Tuesday, September 8, 2015

I ran 18 miles and I feel broken

Okay, okay so I have a ton to write and I am getting behind.  But I was +11 hours EST for the past week.  And working.  And doing stuff.  And then I flew on an airplane for a million hours and it was a struggle to stay awake the past two days, so I know you're anxious for some posts but just lay off!

Apparently my tiredness is taking shape in the form of grumpiness.  So I apologize for that.

But really, I am anxious to tell you all about my trip while it is still fresh.  And the bachelorette party from two weekends ago now (where is time going?!)  I know from experience if I put things off too much I never get them done and that is especially true with blogging.  I don't think I ever finished my recap from my trip to Asia last year because I was waiting to do it so perfectly and completely that it never got done at all.  Sometimes doing something is better than waiting for perfection.

But I just want to give a quick training update.  Over the past two weeks I got in all of my runs that I needed to.  I am really proud of that.  I did an 8-mile run and a 5-mile run on the treadmill in Orlando.

I did a 12-mile run along the Charles River while in Boston for a bachelorette party (which actually was an awesome run I felt super proud of and was tempted to keep going further on!)  

Then in Bangkok I did a 4-mile, 9-mile and a 5-mile run all on the treadmill!

And that final run, which I pushed to a Saturday since my schedule was adjusted based on time zones and travel and all that jazz... I ran the whole time trying to not get kicked off the treadmill.  You see, when I arrived at the gym at 8:40 a.m. the guy taking people's names at the desk told me that the gym was actually closing from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. that Saturday.  Uhhhh, what? Who closes a gym for those hours?  Oh, and mind you, this "gym" was 3 treadmills and a couple weight machines in a glass box next to their pool.

I told him I needed an hour on the treadmill, which in reality was more like 50 minutes since I had 5 miles to run.  He explained to me that the engineer was supposed to come at 9:00 a.m. and I asked if I could stay on the treadmill in case he didn't arrive on time.  I figured if waiting for service was anything like it is in the U.S. than it would be fine and I'd be able to get my whole run in.  He told me, yes, that would be fine, and I could just leave when the mechanic came.

I started running and told myself to just do the best I could and get in whatever I could get in.  The engineer arrived at 9:05 (timely suckers!) but then the guy running the gym told me 10 minutes.  Okay, I thought, let's just see how much I can get in.  I kept running and eventually the engineer and a couple other people came into the gym and began working and I just kept running.  The AC was down and it was so hot and steamy in there and I was sweating like a crazy person and also trying to push my pace to get in more of the miles before I was kicked out.

Every second that went by I was looking over my shoulder wondering when I was going to get tapped and told to leave.  BUT I counted down the minutes and was able to fit in my full 5 mile run before I was asked to leave -- averaging under 9 minute miles since I was trying to hustle.  I also was having flashbacks to traveling while training for the Paris Marathon and missing out on 2 miles from getting kicked out of the gym while in Turkey!

Anyways, I was SO proud of myself for getting all those runs in while I was in Bangkok.  I posted all over social media about it.  I posted in my local running community groups, I posted in a Chicago Marathon training group I am in, and I posted in a Girls on the Run training group I am in too.  Being able to check the boxes and say I did all the runs is a point of pride for me.

I flew back on Sunday for 20 hours of travel from Bangkok to Tokyo to Atlanta, arriving around 5:00 p.m. after spending way too many hours cramped in a tiny airplane seat.

I did a little grocery shopping, some laundry, grabbed some tacos for dinner, and went to bed and was sound asleep by 9:30 p.m. and waking up in the morning to get in my 18 mile run.

The run started as a little bit of a hectic process.  I felt disorganized leaving my house, I left later than I wanted to and was worried about the heat.  I realized halfway to my start point that I forgot my GPS watch so I turned back to get it.  Then I got stuck at a railroad crossing and had to wait for the train to cross.  And then I wanted to stash some water and Gatorade along my route and had to drive and find a place to do that -- forgetting that it actually takes a bit of time to drive 9 miles, especially with traffic lights and stuff.  SO, by the time I got to actually running it was later than I wanted and I just wanted to go.

I parked, got my gear together, and just took off, thinking of those articles that say that it doesn't matter if you stretch before you exercise, it is only stretching after that matters.  I figured I would loosen up and warm up during the first couple miles.  WHICH happen to be uphill on the route I planned -- which is the same route as my 15 mile run with an extra 1.5 out and back added in.

I felt good for the beginning of the run.  I told myself that I shouldn't worry about my pace for this run and the main goal of the run was to just get the miles in.  I distracted myself for a portion of the first run from miles 4-6 because I ran into a road race going on and saw a number of my friends.  I cheered on many of the runners and answered a lot of sarcastic shouts of "You're going the wrong way!"

Then, I spent part of the run catching up with the runners who were at the back of the pack after I did my turn around.  It felt hot and humid for a portion of the run and I told myself to ease off on pace a few different times.

At mile 11 I refilled the water and Gatorade from the location I stashed.  This means at that point I had already taken in more fluids than I have on any run before - more than my 16 mile run or 15 mile runs previously.  I still had to ration it for those last 7 miles though because I was feeling thirsty.  I drank all my water through and still wanted more. It made me start to think maybe I should carry some water with me during the actual race.

When I got to a little before mile 12 was the extra out and back, which I hadn't really thought about it but the route I chose meant doing 1.5 miles straight downhill then 1.5 miles straight uphill before doing a 3 mile downhill finish.  I started to hurt a bit on the downhill and told myself to ease back to not take the downhill too hard and save some for the uphill.  I looked at my watch for my 13.1 split and it was 2:02:20 or something like that.  Another training PR and all around amazing time for me.  I was SHOCKED because I didn't feel like I was going that pace and because I had told myself to pull back a bit during the run as well.  It was surprising but I could also feel myself crashing at about that point too.

Saving myself didn't really do too much though because that 1.5 mile uphill still sucked.  And the tiredness that sunk into my legs didn't really go away.  I also felt some pain in my toes and my butt/outer hip started to hurt throughout this portion of the run.

I could feel my pace drop and just told myself that was fine and reminded myself that the goal was to just finish.  I tricked myself into not looking at my watch for as long as I could and when I finally saw 18 hit, I stopped as soon as possible and limped back to my car.  Don't let this image and that smile fool you. I felt like crap.

My knees and legs were aching and not feeling good.  I didn't want to immediately get into my car but I also had to go to the bathroom and wanted to get home.  I CHUGGED more of the liquids I had in my car, which was some water and Gatorade, walked around a bit, and finally made the decision to just go home.  I drove myself home, hobbled inside, ate and showered and some of my favorite post run activity - laying on the floor.

After getting some of that out of my system I did some of my other favorite post-run activity.  Eating burgers.

My friend Brick and I tried out a place called The Vortex that is known in Atlanta for having amazing burgers and it was really delicious, but I've had better burgers in my life.  And I'm not even a burger pro or anything.  But it was still really good, don't get me wrong!

I noticed going out of the house to do this that I was really struggling to walk.  I mean, maybe not really struggling to walk, but was having some pain that felt abnormal than soreness.  My knees were also hurting a lot with stairs.  And as you may recall after my previous 15, 12, and 16 mile runs I spent the rest of the nights dancing so to be sort of hobbling around after 18 felt really, really different and made me really nervous.

The pain has mostly been in my right butt/outer hip.  I've had some problems with my right hip in the past and it tends to be a lot tighter than my left side.  I went to a chiropractor for a bit to help with my hip after the Paris Marathon and haven't had any challenges with it since.  That being said, I don't even know if this would be connected because it isn't the same type of pain.

When I got home I looked up my splits and data from the run.  Turns out I ran the first half a lot faster than I realized.  A couple miles were under 9, which seems surprisingly fast to me!  I also see how much my pace dropped off.  I am not unhappy with my overall time or average pace AT ALL but I am not happy with the fact that my pace was not consistent.  I have kept a consistent pace through my long runs until Monday.

I stretched, foam rolled and iced on Monday night and today, Tuesday, it still has been bothering me.  I took the advice of many and took today as a rest day which has been a real challenge for me mentally.  Since I have been away I have really been looking forward to getting back into a routine, doing more cross and strength training, and seeing my running and gym friends again.  But I forced myself to just rest.  Well, I replaced running with eating tacos (which I am sharing with you through arguably the worst food blogger food picture of all time.)  So I did still get to see my running friends, which was awesome!! I missed everyone while I was away.

Not exercising is a challenge and mentally I am going through how I am going to fit in all the training runs I have the next few weeks if I take more days off.  But then I have another voice telling me not to worry about that because getting injured or worsening an injury just isn't worth it.

I know that makes sense and I know that my body will be able to do the marathon if I just rest now - it is still a month away.  But as I mentioned I pride myself in getting through all the runs!! I just fought to make sure I did all my runs on that stupid treadmill while traveling!  If I didn't care about missing runs, I could have missed some of those!

Again, I know this is just a mental thing.  Following a training plan off of the internet is not meant to be a steadfast thing.  Hal Higdon, whose plans I use and swear by, does not know me.  He does not write those training plans thinking that no exceptions can be made for travel or injury or anything along those lines.  But still, it makes me really nervous and is a shift in mentality for me.  This morning I got up early and still went to the gym just to foam roll and stretch so that it would get me back in the habit of being there and to see my AM gym buddies.

I'm scared to run and hurt myself more.  I'm scared to stop running and exercising and take a break and lose out on the goal I set for myself to complete the training program.  Especially if I am just making a big deal about nothing.  I am a known hypochondriac and don't have a good judge of pain/injury/illness in myself so maybe this is just sore and I just need to push through it?  I have started to learn my body a lot better through running and this definitely feels different than regular soreness but I also have that lingering question.

For all the marathons and half marathons I have done, I have strayed from the plans very, very little.  I don't want to stray now.  But, this is also the most I've hurt during a training cycle yet.  I'm mad at myself that I wasn't smarter to stretch more after sitting for 20 hours, sleeping, and then getting up less than 16 hours after I got off the plane to run 18 miles.

I've got lots going on in my mind and not enough hours in the day.  Cleaning is taking a back seat.  Cooking and getting meals prepped is also taking a back seat (although I did buy food so I need to do something with that at some point!)  Getting back into the work swing.  Seeing friends.  Training and exercise (if I can) have all been focuses right now.  As was wanting to spend some time writing this blog.  I will hopefully catch up with everything else soon and hope that whatever is going on with my butt disappears and goes away quickly!!

Oh and on top of all that I ended up with some weird chafing from the run. What. The. Heck.  I wore my new Girls on the Run t-shirt and it apparently attacked me.  Thanks a lot, shirt!

Regardless, I looked cute today in my new top from Thailand!  Gimpy and bruised up and all.  Happy Tuesday and welcome back from the long weekend!


  1. So not to be a total creeper, but I thought I saw you out on that run Monday morning! I was one of the road racers :) Love reading your blog as a fellow ATL runner in her 30s (though not for much longer - eek!) Awesome job getting all your training runs in and I hope you're done with the hobbling soon!

    1. Not creepy at all!! I wish we could have chatted or run together!! Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any other races coming up!