Week 12: “Respect the Distance”

DAY | PLAN | ACTUAL
MON | REST | REST
TUE | 4M/STRENGTH | 4.1M (8:52/MI)/STRENGTH
WED | 8M | 8M (10:11/MI)
THU | 5M/STRENGTH | 5.1M HILL INT (9:56/MI)/STRENGTH
FRI | REST | REST
SAT | YOGA | BIKRAM90
SUN | 12M | 13.1M (10:19/MI)
TOTAL |29 MILES | 30.3 MILES

The past two weeks before this one, I busted out two pretty solid long runs–a 15 and a 16 miler. I felt so confident after that 16 miler with my friend Summers, that I told you all that I ended the run thinking, 10 more miles doesn’t seem so crazy. Alas, that confidence mutated into cockiness and drove me a bit into the ground on this 7 day go-round.

Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself. I wouldn’t say the whole week was shit. I had great workouts on both Tuesday and Thursday. It hasn’t been easy maintaining my commitment to strength training twice a week–there are so many times I wake up exhausted and think how much easier it would be to sleep another half hour, and just get the required run in. But staying healthy and injury free is one of the most important parts of this process for me so I’ve stuck with the strength and I feel like it’s paying off. Also, while the shorter runs on these strength training days are a real challenge, I’ve gotten to viewing them as an opportunity to witness my growth and improvement which seem easier to see when I am working on speed and hills. They’ve become something to look forward to. Both runs are short enough that I can really push myself to the limit–mentally I am able to know how temporary the pain and exhaustion are. While it would be easier to just make Thursday’s 5 miler flat and quick, I challenge myself with hill intervals that feel pretty brutal at times. I know that besides how helpful the practice on the inclines will be for the actual marathon, I’m also toughening up my mind and teaching my body that it can work through fatigue and discomfort.

Alright, back to my Sunday long run, aka, the run that put me in check. You should have heard me the night before–babbling on about how short and easy my run was going to be. I was on a step down week, and after hitting that 16 mark the week before, 12 miles sounded like nothin’. In fact, it sounded like so little to me that I decided to ignore the specifics of my training plan and log an easy breezy half marathon instead.

Easy breezy, it was not. And really, why should it have been? A half marathon is nothing to sneeze at. In fact it’s the very distance I have trained to conquer several times before. It’s whooped my ass plenty, and boy did it ever on Sunday. I could try and blame the hot weather but the truth is, it’s been warm and humid and sunny throughout this past three months of training–my body is as acclimated as it can be. I’ll also try to lay a bit of this struggle on my sore legs. I’m stretching, I’m foam rolling, but really I’m dragging these babies around these days. I told a co-worker on Thursday that I wished I had a wheelchair to roll around in at work. I’m not in pain, but the normal heavy walking demands of living in a city are starting to feel a bit dreadful with all the extra mileage.

Finally though, if I am being honest, I think the laboriousness of my 13 miler on Sunday was largely due to my attitude. I didn’t respect the distance. I’ve approached every other long run with this “can-do” attitude backed by a bit of hope. I’ve believed that I can run every distance but I’ve also acknowledged each extra mile as a worthy challenge. Heading out on this run cocky was about as helpful as starting from mile 1 defeated. Basically I was “shoulding” myself all over Brooklyn.

You should be able to run this no problem. You should be able to run faster, this is a short distance for you now. You shouldn’t have to stop to refill your water bottle already, just push through.

My brain was even more exhausted than my body after this one. But, as always, it was a great lesson. In order to see myself through all of this, I’ve got to remain right-sized. I’m not the shit. I’m also not a piece of shit. I’m a worker among workers and I can trust that relying on this process will get me where I want to go. I want to be mentally tough but also mentally balanced, so I need to respect the goals that I have set for myself.

I finished that 13 miler at a decent pace–while not close to my fastest half time it’s still faster than I will be able to maintain for the marathon. But the time didn’t make me happy. I was too discouraged by that “should” voice in my head the whole time. It made me realize that running will never just be about pace for me. I didn’t look at my speed and think the end justified the means. Just like in life–I’ve never been a “win at any cost” sort of person. I care how I get places, the end result doesn’t ever mean as much as I think it will. So why do I obsess over it so much?

Man, I tell ya…lessons around every corner with this thing.

What have you learned this week? About yourself? About what you want out of training, or out of a relationship, or out of life? Have you ever gotten what you thought you wanted and realized it was rather unfulfilling? Shout it out here…

 

 

header: bec brown

47 thoughts on “Week 12: “Respect the Distance”

  1. Pingback: Week 13: “The Strongest Me I’ve Met Yet” – cat h. bradley

  2. I remember during marathon training when 12 miles was a short run, man that bit me in the butt too! Running is crazy, I remember breezing a 20 miler then struggling with 5 miles a few weeks later. I ran a half marathon on Sunday slower than I ran both halfs of the full marathon 4 months ago!
    I’m impressed that you are keeping up those strength workouts I stopped them when the mileage went up and I’m still trying to get my arm and core strength back now! Keep going you’ve got this!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Running is crazy especially for that reason you say. Some of my hardest runs have been the shorter ones. Thursday’s are often my toughest just cause it’s my third day of running in a row and I’m just dying for that Friday rest day.
      Yeah, I’ve really committed to the lifting but it hasn’t been easy-i 100% get why people quit on it and just do the runs–it’s already so much and lifting with your legs and then running can really suck it up sometimes. But, with that said, it feels like the work has paid off. I can’t believe I haven’t had any pain in my knees this whole time–it actually makes me a bit emotional!! To go from 2 years ago when I thought I might not be able to run even mid distance anymore to now be training for the big kahuna with no pain–pretty thrilled. Hopefully I’ll make myself stick with the strength!!
      Thanks for hoppin’ around the blog today lady, you know I’m always thrilled to have you 😘.

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  3. Oh how I love this post. I am not nearly as strong of a runner as you and I still could have written something very similar. I particularly loved your statement, “I’ve got to remain right-sized.” Man, this running gig….it’s tough. But we are going to be tougher in the end, right? Happy running – you are doing amazing!

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  4. Been there! It sounds like you adequately tired yourself out. I don’t know if you follow a structured training schedule, but I think it’s why step-downs, like you mentioned, exist. Keep at it! I admire you for your bi-weekly strength training! I wish I was as dedicated, but I’m a major sucker for the snooze button and there’s just not enough hours in the day 😉

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  5. Another excellent post! And your questions at the end make me think about what I have learned this week…yesterday I climbed the Grouse Grind…it’s my summer challenge. It’s dubbed Nature’s Stair climber and it’s just over 3km of stairs and climbing straight up the mountain. I always try to beat my time, every time. Yesterday I learned that some days you can just finish. That it’s okay not to push, that it’s okay to just get ‘er done. My partner always says, there’s a bottom and a top…just get there. Yesterday I went with that approach and instead of beating myself up all the way up the mountain, I listened to my music, to my heavy breathing and to my thoughts…you got this! Thanks for making it real and relatable!

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    1. Thank you for this Jane! I definitely understand the “get ‘er done” attitude, especially now being in training. I think this is the first time I’ve really come to understand that having that attitude isn’t failing–it’s being a hard working adaptable human being.

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  6. Bad runs are the best lessons. It sucked, it hurt, your mindset was wrong, your confidence was overstated, your brain went wandering…but you got through it. The shit runs are the things that get me through races so while I’m never happy to hear a fellow runner having a tough day…I’m glad it happened! And even happier that you wrote about it and treated it in the right manner.

    I have to laugh reading this back – I’m trying to sound all Yoda when I basically make all this running stuff up as I go along!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, you may be making it up but it’s making perfect sense to me!
      It gives me some comfort to think that the shitty runs are really what i am going to pull strength from in the race. Why wouldn’t it be that way? If I feel awful at mile 15 in the race am I going to think, “but what about all those great runs, fuck, they didn’t feel like this at all?!” No, I am going to think, “alright, I’ve felt awful like this before, and i have finished. I have proof that i can do this–so i’m gonna keep on.” Ah, man Nik, I needed this–it’s not like the concept is so new to me but the way you said it really made me absorb and understand it. Really valuable advice. Thank you Yoda!

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      1. Glad to be of service! My biggest wish for you on the big day is that it all feels awful for the first few miles – that’s generally my cue for a PB or a decent rest of the race 🙂 Funny how as a runner each us kind of know this stuff deep down but it helps to have someone remind us every now and then 🙂

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  7. I was in the same position a couple of weeks ago where the midweek runs just felt so hard. I’m really committed to eating healthy too so trying to prepare healthy meals and do training just made me feel like a zombie! It’s all good training and you will get through it and run a really amazing marathon.

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    1. It’s funny with the healthy eating–it can be a challenge cause it does require more prep. I thought i might cheat more during training, but i really haven’t because eating shitty has such a negative effect on how i feel and perform.
      You are going to do great as well. When is your marathon again?

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  8. I’ve learned over the past 20 weeks that these types of weeks are good for us. It’s where we learn, they stop us becoming complacent. This running lark is hard, and takes its toll on our bodies. The further you go into the plan, the more tired you’re gonna get before the big taper. However, if I learned anything from my marathon on Sunday it’s that I didn’t spend enough time on tired legs grinding out a run when it got ‘hard’. Because that WILL happen in the race – for me that was mile 19 onwards. So embrace it, lean in to it, and then when the taper comes, enjoy it 😊

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    1. Saving me from complacency seems to be a bit of a theme in the advice I am getting–and i know you are right.
      It seems crazy to me to think you didn’t spend enough time on tired legs Ali–i think the marathon is a tough distance–it seems elite runners and novices alike are hitting that wall just as you did. But I am heeding that advice as well. I did this morning–only a five mile run but my legs were telling me it wasn’t possible. It was, it got done. Leaning in!! Thanks Ali.

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    1. Thanks Jodi! It doesn’t feel like rockin’ it this week, but I’m gonna keep on truckin’. It’s funny you say that about 5 miles–I think i had one of my toughest 5 milers ever on old milly this morning. The whole time i kept thinking “i wish this run was 3 miles, instead of 5 miles.” But i did it– I got the 5 in. That’s what this is all about right? Doing it anyway. Oy vey lady. I’m tired. x

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  9. Ah, the strength training battle. You know that speaks directly to me. Keep it up, girl! I heard on a podcast, I think it was How Was Your Run Today, the theory that having more bad training runs makes it less likely that your race day will be one of those bad runs. It sort of gets them out of the way. Now I tell myself this after any crappy run and it helps me to let it go.

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    1. I DO know this speaks directly to you! How is your strength going? I meant to comment on a post of yours the other day but I am not sure if I did. I will have to check. I think you were talking about struggling to fit everything you want to in. While we aren’t super human, and sometimes we really will just fail to be able to do everything we want to–sometimes I just try to get on the “just keep it moving” track. Like, I can’t intellectualize or really know the HOW of how i am going to do everything I want to, rather I am just going to start doing it–taking one thing at a time, and hoping for the best. I have been doing that for a while now and shocking myself–i am a lot more productive than i thought i could be. I think maybe not expending the energy worrying about how i am going to fit everything in is sometimes the extra time i need.
      I like your theory on the bad runs and then good race–I am going to mentally hold on to that one, i am going to need it!! x

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      1. “I think maybe not expending the energy worrying about how i am going to fit everything in is sometimes the extra time i need.” <- YES! I KNOW I'm wasting so much time writing and re-writing down routines and schedules trying to see how I can best utilize my time and my peaks and valleys in my daily energy and I just need to stop planning and DO! As for my strength training, this week has been good! I think I've found a routine that works. I'm not going to mess with it and see how it works in the coming weeks.

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  10. Respect the distance, indeed, Cat. Also respect the runner. I get surprised at how often I can lose track of what it is I am doing and how hard or complex it might be. I think it comes along with “getting used” to something, distance, work, relationship, all manner of things. Once we are used to something and it becomes “normal”, we tend to devalue it, losing track of its true nature (and ours as well in the process).
    I guess that’s one of the big challenges of living, being present to whatever it is that is occurring in the moment. Washing dishes, running, working, loving. Being aware and at the same time moving along, rather than getting stuck in one place. Ive come to appreciate the value of losing track of stuff, and how the pain of that, such as your Sunday run, becomes such a useful teacher. Do I like those lessons? Not particularly. Am I caring about it less and judging myself less when things go that way? Yes. Its getting easier to give an oh well, I am human response to things, and release those poisonous shoulds and oughts.
    Once again, an article that I really enjoyed Cat, and that provokes good pondering. Thanks!

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    1. It strikes me that you mentioned all these other things besides training–relationships, work, whatever. You’re right, the dips are wake up calls, reminders. I guess otherwise we’d all be living and loving and running like zombies.
      Right now I’m going through a patch where i kind of feel like I am failing at everything. Your thought about remembering that i am human and releasing the poisonous shoulds and oughts helps. Whether I believe them or not–they aren’t moving me closer to my goals or happiness, so letting them go is the best I can do for myself.
      Thanks Steph.

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  11. I have to say, my 10 mile race was literally as straight as possible. I thought the first 5 miles of hills would do me in, but no! It was the 3 flat, straight miles, with literally nothing around me but other runs and trees. It was BORING! And I couldn’t overcome the boredom of the run, not even by flipping through my playlist and finding a better song. But I goofed around, took some race selfies once I got to the bridge, and then finally across the river and with one mile left, I got my pace back. My 10th mile wasn’t my fastest, but my fastest of the last 5 miles, and it’s given me a confidence that I can ‘weather the storm’ and finish 26.2. Good luck with your training this week, I can’t wait to hear about it.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean about boring races Erin. The Turkey Trot we usually do in my hub’s sister’s town is the flattest 10k ever. The first year when I heard people at the starting line saying how flat it was I was happy, but running it was kind of awful. With no variance the six miles seemed to go on FOREVER.
      Hope your training goes well this week also–how many weeks away are you now?

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  12. Oh yeah … I smiled to myself the other day when UM was heading out for an was 10k( his words) The very distance I train for. I’ve only JUST stopped comparing myself to him. I get into the loop of being kind to myself and almost immediately telling myself not to be so cocky…its awful really, wouldn’t treat my dog like that. You’re right, you’re always learning, love, love your blog. Always get something from it S x

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    1. The compare game is the worst–I’ve gotten better at quitting it but it’s not something that’s ever really “done ” for me unfortunately.
      You made me think about starting to recognize the voice I am using to talk to myself. When I first got sober my spons would always tell me to listen to that voice and make sure it’s a kind one, one you would use when speaking to a friend. Maybe I need to get back to that! x

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      1. My counsellor says we have 4 different voices we speak to ourselves with… The critical parent, the nurturing parent, the absent parent and the nurturing controlling( love conditional) parent, interesting.God, when did it all get so confusing lol…I’m off for a run…x

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  13. I find that running is 90%+ mental- it’s tough to overcome the brain sometimes. Keep your chin up though, you’re doing fabulous!
    You’ve also inspired me to try doing a hill during my morning runs, other than just my usual Saturday crunch:)

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    1. Thanks AJ!! Yeah, I’m not sure I would have said 90% before but I think I’m finding you are right. I should be grateful I am learning this during training and not during the race, right? 😂
      And yes, get after those hills girl!!

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    1. Hey Amanda, thanks!! I strength train two days a week. One day is more structured where I use the cable machine and and a lot of free weights and the bench. The other day I do more body weight and stability stuff-push ups, pull ups, lunges, squats, etc. I try to mix it up a bit. I do everything in circuits–at least 3 sets, 4 if I have time, with very little rest in between to keep the heart rate up.

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