Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Greece Lightening

Most of you know I lived in Athens, Greece while going to high school. I shove that bit of trivia down your throat every chance I get. I love that place. Today there was a huge storm in Athens, and this photo was taken:

greecelightening

Doesn’t even look real, huh?

While the Parthenon was getting struck by lightening bolts, I kicked off my 16 week marathon training with a big, crappy tempo run. When I have lousy runs I like to blame it on things other than my fitness level. For example, I ran at 7:45 a.m. and it was almost 80 degrees. Certainly this had an impact. I also ran with my ass aching. 80 degrees + ass aching = big, crappy run. Good news is I did not crap on this run.

The reality is, however, that my fitness is the problem. While I’ve kept up with my running since my last marathon in May, I haven’t done any speed work and my body forgot how. Today’s tempo was supposed to be:

2 miles easy, 2 miles tempo (@7:54) and 2 miles easy. What is easy, you ask? Probably about a 9 min/mile I’d guess.

I was all over the place:

Mile 1: 8:32 – WTF? This is supposed to be my warm up mile. Slow the heck down. I stopped to stretch the ass.

Mile 2: 8:28 – Again, too fast for being “easy.”

Mile 3: 7:30 – I am all over the place. This was supposed to be 7:54. No wonder I am gasping and dying.

Mile 4: 8:13 – Slower than tempo. Shit.

Mile 5: 9:05 – Really tired and hot by now.

Mile 6: 9:15 – Total degradation. Couldn’t have run much further today.

End result = 6 miles/51:09/8:31 avg.

Here’s what I know. Starting off marathon training is mentally tough. Humbling is the correct word. You know you have many strenuous weeks ahead. You stare at your training schedule with all of its boxes and paces and long run mileages and feel tired. You fear injury. You have goals and question if you can meet them.  If you have my brain, you are thinking, “Wow. Just six weeks ago I ran 26.2 miles with an 8:28 average. Today I can barely run 6 miles at an 8:30.” Basically, despite any excitement you might have about getting started, you get psyched out.

Running is an interesting thing. While we can increase our endurance by leaps and bounds and even train our bodies to go faster, we can quickly lose these benefits just as fast as we gained them. With running there are days when you feel like you are flying and days when you feel like your legs just won’t go. Or you can’t breathe. Or you don’t feel like running.  Sometimes it’s impossible to know why the good days are good and why the bad days are bad. We try to dissect all the pieces to learn how to repeat what we did when the run was strong, but it doesn’t always work that way.

One thing I am learning about starting a training plan is  that confidence is essential. Confidence that your fitness will return. Confidence that your body will adapt. Confidence that when race day comes you will be ready for the challenge. Even when your ass hurts.

Tomorrow I take the day off to get my butt massaged. I happen to like that very much.

27 comments:

  1. Butt massage?!? Sounds fab! I'm looking forward to following you as you cross off the boxes on that training schedule.

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  2. Remember, you just finished a marathon and your body is tired. Give it time to recover. In a few weeks, you'll be right back to where you were.

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  3. WoW, that picture is amazing! Massage is always amazing when you hurt:)

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  4. i LOVE that picture. pure awesomeness

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  5. Kick ass seabass! i'm marathon training with you to my colorado sister! :) love the picture! enjoy your massage tomorrow you lucky B! xoxo

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  6. I started my training too. I've done this plan before too. I know what's ahead too. But this time I'm going to do it right. I WANT to do good this time. This is my fifth marathon and it's my time to stand out!

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  7. Thanks for the post. I needed reminded of that. I am starting my training too and I am kind of winging it since I have not done this properly before and my run was long and slow and hurt. I did lots of hills but felt like I had lead legs. Ah well. It was a beautiful evening so there is that.

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  8. Wow. I'm sorry you had a crappy run. But it was get better. You will get your running mojo back before you know it.

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  9. Yep, totally totally totally understand! I can't even believe how much I have lost since last winter before I got the lung fungus. ENOUGH ALREADY...I'm so over being slow!! Hang in there girl, it'll all come to you ...sooner than me!

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  10. Zeus was angry.

    I'm going to Greece for a bit next month. I will give the country love for you. :)

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  11. That was all very well said- and two things resonate with me most: I never quite know why a good day is good and a bad day is bad and it really is all about confidence.

    And that picture- awesome!

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  12. That photo is incredible! Way to start your training with a "BANG".

    I have a feeling my first tempo run of this cycle (next week) is going to be a lot like yours. Have to learn the pace again.

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  13. What an amazing picture! Its truly beathtaking what mother nature can do. Yeah..speed work or even the small attempt at it that I do every so often totally kills me!! I always, always am hurting afterwards ;(

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  14. The photo is fantastic.

    The running - don't stress. You understand those crappy days happen. The next run will be all that you want it to be. Allow yourself time to get back on track, get your rhythm and pacing down, you'll rock in 16 weeks.

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  15. Something about others having the same early training pains makes me feel a little better.
    I have pushed my fall marathon to the spring this year. I just don't have it in me to start training in this heat so I picked a Feb. run.
    Keep it up.

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  16. So true. And let me give you a confidence booster--you still have plenty of that spring marathon fitness in your legs.

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  17. Totally needed this. Running can be a day to day thing. One day, you can conquer it all, the next you can't even run 2 miles at a decent pace.

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  18. I can't thank you enough for posting this. The last (8 miles) run I did was so crappy. Nothing I did made it feel good. I almost gave up entirely.

    THANK YOU!!!!

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  19. You are right, our confidence can make or break us. In fact, you have to take it one run at a time with your confidnece level because if you don't believe in yourself before you even leave the front door you are bound to have a crappy run!
    Nice job though for finishing! Yayy for the start of a new cycle! BTW, that pic was pretty damn cool :)

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  20. ok-i SOOO want a butt massage. lmk where you find a good one [just praying it's not in amsterdam - that's a little far for me right now]

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  21. that's exactly how i was feeling during the ultra training. while i was running a ton of miles, they were so miles. the days i tried to kick it into gear, i had nothing! gone. i just hope it all comes back when this boot comes off...yours will return in no time!

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  22. It's so true about that confidence thing. I've lost a lot of mine but I'm going to fake it till I get it back.

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  23. You have to consider the temperature you are training at. Your body needs time to get acclimated to the weather and your performance does suffer at suboptimal temperatures when you don't train at those temperatures. I would say give yourself a break but you seem really hard on yourself a lot so you probably won't but I thought I'd put it out there as a suggestion

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  24. That photo is phenomenal - how gorgeous, even with the storms!

    I just started FIRST training for my next half-marathon...humbling is a very gentle way of putting it for certain!

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  25. You're just too fast! It is just that.

    BTW - Are we going to meet up in Denver or what when we both run RnR Den? We should just plan it now so I don't back out.

    Annnnnd, because of your title I have that stupid song from grease in my head "....go grease lightning you're burning up the 1/4 mile.....grease lighting....goooo grease lightning"

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  26. Love the photo. I'm pretty confident I'll get back into good enough shape to run a marathon, but it's going to take a while! The handful of runs I've done since being cleared to workout again have been brutal. Slow and short. They require two sports bras and walking after every few minutes. Ugh! But I'll keep chipping away.

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  27. That's just what I needed to hear! I'm having the exact same feelings as I embark on trainng for marathon #2. Sadly, your "easy pace" is my tempo pace!

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