“I’m oh so tired. Just so very tired.”
If I were a Real Housewife, that would be my tagline. And it pretty much sums up my training, my summer and my life.
And because I’m so fricken tired, I’m going to try to write the post quickly so I can get on to doing other things so I eventually can get some rest!
Here’s what’s going on, why I’m so tired and some general thoughts as I’m approaching 6 weeks out from the big day:
- So far in training, I’ve had 4 runs that went over 30 miles: 31, 33, 35 and 33 respectively. And the time on my feet ranged from 6.5 to 7.5 hours. And I can’t tell you how fricken thrilled I am to have four runs in over 30 miles. That gives me so much confidence. Granted I’m still a long way off from 50 miles, but when I finished my 35 miler, and even though I couldn’t have run another step that day, I totally could envision myself running another 15 on race day. Not bad considering I’ve run marathons and couldn’t envision myself running another 5 to hit the 50K mark. So I’ve made a lot of progress.
- And what’s even more amazing than the fact that I’ve been routinely running more than 30 miles for my long training runs, is that I’ve done it with absolutely no fanfare. It’s just me and my husband as my crew. I get up early, I run. I run a large part of the day, and then I go home. Sometimes I go about my life, ie. laundry, etc. But I’m not going to lie, for the most part I go home and nap. But the next day is laundry. And another 3-4 hour run. And again, no fanfare. No medals, no posters, no post-run party. Just on with my life. I go to work on Monday and no one is the wiser. For all they know, I could have spent my entire weekend sitting on the couch watching the Real Housewives of Orange County, not putting in 44+ miles. I find this amazing.
- Speaking of no one knowing, I couldn’t look any less like a person capable of pulling off this athletic feet. The surprise on people’s faces when they hear what I am training for is somewhat amusing but also very annoying. It’s actually not even surprise as much as it is, “are you sure… YOU are doing it?” It’s a genuine disbelief. This comes from chiropractors, sales people in running stores, co-workers, just about anyone. And I’m not being overly sensitive, I’ve seen the look in people’s’ eyes and seen that quizzical look flash across their faces too many times. I can spot it instantly. They try to hide it because they don’t want to offend me, but I spot it every time.
- I have to say, I’m pretty damn proud of how pleasant I’ve been on my long runs. Even Brian can’t totally disagree. I’ve been much more crabby during marathon training in cooler weather than I have been during Fall 50 training. Yay me! I rock.
- Ever since the hot and horrible 5 hour run many weeks ago when I thought I could crew myself but Brian ended up showing up and helping, he’s pretty much been with me for all of my long training runs. He’s missed some of my Sunday runs, but only because I told him I could do it on my own, otherwise I’m sure he’d have been out on the route crewing for me. When I think of the time and effort he puts in to EVERY FRICKEN SATURDAY LONG RUN, I’m blown away. I don’t think I can truly convey how much I need his support during these runs. Not only from a pure logistical standpoint, which is true, but from an emotional one too. And ironically the emotional support he gives me is not him being my cheerleader, or drill sergeant. Nope, his support comes in the form of silence. When I struggle, he doesn’t give me pep talks and he doesn’t yell at me. He knows that I’m already doing both of those in my own head, I don’t need him to do it for me. I need him to let me work the hard times out on my own – which he does – and I just need to know he’s there – which he is. Often times he bikes behind me and we don’t say a word to each other. And I’m good with that and he is too. It is probably reflective of our entire marriage 🙂 but it works for us.
- Years or months ago, when I was thinking ahead at my training for the Fall 50, I thought I’d be able to do a lot on my own and I also thought I’d have other people besides Brian go with me on runs. But other than one other friend who has ventured up to Green Bay to bike with me a few times (thanks Jill!), I’ve taken this journey with Brian and only Brian. I never would have thought us spending this much time together – and time when I’m in distress – would be good for our marriage but I have to say, we are making it work and actually having a few laughs along the way.
- And speaking of laughs…. last week during my 7.5 hour run I was in desperate need of a bathroom but I was 1.5 miles away from the nearest bathroom. I was realizing my worst fears. I thought I was going to have to finally do something I’ve put off doing all of these years… I thought I was going to have to shit in the woods. I have many reasons why I don’t want to shit in the woods but one of the biggest reasons is that I don’t know how! Seriously, I don’t know how. It’s not the same as peeing in the woods, there’s much more involved and the level of effort is incredibly different. So I asked Brian to show me how to shit in the woods. And you know what? He wouldn’t show me!! The bastard. I mean seriously. I even pulled the, “I can’t believe you don’t love me enough to show me how to shit in the woods” card. Still nothing!
- And for those wondering my run/walk combination helped me make it to the next bathroom and I never did end up shitting in the woods. So I’m still a shitting-outside virgin!
- As I already mentioned, I give myself the pep talks and/or the drill sergeant commands while I’m running and that has been the key to me getting through my training. But outside of the actual training run, my coach has been so invaluable with helping me through the mental aspects of this crazy journey. At the end of this post I’ve copied an email that is between me and my coach so you can get a glimpse into our dynamics. He knows me and knows what I need and when. Thank god I hired him.
- I knew coming into this that the training would be hard and that I’d have to talk myself into getting out the front door every day or completing all of my training runs. But I don’t think I could fully comprehend the difficulties involved in talking yourself into a 7.5 hour run. Or multiple 7.5 hour runs! The sheer number of times during 450 minutes of running that I think about stopping is staggering. It’s easy to sit here and type about it days later and I’m sure it’s even easier to read about it. You think, “yep, I’m sure it’s hard.” Or “wow, I can’t even imagine”. And you’re right, you can’t even imagine. I always say the race day is the victory lap for all the hard work put in during training. So in reality it’s completely backwards… the cheering, party and medals should happen when it’s 85 degrees and humidity is pushing the temperature into the 90s and I am only 2 hours into a 7.5 hour run and it’s not going well and I see fricken paddle boards on the Bay or families enjoying their coffee at outdoor cafes or when I can’t get past the tourists walking from cute boutique to quaint art shop… that’s when the signs should come out, when the cowbells need to be rung and when the party needs to happen. (And in all honesty, Brian does actually bring out a cowbell and clapper for my training runs! Seriously, he’s been a fricken rock star crew captain!!!). Maybe this is a side job for me for other people training for endurance events. Maybe their spouse could hire me to Rock the Training Route for their athlete? Hhhmm, I may be on to something. I could sell my Route Rocking services to area training groups. I may need to give this some more thought!
- I’m not sure how many of you know that most of my long training runs have been on the actual Fall 50 course and that the course is through quaint little tourist towns in Door County. It is at times unbearable running through the streets of these towns while couples and families are vacationing. Down right painful.
- Running through the streets of Door County that are home to most of the tourists makes me want to shout in anger, but on the flip side I have had a few interesting encounters on the quiet back roads of the course. (First, I have to start by saying that 95% of the runners I meet running in Door County are running on the wrong side of the road. WTF? Why? And while 95% are running on the wrong side of the road, another 3 % are running or walking in the middle of the road. I kid you not. And these are narrow, windy and hilly roads with horrible visibility. What are they thinking? The only reasoning Brian and I could come up with is one of two options. 1. They are all from Illinois and are so entitled they feel they can run or walk wherever the hell they want. 2. They grew up in the city and never actually walked or ran on a road or street. Only sidewalks or trails. But is that something city dwellers don’t know? Does it have to be learned? Is it not intuitive to NOT run with your back to the very vehicle that can run you down and kill you?) But any way, back to some of the people I’ve met running out in the country. Brian’s actually had a chance to talk to some of these people while he was waiting for me to run up to him. They ask what he’s doing and he tells them. Then when I finally arrive, I get a lot of encouragement from these folks. Some “good lucks”, some “I could never do that” and a few other cute lines. It’s so short and simple but it really means a lot hearing it from strangers.
- Unlike marathons where I can run it and only consume water, Gatorade and a few packets of energy gel, an ultra requires much more fuel. I’ve tried to figure out what works best for me. I’ve discovered that while I LOVE peanut butter in my normal life, I can’t eat it while running. It’s just too “thick” for my liking. I also discovered that sweet foods don’t appeal to me either while I’m running. I definitely sway towards the savory/salty options. The two items that work the best for me are rice and bacon in a tortilla wrap or just rice and bacon rolled into a ball. And I also eat Cool Ranch Doritos and those are probably what I crave the most while running. The salt and flavor appeals to me. Not sure why, but it just does. I also consumer liquid fuel too. Brian mixes it for me and I carry it in a flask on my fuel belt along with flasks of water. And rounding out my nutrition is energy gels. I usually end up consuming a few hundred calories of the energy gels. I have no set routine as to what I consume or when. It’s whatever appeals to me at that very moment. The past two weeks, I’ve noticed I’ve consumed less than normal. This past week Brian was worried and said I wasn’t getting enough fuel in me. I felt like I was still eating and drinking a lot, but considering I was burning off 3500 calories, I probably wasn’t. But nothing sounded good and I just didn’t want anything but water. This may have had more to do with the fact that I was hot and the water was cold, than anything else. But I have to make a conscious effort to consume more fuel for each long run. The last thing I want to do is bonk!
- I keep joking with Brian that training for an ultra is much like being pregnant (even though I’ve never been pregnant, I’m basing this off of my general pregnancy knowledge).
- I’ll be training for the “big day” for about 40 weeks!
- My body is no longer my own and weird things are happening to it.
- The amount of water my body is retaining at any given time is shocking.
- I am rarely comfortable. In any position… Standing sucks. Sitting sucks. Laying down sucks.
- I can’t sleep.
- My sense of smell is heightened. It’s strange and it makes no sense.
- I’ve got a severe case of brain fog. Much like “pregnancy fog”, when people start losing it and simple things become difficult and ordinary tasks are forgotten, etc… yep I’ve got that too.
- I’m tired. All. The. Time.
- I’m no fun and rarely go out because all I want to do is sleep.
- I eat all the time.
- I have food cravings. During a mid-summer heat wave I asked Brian if he could make me a pot roast!
- To be polite, people ask how things are going, but most don’t really care. They just feel obligated. And once the big day comes and goes, people will stop asking all together.
- Frequent trips to the bathroom.
- I want the day to come but yet I know it’s going to be painful, will take hours, it will forever change my life and there’s a better than average chance I may shit myself!
- And as I think ahead to my big day, I can’t help to think of Brian’s big day a year ago. A few days ago, it was the first anniversary of my husband becoming an Ironman. That was such a crazy cool day and I know I will never forget it. I looked back at all the support he had from people who came out to cheer him on and those who followed the day-long journey back home. I know that support meant a lot to him and helped him get through the day. I have no idea who may or may not come to Door County for my run because everyone has a life and ultra endurance events are becoming “common” among our friends (hell, I’m the 3rd in my small circle of close friends who is attempting this) so it’s not as big of a deal, and that’s okay. I’m trying not to think too much about who may or may not show up. Along this whole journey, I’ve been growing a lot and trying to be happier for “me”. I’ve taken on this journey and this challenge for “me”. I need to prove to myself that I can do this, and I can do it alone. I am running solo for me and only me and if not one single person came to DC to watch me (other than Brian, that is… he has to come!) that it would be okay. I’ve trained solo and I can run event day solo too. I keep saying this is my Mt. Everest and if that’s the case, no one has a Route Rockin’ Crew at the top of the mountain. So if people show up – bonus. If no one shows up – I’ll still climb Mt. Everest!
Email between me and my Coach from August 17th.
Let me first say, from a coaching perspective you are doing a nice job. Always good to hear the good, bad and ugly. It really does give me perspective on how to move forward.
Secondly, your goal is achievable but not without discomfort. If it were easy, then everyone would be doing it. One thing I really like about this distance is that it does help “weed out” those that just try to get up off the couch and run “just because Bob/Frank/sister/neighbor/etc… can do it”. This distance is not to be taken lightly nor is it easy. People are starting to (much to my dismay) sign up for an event like a 13.1 without much training. After this is all done and said, know this……..YOU Marla put in the time, effort and discomfort it takes to get through not only the event itself (barring any unforeseen issues) but more importantly the training behind the event.
See inset below IN CAPS for specific comments regarding your comments.
Just checking in to give you an update on my weekend, the good, the bad and the ugly! FEEDBACK IS GOOD.
Ran in Door County on Saturday to try and beat the heat. Did 6.5 hours on Saturday and did 31 miles, 2 less than what I did last time. BUT, I think I may actually have had a better run because I accidentally wore the wrong watch for the first 23 miles and my watch didn’t stop when I stopped for fuel, bathroom breaks, etc. So it kept running which means my time kept ticking away. The data is a bit confusing when I looked at it afterwards, but I think because my “breaks” where calculated into my overall time, contrary to what I did 2 weeks ago, I think it may have been better. BREAKS SHOULD BE COUNTED, BECAUSE ON RACE DAY BREAKS COUNT.
For the most part I felt okay. Thank god for the shade!! My feet gave me much more trouble than ever before. Just achy and swollen. By hour four, I was getting a bit bored and fatigued but I rallied. Brian thinks I looked better when I finished compared to last time, but I didn’t necessarily feel better. I didn’t really feel worse either. All-in-all, I have to say I’m pretty satisfied with my run and I think it went well. Now I have 2 runs over 30 miles!! Woot! LOVE TO HEAR THAT YOU ARE COVERING 26.2+++. “TOUGHENING UP” PAST THE MARATHON DISTANCE. THIS IS IMPORTANT.
But I can’t say the same for Sunday. Actually the last three weeks, my Sunday runs have been horrible. Both mentally and physically. AT SOME POINT DURING THE EVENT (SOMETIMES EARLY, SOMETIMES LATER) ATHLETES OF THIS SORT OF EVENT WILL BE MENTALLY CHALLENGED (AS WELL AS PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED). IT IS THE MENTAL PIECE OFTEN THAT WE WILL NEED TO PUSH THROUGH. YOU HAVE BEEN DOING A NICE JOB OF KEEPING THE MENTAL BUG FROM STOPPING YOU.
And this was by far the worst I’ve been. I had nothing left to give on Sunday – again both mentally and physically. I gave everything to my run on Saturday that Sunday just sucked. I was able to muster a slow run (with walk breaks) for the first hour of my 3.5 hour workout on Sunday. But it went downhill from there. I basically walked the last 2.5 hours. I couldn’t will myself to run to save my life and was pretty disappointed in myself. My feet hurt too so that didn’t help. But if running was part of the goal for Sunday, I’d say I failed. If being on my feet was the goal, I managed to get the whole 3.5 hours in, but it was a struggle. I only did 12 miles total. It was pretty bad. YES, TIME ON FEET. YOU COVERED TIME ON FEET, DESPITE THE DISCOMFORT. THIS GOES BACK TO MY COMMENT ABOUT IF IT WAS EASY, EVERYONE WOULD DO IT.
I know we’ve talked about this in the past, but it just seems as if I respond better to a long, kick-butt workout on Saturday and having shorter workouts surrounding it. I know the Sunday workouts are technically shorter, but yet they are still pretty long. They are totally destroying the confidence I build up with my Saturday runs and it kind of bums me out. I’m always pretty excited and happy with myself after I’m done running on Saturday but then Sunday goes so bad that I finish the weekend on a bad note and bummed out. Brian keeps telling me not to let Sunday affect me, but I can’t help it. MENTAL CHALLENGE FOR THIS TYPE OF EVENT IS GOOD. KEEP FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT. ALSO, YOU NOW HAVE SPECIFIC RUNNING INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE LONG RUN. FROM YOUR FEEDBACK I WENT BACK THROUGH SOME OLD TRAINING NOTES AND REVIEWED SOME OTHERS’ COMMENTS ABOUT RUNNING ULTRA DISTANCE. MANY OF THE COACHES RECOMMEND 5 MINUTES OF RUNNING, 1 MINUTE OF WALKING FOR THE DISTANCE. FOR YOU, THIS SEEMS A BIT MUCH. STICK WITH THE SCHEDULE AS OUTLINED ON THE ATTACHMENT. (I READ RECENTLY THAT IF SOMEONE RUNS A 6 MINUTE/MILE PACE FOR 5 MINUTES, WALKED AT A “BRISK” PACE FOR A MINUTE, THAT PERSON WOULD RUN A 3 HOUR MARATHON…..CRAZY TO THINK THAT THIS WOULD WORK.) WALK EARLY, WALK AS SCHEDULED, WALK AND RUN AT PRESCRIBED PACES, TAKE YOUR BREAKS AS NOTED. THIS SCHEDULE WILL HELP TRAIN YOUR MIND AND BODY. IT TAKES THE WORK HARD ON SATURDAY AND STINK ON SUNDAY BOTH OUT BECAUSE BOTH DAYS HAVE THE SAME FORMULA. THE VARIABLE DIFFERENCE IS THAT YOUR LEGS WILL GET SOME REST (AND SOME PHYSICAL RECOVERY), BUT WILL FEEL HEAVY ON SUNDAY. SORT OF LIKE THE LAST MILES OF THE 50.
AIM FOR 200-250 CALORIES/HOUR AS YOUR STOMACH WILL TOLERATE. AIM FOR 4-8 OZ OF FLUID EVERY 15 MINUTES AS TOLERATED (SKIP SOME IF STOMACH GETS BLOATED). CONTINUE TO PRACTICE WITH FLAT COKE, CHICKEN BROTH/SOUP, PRETZEL, M&M, PB&J OR WHATEVER WORKS FOR YOU. I REALLY LIKE SOME FLAT COKE AND SOUP TO BREAK THINGS UP (NOT AT THE SAME TIME)
NICE WORK. KEEP IT UP.
Until next time,