October 3, 2013

A Quick Bit of Complete Honesty

I’m still behind on race reports. Although I posted my Adirondack Marathon report on Monday, I ran the Yonkers Marathon last Sunday but haven’t even started wrtiing the race report yet. Part of the reason for that is that Yonkers really sucked, but my big confession is that it made me feel like I’m kind of burnt out on marathons. Yonkers wasn’t any fun, and yet I had to run it anyway so that I’d still be on track to have New York City be my 100th marathon. There is nothing that burns me out faster on running than feeling like I have to do it whether it’s fun or not, and I usually advise coachees that if it’s not fun they should reevaluate their goals.

I’m not going to take my own advice – I have marathons four of the next five weekends, and I do want to complete them. The big goal of having NYC be my 100th is very important to me, and it’s worth going through a little bit of unhappiness to get there. Plus, the next bunch are all races that I’m excited about running, so hopefully that will help me get my groove back. But I think in November, I may be taking a break from marathoning – or at least a break from marathon planning. I’d rather sign up at the last minute when I know I want to run than save a few bucks signing up ahead of time, and then discover that I would rather do anything but run a marathon that weekend. Picking the “funnest” races will help me get back to loving it, and I really can’t wait for that to happen.

In the meantime, this weekend, I’ll be running the Wineglass Marathon in Corning, NY. Last year’s Wineglass is where I ran my current PR of 3:48, and I originally signed up for it thinking I might try to go for a PR again. However, with my back injury in July/August, I completely stopped going to Tread (the boutique studio in Dallas that combines hardcore treadmill with great weights), and while I’m back in “marathon shape”, I definitely didn’t think I was in PR shape. I ran a pretty decent time of 3:56 at my season opener, Chasing the Unicorn, but my times since then have kind of sucked – 4:43 at Bozeman, a reasonable 4:13 at Adirondack, but then (spoiler alert) a lousy 4:49 at Yonkers. Two out of my last four times have been in the bottom quartile of my slowest ever, and it’s honestly kind of depressing.

It’s true that I don’t run for time, but Yonkers in particular was just so miserable. In mile 1, I felt like I was practically sprinting – and yet I was barely holding a 9:30 pace (which is usually my easy long run pace). Doing back-to-back marathons is a great way to build slow twitch muscle fibers and get your body geared up to go long, but speedwork is definitely needed if you actually want to get faster at the marathon – and I haven’t been doing one tiny bit of that. It doesn’t help my outlook that my eating in the past week has been pretty crappy, so I feel bloated and soft (you know, because I am normally such a hardbody). In general, my body just feels like it’s in terrible condition, and I’m frustrated with myself for letting it get like this.

But then! Tonight I went to a Flywheel class with one of my favorite instructors, Kelly. She was doing a regular ride at 5:30pm, followed by a Disney-themed ride at 6:30pm. I decided I would try to maybe do both? That would be a good way of getting back on the wagon after my cutbacks in workouts / lapses in eating judgment this week. But I also knew that my back sometimes gets worse after spinning (because of how I inadvertently lean forward on the bike), so I decided to go to the 5:30pm class and then play the 6:30pm by ear.

Kelly and I in between classes – check out her adorable Rapunzel braid!

As it turns out, I somehow managed to shatter my personal best score in the first class. My old high score was 281 (the only time I’ve ever gone into the 280s), and today I hit a whopping 296 (my bike actually said 298 but I’m going by what the online stats recorded). That’s more than a 5% improvement over a personal best that I set months ago when I was in good shape and going to Flywheel all the time. I am beyond thrilled! (And also nearly cried when I saw how I was thisclose to joining the elite 300 club… but now I think it’s definitely in sight.)

Flywheel certainly doesn’t translate directly to running, but perhaps I’m not in quite as bad shape as I thought? I’m now looking forward to running Wineglass and seeing how I do. I’m not going to go for a PR, but I do feel better that maybe it’s not hopeless for me to go for a somewhat-fast time. And, more importantly, I’m feeling more hopeful that I’m in good enough shape to run it and enjoy myself. That’s the most important part of a marathon to me!

So to close out before I hit the sack – Yonkers race report hopefully coming tomorrow. (And perhaps this little victory will put me in a better mood to write that one so I’m not quite so negative? I hope so.)


6 thoughts on “A Quick Bit of Complete Honesty”

  1. I think you have already done your Yonker’s race report in the first paragraph. Why push the negative experience when you can save your creative energies for something that jazzes/jazzed you!

    1. Ha, fair point 🙂 I would still like to write it up so that I can remember all the details – it’s always nice for me to be able to go back and remember what I was thinking at a particular time! Plus, while my attitude during the race totally sucked, I’m hoping I can really learn from that and not repeat the experience.

  2. 🙁 Sorry you are feeling burned out… That’s always a difficult phase to be in, especially when you want to complete a goal. Hopefully going about things a little more spontaneously after the New York Marathon will help with the burn out. Awesome job at Flywheel, though! I’m sure that was a nice pick-me-up!

    1. It is helpful to have the goal not-so-far away. When I did 50 states, I got burned out around state 30, and that was still such a long way to go to the finish! I’m just trying to look for the fun parts of each marathon I have left, focus on fun rather than speed, and know that I am free to choose a new goal in less than a month 🙂

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