Running, Strengthening and Falling the Hell Apart

Spoiler Alert: I ran 61.5 miles last week in the dead, miserable, stifling heat of high summer and did not die. 

I came close. But I did not perish.

dancing wednesday adams

 YES.

It’s the little things. I am celebrating the little things. If ever I was going to throw in the Hansons Method Towel, it would have been last week. It might seem like I’m all Little Miss Polly Positive lately, but that seriously came to a grinding halt last week. I turned into Polly Wannasmacktheshitoutofsomeone, specifically The Hansons.  This hasn’t been all rainbows, perfect avocados and unicorns, Poodles. This has been running through the highest of highs and stumbling through the lowest of lows. Even Tina is feeling it. Since embarking on this batshit crazy marathon training program, I have learned an awful lot about myself. 

  • I can drag myself out of bed at Ass O’Clock in the morning and run 14 miles before work. 
  • I can run a tempo run at a prescribed pace. Who knew? 
  • I can take a speed workout inside and run 11 miles on a goddamn treadmill. 
  • can also hate running with the white hot intensity of 1,000 suns.

And that’s OK. I can hate it. In order to hate it fervently, I had to have loved it passionately.  Probably over 12 weeks ago, before I was nipples deep in this mess. While I am thrilled I ran all the miles last week, my confidence took a serious hit. Suffered. I suffered. Every run felt like the last 6.2 of a marathon.  That is, if the marathon was held in a lava field. Combine that with an insane work week, and you have Colby waving the white flag and seriously considering if it’s all worth it.  

I’ve got the power. Dammit.

 
The Answer: It is.
It always is. 

You just can’t see it when you’re in the throes of the struggle. Once I had a chance to process last week- which is why this is 3 days late- I decided that’s it is worth it. I am worth it. I can do this. I never, ever, thought I would be able to handle this training program. And here’s me, handling it. It’s not perfect 100% of the time. Well, neither am I. But 90% of the time it is pretty damn close. Which suits me just fine.

Here’s how Week 11 of training went:

Monday: 8 miles. Easy. This was probably the one run that felt decent. And it should have. My legs weren’t totally cooked. Yet. 

Tuesday: 6 x 1 mile, 400 recovery. 11 miles total including warm up and recovery. Welcome to Strength Training. And foolishness. Your pal Colby had a total brain malfunction and decided to run them each 20-30 seconds FASTER than what she should have. HOW DID SHE LET THAT HAPPEN?!?! Such. Shit. 

Wednesday: {Cue Angels singing on high} RESTFUCKINGDAY. And, It’s National Dog Day. Here’s to Evil Beagle, Leon James and Drunk Otis!  

Our Crazy Pack

 
Thursday: Tempo run. 11 miles total. This was the run that almost made me quit. My legs were dead. Deader than dead. I’d call them zombie legs but I’ve seen those bitches take bullets and they don’t even flinch. These legs just wanted to stop. My tempo pace was good, until it wasn’t. Then it was never going back. Awful. May have shed a tear while “running” the cool down miles. Or sobbed uncontrollably into my singlet.  

#truth

 
Friday: Easy run. 7.5 miles. Why 7.5? Because 8 wasn’t happening. I even wore my jazziest Janji gear in hopes of summoning my inner Zippy Self. Yeah. No go. I was slow and bummed.  

The grass is dead. Like my legs. Janji shorts however, are on fleek.

 
Saturday: Long run. 16 miles. Mid-sweltering-day. Why? Because that’s when I could fit it in. I had to swap Saturday and Sunday’s runs. And I ran out of water. Ugly. That shit was just plain ugly. But I did it. 

Sunday: Easy run. 8 miles. My 3rd Shit Run of the Week. Nothing but suffering. Run. But am miserable. Consider stopping. Don’t. Get teary eyed. I’m exhausted. Realize that I have less than two months before I run this godforsaken fall marathon. I am 11 of 18 weeks in. Lucky 7 to go. I’ve come an awful long way. Decide that I am finishing what I started. 

Mama didn’t raise no quitter. 

Number of miles run: 61.5

Number of times I spontaneously burst into tears whilst running: 3

Number of times the word “Fuck” was used with regard to running: 467

Have you ever: 

  • burst into tears while running? 
  • hit your Running Rock Bottom? 
  • thrown in the towel or used it to wipe the sweat off your face?
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    56 thoughts on “Running, Strengthening and Falling the Hell Apart

    1. Sweet Jesus, I cannot even believe I complained. I didn’t even run half of what you ran last week – just ignore my last post.
      You can do this. You ARE doing this. And it’s amazing.
      I have cried while running, though I don’t think I have ever cried about my running while running. Usually other shit.
      I may be at my running rock bottom right now.
      Never throw in the towel. ‘Cause you might need it later to wipe the sweat off your face. I might switch the towel, but throw it in? Naah.

      • I need a chamois. Not a Pima cotton towel. That shit can hold water. And I need it. Between the sweat and tears, Girlfriend is DESSICATED.

        Tina I’m in the 5th layer of Hell. But I’m sticking with it. xoxoxo

    2. Fuck was pretty much my mantra while running last night. 90 degrees + 11 miles is just not a combination I’d care to experience again. It was supposed to include 7 miles a half marathon pace. I managed 4 at marathon pace before giving up and just running as slow as possible.

      You are killing your training plan! I can’t wait to see how your race turns out!

      • Call me Heather. We can go out for nachos and beers after we finish this BULLSHIT. Well done!!! 4 at marathon pace?! In 90 degree weather?!?! That’s more than HALF. I’d take it! Tomorrow is my Tempo Run which promises to be a shit show. I would love half at pace. I keep telling myself (and now I’m telling you) the strongest I’ve ever felt at a marathon was one in the fall. With oppressively hot training that did nothing but make me feel slow. You are getting strong. Shit. WE are getting strong. I just know it. πŸ™‚

    3. This is hilarious. I’ve been there, for sure. But I don’t think I’ve ever followed a training program as crazy as this one! I’ve definitely given both the paper printout of my training program and/or the course itself the finger. Especially if there was a large hill involved.

    4. Reading this while at work and trying not to break out in laughter from your comments is never a good idea! But seriously… way to kick ass and keep going. It doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you keep going… that’s all that matters!! I will leave you with that sappy cliche line! πŸ™‚

    5. First of all, glad you didn’t die. Ghost blogging is something I’m not really down with.
      Second, how do you manage to be so motivating even in the depths of your worst week? I’m reading this post like… She’s trying to sound pessimistic but I know everything is going to be more than ok. Your love for the sport radiates. It fills me with excitement to do the things I need to do. Weeks like this are kind of like make up sex. One part dread, and you end up feeling awful but relieved when it’s over. And sore.
      You go girl.

      • Aww. Thanks, Martha. I’m glad I didn’t die too. I’d hate to rename this “Blogging From Beyond”. Ghost blogging is creepy. But in that cool “I think I just saw a bag of heads!” kind of way. πŸ™‚

        Thank you for the kind words. I’m not usually one to jot down every breath of my running. That was until I starting blogging about my training weeks- with the sole purpose of keeping my ass accountable and not to bore you with only the GREAT RUNS! HOORAY! I’M SUPER FAST! Because not all runs are great. And sometimes I’m not fast. Sometimes I’m crawling. And this training sucks. And I did it to myself so I can’t really bitch about it. And why would I when it boils down to it? I’m healthy. Running is a gift- no matter how fast, hot or goddamn miserable I am. I love running. I really do. I’m thrilled that message came through. Thank you Martha. You’ve made my day. xo

    6. That 11 mile tempo run is going to be me today. I have 12. And I’m seriously considering the treadmill. I just don’t know what would be worse. 12 miles w/6 at tempo baking in 92 degrees, sun, humidity? Or 12 miles w/6 at tempo on Satan’s Sidewalk? Seriously – both of you – thank you for making me feel like I’m not alone in my hell dimension.

      • Ok. Let’s discuss. Today is my Tempo run too. It’s 9 miles at Tempo Pace plus 4 with warm up/cool down. I overslept this morning. I may have been in a torpor. Who knows. But that sleep was deep. My tempo run went out the window. I’m not sitting here with a bottle of Skratch Labs hydrating. I’m considering that goddamn treadmill myself. I’m around 90 with crippling humidity. Satan’s Sidewalk is sounding worse and worse.

        What the f*ck are we doing, Allison?

        • Hmmmm. Your run sounds more torturous than mine. I just can’t fathom doing it today. I am so torn. I feel like I could go outside, try the tempo and end up giving up and running easy (I can only take so much and I’ve had a “positive” attitude all week) or going to the treadmill and staring at the red numbers in the distance field. Ughhhhhhh. I feel like my stomach is way worse in the heat, too. Like I could shit my pants at any minute. Sorry for the TMI. I’m so. Over. It.

    7. Totally sobbed like a child when a Boston bombing victim ran past me in last years race. Beyond inspiring. Awesome job last week – absolutely crushed it πŸ™‚

      • Jamie I just got goose bumps READING your experience. I would have lost it myself. I ran Big Sur the week after Boston that year and there was a woman on the side of me who completely broke down. I will never forget the sound of her sobs. They came from her soul.

        Ok. Now I’m crying. xoxo

    8. Holy beast!!! I don’t know how you’re doing this. I had plans to try to BQ but I just haven’t been that into my training and here you go crushing your training plan. Major kudos to you, girl! I know you don’t feel like it, but you are ON FIRE!!! Just reading about all your running makes me exhausted though. Multiple 8 mile EASY runs?! WOW! Anyways, amazing training and I love those Janji shorts πŸ™‚

      • Me either Charissa! And thank you so much for the serious vote of confidence. Last week I really felt as if I couldn’t do it. Despite the obscene number of miles. This is definitely tough. And I appreciate your comment so damn much! Thanks, Lady! πŸ™‚ The shorts are the bomb, right?!?!? ❀

    9. You are woman, hear you roar!!! Whohoooo! Great job and yes, we agree the humidity can go F itself. Really. I’ve been IM training for a while and on a few Mondays after a long bike, I’ve wailed into my towel as I ride my bike (A-FREAKING-GAIN) intervals. Boooohooooohoooooo. It makes you feel better (if no one is watching) and when the tears dry, you are stronger. I have a love/hate relationship with Hanson. I ran through the summer in Houston and then qualified for Boston with that plan. Running in summer pays dividends. We will find them!!!!

    10. My son decided he needs that taco shirt for Christmas after I texted him a pic of it. Thanks for the shopping assist!

      I’m tempted to send this post to my coaching client who is slacking on her marathon training and making excuses for skipping runs. But I don’t think shaming should be part of my coaching schtick. You are a badass and you got this marathon, you just haven’t fully realized it yet.

      • Hey, I’m here to help! Your son will be a big hit in it! Marathon Shaming might not be your gig but feel free to send her my way. I’ll shame the shit out of her. Thank you for the powerful words. I keep repeating them to myself….I got this. I just haven’t fully realized it yet….:-)

    11. Congratulations on your survival. It all counts.

      In answer to your questions. Yes. Yes. Yes … and I’ve also taken my shirt off and wiped my face with it aI pnd then put it back on. Non-runners don’t get it.

      Crazy shit happens on a tough run. In the end, that’s what we remember best πŸ˜‰

      • ❀ ❀ ❀ My fierce friend, Helly who is up before dawn to train in 100 degree plus temps…then takes care of her family…then teaches kids. You're the goddamn boss, Lady! So proud of you!!!!!!

    12. You’re making me re-think even considering Hansons for my next training cycle! (I did close to your miles last week, as it happens, but on McMillan so very different – a goal pace run, steady state run, long long run and some easy/regeneration runs.) I’m going to be very interested to see how this works out for you! Of course recovery is such a variable.

      You are mega-tough, and you will have an awesome race with all this training!

      • It’s a BEAST. But I’m doing it. Somedays I’m REALLY DOING IT! And other days I’m flat out suffering. If you’re doing that total milage, you can do it. Everyone I have spoken to who has done it- more than a half dozen including my other half- have kicked their marathon’s ass using it. It’s tough. But when isn’t marathon training tough? But you can do it!!! Does McMillian have a long run? I’d love to check it out! And thank you for the vote of confidence! I needed it! πŸ™‚

    13. I am glad to see that I am not the only one who refers to the pre-work early AM run time as “Ass O’Clock.” You know it’s bad when sunrise is happening on your way back in the door. . .

    14. Pingback: Running and Suffering. Even My Sweat is Sweating. | It's A Marathon AND A Sprint

    15. It’s like we’re living parallel lives…or blurred lines…or whatever. I just commented on your latest post explaining how much I’ve been forced to tears the past couple weeks on my runs. This must be the breaking point in marathon training. Like you, I will not quit, no matter what, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to. I feel your pain, literally.

        • I don’t doubt you! I had fallen behind our run group and came to a complete stop and started doing the pre-sobbing reverse dry heaving accompanied by sniffling in the cry snots – one of my friends ran back to find me and caught me about 4 seconds before I completely lost it on some random Dallas front lawn and talked me down. It was a rough day. But hey, football is on TV, so that means it’s fall now, right?…right? Yes! FALL IS COMING! WE SHALL OVERCOME! XOXO

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