Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Irritable? (not really)


Did you know I'm training for a marathon?

I know, I know. I really don't talk about it much (#eyeroll #sarcasm).

This is not my first marathon...but I may be acting like it is
Like most marathoners-in-training, I probably talk more about it than most people want to hear (runners and non-runners alike). Anyone who has ever trained for a marathon knows how it sort of takes over your life....extra running, increased eating, more blisters, constant weather-stalking, and many earlier-than-desired wake-up calls. Is it any wonder we can get a little irritable?

Surprisingly, I'm not feeling the 26.2-training irritability this go-round.

I remember training for my first marathon (Quad Cities Marathon ), three years ago. I followed a Hal Higdon plan for intermediate runners. Although the training runs went well, it was a whole new ball game for me. I had confidence in my ability, but I still had a great deal of trepidation as to what would happen on race day. Also, I trained entirely on my own. I had lots of support from well-meaning friends and family (and tons of virtual cheerleaders from many online friends who also were embarking on their first marathons as well). Having never run (or trained for) a race of that magnitude was exciting, but a bit unnerving as well.

Quad Cities Marathon...Sept. 22, 2013
For my second marathon (IMT Des Moines Marathon), I basically followed the same training plan but tweaked it as needed (if there were scheduling conflicts). I also ran most of my long runs with a friend, so I had to learn how to run and talk at the same time...which actually enhanced my endurance tremendously. It seemed like I had constant aches and pains (and issues with shoes), especially towards the end of the training cycle (when the mileage was at its highest).

IMT Des Moines Marathon...Oct. 19, 2014
My third marathon...ugh (Grandma's Marathon). The race itself went pretty well, but the training? Not so much. There was a myriad of ongoing obstacles, due mainly to the time of year (prom committee commitments, dance recital stress, our son's high school graduation....just to name a few). Also, there were a few unexpected twists thrown into the mix (my mother-in-law's sudden passing, a spontaneous surprise party for my sister-in-law, and Plantar Fasciitis!).

Grandma's Marathon...June 20, 2015
I also have done two ultra's, both of which had less-than-ideal training as well. The first one (Christmas in July 6-hour Ultra) was a month after Grandma's Marathon, so the training was basically done simultaneously.

Christmas in July 6-Hour....July 18, 2015
The second ultra (Christmas in July 12-hour Ultra) was just a few months ago, also in the midst of another visit from PF (this time in the other foot) and a crazy hamstring/glute/piriformis flare-up (perfect timing, not).

Christmas in July 12-Hour...July 16, 2016
Granted, all of these events had very happy endings. But, there was a little bit of stress and lots of irritability in getting to the start lines.

Fast forward to right now.....I'm less than 6-weeks out from Route 66 Marathon (Nov. 20 in Tulsa, OK). I'm smack dab in the middle of the high-mileage part of the training, with only a few weeks until I hit the taper! And, knock on wood, I have nothing to be irritable about. I'm running the highest mileage I've ever done...weekly and monthly. My aches and pains have been at the absolute minimum. And, I'm doing the most speed work ever attempted...and I'm kind of enjoying the challenge of it. What's happening to me?!?!?!

I think I had solid training plans for all of these previous marathons, but there were a lot of outside forces that did not play to my advantage. There were some missed long runs (due to last-minute travel), scaled-back mileage (to give the aches and pains some down time), and not much speed work (for fear of aggravating the existing aches and pains).

What's different this time? First and foremost, I believe, is the addition of a coach. There are many things I'm doing that I've never done before (extra mileage, consistent speed work, and daily PT)...and I'm surviving! I have been blessed with near-perfect weather for most of my training runs...I've done one run on the 'mill, and it was more as an experiment than necessity. Also, I'm doing most of my runs in the early morning hours....which means they are getting done (and not procrastinated, dreaded, or forgotten). I still need to work on my sleep, but that is a constant work-in-progress (not just during training).

So, should I feel guilty for the lack of irritability? Or just enjoy the ride?

Have you ever had a rough & tough training cycle, and were pleasantly surprised on race day?

I'm linking with Deb for the Wednesday Word link-up....and today's word? Irritability (you probably saw that one coming). Also, I'm linking with Susie, Debbie, Rachel and Lora for the Running Coaches Corner link-up. Lots of great blogs and lots of great reading await you!










37 comments:

  1. I would agree 100% that having a coach made all the difference in my marathon training! But last year's Chicago marathon training didn't go that well in spite of my excellent coaching--I had a couple cranky runs. All the pieces have to fall into place!

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    1. As you know, there are so many variables...not just on race day, but especially in training. The training is crucial (for physical well-being, but also for emotional peace of mind). I was lucky my endurance base saw me through on the above-mentioned race days...but a little more training would have been ideal.

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  2. I'll let you know after Sunday . . . this training cycle was irritatingly tough, mostly due to forces outside my control. I'm not really expecting a good finish time because it will be warm, but I'm working on my mental game to have a good time!

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    1. I know how it is when outside forces get in the way. You have a solid base, Judy, and you know you can do 13.1 miles. They may not be as easy as you'd prefer, but you will be able to do them...and you will probably surprise yourself! Good luck!!!

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  3. I have yet to take the plunge to sign up for and train for a marathon. Halves, yes, and some didn't go very well due to training not going well. So I can relate in the training, just not the distance.
    I am thinking I want to do a marathon in 2017. Most likely the IMT DSM race since for the half distance it's my favorite.

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    1. The IMT definitely is a great race...lots of hills, though ;-)

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  4. As far as marathon traaining is concerned, I always feel like I am doing the best I can at the time but then when all is said and done I look back and think of the things I could have done differently.
    Good luck in the rest of your training!

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    1. I'm the same way...I know I'm dong the best that my situation allows, but hindsight usually paints a different picture

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  5. I had a great race recently and was very lackadaisical about my training. New job, no time to run, etc. Having no expectations helped me.

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    1. Having no expectations is a great strategy! That has worked for me many times...I"m not competitive anyways, but I do let the numbers (pace/splits) get in my head. Just letting go of all of that and enjoying the race usually makes for a better finish time than expected. ;-)

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  6. Yay!! for happy runs and surviving well! and good weather, that is a lot to be thankful for :) I hope the good keeps rolling for you the next few weeks.
    We had the one of the hottest humid summers on record and i trained in it. I am so thankful for the kinder gentler temps this week I could cry! I am annoyed I have some aches though lol I guess some are expected. I can taper in three weeks!

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    1. The weather plays such a huge part for me...if I have to juggle my schedule around because of bad weather, my stress goes crazy. I know it's OK to miss a run now and then, but I try to not let that become a habit.

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  7. You've been doing awesome. You are handling what I'm throwing at you, and I think more so than anything you are proving to YOU that you can do it!

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    1. Thanks!! It's great having someone else call the shots ;-) Now about all of that speed work......

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  8. I trained mostly solo as far as my long runs for my marathon last year. I did not appreciate the skills needed to be able to carry on a conversation while running with friends. My gal pals like to talk and I mostly listen but I'm getting better!
    I'm still kind of early into my plan with Coach Ho but I hope it will pay off I know I'm doing a lot of things I never did before! So we will see!

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    1. Talking while running is a lot harder than most people realize (unless they have already been doing it). My coach has me doing a lot more speed work than I'm used to...but, I'm surprising myself by actually being able to do it (without dying...yet). ha!

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  9. I've never trained for a full but hope to smell day. So many good things to consider. I've yet to have a coach for running, good advice I'm sure!

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    1. It's refreshing to have a coach...a lot of what she's had me do is stuff I've thought of doing myself (but was able to successfully talk myself out of doing LOL). I can't tell if it's improving my speed, but it is making me a lot more mentally tough.

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  10. I haven't had any irritability this marathon training cycle either! I think its because of having a coach and also only having a 3-day run week :)

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    1. I think we're using the same coach ;-) I'm running four days a week, and doing lots of PT stuff....things I should have been doing all along, but having her tell me to do it (somehow) gets me to move my booty ;-)

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  11. Enjoy it!

    I am one of those people who suffer race day anxiety. I'll have really awesome training cycles, and then fall apart on race day. I need to learn to reverse that.

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    1. I sometimes wonder if I don't have enough race day anxiety...I tend to relax too much and focus more on the fun aspect rather than the "racing" aspect.

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  12. Definitely enjoy the lack of irritability you're experiencing. Hopefully that'll mean that race day will be all that you want it to be!

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    1. I'm trying to enjoy it! Just paranoid it's the calm before the storm....

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  13. That is so great that your training is going so well!! My current training cycle is TOUGH-- and I struggled with my 16 miler last weekend! I am hoping 18 this weekend goes smoother!

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    1. I have 18 on tap for this coming weekend....doing a 13.1 and am supposed to do an additional five.... #fingerscrossed

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  14. I highly recommend a coach to anyone that isn't already using one. And not because I am a coach but because I use one and I can feel the differences in my own training to know it's valuable. Good luck with the rest of training!!

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    1. Definitely having a coach has kept me more disciplined....knowing I'll have to 'fess up if I miss a workout is keeping me moving & grooving ;-)

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  15. I found that with a coach, training got a LOT better. It definitely makes a difference

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  16. I can't say I was particularly irritable during marathon training either, just those typical life stressors. Thank goodness I had the miles to help me cope with that. You'll be great at Route 66. The spectators are incredible!

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    1. I'm excited for Route 66! Yes, those life stressors have a way of popping up (unexpected) and messing with our routines....

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  17. Good for you for hitting your highest mileage ever! I am curious to hear more about the Route 66 marathon. I am running NYC so am in the thick of the big mileage too!

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    1. The mileage is getting crazy!!! I've done this all before, but this is the highest mileage I've ever done in prepping for 26.2 miles. Route 66 is runoured to be a hilly race...so there's no pressure for a PR LOL

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  18. Enjoy the ride- you got this! My hat goes off to you- you certain put in some mileage- amazing! Keep smiling lady!

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  19. I love having a coach, and I have been completely struggling through my training, I am hoping race day will be awesome...

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  20. Good luck at Route 66! One of the things I love about reading blogs is learning more about races I've heard of, but don't really know much about.

    Thanks for linking up!

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