Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Last Long Run of the Summer

I woke up from my nap and felt a heavy weight on my chest. I reached out for my phone and checked my Twitter timeline. I ended up reading about Emily Gray’s first marathon and reflected some more and then cried. She did finish her marathon even though she had jumped in without giving it much time and consideration. You should definitely read it, if you are thinking of running your first marathon.

I, on the other hand, have known since Dec 2013 that I’d be running my first marathon on October 19, 2014 in Toronto. I’ve been having problems since early April when I found out my iron was too low. I took it easy for a while and reduced my amount of activity. I used to cross train with weekly yoga and spin class. I also love boxing and martial arts and used to do more of them.

I picked up my training again in June. But this time there wasn’t much yoga, spinning, or any other different types of workouts. I had no energy to get anything done. I would get heart palpitations and dizziness as the amount of physical activity increased or I when I picked up the pace during my runs. I started Insanity about a month ago again as the only supplement workout to my running.

Most of my runs have been very slow. I pushed myself for my half marathon on Sept 7th and finished in less than 2 hours. I also had a great run of 29K a few weeks ago which I completed with a decent pace. Those two are the highlights of my training. The rest have been smeared with multiple issues from not having anything left in the tank, muscle cramps, fuel problems, etc.

I do everything right: carb loading, dynamic stretches, foam rolling, hydrating, etc.

What I can’t figure out is what the cause of my poor performance is.
Is it all iron related?

Today, I was up at 5:00. I had a delicious breakfast of toast and jam with coffee. I foam rolled and did Jason Fitzgerlad’s Standard Warm Ups. And the night before I had done yoga. Then the thunderstorm arrived and we were hit by torrential rain. I waited for the storm to pass by before heading to the Running Room. By the time I got there, they had left. I couldn't find them, so I decided to go for a solo run.

I started strong as I was happy to feel the warm air around me with the sun shining. I chose a new route and I decided to include a 12K trail of Kains Woods with my long run.
Kains Woods - April 2014

When I got to the woods I felt even stronger. I was zipping through the paths and I was smiling looking all around me seeing the river to my right flowing fast and furious as if it was racing with me. I kept looking all around me, seeing nothing but nature and a magical, breathtaking beauty. I inhaled the fresh air; the smell of rain and mud was lovely. I made a mental note that this moment will serve as a new mental visualization for my marathon. When I’m struggling I will be back in this place.

I made a mistake of eating very spicy chicken wings for lunch yesterday. I have had them before and they are not new to my diet. But I’ve never had them before my long run. I should have known better as I’m still tweaking my fueling habits. I don’t like energy gels. Period. I thought I liked them two weeks ago when I did not go rushing to find a bathroom. During my ½ marathon race I found out I hate taking them as they make me gag, are too sweet, and they just feel wrong and full of chemicals! Today was no exception. I had to run and find bathrooms. I did not stop my watch. Before hitting 21K today I had gone two times. From 21 to 27K I literally died. Severe diarrhea came out of nowhere! My long runs are cursed. My long runs are so mingled with dramas that it’s not even funny anymore. I want to write one time and say I had a KICK ASS LONG RUN. I RAN GREAT. AND NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING BAD HAPPENED.

Of course, being a pre-menopausal woman of age 47 who has her period twice a month now did not help. Severe cramps and all…I got home, cleaned up, and went to bed.

Now, I read Emily’s first marathon’ story. I did cry and still am upset about not being able to run a decent and happy long run. But I will try to remember what went well today. I will focus that I still have another 26 days and will do my best to stay with the training. I will be positive and focus on crossing the finish line even if it takes the whole 6 hours. I worked too hard to quit at this point. I worked too hard not to believe that I can’t finish. I maybe slow. Way too slow now, but I will shuffle my feet and have every intention to crawl over that finish line.

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