Thursday, June 26, 2014

How to Rebound from Your Crappy Training Day(s)

I thought you might want to see our recovery from a hot 15 mile run last night. I don’t know why we are hiking up our shorts. It just seemed the thing to do:

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Colorado is UGLY.

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Sarcasm.

These next two weeks are peak training weeks for Ironman Boulder. On Sunday, we have a race rehearsal, by which I am totally intimidated. I figure the whole thing should take about 8 to 9 hours.

1. Swim ~3,000 yards
2. Bike 100 miles
3. Run 6 miles

Who does that?

I guess it is to be expected that we all hit lows throughout our training. This looks different for everyone. Some people get bitchy. Others shut down and go to sleep. Personally, I like to cry. I have realized that when I am overwhelmed and cannot think straight, all I can do is cry. This doesn’t happen often, but it did happen on Sunday.

Let me back up.

On Saturday, I did a 12 mile trail run. I fell twice and rolled my ankle once. When I say “fall,” I don’t mean that I gracefully tripped. I mean that I went airborne, the world was in slow motion and I wondered if I could  possibly save myself from the inevitable. Then, I abruptly and violently landed with a “thud” on the trail, where I lay feeing sorry for myself before I assessed the damage. I did this x 2.

The damage (warning: blood):

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There is something about falling that makes you feel vulnerable. And, pretty damn stupid. This “scrape” hurt like a mother. I tried not to be a baby, but it stung. This was not, however, the part where I cried.

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Fast forward to the next morning. I went to Boulder for the Bare Bones 2 mile open water swim event. I was not in the mood at all for this thing. My attitude sucked. Putting my wet suit on over my pussing knee was gross. As I looked around at all the ridiculously fit and fast athletes, I felt even more not in the mood for this thing.

From the start, I could not get my groove. I choked on water and swallowed enough e-coli to kill me. I had weeds in my face. My goggles came off. I lost my breath and couldn't get it back. In the end, the stinking 2 miles took me 1:12. Good lord.

Then it was time to get on the bike for 40 miles. As I was walking to meet Ken, I scraped my pussing knee injury on someone’s car and ripped off the skin (sorry someone’s Subaru – you have a scab on your bumper). That is when I started crying. Ken asked what was wrong? “I’M TIRED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!,” I sobbed. “The swim SUCKED”, I whined. He told me maybe I should skip the bike. NO! I shoved a Stinger waffle in my mouth and off we went.

After all of that drama, it turned out to be a great ride and I moved on from self pity. The next day was a much needed rest day and I got my shit together.

This got me thinking about the best ways to approach those lows that inevitably come with training.

1. Know it is temporary.
2. Focus on all you have accomplished so far.
3. Take a rest. Back off from training a bit and get some perspective.
4. Cry it out, then move on.
5. Wine/whine
6. Bitch to a friend who will reassure you that what you are doing is hard and you deserve to fall apart.
7. Don’t read too much into it.  One “bad” training day doesn’t define you.
8. Write about it on your blog so other people can tell you they have low points too.

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

Make me feel better. When’s the last time  you’ve fallen (running or otherwise?)

Ever hit a low in your training?

SUAR

48 comments:

  1. I went flying on an "easy", taper trail run 2 days before Boston. Cried. It hurt! As for shitty IM training sessions - I've had those. Have just had to take a week off with flu 4 weeks before my IM though and I'm just SO relieved to be back out there that I'll take any crappy sessions. Better than no sessions. Oh - and I would kill for 2M in 1:12... That's not a figure of speech. I would kill.

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  2. Oh man, while I cannot relate to the volume of training you're currently doing (you are a bad ass), I can so relate to those FEELINGS. The best thing to do as you know is just get through it! Scabs and all. I think this just means you're going to have a great race!

    I tripped on the world's most obvious rock - I swear, it was like a foot wide and several inches tall - and completely scraped and bruised my knee. Puffy, yellow, painful. This was a few months ago. I actually don't fall very much on trail because I go SO slow and am super cautious. Which is also why I am trying to PR via a road race, lol.

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  3. I fell on a long training run (maybe 15 miles?) about halfway to two-thirds in, about 1.5 years ago. I tripped on an uneven curb. I went forward, down, then rolled, so I got a scuffed knee, hand, and scraped upper arm. First action: Stop Garmin. Second: Check brand new expensive shirt for tears (none). Third: Assess how bad I was injured. My husband laughed at me for stopping my watch before anything else. I then got up and ran on.

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  4. I'll admit that I do the same thing. Last training run of the week, which was the second run of the day, had me bawling because I still had a mile cool down to do...a cool down made me sit on the side of the track and cry. Just because I was tired and overwhelmed. However, I have also been known to laugh like a raving lunatic in the same circumstance...so you win some and you lose some!

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  5. I took a nice digger on a 26 mile trail run, caught a root with the toe of my shoe went flying forward and just smashed to the ground, of course using my knee to break my fall... I sat there stinging in pain, unable to move, thinking oh crap this time this is serious. Hobbled up and took a few tentative steps and was on my way to finish the second of three laps. Figuring if I wasn't better by the time I hit my car, about 2 miles away, I'd call it a day. By then I'd forgotten the pain as there was a fun mud puddle to run through and life is so much better when you act like an 8 year old.

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  6. I needed to read this today. I am nowhere near a competitive level (or even a racing level to be honest), but It was nice to see EVERYONE has rough times. Keeping your suggestions in the forefront of my mind today

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  7. I fell last Friday! With spectacular speed down a hill. The positive: I fell really fast down that hill! The negative: it was the day before a very hilly half. And my knee looks just like yours! I took MANY LAYERS of skin off and it was full of rocks and dirt. It's STILL PUSSING AND BLEEDING. Gross. Anywhooo... I'd share a pic to make you feel better, but you can't do that here. Maybe a "wall of bloody runner/cycling legs" would make a nice album to help make others feel good about there craptastic training days? LOL! Thank you for the recommendations on how to make the attitude adjustment! BTW... I got first in my AG at the half!

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  8. I just fell this morning on a mountain bike ride. There was a medium sized rock obstacle in the trail. I tried twice to ride over it and didn't make it either time. My husband encouraged me to try it once more (so you see this is obviously ALL HIS FAULT) and on the third time one of my pedals hit the rock and I flew off my bike and slid down a slope wearing my bike like a sombrero.

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  9. just fell on Monday and my arm looks like you leg.

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  10. I just fell mountain biking. We were going down a super steep hill and everybody but me got off to walk down. I was fine until my feet slipped off the pedals, then I tried to jump over the handlebars and got tangled with the bike.
    Those are all great tips to rebound :)

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  11. I tripped on the sidewalk while running with a high energy dog from the local animal shelter. First, all I could think was: "Don't fall on the dog! Do. NOT. Fall. On. The. Dog." Next was: "Don't lose the dog!" I biffed it pretty hard to the bloody chagrin of one hand and both knees. (My sunglasses and water bottle weren't too happy with me either.) The sweet dog just sat down next to me and gave me kisses. Our shelter is kind of meh, so I was too scared to tell them this happened because I didn't want the dog blamed for my lack of coordination. Fast forward one week and I did the exact same thing in a different part of town with the same dog! I swear, he was too embarrassed to even look in my direction. I imagine that must be what it's like to have a teenager!

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  12. I love a good pity party. Mine was about 5 days. I feel so much better.
    Just rub some dirt on it.
    Joke in nursing. It's pussy? How do you spell that? Which is totally not as funny in print.

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    Replies
    1. Hah! So fun, I almost wrote pussy because that made sense in my mind. I should have been a nurse.

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  13. Beth!!! You know I'm a habitual fall-er, so I LOVE the knee pic. Hope it's not swollen or anything though. I know I fell last year 3 weeks before Leadville and pulled a rib muscle and thought I was doomed, but all was good after a week.

    Good luck with the monster training weekend (OMG!!!!), you'll do great (OMG!!!!).

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  14. If it makes you feel better I am 95% sure the swim was long. More like 2.2 miles. Practically IM length.

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    Replies
    1. OMG are you serious??? That makes me feel so much better. Thanks!

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    2. Everyone with a 910 (which can measure the swim distance) was reporting the course as 2.2x miles. Also, lows when training means something else in my (diabetic) world. I have this kind too, sometimes, but so far I haven't left any scabs on someone's bumper ☺

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    3. Thanks, Karen. Good to know it was further than I thought b/c it certainly felt that way. See you tomorrow!

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  15. These apply for pretty much any low spot in life, I think

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  16. When did you last fall, you ask? Just this past Saturday, on a quarter marathon trail run . . . before I even hit the 1 mile marker. I felt sorry for myself the whole race, and let it ruin my run. I'm still sore 5 days later and haven't run since. I really needed to read your blog today. Although I'm no where near the amount of training hours that you put in, I need to just shut up and go run :)

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  17. I sooo needed to read this today as I'm currently dealing with a leg issue that is bringin down my running game! Not cool.
    The next to last time I fell was in September 2010. Tripped on an uneven sidewalk. End result? A scraped up knee, scraped up hands AND a broken finger! Got the ugliest split ever. And having to repeatedly explain to people what happened was repeatedly embarrassing. Ugh. Then just a few months later, I tripped on an uneven sidewalk AGAIN about 2 blocks from my house. No broken bones that time. But still not cool.

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  18. This post reminds me so much of the children's book, "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,". Ha! You should just move to Australia.

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  19. I fall ALL the time. Usually on city streets in front of strangers. My ego is usually bruised more than my body. But damn, it is frustrating! Hope you heal quickly!

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  20. The last time I was reminded of how painful knee scrapes can be, I was at a family bbq. I had just filled my plate and was casually walking to a chair, among about 30 chairs in a circle. My ankle just decided to take a rest and completely gave out. I had enough momentum to push me forward so at least the plate didn't go in my face, yet food went flying and I scraped my knee and both elbows pretty good. Falling is nothing new to me, and usually I have pretty smooth landing gear, but not this time. Not with this many witnesses...like that would make it any cooler, anyway.
    You rock, Beth. What you are doing is hard and you have busted your ass (and your knee) to get where you are. Keep it up, we are all rooting for you.

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  21. Thanksgiving morning, and it was a doozy!! I took my two dogs out for a run, I figured I'd tire them out before company arrived and pre-burn off my turkey and stuffing in one shot. Well, only a couple blocks in, as we were crossing the street, my dog stepped in front of me because he was looking at another dog. I was going full speed, with a leash in each hand, and landed on my left shin full force! The road rash was impressive, and then I had to limp back home and get back to cooking Thanksgiving dinner. And the real bummer is that I didn't even burn off one bite of turkey!!

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  22. When I ran 2,000+ miles a year, which I did for almost 20 years, I would fall once or twice a year. It was usually on a trail run. Only a couple of these falls resulted in a serious injury ... both times it was a severely strained ankle, which can take longer to heal that a broken bone. It happens. Just be thankful that you are not on your bike when you fall!

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  23. One day I decided to go for a 10 mile jog, and on this day I was having very bed indigestion. On the way back I pooped my pants a mile away from any restroom.

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  24. I'm going to start training in my first half marathon in nearly 2 years...so I have to get in the mindset and remember that things don't always go perfectly! Ugh sorry about your knee!

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  25. I needed those 8 coping mechanisms this week!

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  26. I did my Tempo run last night... Didn't want to do it. Felt like puking afterwards. But I did it... Just for you :)

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  27. Falling is the worst! I have done it twice now. Both times have resulted in a bruised shoulder, face and knee. I look like someone has punched me. (Attractive) I seem to trip on the frickin pavement like an idiot. Both times have been when I've run with a group. So I'm sticking to solo running (for my own safety)!
    Like you, I cry when I'm overwhelmed. Work, too much training, when I'm beat, I cry. Thanks for your honesty and the coping mechanisms.

    Stay strong and remember, you're an IRONMAN (WOMAN)!

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  28. My last fall was in a tri in 2011. The 5K run was on a trail and I had ZERO trail running experience. I came barreling down the hill and passed two women. One of them yelled, "go you! You are flying!" I glanced back - for just a second - to yell "thanks" and the next thing I knew I was airborne and then skidding along the trail on my belly. I scraped my palms, forearms, one knee and ripped the bottoms on my brand new tri suit to shreds. Lesson learned!

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  29. Fell in the middle of a half marathon (middle of town, running on a sidewalk, NO reason to fall). Split my lip wide open, plenty of blood, but fortunately didn't do much to my knee and didn't twist an ankle or otherwise do anything to stop me for long. Cleaned up at a drinking fountain and continued on. And then my husband thought I'd be done and called me when I was still about a mile or so from the end--I was feeling pretty sorry for myself by the time I was done!

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  30. I fell hard 2 weeks ago. I was gracefully hoping over a piece of cement, when the wire I didn't see snagged my left foot and I slammed down on my right knee, left hand. It was awful. I rolled around in misery and then my friend Shelley helped me up. When my sone was picking gravel out of my hand he pointed out the huge bruise on my left knee. How the hell did that get there? It makes me smile to know that all runners aren't as graceful as I believe them to be and that I am not the only one to have a bad day/fall. Keep moving forward.

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  31. Whew -- real runners do trip over nothing on the sidewalk! Happened to me last week. Broke my wrist. I was so bummed that the injury might interrupt my summer race plans that I had a crying tantrum right there in the ER. After day 3, I woke up early, laced up and went for a long slow run through beautiful scenery and decided running with an arm cast wasn't so bad. Wonder when the cast will start stinking ...

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  32. Thank you for this post, well timed!! I am training for Ironman Whistler, my first IM. It is a week earlier than yours so I have enjoyed following your training and love reading about your first IM last fall. With my race a week prior to yours I hit my serious low last week which I am trying to shake out of this week. I went into a huge volume weekend feeling beat, tired with the last week of school events (late here in Columbia, MD, figures you are from here, I have never met so many triathletes/runners anywhere else I have lived, something in the water?!) for my three little ones and it has taken an extra rest day, a change of scenery (swimming outside), and running with good friends to get back up. Glad to see you write about it being temporary!! Looking forward to hearing about your race and keep the tips for us first timers coming!

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  33. I finally got the courage to meet up with the local running group only to find out that everyone has serious speed (besides me). They assured it was alright and slowed down a few minutes/mile for me ( and I sped up a few minutes per mile) As we are crossing the street and I'm gasping for breath I fail to pick up my foot and go sailing into the intersection and skid a few feet. I'd hoped they'd leave me there , but they all stopped to see if I was ok and we continued the run. I was really embarrased, but they then all recanted their greatest tumble stories and I felt much better.

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  34. I ALMOST fell on a speed bump yesterday! It would have been bad but I managed to stay vertical... At least you look like a bad ass!

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  35. I hit the street hard at the Chicago Shamrock Shuffle this year. Thank goodness we were still in that cold, winter season because 2 layers of clothes saved my knees, and elbows. But my chin was a different story.... Yup, full, whole-body fall to the ground 1 mile before the finish. I feel better after reading your post. I am not alone! Thank you. By the way-I still finished the race. :)

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  36. I fell Saturday at mile 8 while trying to take a picture of what I thought was a rare bird for my blog. Unfortunately the rare bird turned out to be a damn pigeon and I fell on my ass in front of some cyclist and several fisherman. It was ugly and sadly not the last fall of the day. Clearly, I am uncoordinated.

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  37. I fell running on a cement trail next to the Schullkyll river in Philadelphia, rolled down the hill towards the water, hit my hip on a rock, rolled, rolled, rolled, then finally landed on the retaining wall that dams the river and keeps the ground from eroding into the river. BTW, the Schullkyll (or Sure Kill as we like to call it) is brown, filthy and smelly! As I landed on the wall, one leg and one arm were all that kept me from going into that festering sess pool. I had cuts on my shoulders, knees, ankles, elbows, pretty much any skin that was exposed got a taste of good old Philly dirty and polluted surface. The worst of it was that I had three miles to get back to work, where I had to shower and get re-dressed for post-lunch workout office work. I only managed to bang my head twice, one time on my temple, one time on the back of my head. No blood on the face, but did have some nice bruises.
    I wouldn't have even been concerned about the cuts, they do heal, but the bruises kept me from doing a seriously strong workout for about two weeks! I think people must have thought I was mugged and dragged through the streets!
    But the next day, my ankle swelled to ridiculous proportions, and I suddenly remembered I rolled my ankle for the umpteenth time and that's what caused the old broad to go down! 6 weeks in a boot, torn tendon, still waiting to run, almost two years have passed and I cannot run more than two miles without it swelling up to the point where i cannot put on shoes. It could be worse, I could be dead! So, running is on hold, but I will get back to it.
    Amy P. Philly Runner.

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  38. I'm going to come back to this when I hit my wall during this training season. I'm one who shuts down and sleeps; you know I'm at the wall when I nap because I normally CANNOT nap.

    Best of luck!

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  39. If I swam 2+ miles in that time I'd be thrilled. So now I will feel sorry for myself for being too slow as well....... :-)

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  40. I've just started experimenting with trail running and EVERY TIME I go I end up falling or rolling my ankle...I'm starting to think my coordination isn't meant for trail running :)

    WhatTheHeckWhyNot?

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