Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Other Side of Marathon Training

If you follow my posts about Marathon training ZaoFit (FB)..Julie (FB)..twitter..instagram, you will see so many photos of runners looking happy out on training runs. We will run anywhere from five to twenty miles and look very happy in the photos.  We often run and end with beautiful food. We are all happy and enjoy every mile we run!  

The pictures are not fake, we do have many happy moments, and enjoy running for food! We also enjoy being together and training together.  There is lots you don't see in the photos!  Some ugly and sometimes very embarrassing stuff.  

Often I like to focus on the positive stuff going on it training.  A photo with my awesome running friends...a beautiful route we ran.  A funny goat or alpaca that wanted to run with us.  Some delicious food after a long run.  What's not to like about that?
The ugly stuff isn't always fun to talk about. But let's be real here!  Not every run is peaches-n-cream!  

I have seven-and-a-half weeks until I run Newport Marathon 2017. My eleventh full marathon.  I feel like I'm in a good place.  I know the course (I've ran it four times). My best times are on that course. I run better in the coastal air (allergies).  My training is going good. My hard sessions are on key.  My long runs seem easier and not so scary.  I also am having a lot of stiffness in my legs.  I am sore most of the time.  
I have spared myself extra racing during marathon training this time around.  In the past I would race more to try to keep motivated.  This time around, my efforts are going into training only.  If I race, it's slower and just to be with friends.  

I have had lots of good moments in training. I have also had many struggles in my training.  I will be the first to say, you can't train for a marathon without struggles!
There are things that happen most people don't like to talk about. Get ready for a good laugh friends. For you runners, a good cry, cause you know first hand!
That one hurt! 
  There are days I don't want to run!  I know...big shocker there! You all are thinking, no way!!! Julie LOVES to run, all the time!  Yes, I do, but often I have to actually talk myself into running.  It's true! I have never regretted a run after I get myself out the door though!  Oh, except when I sprained my ankle during an "easy" run.  
It's happened twice over the years, plus turning my ankle and falling down so many times I've lost count.  
That one hurt too!

Yet I love to run! 
For this season of training I mostly run after work.  I have to be at my job in the wee hours of the morning.  Once (during this season), I ran before work.  I had to get up at 3:00 am.  I only did that one time! I don't recommend it. 
 Tuesdays and Wednesdays I try not to think about it.  They are my two hardest days of training.  I'm off at 2:00 pm, change into running gear at work, then head to the local track.  If I go home, it's all over for the day, I will sit down and fall asleep.  I have to get my run in before going home!  I do a speed workout Tuesday and a ten mile tempo run on Wednesday.  Both with pacific time goals.  Most days I walk onto the track saying there is no way these tired legs can do this, but what do I have to lose?  I warm up and just do it!  It hurts, I sometimes feel like puking, sometimes it's pouring down rain. I have forgotten my water bottle and visor for some of these runs.  It sucks!  I also am alone for most of these harder runs.  It's all a battle against my own mind! But yet, when I get done, I feel amazing! Pushing my body to do what I don't think it can do makes me feel alive!
 I love to run! 
Three days a week are easy pace days.  I run three to six miles at a nice pleasant pace.  These days I'm usually shaking off a hard run.  I sometimes enjoy them because I can go slow. Sometimes I'm sore and it hurts.  I know these runs are necessary for proper recovery so I lace up and run. 
Saturdays are when the most interesting things happen. My running group usually meets up for a twelve to twenty mile long run.
These have come to be my favorite run of the week.  I finally get to catch up with my running friends.  These runs are also done first thing in the morning, not after work.  I would much rather run first thing in the morning!  Typically after about five miles, one runner will have to use the bathroom.  I won't tell any stories about my friends, that wouldn't be nice!  I will tell you some of my dirty secrets.  They are pretty gross! 

 Sometimes you gotta go!  Not a mile down the road where the mini mart is. Not a block down, where you can see a heavenly port-a-potty in the distance.  Yes, port-a-potties can be heavenly!!!! Sometimes you gotta go NOW!!!!!  More than once this happened to me on a long run.  Distance running isn't for babies! 
I have been only a block from my house and had to stop in my tracks and pray I would make it home.
I've had to walked down to small golf course to ask to use the bathrooms while my running group waited up on the road.  I told my friends to go on without me.  I had a feeling it would be a while before I could join back up with them.  I did what I needed to do and went to flush. To my horror the toilet wouldn't flush.  I found a plunger and plunged and plunged and it got slightly better but it was still bad. I had been in that bathroom for what seemed like an eternity. I knew I had to go out and face the man at the counter!  "I clogged your toilet" I told him in shame. I'm pretty sure he already knew...I was in there for an eternity.  "Happens all the time" he told me... I didn't believe him, but at least he was nice about it.
Good thing I stopped, I did feel better.  Now to catch up to my friends.  I knew I might not see them now till they turned around and headed back to town.  As I walked up the driveway, they were all there...staring at me! To say I was embarrassed was an understatement.  The cool thing about runners, we all got a good laugh and there is no judging.  The reason...they ALL understand! 

The bush as also been a friend to me! If you are a runner, it's always good to carry some toilet paper in your pocket, not to wipe your sweat or to blow your nose. Your sleeve will work fine for that!

 I still love to run!

Our photos are always together.  Truth is, we often separate during a long run.  We all run a slightly different pace.  Some will be having a good day, some, not so good.  We all start together and have meeting points along the way where we check on each other.  It's just not easy to all run in a big huddle down most roads either.  As much as we would all like to run together every time, it's not realistic.  
I still love group runs!
Sometimes I have to stop and walk for a minute or two.  Shocker I know!  I do have my own set of rules.  I will not stop during a tempo run (unless it's an emergency, an emergency includes lightheadedness or bathroom issues). I will not stop during a race unless I start having issues.  Yep, the truth is out, sometimes I stop for a breather! 
My favorite long runs are what my group calls a "destination run."   One of us will plan a route, ending with food.  Not just any food, good food.  We go into a restaurant all sweaty and eat together.  This is typically after a twenty mile run.  Sometimes a non-running spouse will join us, bring us a change of clothing and drive us home.  It's always best when we have a change of clothes and the company of someone who didn't run with us.  They are usually thinking more clear and can get us home the safest! 
 I smell after a run.  It not a "smell good" smell, it's a "rotten" smell and I do use deodorant.  
Sometimes I feel bad for the restaurants we go into, but I get over it because I'm so hungry.  You know what it's like to go into a restaurant and want to eat everything in on the menu while sitting in a pile of raunchy sweat???  It's pretty sweet!  All FOOD is good!!!!

The other side of this is when I run a horridly long amount of miles, ending with food and not being able to eat.  I am clearly famished, but I can't eat.  Sometimes a long run just is extra hard on me and food hurts my stomach and I want to die.  Once I was so so so hungry and had ordered food.  When the food came, I took one look at it, could smell it and about puked right then and there!  I of course cried and my husband took me home with my food in a to-go package.  
Over time, my food issues have gotten better.  Cutting out fried food and taking probiotics has really helped. 
My worst group memory would have to be one of the years I ran Hood to Coast Relay. All I will say about this memory was I don't drink chocolate milk anymore....NEVER! Don't even like to use the words chocolate and milk in the same sentence! 
Yet, I still love to run!
A week-and-a-half ago I ran a twenty miler with my running group.  We ran a flat easy out-n-back.  This season my twenty milers have been going really well, this week...this wasn't the case.  I did feel great for the first twelve-ish miles.  Somewhere on the way back, I started to cramp up and had to slow way down.  I made it home but as I walked in the door, I felt ill!  I wanted to lay down on the floor and sleep.  I was drenched in nasty foul sweat.  I knew I had to shower or the runners chill would set in.  I got in the shower, and felt like death.  I sat in my shower feeling sorry for myself because I felt too weak to stand.  I've never showered sitting before!
I then slept my Saturday afternoon away!  My son came in and brought me snacks and kept asking, "you ok Mom?"

The next week I ran another twenty, on hills!
Yes, I love running!
This marathon season, stretching and using the roller on my legs have become a must. Epsom salt has become my best friend.  The harder I train, the harder I beat my body up.  Guess that's what you have to do to get stronger.  

Will it be worth it?  Guess I'll find out on June 3rd! 

Sometimes running really does suck!  Sometimes all the horrible training does pay off.  When I hit a goal time for that next hard workout. When I PR that upcoming race, there's nothing like it!  A runner's high is a beautiful thing.  When I run, I see beauty.  I see beauty in the world around me and I see beauty in the people I run with.  Such amazing people, working together, to get the run done! We may have our issues out there.  We may not run every step of the way together, but we are all together and we get it done! The photos do have truth to them, even if you can't see the whole run in the photo! 
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