Thursday, August 11, 2005

Beach Blanket Breakdown

It's official: I'm schizophrenic (apologies to anyone actually suffering from the disease). I ran 18 miles last Saturday, acted like a grown up, and was very proud of self. Now, am quivering mass of nameless fears.

Unlike Susan's beach experience, covens of running blog friends did not descend on the beach during my recent three-day retreat thereto.

But, I did run.

Day one: gorgeous, so I made sure to get sunburned, but did not run.

Day two: rained the whole day. And, because I am a martyr, I got up at 7 a.m. and ran the length of the one-mile boardwalk four times in a torrential downpour. In my usual time. Happy dance.

Day three: more sun, more beach, and a two-hour drive home.

Day four: got up early and tried to run 45 minutes (because I don't have a four-mile route marked out near my house). Crashed at 38 minutes, and walked home.


I sympathize with a. maria. I truly do. My motivation is there, but just recently, I've been seized by the fear that I will never be able to run again, like it's all been pretend and accidental up to now.

So, apparently just for fun, every single time I go out to run, I am convinced that I won't be able to do it. And, when it comes true, as it did on Thursday, it's self-reinforcing. "Ah ha! You were right! You are a fraud."

Examining the data, I come up with these potential contributing factors:

Footwear: I got new, bigger (read=enormous) running shoes on Sunday, and started breaking them in this week. But I wore those for the boardwalk run and it was fine (despite slight panic attack at prospect of running).

Food: Eh, not eating so well. I admit it. I'm cheap on vacation (but not easy), so I do things like skip lunch, and nibble instead on stuff like chocolate-covered soy nuts. (Yum!) (Hey, at least they're not Thrasher's fries.)

Water: Maybe didn't drink enough?? No alcohol passed these lips, I can attest to that.

Sleep: When didn't I sleep? I've never slept so much in my life.

Personal stuff: Hmm. A LOT going on here. Annonymous posted on a.maria's blog that his/her personal demons love coming after him/her when she/he (this is exhausting: just tell us who you are already!) runs. I'm not consciously thinking about these particular problems when I run (at all other times of the day, yes), but I bet they are all in there stirring up trouble.

But really: Who the hell knows?

I'm just very tired of being afraid all the time. Note to self: So what if you don't finish a training run!!! God, get over yourself already.

Eh, enough moaning for today. Saturday is only 9 miles (stomach already churning with fear as I write this). Pass the Paxil, please.


Ali said...

All the physical training we do and really it's the mental battle that's the hardest. I think we are all going through a tough part of training right now. Plus you are on vacation, give yourself a break.

If you have done 18 miles you have nothing to fear, you can do anything!

a.maria said...

OMG do you even understand how wonderful it is to hear that other people are struggling. not in a mwah-ah-ah evil way, but in a thank GOD i thought i was the only one. i sit here and read others blogs and they're like "yeah, i ran for 70 hours yesterday at a pretty slow pace... 9.5 minute miles" and i'm like WTF??? why am i struggling to crap out a measly 6 mile run then? huh? serious.

after talking to Texas Boy (to my friggin rescue that guy is. i swear.) and some others i think, for me at least, its been a big time nutritional thing. i didnt really realize how much my body needs to recoup... i've been worried about energizing my body for the run, but not for the re-building of muscle that goes on afterwards. so i've been drained and just disgusted with the whole thing.
plus yeah, anony. guy was right. emotional stress is i'm sure having something to do with it.

anyway. i've taken 3 days off from everything..running and lifting, and i'm gunna eat like its my JOB tonight, so hopefully tomorrows 8 mile hill work will be back to normal. (this is the longest comment ever)

hope your 9 goes well. keep us updated!

i'll think of you on... mile 5. you'll be my mile 5 motivation, officially... !! fun, right? (riiiiighttt!!!)

jeanne said...

RIGHT BACK ATCHA! Thank god for texas boy!

Yeah, I know EXACTLY what you mean about those 70-milers who go out for a "short, easy run at an 8 min. pace for 3 hours." Pullleeeze!!!

I've been doing this since april and i still don't have the hang of it, or ANY confidence that i'm doing it right, plus when I read how much you're running, for instance, i start freaking again, bcs our schedule is soooo much easier, i'm worried it's not gonna get me there! There's ZERO mile increase in our twice a week practice runs. Just run for 45 minutes. And then twice a week cross-train, which for me is the elliptical, and ZERO weight training.....

ahhhhh, i suck!

21st Century Mom said...

You are fine - your fears are normal. You can run, you are running, you will continue to run.

Hydration is really, really, really important. Dehydration and over-hydration are the most common problems that cause people to bonk. Make sure you drink quite a lot of water every day and before your long runs drink water and a sports drink like Gatorade.

Sleep and food are less important but they count.

You are doing GREAT! Really you are. I really recommend that when fear of failure starts to rear its ugly head you just remind yourself of your successes. I'm sure you bonked on your post vacation run due to dehydration from all that sunshine.

You are fine. Keep on keeping on!

Susan said...

I could have (and have) said those very words. The only difference is that I've had enough bad runs followed by great runs that I know I'll be ok. But before each run, I take a deep breath and try to block those demons. And yeah, I use the runs to analyze my life, my goals, my "issues." Sometimes I give names to my runs based on whatever problem I'm trying to solve!

Anonymous said...

OMG I am so glad you posted this today - I went to my running group this morning - I'm the slowest by MILES - and was CONVINCED the whole time that everyone was laughing at me and thinking why does she bother she's so hopless aand slow. But I didn't grab my bag and run away, same as you won't run away (walk away?) from your challenge. ('course, my keys were locked in the coach's car so that made it harder to flee LOL). I haven't been doing this very long but I think the others are right - what you're feeling is normal. It must be if we all feel that way too! BTW, it's not 9 miles, it's 5 miles, which you can do, and then 4 miles, which you can also do. So i'M looking forward to hearing how you blitzed it/struggled tremendously bravely through it.


Wil said...

Wow, your blog is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I like how open and honest you are - funny what surfaces when we have a huge thing in front of us like a marathon, hmm?

Hey, maybe that's why we do it :)

Lara said...

I agree with Susan - well I agree with what everybody has said, really - but specifically with what Susan said about tolerating bad runs because there are good runs to come. I still tend to treat each difficult run as the end of the world, even though I know better. And I too often ask myself 'can I do this?' even though I know better. What has helped tremendously has been to finally stop comparing myself to others and worrying about some notion of measuring up. It took alot of mental work to do that but it's transformed my experience. Sorry, this kind of sounds like a lecture - it's just because I totally feel what you're saying.

And you are doing awesome, by the way - no BS!

jeanne said...

you guys rock. and you're all smart, and um, of course, right!