I think I finally figured out why I was so panicky the week before SLO. Other then the leg issue, that was real. I know my last few years races have been rough but it seemed like I was stressing more than I should for a race that I wasn’t planning to try for a PR at. A course I had run twice before so I knew what I was in for. I don’t think my panic had anything to do with SLO, it was about this week. This is the week where marathon training got serious. #shitgotreal
What I haven’t mentioned is that I chucked my training plan out the window. I spent weeks mashing my McMillan plan with a Higdon Novice 2 plan. I gave myself an Excel headache over it. 😝 The more I looked at it, the more I didn’t think it was enough. I also realized how poorly I had followed McMillan last year. The only thing I remember really doing was hill repeats, all of the speed work outs looked completely foreign to me. Apparently, denial also runs strong in this one. Oops.
So I started over. I did the research, a lot, and I found an 18 week plan that I liked. It seemed intense for a Slacker like me but it also seemed doable. Doable if I put in the work that is. That is always the question. In fact I don’t even want to say how I’m training as I know it’s the crazy train for a Slacker. Even after a modification, it’s a little scary on paper. Let’s see if I can get through the next month without flaming out.
The first 5 weeks were easy- as I was already running more than the mileage scheduled, I was supposed to wait until the plan caught up to me. It caught up. Ahhh, crap. Thursday’s run in particular was freaking me out. A 5 mile tempo not counting warm up or cool down? After work?! Tempo’s scare the hell out of me. Which is why I wanted them in my training plan.
SLO kicked my ass and I couldn’t even really explain why. What was I thinking signing up for a marathon? My confidence took a beating and my past history with tempos wasn’t helping. I can’t remember the last time I ran without taking a walk break. I was thinking of numerous ways to rationalize bailing on the whole thing or cutting it short. But I’d already made one adjustment this week since SLO hurt a little more than I had planned so I told myself to get over it and just run.
Spoiler: I kicked that tempo’s ass. Probably a little too much as it was 30 seconds fast; I was aiming for 10:18. Considering I didn’t even think I could maintain a 10:30 pace for 5 miles, I’ll take it! Plus, for me, that is remarkably consistent pace.
I needed that, I really did. Even if the rest of the month knocks me down- and I know it will- this one run will keep going through the misery. 😝
Now, hopefully my legs will like me in the morning.
Saturday was a little rougher than I had hoped for. I faced a long run I was afraid of as well as a fear I thought I was past.
I was really nervous, more like freaking out, about this week’s long run. I had never actually completed 12 consecutive miles outside of a race before. My previous longest training day was 11.5 miles that was split into a 7 mile run followed later by a 4.5 mile run/ walk. Something about 12 just seemed so far and impossible. I had a headache Friday evening and it was lingering Saturday morning. I checked the weather and it was only predicted to be in the 80’s so I figured I would run then and get a little more rest. I had a route mapped out of 3 loops of 3.8 miles. I would add one last hill to that last loop to bring myself to 12 miles.
I was already thinking about calling it at 10 when I set out, did I really need 12? I did my first loop and since I felt tired I decided to do the extra hill then instead of last. Even though that got that hill out of the way, somehow it really screwed up my mileage, I lost a mile. I figured it out around mile 9, I didn’t have enough road left to hit 12, so I looped another street to add it back in. As I was running up one hill for the third time, I realized why I may hate long runs so much. My long runs are usually loops of hills- I’ve been doing hill repeats in disguise and never figured it out! Hello, blonde runner over here. This run had an elevation gain of 920. By mile 9.5 I was done. I stopped at the middle school and doused myself and my visor in water at the fountains. I walked the last 2.5 miles but I did it!! 12 miles done! This fear was mostly overcome.
I honestly thought I was over my fear of dogs. I had been bit before as a teen but the worst was when I had just started running. I want to say it’s been more than 4 years since I was attacked by 2 border collies while running. Ok, let’s be honest, I was walking. It was near the top of a street that I had probably walked 100 times by then; I had never even noticed the 2 dogs in that yard until that night. The standard Poodle who stood guard at the second to last house at the top, sure, we had had conversations before. I first noticed the dogs on my way up the street, they were in the front yard and their barks sounded less than friendly but I didn’t think much of it. There were kids playing in a nearby yard and a woman gardening. I went all up the end of the road and turned around like always. On my return trip, both dogs rushed out of the yard and ran my way growling and barking. I froze because running away makes it worse right? Plus I thought they were just going to be noisy and not actually do anything. Wrong- one got around behind me and bit me. On the ass, nice. I was in shock. By now the owner was running out for the dogs and the woman gardening had come closer to observe. The owner informed me that he had just removed their shock collars to give them a bath. Umm, what? By now I had determined I was bleeding so we exchanged numbers and I started the trek back to my car, it was about a mile away. About a block later, the shock wore off and I burst into to tears and started shaking. I had 2 puncture wounds and a gnarly, scary bruise. I later found out that I was not the first person the dogs had attacked. It hurt to run for weeks after- you know you need to lose weight when your butt hurts because it jiggles while running. I started carrying pepper spray on my runs and I still have not gone all the way up that street since that day.
I was afraid of all dogs for a while. I was once rushed by a yellow lab who just wanted to have fun and I freaked out. But over the years, I thought it had eased. There are dogs in the office all the time, ranging from Chihuahua’s to Pits to Dobermans to Bouvier’s. I had come across a loose pit bull on a run once and been ok about it, I told her she was pretty and we went our separate ways. Like I said I was over it. Until Saturday. I was finishing my long run and had just turned up my driveway. When I day driveway I mean street, but there are only 7 houses on the street and with the exception of 2 houses, the rest of us have been here for 10+ years. All the houses have some land so while we don’t all know each others names we know what is usual behavior. One house I call the Victorian has 2 Bouvier’s. Ever seen one? They look like bears, gentle nice bears, but huge all the same. One of the Bouvier’s passed away a year or so ago because I have only seen the gray one. Saturday, there was a gray one and a white one, I still didn’t think much of it because it’s my driveway for crying out loud. I was just passing the first house when I heard them bark. I looked up from pausing my Nike+ app to see them tearing out of their driveway my way, the white one in the lead. Once again I stood still, I had a water bottle in one hand and had been screwing with my phone in the other so I couldn’t even grab my pepper spray. I should have thrown the water bottle but wasn’t thinking that clearly. The white one looked possessed, it looked like it wanted me for dinner, the grey on was just along for the ride. The owner was now yelling, trying to call them back. It got within three inches of my waist before listening to the owner. Crisis over right? Nope. It got about 10 feet away and decided it didn’t want to listen the guy anymore. It turned around and came back at me growling and snarling. Screw standing still, I started backpedaling as fast as I could go. By now the owner was running and finally managed to grab the white one’s collar. As soon as the white one was contained, the gray one was perfectly behaved. He apologized but I was having troubles stringing words together to make a sentence. I finally just bolted up the driveway. I lost it just past his house, again sobbing and shaking. I was shaking so badly I couldn’t get my gate open. I had to stand there for a few minutes before I could get it unlocked.
So yeah, still not over it. And now I am afraid to go back down my driveway. What am I going to do when that customer brings her 2 Bouvier’s into the office? What about the dogs that are always at the lake path? Even just typing this kind of freaked me out again. One step forward, two steps back.
But I did my 12 miles! Sorry this was so long, thanks for sticking it out!