There comes a time in each training season when I start to feel a little bored with running. This week was one of those weeks. Running felt more like something I had to do rather than something I got to do. I’ve always disliked having to do certain things, when schedules and routines become more of a grudge than something to keep me on track, and this feeling tends to surface once I reach the mid-portion of a training plan. I knew the feeling would eventually pass, however, as it always does, so I put my head down and just kept going. That’s what we runners do, after all.
And as I used to tell my fifth grade students when they asked if they had to do their homework: No, the only thing you have to do is die. Everything else is optional. After puzzled silence and my pointed teacher look, they almost always understood exactly what I meant.
This week I kept the mileage about the same as last week because of this coming weekend’s half marathon. Best of all I finally got to run on trails again, though we didn’t run as far as I would have liked. Those long trail runs are in my very near future, though, so I will certainly appreciate being able to put in just enough miles to finish in time for a late breakfast and still have the rest of the day to enjoy.
MON: Rest Day – Pure day of rest. Loveliness!
TUE: Tempo Run – 6 mi, Yoga – 40:00 – Damn that Liz! Today’s tempo run felt like a race, and we kept either an 8:41 or an 8:48 average, depending on whose watch you went by. Since our morning attempt at running was rained out, we met at the lake for a late afternoon run instead, which was a nice change. It was cloudy, chilly, and perfect for a tempo run. I felt guilty for doing absolutely nothing athletic yesterday, so I did a double yoga program of standing poses and twists. I also signed up for the Grasslands trail marathon in Decatur, about 1.5 hrs drive from here, on March 23. I figure it will be good training for Jemez.
WED: Easy Run – 5.3 mi, Yoga – 20:00 – Had an upset stomach in the morning, so Liz and I changed our plans and met Bill in the late afternoon for an easy run at the lake. The weather could not have been more perfect for an afternoon run. Liz and I could definitely feel the aftereffects of yesterday’s fast tempo run. Talk about some fatigued legs!
THU: Hill Run – 6 mi – Liz was having some hip flexor pain, and I was having some stomach issues again this morning, so I wound up running solo in the afternoon. I stuck to the hilly path and kept a pretty good pace, and was rewarded with a gorgeous sunset at the finish. My boredom with running continues, so it was tough to run on my own. It was 70 degrees when I started the run, and hard to believe it is still winter.
FRI: Yoga – 40:00 – Left quad a little sore, so I did an extended set of yoga: forward bends and hip openers. I had the thought today that no matter what happens with my running as I get older, I will do yoga for the rest of my life.
SAT: Long Run – 15 mi – It doesn’t get much better than this. 32 degrees, no wind, and a perfect blue sky overhead. Hills at the beginning and end, 15 miles to keep it real, and good friends for laughs and companionship. We are so lucky to get to do this.
SUN: Trail Run – Oak Cliff Nature Preserve – 5.6 mi – It was another stunningly beautiful morning, perfect for a trail run. It warmed up quickly, we had the trails entirely to ourselves, and things just could have not been more perfect. I took an easy fall right after I made fun of Hari’s non-glamorous way of breaking his rib. It was one of those falls where one minute you’re talking and the next you’re staring at the ground, wondering what happened. I chalk it up to instant karma for making fun of Hari. Actually, those stupid little stumps that jut out from the sides of the trail seem to take me down more than anything else. We had some brand new trail runners in our group today and it was fun to see their excitement. Breakfast afterwards at Norma’s more than compensated for any calorie loss and the indignity of falling down, yet again.
Stats for WEEK 6: Run – 38 miles, Yoga – 1:40:00
It was a tough week. Coughing and asthma returned for the third time since October, I felt a little burned out from running, and ended the week with a really bad cold. Whine, whine, whine. I still got in three great runs and two great parties this week, though, and that’s more important than feeling sick. Happy Holidays everyone!
MON: Yoga – 20:00 – Woke up at 4:30am thinking of things I need to do this week, but stayed in bed until 8:30. Feeling tired and a little grumpy from last week’s mileage. Did some power yoga (stamina) to try and get back into the routine.
TUE: Tempo Run – 6.09 mi, Yoga – 20:00 – Nice, cool morning for chasing Liz around the lake. My legs were still a bit sore from last weekend’s mileage, but they loosened up enough to give us negative splits and one sub 9:00 mile. I am still feeling a little burned out on running, and hoping it goes away soon. Next week will be an easy week, so I will keep that in mind as I continue to struggle.
WED: Christmas Lights Run – 4 mi – Our third annual Holidayz in the Hood Christmas Lights Run. The past two years we’ve run from our house and had a great turnout both years. Last year we bundled up in gloves, hats, long tights, and double layers; this year we wore tank tops and shorts and pretended it was winter. When we left the house around 7:20pm the temperature was an unbelievable 76 degrees. On December 19! But this IS Texas, and within an hour of finishing the run, while sitting on the front porch eating pizza and drinking beer and visiting with old and new friends, lightning appeared in the west, the rain came down, and a cold front blew in from the north. Gotta love our Texas winters.
THU: Rest Day – After another night of coughing and trying to sleep on the couch so as not to disturb Michael, woke up at 6:15am and decided to cancel my usual weekly 10 mile hill run with Hari. I hate missing any scheduled runs on my training plan, but I just felt like I needed an extra day of rest. Boo to not feeling well.
FRI: Rest Day – After yet another sleepless night of coughing, decided to make another visit to the doctor. Had to sit forever at PrimaCare since my doctor’s office was already closed for the holidays. I actually saw a great doctor at PrimaCare who also happened to be a serious cyclist. He did blood work, said I didn’t have an infection, and that I just have really bad allergies and asthma. He said it’s been a particularly bad allergy season this year since we didn’t get a hard freeze until a few weeks ago, and that there’s really not much I can do other than get another shot of cortisone and another round of Prednisone.
While I’m glad I don’t have an upper respiratory infection, I’m not so happy about the severity of the allergies this year. I’ve never coughed as much in my life as I have these past THREE MONTHS. Talking to a doctor who is also an athlete and could understand my frustration did make me feel a lot better, though. We also had a good discussion about the fact that this is the first fall season I’ve done trail running, which could be resulting in worse allergies due to the simple fact of spending more time outside, and we talked about the possible correlation between higher mileage and a lower resistance to getting sick. Food for thought.
Trying to run through all this coughing and asthma has been a real challenge these past three months. While it certainly adds a physical obstacle to work through, it’s the mental aspect I’m still trying to overcome. I can push through a lot of pain, but THREE MONTHS of this is starting to wear me down mentally.
SAT: Trail Run, Oak Cliff Nature Preserve – 7.5 mi – A great run with a great group of runners this morning. It was colder than expected (36 deg), especially after Wednesday night’s balmy Christmas Lights Run, but perfect for a trail run. Most of the people had never run the Oak Cliff trails before and were pleasantly surprised at how pretty — and challenging — it was. Decided to run all the loops once like everyone else and stop at 7.5 miles. Even though it was a short run, it was just challenging enough to pack a powerful punch. Afterwards, introduced those who could stay to an Oak Cliff landmark, Norma’s Cafe, for a recovery breakfast. It was a very good start to the day. (Even though I did trip over a root hidden in the leaves and skinned up both knees. I will wear the trail scars with pride underneath my wedding dress next week.).
SUN: Sick – Woke up this morning with a congested head and feeling like I have a really bad cold. Decided to take a day of rest on the couch, watching TV and knitting. My coughing is better, but my head feels like it’s going to explode. A really blah finish to a tough week. I hate being sick. Here’s hoping next week will find me on the road to recovery and back on my feet stronger than ever.
MERRY CHRISTMAS, everyone!
Stats for WEEK 9: Run – 17.6 miles, Yoga – 40:00
When training for the 50K, we adopted alternating hard and easy weeks of training to slowly assimilate to the higher mileage. For our upcoming 50 mile race we decided to build on our base and try two hard weeks followed by one easy week of training. Since the first week of training was really a recovery week from the 50K race, this was our first official easy week. The timing was good for me, since it also signaled the return of sleepless nights from asthma and coughing, both of which plagued me the last month of training for the 50K.
MON: Yoga (40:00) – Standing poses and forward bends. Legs felt good after the 31 mile back-to-backs, but even better after some morning yoga. Temp was 38 degrees this morning and I was sad that I missed out on running in the cold weather. Can’t wait until tomorrow morning’s run!
TUE: Run – 6.1 mi, Yoga (20:00) – Had a good pace run this morning with Liz at the lake. It was gloriously cool weather. Quads were a little tight after the two weekend long runs, but we kept a 9:09 pace with the last two miles at sub 9’s. Power yoga (stamina) afterwards to loosen up.
WED: Run – 9 mi, Yoga (25:00) – Ran a loop around the lake with Liz this morning. The temperatures were perfect for running: 45 degrees at the start, 54 at the end. Legs felt great, and I had to keep slowing our pace since I wanted to save some energy for tomorrow’s hill run with Hari. Did some power yoga afterwards (flexibility).
THU: Run – 11 mi, Yoga (20:00) – Introduced Hari to Susan’s hill run this morning, and inadvertently ran an extra mile when I missed a turn. It was perfect weather for a run, and for the first time I managed to make it to the top of every single hill without having to stop and walk. It was a great run, and we saw three coyotes standing in the middle of the road about half a mile from the house. There is something so satisfying about running hills and knowing you have the strength to make it to the top of steep hills from your own power. I may feel like puking when I get to the top, but it’s a well-earned feeling! Finished off with a somewhat challenging core cross training sequence of yoga poses.
FRI: Rest Day – Definitely grateful for a rest day after three great days of running. My asthma and coughing have made a return visit, however, which kept me up in the middle of the night. Not happy about this at all.
SAT: Sick Day – Since this is an easy week, and my midweek mileage was a little higher than I had originally planned on anyway, decided to take today completely off and get some rest. Coughing kept me up in the middle of the night again last night, so I will rest up for tomorrow’s trail run.
SUN: Trail Run, Oak Cliff Nature Preserve – 10 mi – After another night of interrupted sleep from coughing, I was happy that we decided to take advantage of the cooler temps and start our run a little later than usual at 9:00am. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, with a starting temp around 57 degrees and overcast skies. I found the trails at the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve last summer to be quite hilly, but today I felt strong even with the asthma. Susan kept us going at a blistering pace, even after her 22 miler the day before. These are some great trails and I look forward to coming back soon.
Even though I was feeling under the weather and wasn’t looking forward to the run like I usually do, once I started running I was quickly able to lose myself in the trails and go with the incredible feeling of freedom that I always feel when I run trails. Even in a very small forest, concentrating on running over rocks, roots, and fall leaves, I can forget for a few hours that I’m surrounded by crime, traffic, and a bustling city that’s never really felt like home.
STATS for WEEK 4: Run – 36 miles, Yoga – 1:55:00