Anxiety and pit stops and swelling – oh my!

Let’s talk last weeks 20 miler:

Last week’s run took me on the route south of DePere that I HATE.  It’s never been a good run for me.  Between an anxiety attack 2 years ago where I couldn’t breath and more bathroom issues than I care to share, this is officially the worst route for me every training season.  Needless to say last week I  was in a slight panic about the run looming ahead of me.  I was trying to analyze (shocker, right) why I have such a bad time with this run and I realized a lot of the reason is that I am not completely familiar with the route and I get anxious not knowing “how much farther” I have to go.  My husband doesn’t understand this because he thinks I should know exactly what’s going on because of my Garmin.  But knowing the mileage is different than knowing how much farther.  A lot of runners use visual cues to help them in their running.  They will say “just run to the end of the block” or “make it to the mailbox and it will be better” or “we turn the corner in two blocks”, etc.  Visually knowing where they are at and being able to see their progress and know what’s coming helps them keep moving forward.  I absolutely am one of these runners.  Granted I didn’t always know I was this type of runner but after a few years of analyzing my bad runs and my high anxiety levels, I’ve been figuring it out.  And the DL Half was a great and recent example of it.  I was almost done with the DL race, had less than 2 miles to go and all of the hills (the hard part of the race) were over with but I started to have high anxiety when I didn’t know where the route was going or where we had to turn, etc.  I was starting to panic and I got extremely crabby.  That was a real eye opener for me (for Brian too).  So knowing this is an issue for me, I went and I drove the route the day before our training run.  And it helped IMMENSELY.  I paid attention to visual cues that I would be able to use the next day during our run.  I told myself that “this farm is 4 miles from where we have to turn” and “the restaurant up ahead is where we turn next” and “the mansions on the right are a long way from town”, etc.  Every time I started to get anxious on the run I had to make a point of actually mentally checking in with where we were on the route and I had to tell myself to calm down and look for something familiar that would let me know “how much farther”.  I think this is so bizarre that I have this problem.  And it’s a tad scary considering I’m running an out of town marathon so I WILL NOT know where I’m going.  And now looking back at the San Diego marathon and how badly that went… I wonder how much of it had to deal with not knowing the route and/or where I was.  And we won’t have a car in Champaign so I can’t even drive the route ahead of time.  I guess I could jump in a cab and ask them to drive me around.  I wonder how much that would cost me?  But then again, if it works and if it “calms me down” on race morning it would be worth it’s weight in gold.

For anyone that really knows me and knows this training route knows that beyond the anxiety of not knowing the route, I also have had some MAJOR bathroom issues on this route.  We are basically running 90% of the route in the country with no bathrooms around and this alone causes me concern.  BUT, when I drove the route the day before I spotted a gas station off of a highway exit about 8miles into the run.  I was banking on this pit stop as a safety pit stop “just in case”.  And sure enough, when I got to that point in the run, I had to stop.  And then in another 7 miles when we got back into town I had to stop again.  For those not counting… that’s two stops on this run.  I haven’t had to stop (knock on wood) on any other long training runs for stomach/bathroom issues and yet this week I had to stop TWICE.  What in the world, I ask, is it about this route that makes my stomach flip and make me sprint (okay, who am I kidding, I don’t sprint anywhere and I surely don’t sprint when I have “issues”) to a bathroom?  I guess I should just be happy I found gas stations this year and didn’t have to use an abandoned porta pottie like I did last year!

Last week’s run was 20 miles, if it wasn’t the first sentence of this post would have been very misleading.  So we have one in the books for this training season.  Yay!  Physically I felt pretty good.  As good as a person can for running 20 miles.  By mile 17 (give or take) however, I was getting to the point where I mentally wanted to be done running.  I wasn’t hitting a mental wall or anything like that. It was more boredom.  I just really didn’t want to run any longer.  I was sick of it and I was bored and I wanted to be done.  It sounds weird to say, but unless you’ve been on your feet for 3+hours doing the same repetitive motion, you won’t understand.  But I just wanted to be doing something else.  I didn’t care what else, just as long as I was no longer running!

The rest of the training group only ran 16.5 miles last week compared to our 20.  Add 3.5 extra miles on the route, add 2 bathroom breaks and add in my lightening quick speed and we finished just a TAD behind the rest of the group.  And when I say “tad”, I mean all of the other runners were already home, showered and going on with the rest of their day.  But much to my surprise the guy running the training run hadn’t completely torn down everything yet.  He was on his way to wrapping it up, that’s for sure.  We caught him in mid-tear down but he did have a pitcher of Gatorade left and we happily helped ourselves to some much needed post-run refueling.  But the refueling wasn’t done there… we got to refuel with a nice latte at a local coffee shop too.  Us four stragglers went for a much deserved coffee.  It was nice!!!!  Oh but the refueling doesn’t stop there. Oh no, not yet.  I ran 20 miles on the route I HATE and I deserve some sustenance.  And I’m not talking just any ol’ run of the mill sustenance, nah. I decided to go for the brass ring. I got myself a cream cheese muffin.  I have two words for you people about my muffin – Holy Bejeezes!!!!!!!!!!!  That thing was so freaking good I almost wanted to cry.  I’ve never had a cream cheese muffin before so I didn’t know what to expect.  I enjoyed every last crumb of that muffin and came damn close to actually licking the plate.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not above that ya know, but I had already gotten every crumb with my wet index finger so there really wasn’t anything left to lick.  While I was enjoying each and every last crumb, I tried EXTREMELY hard to NOT focus on how many calories I was consuming and trying to realize that every single calorie I just burned off in a 20 mile run was now completely negated with one damn muffin.  But I have to say, it was totally worth it.  I think I’d run 20 miles every week if I knew I could always have a cream cheese muffin when I was done. I’m just shocked that there’s a target audience for this muffin outside of marathoners.  Who can afford to consume that many calories in one item of food?  I’m pretty sure that an entire daily allowance of calories and fat is in one muffin.  That can’t be good for anyone.  But like I said… totally worth it!

The rest of my day had me on my feet scrambling to get our house ready for friends who were coming over later in the night.  I felt a bit sore and hobbled for a bit but in reality was pleasantly surprised and shocked by how good I felt.  I even felt pretty good on Sunday too.  The recovery run was a bit hit or miss, but that’s to be expected.

Speaking of having friends over… at one point during the evening I looked down at my bare feet and realized my ankles were slowly disappearing.  I checked again after one more beer and yep… I had a case of the cankles!  How is it possible for my calf to swallow my ankle and become one entity?  I guess 20 miles + 4 more hours on my feet cleaning the house, minus proper rehydration + beer =  swelling.  Just when I thought my feet couldn’t get any less attractive I realized how wrong I was.  Scary feet underneath cankles… even scarier.  This just makes me so greatful that I’m already married.  Between my chubby thighs, weird feet, over active sweat glands and now my cankles… man I’m a catch, if I do say so myself!!!!

Okay, I don’t think I can “top” cankles… so with that, I’m oughta here.  21+ miles tomorrow.  Lookin forward to it because we start tapering after it.  It’s all down hill after tomorrow.  Woot Woot!

 

Until next time… gotta run.

 

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