Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Seven Dwarves of Training

I’ll tell you one of the coolest things about training (and, it’s not all that extra food you get to eat).

It’s that point that I know all of you have reached.  The point at which you have been training your ass off and all of a sudden you notice you are getting stronger.

P1130925

And, I don’t mean just physically stronger, although that’s part of it. Strengthening your mental fortitude is HUGE. I know you know what I mean.

For example, you start training for your first marathon and the first time you run 10 or 12 miles you are completely blown away that you have run that far. All day after the run you keep congratulating yourself. You are in awe of yourself. Who knew you could do it? Then training progresses and pretty soon over the next few months you are running 14, 16, 18, then 20 miles. 10 miles seems measly in comparison. Even easy. Your mind has adjusted to putting in more miles and your body has followed.

Case in point. This weekend I went out to do a 4 hour ride, which turned out to be 71 miles. I wanted to ride the Harvest Moon 70.3 course since I’ll be racing it this weekend.

image 

In case that elevation profile looks like a big bitch to you, well, it was.  Endless hills. Wind. Heat. Suffering. I really don’t think it’s necessary for races to be this hard. Good news in all that crap was I discovered what my secret weapon is on the bike (I didn’t used to like these, now I do. Go figure):

P1130927

I put about 400-600 calories of these babies in a Ziploc baggie and munch a few every 10-15 minutes. Wash it all down with some Powerbar Perform and I am golden (or at least able to stay upright on the bike).

By the way, my bike is the BOMB. I never knew what a difference a tri bike could make in my cycling speed and comfort. Plus it looks cool.

P1130928

I had to tack on another 15 miles to get to four hours or riding. Then I drove home and went to the pool to swim 4,000 yards (the Ironman distance and the furthest I’ve ever swam!). Next morning at 6:00 a.m. I am out for a 14.5 mile run. Then I keeled over and died. All of this on the heels of a mid-volume training week.

The whole point of me telling you all this is that there was a time when I am sure I could not have done all of that in two days. Perhaps physically I could have pulled it off, but my brain would have been psyching me out the whole time and I would have been bitchy and grumpy and every other character from the Seven Dwarves:

image

My approach to not falling apart was OTAAT.

One Thing At A Time

Thing #1: Get on your bike and ride until the first turn. Take in some chews and liquid. Repeat. Press on. Don’t think about all the miles ahead. Stay in this mile. Don’t think about going home and swimming 2.4 miles.

Thing #2: Get home and have some lunch. Change clothes. Go to the pool. Swim 1,000 yards. Do it again. And, again. And. again.

Thing #3: Watch “Walking Dead”, have some wine and a huge dinner. Sleep.

Thing #4 Get up. Don’t think about how heavy your legs feel. Hydrate. Eat. Settle in. One mile at a time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Which Dwarf are you these days? I can be a combo of sweaty, bitchy and sleepy. And hungry. Oh, hell I’m all of them.

What’s something you’ve accomplished you did not think possible? I still view my first marathon in 2009 as something I never, ever thought I could do. It was the first time I realized what it meant to push myself and not give up. It made me think I could do anything.

SUAR

45 comments:

  1. Wait... where's the dwarf named PMSy?

    ReplyDelete
  2. All of the above with the addition of a lesser known 8th dwarf named Gassy. I can't believe what marathon training has done to my G.I. tract!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm Gimpy. I just did my 18 mile run for marathon training and I think I've told more people about that than when I gave birth. There was no option to quit during labor, so running 18 miles is much more impressive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very good point! I am scheduled for 18 this weekend and it is terrifying me!

      Delete
  4. I am not a road cyclist at.all, but dayamn, your new ride it gorgeous! Who knew I could think if a bike that way!

    ReplyDelete
  5. One mile at a time is becoming my mantra - at least for the next month and a half!

    You are awesome - all that biking and swimming would kill me (I like the running!).

    ReplyDelete
  6. My dwarf personality depends on who you ask most days...

    I'm pretty sure I vacillate between grumpy, sleepy, and asshole.

    I love reading about your exploits, and then thinking about what it would take to get myself there. And then I feel really small. And spindly.

    But a small part of myself seizes on the glimmer of hope that someday...

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am totally all 7 of those dwarves at some point during the week!

    Congrats on another awesome week of training. You're so right...OTAAT and eventually you can do what you originally thought was impossible!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am Ouchy and Cranky. I seem to have either another damn stress fracture or a tear in my adductor muscle. I cant run and i'm Depresssy. and getting Fatty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel you- unfortunately. :( I think the only thing harder than training for a big race is being forced to STOP training. My psyche is in almost as much pain as my leg. So sorry for you.

      Delete
  9. You are seriously killing it. I just did my second half marathon on my way to my first full, and seeing all of this training helps keep my single sport/shorter distances in perspective. Thanks. Happy Training.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am definitely bitchy and sleepy these days without training for an IM!! What's my excuse? I don't have one. Shit.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great job on your training! I think my eyes bugged out of my head like a cartoon character's when I saw that altitude map.
    I really like(d) the Clif blocks for fueling, although I had to cut them into quarters in order to chew them. Now, I'm Nasty, Weepy, Sorryformyselfy, Grumpy, and Stinky (Since I can't run, I sometimes find it hard to justify taking a shower.)

    Boy, do I love me some Walking Dead! I blogged about it a while back- http://knowitallmrs.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-running-dead.html Which season are you watching now?

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love the Honey Stinger waffle "thingies" and I'm bitchy/asshole/hungry dwarf everyday!!!!! Gotta go to bed now....just reading what your weekend workout was exhausted me. Great job.....keep on truckin'!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm not very bright and just discovered that I may be a "no-reply blogger" to those using Blogger. I use Wordpress and apparently there's no real solution unless I sign-in with my name and URL. Why is this your problem? It's not. Just thought I would test it out!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. You are a total bad A! Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am a very consistent Asshole dwarf.

    I never thought I could make myself get up at 5/5:30am at least five day/week to exercise. I always wanted to be one of those people that got up and out at the crack of dawn to exercise. I use to exercise at night, but found over time, I was just too damn tired at the end of the day to put in real effort. So now, no more excuses. I'm tired for the first ten minutes as I brush teeth and dress, then once I'm out the door, I'm good to go. I'm three months in. Winter is coming. But I'm determined to keep it up rain/shine/cold/whatever.

    Thanks for your blog and sharing your Ironman training!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Love this! I'm just getting started and I loved the high I felt after running my first 10 miles. Something I NEVER thought I could do. Truly amazing experience.

    And the dwarves are hilarious!

    ReplyDelete
  17. You know you are getting there when you read training days like yours and instead of thinking 'that chick's a nut job' instead you think 'that sounds an awesome way to spend a couple of days'!, love it!,,
    P.s That bike is totally HOT HOT HOT!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I've never gone into anything I didn't think I could do- always prepared myself for my IMs, Alcatraz swims, Rim to Rim to Rim, Pikes Peak, etc. etc. The thing I am proudest of besides raising my daughter who is now attending a Master's program in Chicago was getting my own Masters degree and working with special needs kids for going on 39 years. What influenced what? Did I do well at sports because I did well in job/school or did I do well in job/school because I did well in sports? Who knows? Who cares? Not I.

    ReplyDelete
  19. a few things for me:
    I can swim. . . finally
    so I did a sprint tri in august
    but what is super awesome is my 4 yo is riding around without training wheels!

    ReplyDelete
  20. You are AMAZING. Two years ago I ran a 1:34 half - a 5min PR! I NEVER thought that was possible. And so now I approach my running with a different attitude - what is possible?? I don't know. I don't know what my limits are now. But they're faster than I thought they were. So I just keeping pushing...

    ReplyDelete
  21. So glad to hear about your progress, very inspiring. That is THE coolest looking bike: WOW!

    ReplyDelete
  22. You are absolutely right. The mental strength is at least as important as the physical. Doing this sort of workout volume will help convince your brain you really can do this thing.

    My thing was Ironman. You can know inside you can do it (and you are probably just getting to that stage) but when you see the finish line it will be unlike anything else in your life.

    ReplyDelete
  23. All of the above and then some, including envious of that new bike. Truly badass.

    My thing was a marathon. I never ever thought I could do it. So glad I did!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Running 10 miles - then I pulled my hip flexor and turned into bitchy! Actually I ran the second 10 miles with it pulled and had a mix of happy that I did it (again) and grumpy that I was hurting so bad. This was in March and I'm still trying to recover to 100%. Can't wait to run 10 again! What a high that was!!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I can tell when I have been extremely focused on training my BF calls me "Snappy Dwarf" oops, attitude check. I have the Slice too and I am in LOVE with him!!
    I am training for the Tinkerbell Half in January and I would 1000x rather go ride my bike than run!
    Keep kickin it and inspiring me to keep OTAAT!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Damn, Beth. You are killing it in training! Way to stay in the mile you're doing.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Love this! Your training schedule is crazy intense! I'm always sweaty, stinky, and hungry!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Love the dwarfs!Kind of priceless. I am usually a combo of hungry, sweaty, and bitchy. You are kicking ass on your training. Keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I'm typically Grumpy, then Bitchy, then Asshole...all because I'm Hungry, in general! And I have to agree with Lisa - I'm not a cyclist either, but that bike is a beauty!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hah! Love the dwarves graphic.

    I just wanted to say that I am in love with your blog. I've been reading it for a couple of months now and it has quickly become my favorite. I'm no where near your athletic level (my first half is this Nov.) but you are a total inspiration. I know this is probably way too gushy, but it just had to be said!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Never thought I could run 5 miles, then 10 then 15 and then holy sh$t I did a 20 miler last weekend and played Just Dance on the Wii for 2 hours afterwards. Simply amazed on what I have accomplished-I usually have to tell my brain to shut up because I know my legs aren't giving up. Love reading about your training!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I am in total awe of your weekend workout! I have been all those dwarves, plus some this week. Nursing an injured hammie and can't decide whether to run through it or rest - am I being a wuss or am I being stupid. My moods been all over the place!

    I'm not very fast when I run by myself. I ran with a new group at 5 am the other morning. It was pitch black outside and I had no idea where we were going so I stayed with them. Too dark to see my Garmin too. We got done with 6 miles and I realized we ran it all at 8:15 pace. I didn't think I was in shape to run that fast!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I am training for my first marathong and ran 14 miles last Saturday. Prior to that I'd never run more than a half marathon. This Saturday I'm running 16 miles and looking forward to it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Will you run it in a THONG?

      Good luck with 16!!

      Delete
  34. HA, I'm training for a maraTHONG, bad place for a typo.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Running my first 5k was HUGE because I always HATED running. A friend dared me to do Couch to 5k and I ended up running my first 5k in January in the snow and ice. I didn't take anyone with me because I wasn't sure I could do it and didn't want to be embarrassed. A woman I talked to on the course ended up waiting at the finish line to congratulate me and the tears definitely came. I cried in my car for several minutes before I could drive home just so I could see! Oh, and because it was a super small race, I ended up with a 3rd place medal in my age group (of 7 people)!

    However, I sobbed at the end of my first half marathon, too. In just over a year I had gone from never running to completing 13.1 miles. It still boggles my mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES!! This is exactly what I am talking about. Congratulations!

      Delete
  36. Bitchy and grumpy usually happens when hungry and sleepy collide. I never thought I could do a marathon. Marine Corps Marathon last year was my first marathon, and it opened up a whole wonderful and crazy world of endurance running for me. Now I've got my first ultra in 10 days!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I needed this post tonight!! I'm training for my first full (I've done 9 half's and a sprint tri, but a full scares me) - the MCM next month - and I'm running 20 miles for the first time on Sunday. I did 19 two weeks ago, so I know it's not that much further, but just having a 2 at the front is that psychological barrier for me. I'm ready, though. I know I am. I also know I'm going to cry when I cross the finish line. And I'll call the woman I've trained with, who's running Chicago as her first two weeks before me, and thank her for helping me on the training runs, even though we chose different marathons to run. That being said, I am always amazed when I think of how far I ran during a half marathon. One race was basically my work commute doubled, so every time I would drive to work I would feel especially impressed that I had run that distance (since most of my co-workers couldn't imagine ever walking that far).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck with 20. It is a huge milestone in my opinion. I don't know why 20 sounds so much further than 19, but it does!!

      Delete
  38. Training for 70.3 this summer I did an 80K ride and 14K run Friday and a 30K run on Saturday, I am also training for my first marathon in 5 weeks. I would never have been able to do that at the beginning of the summer but slowly I got stronger and I was able to do it. My trick is not to look beyond the current week of training I am doing, one step at a time, so I don't worry about what is coming.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I just finished running Hood to Coast! 14 years ago when I watched my dad do that, I never, EVER would have believed that I would run it with him and my two other siblings one day. My family stood on the beach and cried about that after we finished for a good while. It was excellent.

    ReplyDelete