Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Rest Days and Runner Friends

Last year, I got incredibly caught up into my running.  I was so laser focused on my goals and put forth so much time and energy to achieving them.  So goals I blew out of the water, others I came up short big time.  For the ones I crushed, I barely celebrated because it seemed as if it had all became more like a job for me and I simply just did what I was expected to do.  For the ones I didn't accomplish, I was devastated.  I would get downright disgusted with myself and even became unpleasant to be around at times.  Later last year, I had put all my energy and faith into qualifying for Boston at the Space Coast Marathon.  I read just about every running book on the shelves, researched all the programs, mapped out my training and for the next few months, it was all I could think and talk about.  I'm pretty sure I managed to alienate all my non-runner friends with my non-stop chatter about my running and upcoming race.  So when I ironically found myself injured just weeks before the big event, it was quite a huge serving of humble pie with a scoop of perspective on top that I had been needing for almost a year.  I had no choice but to take a back seat and re-evaluate my goals, my training and most importantly my attitude.

As painful as it was, both physically and mentally at the time, I needed that injury.  It made my realize so much about myself, my passion for running and the importance of enjoying it all.  It had become such a "job" for me.  A job I was NOT getting paid for nor enjoying.  In fact, I was spending a lot of money while not even liking it, lol.  So when I was able to run again, I made the commitment to myself to never, ever allow my attitude to become that poorly again.  Yes, I will still have goals and I will still work damn hard towards those goals.  But I will never allow myself to get so caught up in my goals where I destroy my appreciate and love for the sport.  I will not get lost in my own self and not take the time to share my passion with others. 

Two of my biggest goals this year are to listen to my body better (which will prevent injury and burn out) and to help other runners with their goals (as a coach and as a friend).  I had the opportunity to work on both of those goals this week, so here is my recap...

Monday: I hated having so skip out on spinning for the second week in a row but Hunter really needed me at our gym.  He has some of his NFL clients in and wanted to be able to focus on them while I ran our adult conditioning class.  After coaching class, I was able to get in a quick lift over at Planet Fitness.  I thought about skipping out because I was pretty exhausted from pacing the day before, but I figured a quick lift was better than no lift so I just focused on some upper body.  I never regret a workout so I was glad I did it.  I think a big reason why I was so tired Monday was from spending most of Sunday out in the sun.  I guess I hadn't realized how sunburned I had gotten until I came home after my workout and noticed my tan lines in the mirror.  Next time I, I will wear sunscreen.

Tuesday: I had absolutely NO desire to run.  My legs felt like lead and neither my head or heart were in it.  I kept procrastinating at work and then finally decided to at least do something.  Normally on Tuesdays, I would do speed work, but that seemed out of the question.  So I just went for a quick run around the block.  The first mile was so tough but by the second and third I was starting to feel a little better.  It was still pretty slow and challenging so I finished up at 5 miles.  I was grateful to have run but it was by no means one of my better ones.  I considered this a sign my body was begging for a bit of a break so I vowed to take it easy this week.

Wednesday: Legs were feeling a little better, just fatigued so this was another upper body day.  I was still pretty sluggish but I managed to get in a pretty good lift.  My arms were now as equally spent as my legs and I even had a hard time shaking up my post workout drink, lol.  Wednesday is my yoga night and I got to the gym a little early to take some time foam rolling.  Man oh man was I ever in need of a good foam rolling sesh, it most certainly helped me feel more human again!

Thursday: By the old Christina's standards, Thursday would have been considered to be a complete and utter disaster.  But luckily for me and those around me, I am in a much better place with accepting when things don't go my way.  Although I had promised myself on Tuesday I would skip running on Thursday and just get in a swim, I though I would at least try and knock out a few miles on the treadmill before hopping in the pool.  After about a 1.25 miles I was completely over it.  It was almost as if my legs refused to run, I was struggling to catch my breath even at the slower pace and my mind was just not with it.  So I slammed down on the stop button and hopped off the treadmill.  I then spent a few minute foam rolling, stretching and contemplating even swimming at that point.  It had been a loooooong time since I had felt this out of it.  Times like this are so very far and few between, so I figured it was now to be an impromptu, much needed rest day.  Like I said, there was a time in the not so distant past where an experience like this would have had me fuming.  But I recognized my body really needed this little break and I was actually grateful for it.  I am not the best at listening to my body, in fact I often tell it to shut up and I push through.  So this was actually a really big accomplishment for me that I am very proud of :-)

Friday: Keeping with the theme of listening to my body, I decided to take another light day.  Also, Hunter and I had some plans to head down town for the afternoon to celebrate his birthday.  The weather was gorgeous, a little warm but beautiful.  Hunter is not a huge fan of running but he gets out there a couple of times a week for a solid 3-4 mile run.  He needed to get a quick run in for the day so we decided to go together.  Again, he is not a passionate runner and has yet to really experience that runner's high, so he typically does NOT want to socialize while running.  So we both put our headphones in, each had our own watches, and off we went.  I am not sure if he has happened to get significantly faster in his short running career, if he felt he needed to keep up or if he was just feeling it that day, but he had his fastest 3 mile run ever! Yes, it was a little slower for me, but exactly what I needed and of course I couldn't have been more proud of him of how hard he's been working.  Now if I could just convince him to run a half marathon!

 Aside from my run with Hunter and our awesome afternoon date to Park Avenue, I had such an amazing Friday because I also received one of the best running emails ever!  I had submitted my time from the 26.2 with Donna Marathon for a guaranteed entry to the Chicago Marathon.  I heard back that Friday that it was approved (no lottery for me) and I will be running in Chi Town in October!!!

Saturday:  Kim, a friend I had met a little over a year ago at LA Fitness, had joined me with Moms Run This Town and recently decided to run a half marathon.  I promised to stay with her during her first half and even help her train.  Unfortunately, because of other obligations, I had yet to get to do a training run with her.  But this past Saturday, we finally got to meet up and knock out some miles out on the trail.  She had built up to 11 miles and been doing great with her training, so I was so excited to get to run with her and catch up on training and of course life.  It was a super humid morning when we got started, but we held strong those first few miles as we chatted about our kiddos, work and of course her upcoming race.  We ended up going out about a half a mile too far because we had been talking up a storm.  On the way back, the humidity, her lack of sleep and potentially lack of fuel had started to get to her so we slowed down a bit.  I gave her some tips on fueling up for the runs, as well as things to consider to mentally prepare.  She seemed a little defeated that this was one of her slower runs, but I expressed to her that "bad" runs happens to us all and do not define us a runner.  We must learn from these type of runs and prepare better next time.  (Advice I must remind myself of often too)  I personally think with a couple of tweaks to her training and diet she is going to rock her first half marathon and I am honored to get there with her!

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