Tag Archives: slump

The Best Medicine….

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News Flash—-I have been ridiculously busy since the start of this school year. Yeah, I realize most people in the work force are, but this school year has really been a busy one. Our school day runs 8-3 each day, however, I am usually there by 7:40 AM, and have been staying until 6:00 PM or later each night. Planning for my new classes and staying ahead has been a priority. As for running. I have been able to do three runs a week after school with the Cross Country kids, but other than that, I haven’t been doing anywhere near what I was doing last year. My long runs tend to now just be when I have an event (Lethbridge Police Half, Bare Bones Half) and I am not really sure I am liking this. While the rest on my body is much needed, the consistency I was used to and valued the last year and a half is not there currently.

Yesterday, we had parent teacher interviews from 6:00-9:00 PM. This was after a morning of teaching, and an afternoon of professional development. A few of us went to dinner beforehand, and a friend of ours (who is not teaching this year) met us. We made a comment on how tan she looked. She hadn’t been tanning, but made a comment on how she has been going on walks mid day while the sun is out. What a rare concept for us locked in a building all day-outside…..fresh air…the sun! Today, during round 2 of Parent Teacher Interviews, a colleague came and sat down by me to ask how my running has been going. I lamented on how I am not going “as crazy” as last year but have some good events coming up, and that cross country with the kiddos was awesome. We chatted about my upcoming half marathon back in Milwaukee and my Spartan Races in January. I even mentioned how I am contemplating some crazy winter races in February. My best friend Ali, who is now a glorified runner in her own right, sent me a text from the Rock n Roll 5km expo in Los Angeles—she found a head band to buy me and wanted to share it. And later today when I went to the wine & scotch tasting at Andrew Hilton, Max (the owner) randomly started talking to me about my running, asking me what distance it is I usually compete in. He had been well aware of my RunDisney events, but he wanted to know more about what I do in the local area.

All this talk of running made me feel guilty of not having a plan at the moment, calendar wise. All during my RunDisney, Calgary and Edmonton training, I had a meticulous calendar with my runs planned out, whether they were long or short, speed work or easy. I have been sort of half-ass been going forward through the motions. I have been so worn out from work that after my short runs with the cross country kids, all I want to do when I get home is shower and collapse on the couch. That was my plan for today too, as I was beat from the full day of work and interviews all night and morning. However, I decided that perhaps the best medicine for this case of the blues was to just go out there and do what everyone knows I do-Run.

I changed into my running gear, threw on my Fitletic belt, and went out with the mindset of running more than 4 miles. I knew I needed to go someplace different, to get me motivated. I decided to run out of our neighborhood over to Whoop-Up Drive, where I took a paved walking path to Bull Park Trail. I have been on this red shale path before, but not in the recent future. I did my first mile in a powerful 8:20, flying with the wind pushing my forward. I headed onto the shale path with the plan to head down to the river bottom and come back up. However, when I made it to the bottom, I decided to go off the beaten path.

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I was adjacent to the Oldman River, but on the opposite side of where I usually would run. Fort Whoop-Up and the paved trails were East, while all I had in front of my was a grey shale path. I followed this path for some time until I got to a fork in the road—stairs up, or a foot path towards the bridge.

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I decided to go for the foot path. And it rejuvenated me. If I had been walking this path I would have been having a mild case of vertigo, as this was narrow and dropped off to the river. But, I was feeling alive, running in the cool 50 Fahrenheit wind, with the fall leaves crunching at my feet. For a bit of time while on this path, I felt like a crazy-ass Ultra runner…one of the 50km participants in the yearly Lost Soul Ultra. And I was loving it. I was snapping photos every chance I could with my phone—the scenery was uplifting.

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I stopped right next to Lethbridge’s icon-The High Level Bridge. I have taken photos of the bridge before, but not from this spot. I didn’t even remember to stop my watch as I snapped photos and took in my surroundings. This was what I needed.

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At this point I was already over 4 miles into my run. I needed to turn back. Instead of doing the same route back, I opted to run through the tunnel under Whoop Up drive to the path that heads up to the University. I ran up to the university, weaved through the parking lot, and headed through Nicolas Sheran Park. By the time I reached home, I had clocked in 7.3 miles.

I hadn’t planned on running 7 miles today. All I had planned was to shower and collapse on the couch. But, I opted to head out there and muscle through to see what was possible. This run woke me up, made me realize I was in fact alive. While I have been running the past 11 years, and while I have been going crazy with races and training the last year and a half, this simple solo run was an morale and confidence booster that I very much needed. It reminded me why I love to run.

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A Mash-Up of Thoughts on my Slump…and Climb Back!

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I was in a weird slump—As you are aware, Dan and I did the two weeks of the Clean Eating Challenge. We were suppose to feel fantastic! Well, really, I started feeling empty. I was losing too much weight and didn’t have enough carbs in my system. My body has ran on carbs, literally, since my first years’ in middle school track. I am not gluten intolerant, so in moderation I really don’t see this as an issue. My normal eating habits already consisted of whole wheat pasta, and as much as possible scratch-made sauce, so the lacking of that staple, especially during training, hit me. (Wow, that was a lot of commas in a sentence.)

Then the challenge ended. Horray! Eat what I want! Sorta. There were things I wanted to keep with me, like the healthier breakfasts and snacks, and I even realized I should limit my cheese intake (total Wisconsin girl horror!). I also was pumped to get my training back in gear. Thing is, I was headed out to Albuquerque for an International Baccalaureate training. Let me say this-I am SO GLAD I don’t travel regularly for work. Holy crap, it takes a lot out of you. You eat even more different than at home (opposite end of the clean eating challenge) and your normal workout schedule could go haywire.

When I crafted my Edmonton Marathon training plan, I kept in mind my summer vacations. I kept in mind this very week of “school” training in the States. I made sure the runs planned during those times were feasible. Coming off my two challenging weeks of training all while feeling empty, it was harder than I planned getting back into the game…especially while in dry, hot, arid, desert filled New Mexico.

I ended up moving my training days around, struggling to get the miles in. With training going from 8-4 each day, and me not being a morning runner unless it’s a race, getting my ass out training in the afternoon was next to impossible. I went on a ten-miler one day at 4:15 PM…but it was 95 degrees…and I’m a northerner…so I made it 2.5 out and turned around laughing at my rookie mistake. I had to do just 2.5 back, which was a struggle, but I did it. This 5 miler counted for a run later that week. But I needed to do that damn ten-miler sometime.

I got the ten-miler in on Wednesday evening, two days after it was originally planned. And it got done in the Marriott treadmill. Erin, my cousin and motivator for this training, yelled at me via text to get with it and get at it. Well, that I did. I had the luxury of watching my own personal tv during the run, focusing on HGTV, but that wouldn’t be enough. I had to push it to make it worth it.

For each mile, I increased my speed 0.1 mph. I started at 6.0 mph, all the way to 6.8 mph. Then, for the last mile, I increased my speed 0.1 mph for every tenth of a mile. It was the best run I had done in two and a half weeksand it was done on a treadmill. Go figure.

I got back home from the trip, ready to get back into the swing of things. It didn’t come immediately, because then all the traveling back took something out of me. Plus the end-of-school-year party may have too. But the past two days I made huge gains in the right direction. Yesterday, I did a solid 6 miles with a 9:01 average pace, and my fastest mile being the final mile in 8:36. Today, I rocked a speed workout of Yasso 800s. I did not do it on the shale track, but over on the bike path at Nicholas Sheran Park near my house. I ran a mile warmup in 8:46. Then, I did my 800 meter repeats…8 of them to be exact. I wrote about my first experience with Yasso 800s here: YASSO 800s For the WIN!

I was faster than my goal 3:30 pace for every 800 except the 7th one. And I’m not making excuses, but this had a lot to do with the inconsiderate woman taking up the bike path with her three dogs, two of them off-leash…(one of my pet peeves! This is not an off leash park!). I ran 3:27, 3:13, 3:19, 3:17, 3:24, 3:19, 3:43 (ouch! See!?) and 3:12. Each had a 2:45-3:00 minute power walk break. I rounded the workout out with an easy mile home in 9:27.

Tomorrow I have my alarm set for 7 am. After my morning rituals and preparations, I plan on heading out of the house by 9:00 am for my 16 miler. This is a mentally tough distance for me, because during Calgary I hit my decline at 13 miles, and had completely fallen apart at 17. I have a route on the west side mapped out in my head. Then, a decline down Bridge Drive into the river bottom, up the steep Lynx trail, where I’ll prowl through the south side neighborhoods. I’ll head back over the river valley on Whoop Up and hit home. And trust meTomorrow is Canada Day. I am done with the Clean Eating a Challenge, and I will have just run 16 miles. I’m having a carb-filled beer! Cheers!

The End-of-Winter Slump

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It was bound to happen.

I’ve been training and racing pretty much non stop since March 2013. So the fact that my left knee hurts a tad and I am sort of in a slump is understandable. Coming off the Moonlight Run 10km last weekend, I was feeling pretty much on top of the world! A normal, sane human being would have taken a few days rest and slowly climbed back into training. I took two days off, then ran 4 miles Tuesday, 8.5 miles Wednesday, and a slow 5 miles Thursday. The 5 miles on Thursday were slow because this is when I really noticed the pain behind my left knee cap.

Our athletic director told me to do the “poop squat” test to see if my knee was really an issue. What is this deranged test you ask? Well, he had me squat with my legs shoulder width and my quads parallel to the ground, like I was shitting in the woods, I held this for 15 seconds. My knee didn’t have any pain as I held it. So, according to Toby, I’m alright.

Maybe it is just a mix of pure exhaustion catching up to me. Friday I was going to do 7 miles, but I opted for a 2 hour nap before attending a friend’s birthday party. I was worn out all night and yawning every five minutes. But, I did the 7 miles on Saturday, and I felt solid! I split the mileage into a 5 miler and a 2 miler—I did a route on the west side of town before going to watch our JV boys basketball team in the zone finals at the university. Then, I ran the 2 miles home. During the first portion of the run, I really pushed the limits and knocked out a 7:33 pace during mile 5. My knee felt just fine!

Today, however, I woke up around 10:00 am. My alarm was not set this morning, so I missed marathon club. I was supposed to get in a 10 miler today. But, now I am glad I didn’t. The pain in my knee is back. And I’m trying to figure out how to best tackle this upcoming week.

My only half marathon of the spring is on Saturday in Calgary-The Run for L’Arche. I really want to lay it all out there and push for that sub 1:40. The course is relatively flat, and appears to have a slight decline after the midway turnaround. It’s a 10:00 am race, and there is packet pick up for out of town runners on the morning of the race. This will allow me to sleep soundly in my own bed, get up early and trek up to Calgary.

In preparation for this event, I am planning on resting tomorrow, but then running 8 miles (Tuesday) 4 miles of intervals (Wednesday), and a very easy 3.1 miles (Thursday) before resting on Friday night. The Thursday run may even become shorter, but I need it as a shakeout run. And if I don’t feel like a complete pile, I will be attending run club on Sunday. Yes, I will have raced in Saturday…and this may be why I feel like I am hitting the proverbial wall…and maybe this is the explanation for the knee pain…but the longer distance of 16 miles is something I need to do when I have others around me as encouragement. With the Calgary Full in June as my big event this spring, I need to feel confident in the longer runs, even if I am taking it at a slow pace. I think come Sunday afternoon, I may be buying a couple bags of ice and having a big old ice bath!

That’s it for tonight. Hopefully next week I have some great news to share in regards to how the half marathon went. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll feel more like a normal human being again. Doubtful…but it could happen!