeling.

    To answer the question at the end of your post, thus far, it’s probably running marathon distance in a training run. I had the intention to wake up early and put in a long run. At this point my furthest was 20 miles, and I ended up waking up at about 4AM feeling rather fresh. I went out along a trail path that is not at all well lit at this time of the morning, walking for about two miles mainly so I could avoid getting knocked over! I got to about 18 miles thinking I’m feeling good (relatively speaking), I’ll try for 26.2 as its not everyday I get to this point. The last 10K was hard, run at a very slow pace even considering the walking I’d done in the dark. To imagine doing this distance in an event, being competitive with myself and chasing performance: that was the ‘oh’ moment so far!

    I have a pair of Clifton 2’s! Its strange because although they have a wide base, they don’t have a huge amount of width in terms of room for toe splay: it took me a while to come to terms with this as I like more room up front, but I do like them for easy runs and when my feet feel a little beat up. Also see you’re on Garmin Connect, could I send you an invite?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for all of this, you’ve said a lot. You’re so right that all of us are inspiring someone. It’s funny though, the people that inspire me in writing and other things I want to be good at are people who are “better” or stronger than me in that pursuit. Funnily enough though, running is different. I’m less inspired by the super runners. Don’t get me wrong, they are all amazing. I’m wowed by them, but I’m actually much more inspired by the people who don’t think they can call themselves runners. The ones doing couch to 5ks. The ones who start from nothing and were never athletic but just ride on guts and determination and just keep at it. It’s interesting, your post just really made me think about who inspires me and it was a little different than I realized!
      I’ll let you know how the shoes work out for sure, I hope I find something that works well. As far as Garmin Connect, I don’t think I really use the features that connect with other people, I just track my runs.
      Thanks so much for reading and for all your thoughts, they really made me think!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for making it through the entire comment, I did ramble on for a while! I can see where you’re coming from re: the people who thought they could never do it, and then through effort and sheer grit, they get from the couch to 5K or whatever the goal might have been. I’ve heard professional marathon and ultrarunners say they are really inspired by the middle- and back-of-the-pack competitors because, although they aren’t going as quickly, they are out on the course for so much longer (which could be anywhere from 4 hours to 15+ with some of these long endurance races). Glad my comment inspired some thoughts: this is what I’m after from WordPress, interesting posts where the author and readers have something to say.

        I haven’t looked at the Hoka shoe range for quite a while, but I would definitely consider a new pair once I’ve worn out my Cliftons.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Look at you go!!! 14 miles is hard work!! It’s crazy how much work that extra mile can be, but you did it!! Just think of all the milestones you’ll be conquering over the next 2 month… stay strong, stay fast!!

    I’m hoping that cooler temps in Chicago will make all the miles a breeze. This summer has been the hardest to train in, it’s making not want to do another!! This morning’s 8 miler seemed harder than Saturday’s 18??!! We had a feels like 90 with 80% humidity at 4:30a!! I’m looking forward to the cut back this weekend.

    I hope you find a shoe that works for you!! I found the Bondi and I’m sticking with it! The hubs has 3 different Hoka styles in his rotation, talk about a shoe snob!!!

    Congrats again on the 14 miler!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Jodi! OMG, can’t believe it was so hot so early! I am sure the cooler temps are going to make a huge difference. I have a feeling you are gonna feel like you are flying in Chicago!!
      For me the 7/8 milers during the week are tougher than the weekend long run, I think just cause of the mental part. Having to get it in in a certain amount of time and get showered and get to work. I’m adjusting to them but they are tough! I have a cutback week this week as well. Crazy when you get to the point where 10-12 miles sounds light 🙊.
      And thanks on the shoes. I ordered the Bondi and 4 others, so hopefully one of them will work!!
      Thanks Jodi, have a great weekend!! x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh my!! I just realized that I haven’t replied to blog comments from last week!! I apologize for the delay, I must have been dreaming that I took care of them!!

        You are right on target with the time restraint for the mid-week long runs. My boss is nice enough to let me come in an hour late, so I feel guilty if I get our late and try to push it for the scheduled miles. Happened this week, I didn’t start until after 5a and knew I had to 8 miles, shower and report to work by 8a!! I didn’t make either of my 8s!!

        I hope you’re having a great week!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations on the 14 miler, that’s awesome! I think my moment was the 20 miler. And it wasn’t so much the miles it was preparing for it- trying to find a way to run that many miles in my town and figuring out what I may need.

    I hate when shoes change. I used to be a die hard Brooks Pure Flow lover but they have changed so much that I just can’t. It took me a year to find another pair of shoes I liked. Good luck with the Hokas!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Fallon! Yeah it’s going to be quite something when I finally hit 20 miles, no idea what that’s going to be/feel like! I’ll see soon enough 😍. That’s a good point you make about preparing for runs-as the mileage gets higher, so does the prep. For me even the 7 or 8 miles runs during the week require more prep–so different than the 3 milers at the beginning of training!

      Like

  6. Congrats on a great long run! I was a minimalist kind of runner when Hokas first came out and they seemed to be the opposite of what I liked to run in. Years later, when training was starting to wear me down I decided to try the Clifton 3s. I love them as a trainer. Makes me really wish I’d tried the Clifton 1s now. You got any in a men’s 12.5? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Cat, I agree with you that this is what the whole thing is about. Discovering that you are strong and fast. Your strong and fast may be different from anothers, which is not the point. Its not a worthy adventure if its easy (although the ways in which difficulty manifests can by highly variable) and also if the outcome is completely known in advance. Allowing for all the surprises along the way is the good part. And by the way, this infant triathlete thinks you marathoners and half marathoners are very tough–I actually find mixing things up is much easier on my body than doing all one thing. And since I have no illusions of Ironman events, my hope is that my older body will hold up better this way. Well done, you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Steph,. You know I have heard that the variation in triathlons is so much better for your body too. It makes sense–rather than the repetitive pounding into the cement all the time! My problem is I’m pretty sure I’d kill myself or someone else on a bike. And swimming consistently DESTROYS my hair. (I know everyone says wear a swimcap but they do not suffice for this big head of hair!). I wish i could swim–especially right now it just sounds like it would feel so great to exercise with no impact. My mom is an incredible swimmer, she goes almost everyday, for as long as I can remember.

      Love what you said about how strong and fast is different for everyone. I am getting that– you see, that’s why i went ahead and called myself fast in that paragraph, did you see that? 🙂 Thanks Steph! x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. yes, I did see that. You called yourself both strong and fast in that article, and I smiled when I saw that, cause thats so cool! Hadn’t thought about big hair and swimming and caps, and as I look at your picture, I can see that it would be an enormous challenge. One of the women who works in my building and is a lifelong runner also does running in the water, so that she gets a break from the pounding. And since your head stays above the water, your hair might be less of an issue.. All the considerations that go into our choices of activities, its really quite amazing.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. qplourde

    Running 14 miles IS a big deal. LOL I’m saying this as all of this is so new to me. I hear you on the massage as well – I actually have a GIFT certificate but with my work and running schedule, I’m not able to fit it in. I may need to take drastic action. Great read.

    Like

  9. So the week leading up to my ultra I popped into a local running store to buy a thermal layer. As I knew I would be going through the night and I can suffer in the cold from bad circulation, I didn’t want to take any risks. However as this was spring time and we were having a particularly hot one in Kent, the shop owner inquired as to what I needed it for. “I’m doing The Wall.” I told him, his smile dropped slightly “Oh dear”, was his reply. This was the point when I properly wondered what I had got myself into. But I can honestly say it was the best thing I’ve done so far, as far as challenging myself goes. Any thing, any distance that you know will push you feels amazing after. Excited for you to get this buzz in November😁

    Just wanted to pass on something regarding your shoes. I’ve been reading lately about how too much cushioning can actually be more harmful than good. If you get a chance check out ‘Born to run’ by Christopher McDougall. His stuff is really opening up my eyes and mind to how I train and what I’m doing to myself.

    Keep it up 💪

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Definitely looking forward to that feeling/buzz you are talking about Debbie! It’s amazing that you have been able to continuously challenge yourself at greater distances–you must be learning an incredible amount about yourself.

      Thanks for the heads up about the shoes! I have read a lot of that research as well–I’ve read it a bit both ways. I know a lot of people have talked about that book, I should probably check it out. All i know for me right now is that i always tried to run in a much lighter not cushioned shoe, and I ran into some pain in several different areas. Now definitely not all of that was attributable to my footwear, but, since switching to Hokas, I have had less pain and just feel like they help with the impact of road running. I can really see the minimal or barefoot thing with people who were born to be runners–but that is just not my build. I have the heart of a runner, but not the body! I am not light on my feet, i have a larger, very solid, structure. There is not a lot of grace or beauty in my stride!
      That being said, I just ordered a pretty wide range of shoes cause I have got to find something new, so we will see what i end up with. I appreciate your advice, please never hesitate to give it here! x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m mostly learning that I don’t learn, and still keep getting injuries from pushing too much 😂 but I want to change this. I’ve also learned my body can go alot further than I ever imagined, so long as I stop being a dick to it!

        Good luck with the shoes, hope you hit the jackpot. Definitely check out that book though, it’s a really interesting read even if it doesn’t make you want to throw out the shoes and gallop down your street onatural 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah man, yeah hopefully you can find the balance you need with your body. I have to listen to mine, it kind of won’t stay with me and cooperate the way I want it to if I don’t. We’ve got a deal 😍.
        I will check out that book for sure eventually as well. It’s funny cause I’m a big barefoot person normally, kind of known for it around my office. Just not in running!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. After our first marathon, my running buddy and I tried to run another marathon around 6 months later in spring 2012. However, rainy flooded roads, and allergies/sinuses, caused us to change our minds to do the half marathon component with the race.

    Since then, I’ve never thought I’d run a full marathon again. I was happy running just one. But this year, my running has just clicked…I’m finally eating well (but I do splurge too) and staying consistent with my schedule. After a spring and summer beating PRs across the board is different races, my craziness begged me to see exactly how far I could take Runner Erin, and thus, I am now running my second full marathon!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m right there with you with the shoe problems. I do not have a good go to shoe at the moment.
    I like what you said about ‘coming out of the fog’. I use that thinking with injuries too. Knowing that the hard weeks won’t last forever makes fighting through so much easier. I used a similar analogy the other day with my daughter. We have had a couple of rough weeks and we concluded that we can ‘see the light at the end of the tunnel’ and we are almost there. The smallest bit of hope makes a world of difference.
    Another great post! ☺️

    Like

    1. Just ordered 5 different shoes from Hoka. They let you run in them as much as you want and you can return them within 30 days for free, no questions asked. I am hoping one of them works for me! I am guessing Hoka is way too much shoe for you, you’re a minimalist gal, right?

      Also, love hearing about your stories with your kids–seems like there is so much you learn from your training that you are teaching them as well. It’s pretty great! x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d be really interested to hear thoughts on the Hoka shoes when you’ve had a chance to run in them! I’m a shoe obsessive after working in a sports shop for seven years and have tried minimal, maximal and most things in between (I mentioned in my other comment I’ve got a pair of Clifton 2s). Always interesting to hear other people’s experience with shoes.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Awwww yea, 14 miles and rocking it!!
    But what I took away from that most is that when the doubt crept in, you were able to flip the switch from negative to positive self-talk – and that’s what’s going to take you to the finish!
    Amazing work girl 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah lady, 14, but I sure didn’t feel like i was rocking it when I was limping my bag of bones through the park! LOL. But yeah, thank you, I made it happen despite those doubts. I am not sure what I would without you and other athlete/bloggers guiding me along the way! It’s been so helpful knowing that all the mental things that come up are normal, that I am not alone in feeling doubtful or fearful–that it is all a part of it. As always, thanks for the support!! x

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Great job! The one and only marathon I ran was enough for me, so I stick with half marathons. My body just wasn’t cut out for marathons. I think anything over about 10 miles is a lot, so anyone that can run that far is a rock star in my book!
    Donna

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Donna! I think I am the same as you, we will see! I love the half. I think a typical comfortable but challenging week for me is about 18-20 miles. I don’t think I could sustain the 30-40 mile weeks required for training on a consistent basis–takes so much of your body, and your mind–not to mention time!

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Hanna

    Awww that’s me! I was the blogger friend that said that!

    Don’t diminish your accomplishment – 14 miles IS a big deal! We all start somewhere. I’ve run 3 marathons, but at the beginning of this summer, the half marathon distance was a very long run for me and it felt like a big deal to hit that distance. I still remember training for my first 26.2 and what it felt like to run those distances for the first time.

    And that’s a really nice fast finish! Those types of runs will benefit you so much on race day. Keep hangin in there – the good runs often show up when we least expect them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You were the blogger friend Hanna :). I’ve got all the best people in my head all the time!!

      Thanks for your honesty about the half feeling like a big distance even after running 3 fulls. I don’t feel like very many marathoners admit that! And I love the half, I think it’s my favorite distance–totally doable but still such a challenge.

      And yes, I’ve been finishing fast pretty well. After the run on Sunday I wondered if as the distance increases I should slow down even more, or just try to keep the pace I have been keeping. I imagine it will start to get tougher. But I guess I should also trust myself a little a see how i feel when I am out there. Thanks Hanna!

      Like

  15. 14 miles IS a big deal! And it IS hard! I know what you mean about forgetting sometimes how big/hard/significant something is when you’re doing it – especially when you’re in the mode of reading about other people doing it regularly. It’s only when I hear myself say it out loud to someone outside of that world that I realize DAMN that IS a huge accomplishment!

    For me, personally, this does happen when I talk about long runs or races. I forget that it’s not routine for most people to run crazy hard races or runs in the forest! But when I’m doing it, it feels like I’m just doing something that all sorts of people do all the time. And while that’s true, it’s not something that people I know personally do all the time.

    Another big area for me where this happens is around the weight I’ve lost in the past year and a half. I completely forget what a HUGE deal it is and how most people haven’t done what I’ve done. It’s a huge confidence booster to remember that, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean Michelle. I don’t hang around a bunch of marathon runners in real life–whenever I do and they ask me how much I ran that day they are so amazed by even small (to me) numbers. It is a confidence boost. It’s also humbling. It makes me really grateful that i have such a strong body and strong mind and they allow me to try to do things like this! So many people I meet say to me, “I could NEVER run a marathon.” And I say, “Oh no, you could if you trained.” And they turn and look at me so seriously and say, “No, it’s ok, I really know myself, I could never do that.” I feel lucky to know that i have the will and the strength to push myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Amazing Cat! I’m having that ‘this is real’ thought a lot now, just 3.5 weeks out from my first marathon. I won’t lie – I’ll now be glad when it’s done and I can lie-in beyond 5.30am. But I’ll be doing that knowing that I am a Marathon Runner 🏃🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha Paula I know what you mean!! I can’t believe there are people who run more than one of these a year!! It’s not just the physical but the mental as well, I would be exhausted all the time, like a rag doll!
      You keep up the amazing work as well, we are on our way 😘.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Congrats on 14; that’s awesome.

    I’m aware I really don’t have much advice to give, but did you consider getting fitted at a running store, now that your cherished Clifton 1s have departed? Perhaps the 3s aren’t what you need?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Matt! Yeah, I have gotten fitted at a store years ago but I probably need to go back. It’s on the list to do for sure but glad you spoke up, I prob need a bit of a push! Thanks for that, and thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I will keep going. I definitely think I’ve reached the part where I’m surprising myself at every turn because I’m stronger than I imagined. I think this might be what this whole shebang is all about 😉.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s