Saturday, December 23, 2017

Houston Training Journal #2: All that's for certain is that I am crazy

This continues Houston Training Journal #1.

Note:  If you think this sounds like a bunch of me being negative, read through the end -- my positivity returns, I promise!
I got another race photo from Bass Pro that I actually like -
this one was in my running club's Dec. newsletter &
includes my super speedy friend Zach who is often
kind enough to slow down enough to run long runs
& workouts with me

December 19, 2017
I am fully invested in running Houston only if I am 100% healthy and the race day weather is conducive to fast running, which is difficult for me to think about because that means there is a chance I won't run it.  If I can't try for a 2:45 there (which I can't if everything isn't ideal or very close to it), there isn't a reason for us to take the trip or to put my body through a hard 26.2.  Logically I fully believe this, and I also believe that God will lead me in the right direction, but it's hard not knowing while at the same time proceeding as if it's going to happen.  It's making me lack the laser focus that I had for CIM.

My hamstring has put some added stress into the equation.  I never mentioned it before now, I guess because I was just hoping if I didn't acknowledge it, it would go away -- and it always did.  Two days before my 22 miler at the end of October I did deadlifts and tweaked a spot on my left hammy.  It didn't bother me running the 22 miler but I felt it the rest of the day after the run.  I was worried about it, but it never hurt running and got better relatively quickly.  Then in the Bass Pro half marathon, I felt it for a few steps around mile 10.  It was then fine again, until I felt it on the final mile of my fast finish 24 miler in November.  It has never bothered me much while running, but when it's irritated I know how I can make it hurt, which is by doing leg swings, doing high front kicks, or stretching it.  I had one ART session for it right after my 20 x 400 workout in November, mainly as a precaution and along with an ART maintenance session for pre-race prep, and it felt like a million bucks after that.  When it didn't bother me one bit during or after CIM, I thought it must have completely healed during my taper.

However, on December 11 when I did some strides at the end of my run -- my first faster running after CIM -- I felt it.  My coach said not to let it get any worse, and it didn't until I ran 1.66 miles hard at the Ugly Sweater 5K (the perk of calling it in at the turn around was that I didn't run the whole race hard and irritate it more, I guess) followed by a 16 mile long run with some 1:00 pick-ups the day after.  It bothered me after that long run (although not as much as it did after the 22 miler), so I went in for an ART session for it yesterday evening.  The ART helped, and I also got a bonus gait analysis and some exercises to work on because my right glute is weaker than my left.  I also need to work on stretching my hip flexors, which I do daily but I guess not enough.  I do a standing desk at work and that helps them, but I guess also not enough.

Picking back up after CIM to go for Houston was/is a risk, but it is one I wanted to take, especially because I'm tentatively planning for my next marathon after Houston to be in June at Grandma's.  The way the timing aligned will allow me to take a down month after Houston before starting my Grandma's build, and the timing on that couldn't be better since it will be the coldest part of winter (give me 100* over 0* any day -- at least for training...for racing I am not sure).  But if my body says no Houston, I'm going to respect that too, as difficult as that is.  I just know I can't run 2:45 if I'm not 100%, so that makes it easier to acquiesce.  I am planning on Houston, but maybe God isn't planning it for me, and time and time again He shows me that He knows better.  Like I said here, I need to NOT tell God my plans.  We just all know that patience isn't my strong suit!  For now, I'm continuing with my training and I am actually in my peak mileage week for Houston.  I am going to be super diligent about strengthening and stretching, and we will see what God has in store.

December 20, 2017
Well, the good news is that my hammy is doing great!  ART can truly be magical.  The bad news is that I was injured at work.  By nature of my career, I often work with aggressive clients and once in awhile I am on the receiving end of that.  I was diagnosed with a neck strain (just what I need after my problems at CIM, right?!) and lost several clumps of hair.  Otherwise I'm just sore, but sometimes if it's not one thing it's another...

December 21, 2017
This week I've been really questioning whether or not I should run Houston, and last night my doubt hit the highest level.  I woke up this morning questioning this 70 mile week and what I am even doing.  Should I have taken 2 weeks off before easing back in after CIM like a normal person?  When I start not wanting to race and when daily runs start feeling like a "have to" instead of a "can't wait to", I get concerned that I'm over-doing it.  In addition to the hamstring issue (that's now all better) and neck strain (that also seems fine now), my body has recently been out of whack due to:
  • Albani had pinworms, or at least we suspect.  When we called to make her a physician's appointment, they told us to treat her with PinX and then come in if it hadn't cleared up.  The PinX instructions said that everyone in the house should be treated, and it's just a single dose, so although I hate taking medication and had no symptoms, I took it.  This was on Dec. 18.
  • I've never actually gotten sick, but I've felt like I've been fighting something or another off since just after CIM.  My immune system is strong, although less strong post-marathon.  I can just tell when I'm not 100%, with a slight sore throat or minor sniffles.  Some of this could be from running in cold temps too.
  • Holiday junk food is everywhere.  Most of the year I am fine about turning down the crap food that's always at work, and most of it isn't any good anyway (e.g., donuts every Friday, Oreos and chips here and there, etc.), but a large selection of homemade goodies can break my healthy eating patterns.  I don't feel as good running or in daily life when I eat crap, but I guess I find it hard to turn down when I know I won't see those treats again until next Christmas.
  • Stress.  Holidays stress me out.  I wish we could focus more on the true meaning of Christmas and less on the hoopla.  I feel overwhelmed by having so many things to do and by all of the changes in routines.  The stress, busyness, and changes in routines also affect my sleeping.
Anyhow, this morning on my run with my friend Rebecca I confessed out loud for the first time that I was thinking that maybe I shouldn't run Houston.  Maybe it's just too much.  I then said the same to Jon when I returned home, and noted it in my daily run notes on my coaching app.  After that, the weirdest thing happened.  I started feeling like I should run Houston again.  I am clearly going crazy.

December 23, 2017
When I told my husband, my coach, and a friend on Thursday that maybe I shouldn't run Houston, everyone pretty much replied with a similar theme of:  no worries if I didn't want to or if I didn't feel up for it, but maybe I shouldn't decide quite yet.  I felt strangely relieved after mentioning it, and I again wanted to go out for my runs!  I proceeded with my training schedule as if I'd be running Houston, including an 18 mile long run that included a 5 mile progression down to 6:08 today.  My 18 miler ended up being the fastest I've ever done in training, and it felt fantastic (also my ponytail froze and that was fun)!  So maybe I can run Houston.  And for sure I am going crazy.

However, it takes at least some crazy to try for a fast marathon, so perhaps this is to my advantage.  3 weeks until Houston, and I am so thankful that I get to run tomorrow!
Frozen hair/don't care


  1. Reading this makes me feel like I definitely need to get my glute/hip issues figured out. Sometimes it’s just easier to keep running and pretend everything is okay!

    1. I agree that it's often easier to keep running and pretend everything is okay, haha! And sometimes it is! I think you can find a cause for yours and correct it. You're not too long off of having babies and that influences your hips, but I bet it's something you can work on strengthening to correct. If you need guidance on any of the exercises text or message me!

    2. Thank you!!! I'm very hopeful, especially with your advice and suggestions!

  2. "Pretending everything is OK." All. The. Time.