Thursday, March 22, 2012

The worst it will ever be.

I went for a little run on Tuesday that should have felt great - it was unseasonably warm, I was wearing a great outfit, and I’d had a few days of rest followed by a 4 miler Monday, so 7.5 after school didn’t seem like a big deal.
Except I ate a really huge Granny Smith apple and some Greek yog and went running ALMOST IMMEDIATELY afterwards.  Dumb.

I’ve trained my stomach up pretty good, but it was just a lot of food to have on board and I felt a little queasy during the run.  Of course, my melodramatic running brain was like, “This is disgusting!  I’ve never felt so sick during a run before!  I HATE feeling sick to my stomach - can I even continue?  Should I walk?”
I didn’t walk, because I need to learn to handle issues on the run, and I also remembered that I have felt much worse than this before; in fact, that I had felt the worst I would ever feel (gastrointestinally) during my first 50-miler, which resulted in an unpleasant and time-consuming stop in the woods.  I could and did handle that; a little apples-and-Greek-yog indiscretion was not going to stop me.  

It reminded me of something my friend Jon told me once after a really crummy run.  I’d done a road 30-miler (for training,  on purpose), and it was hours and hours of pouring rain and cold on the side of busy county roads.  It stopped raining long enough for me to dry off, and then started raining again, then thunderstorming, then hailing.  The day culminated with me cowering under some shrubbery, covering my head with my hands to protect myself from painful hailstones as lightning strikes threw down around me.  It was scary, lonely, and cold.  And Jon said, “At least you know that’s the worst it will ever be.”
There’s something to that.

Friday, March 16, 2012

...but I won't quit, cuz I want more!

Thanks, Young the Giant, for providing the inspiration for today’s title.  Today I ran the 3rd marathon of Marathon March - 2 to go!  Why did I have to pick a month with 5 weekends?  Because it’s alliterative, that’s why.  So I ran a pretty standard road marathon today: 
-4:04:26.  Dece for being sore from lifting yesterday and kind of in recovery mode from last weekend still.
-4 gel stops (Chocolate Raspberry Roctane, Orange Hammer Gel, and 2 PowerBar Green Apple)
-32 oz. of water (must purchase another 20 oz. Amphipod to replace the one I left on the roof of my car along with my precious Outdoor Research mittens as I drove away from Peninsula State Park earlier this winter)
It was a good run in about 45 degree weather, and afterwards I met my sister at Whole Foods where I pretty much ate everything at the salad bar that wasn’t meat, along with some add-ins from the hot bar.  Lest you’re thinking, girl, salad bar?!  rest assured: I had lettuce.  Artichokes.  Lentil and bean salad.  Something with bulgur (What is bulgur??) and cranberries.  Green beans, walnuts, and almonds.  Tuna salad.  Tofu.  Other tofu.  Roasted veggies.  Eggs.  Seeds.  Something with chickpeas.  There was more, trust me.  
Then, a trip to REI to replenish my supply of Peanut Butter GU and of course pick up a Luna Bar for the way home because my goodness, running marathons makes me hungry.  I’m feeling a bit beat-up because it’s been less than a week since I ran my big 3-0, and I lifted three times last week and ran and walked, and so because my body is telling me no (the song, people.  the Young the Giant song), I think that week 4 of MM will be two half marathons, one on Saturday and one Sunday.  Then, I’ll finish with a bang and some company at the Trailbreaker Marathon the last Saturday of March, joined by my distance-running mama, who will be running the half.

Peace out!  Do people still say that?  I just said it.  It felt right.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

every damn day.

The Accidental 30

So I’d like to say a few words about Saturday’s run.  It was a grand-scale solo running adventure and it wasn’t terrible; mostly I just felt bad that I had to interrupt other people’s - namely my dad’s - Saturday to rescue me from my own mistakes!  

The simple plan was for me to run about six segments of the Ice Age Trail between two of my favorite state parks here in SE WI.  My obliging sisters agreed to drop off my car at my finish point and everything.

I like to think of the Ice Age Trail as my "home trail" - it stretches all the way across WI and one of my goals in life is to run the whole thing!

So I got up at 6 a.m. ON A SATURDAY, packed up four gels (including two faves, Peanut Butter GU and caffeinated apple cinnamon PowerBar gel), a peanut/raisin Nature Valley bar, and 32 ounces of water.  While we’re on that subject, 32 oz. is not enough water for anything.  Ever.  
Best GU flavor ever.  Wish it was caffeinated.
The plan was to run a marathon - it’s Marathon March, after all - and so I crunched some numbers and added the segment mileage for the pieces of the trail I planned to run.  Things I failed to consider: 1. The mileage of several road connects between trail segments, 2. The half-segments at the beginning and end of my run that I dismissed as negligible, and 3. The possibility that I might get lost and end up running, oh let’s just say, two extra miles trying to find a damn trail blaze.  Oops.
So, most of the run was pretty ok.  I felt good, it was sunny and warm out, I wasn’t sick to my tummy at all, and I was optimistic about my pace.  But then I ran out of water.  And food.  I got tired of the lengthy road sections, and tired of slipping around in mud when I finally got back on trail, but then, oh good, I got a chance to trade the mud for ice.  Sucky mcsuck.  I knew it was getting bad when I got teary eyed in a particularly slippy downhill stretch and started yelling cuss words.  Apologies to the nice family that hiked by a few minutes later; really hoping you didn’t hear that.  
As I topped a rise and emerged onto a prairie, I spotted Holy Hill in the near distance and started crying for real - both out of frustration and relief.  I was sure I was in the HH segment of the trail, which is seven miles long and which stood between me and my final segment.  Alas, a helpful trail map showed that I was still a couple miles from being seven miles from being 1.2 miles from the end.  Eff.
And so, as I stumbled onto a road connect, I decided it was time to dial up Dad Stein.  
“Hi, Kim!”
“Hi!  How are you?” I said brightly.
“Well, I’m good, how are you?”
And then I got a little shaky.  "Um, I'm okayyyyy..."  The GPS read 30 miles, and I knew I couldn’t do 8.2 more.  

My view of the church at Holy Hill.  I (almost) was too pissed to be inspired. 

35 minutes later, my dad picked me up at Holy Hill, which it turns out they don’t call Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians for nothing.  I had a chance to freak out some dressed-up Italians on a Lenten pilgrimage, get cleaned up in the newly remodeled bathrooms (I feel like running has really given me an appreciation for public restrooms), and perch on a sunny rock next to a very nice statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary (hereafter, BVM) until my rescue car with diet Coke and a banana arrived.  Dads are the best.  
So, although my anger was outmuscling my endorphins on the way home, my mom and sisters were kind enough to remind me that I *did* successfully complete 30 miles, and it wasn’t for naught - I learned some things about fueling, running in mud, and assessing fatigue, and it was a beautiful day, and there were some pretty views.  And my mileage-addition skills need work.
And now, Marathon March takes a break until next weekend, when I do really truly honestly vow not to run further than 26.2 miles.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Title Inspiration

My inspiration for this blog comes from a quote from Ovid (43 BC - c. 18 AD): "Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim."

Now, I'm trusting a translation here so if you read (speak?  is that a thing anymore?) Latin, by all means, shatter the grand vision of my personal mantra, but I've seen the quote in English as follows:

"Be patient and tough; some day this pain will be useful to you."

I first saw this used as a book title, and it jumped out at me.  It's motivated me kind of a lot, actually.  While real, physical pain as the result of an injury would certainly make me take a break from running think about taking a break from running, I like to think of it more as "some day this discomfort will be useful to you."  Maybe my quads are feeling smushy now, but that means they'll be strong enough to get me through the hills in May's Ice Age Trail 50.  Maybe I'm mentally crushed and sick to death of the route I'm running, but I let the mental fatigue teach me to overcome it - I learn to pray, to sing, to rejoice in my run or the sky and whatever it's doing, or the lake, the woods, even the fact that I am strong enough to do what I am doing.  Maybe I accidentally wore socks that left me blistered, or a top that chafed - too damn bad, Kim!  Bet you won't make that mistake again, and therefore, this pain will have been useful to you.

Everything is a learning experience: a run in terrible headwinds on the shore of Lake Michigan teaches me to be patient and focus on form, teaches me to apply what I'm learning from the wind to a hill run.  A run on impossible hills teaches me to gut it out, shows me where the line is between powering up and switching to a stride.  A run in the snow teaches me to go home and make hot chocolate work on my footing and appreciate the winter wonderland.  It is all beautiful and now I sound crazy but really, this is why I love running!  It is a great equalizer, and I think it makes me a better person.  It has taught me patience and toughness, and each lesson is useful to me.

My feet after a 38-mile overnight "fun run" during the Kettle 100.  Someday this pain will be...oh, shut up, Kim!

Useless pain?

I accidentally ran 30 miles on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail on Saturday, which would be cool, except it involved a gross miscalculation of anticipated mileage, too little water, too few gels, two extra miles of lost-in-the-woodsness, and one lifesaving rescue from Dad Stein, who doesn't mind Google Mapping his little girl and coming to pick her up on the side of a country road, which reminded me of how grateful I am for all the support of this silly little hobby from my friends and family, so then again, perhaps the run was not in vain.