Athens Marathon Training: Inside Out

28 Aug

So far, the biggest difference between marathon training and everything I’ve ever trained for in the past is that the mental preparation is almost as difficult as the physical work. At this point in the cycle, I’m logging higher weekly mileage than I’ve ever run before, which — in addition to being fatigued to the bone and finding all kinds of new places for chaffing– means a lot of time alone with my thoughts. Mostly, this is something I love about running, but things went little haywire up in your girl’s noggin this week, and what started out as just another week of training quickly turned into a Pixar movie:

giphy (14)

It would be easy to write a quick little recap that glosses over the less wonderful parts of this process, but I’ll skip the alternative facts in the interest of not contributing to the idea that running is all about perfectly-paced workouts and just-the-right angle race photos…  and also because I want a good excuse to use that “keeping it 100″emoji everyone else discovered about a year ago.


Athens Marathon Training Week 5: Inside Out

Sunday: much-deserved rest day after being awake for nearly 24 hours on Saturday. Stay tuned later this week for the recipe that sent CaliKef back to the West Coast.

Monday: Tennis for cross training. One day when I have nothing running-related to say, we will talk about how really bad I am at tennis and why you should absolutely take lessons from Dr. Valentine at Rock Creek Park.

Tuesday: spinning @ Flywheel. The Chef Kefi you all know and love is not a particularly competitive person– I am generally motivated more by besting myself than beating other people. But a million years ago, in another universe, I was a woman whose sole goal in life was to swim a little faster, study a little harder, and sleep a little less than the person next to me, and that beast rears its ugly head every now and again (see also: that vendetta-driven triathlon a few years ago). The leader board at Flywheel is a love/hate thing as a result, and on Tuesday it was all hate. Bike 5 and I were neck and neck for first place through the whole class, and then she just zoomed off and torched me in the last three songs of class. I ended up finishing third in the class (the 1st-place guy had the audacity to beat me, too) and for whatever reason I was TORMENTED by this– why hadn’t I just worked harder to keep up? had I lost all my mojo in the two weeks I hadn’t been spinning? how was I ever going to run those terrible last 6.2 miles of the marathon if I couldn’t even get myself together keep up with Bike 5 for the final 6 minutes of an exercise class? Don’t bother trying to find the logic in any of this– when my thoughts drift into the Gulag of comparison and self-doubt, there’s no point in trying to apply logic.

giphy (17)

Wednesday: 6 x 800 @ 3:28 track workout. I showed up to this workout still all in my feelings about the damn spinning class. The last few track workouts of this cycle had felt pretty hard when I was shooting for 800 @ 3:45, so the fact that this workout ratcheted up the speed did not leave me feeling confident. Convinced that I’d never make it, I way overshot the first and second repeats. By the time I settled into where I was supposed to be running somewhere around the third repeat, my body and brain were too tired to even consider two more trips around the track for the final 800. I ended up calling it quits at 5 x 800, with splits of 3:12/3:21/3:30/3:30/3:35.

In ~7 years of run training, I bet there are fewer than a dozen workouts I haven’t finished. They are not always right on pace and they are rarely pretty, but I am pretty insistent about completing the prescribed time/mileage/speed work for two reasons: 1) the only way to be able to finish a run when it gets hard is to practice finishing hard runs; 2) when ish really hits the fan on race day, I like to be able to give myself examples of hard stuff I’ve already done — “you dug deep and killed those Tilden Hill repeats when it was 95F and 90% humidity– you can definitely get up this little bump of a hill.” So –even though I know the more useful and kind thing to do would have been to give myself a good pep talk about how hard work is hard work and that no one has ever not finished a marathon because of 2 missed laps around the track — the self-talk on the drive home was not of the puppies and rainbows variety.

giphy (18)

Thursday: 60 min run. This should have been an easy run, but I ended up flying through almost 7.5 miles out of sheer and utter spite for the previous two “bad” workouts. Don’t ask me what I thought this was going to achieve. I spent most of Thursday just trying to sort out how I had gotten into this little funk and making a plan to crawl out of it. Turns out, 12 hours of sleep helps answers some tough questions.

giphy (20)

Friday: 40 min run at lunch. Finally- I was able to calm down and just have a nice little run. The perfect running weather definitely helped, and it was nice to scoot over to Haines Point for a spin between patients.

Saturday: 3 hours running + 30 min walking. This post has gotten quite lengthy, so I’ll try to make the long run recap a short one. I run with a phenomenal group of (mostly) women, and I am so grateful for their company on these long runs. Thanks to these guys, the miles just flew by, and I spent very little time worrying about anything other than the mile we were in at the moment. I finished 16 miles with them, and then tacked on 2.5 more to make it to the 3 hour mark. I’ve been adding walking after long runs just to increase time on my feet, and I had to race-walk back this week because I had had to pee since we started the damn run three hours ago– whoops!


Weeks to Race Day: 11
Total Miles This Week: 34.5
Gains: I can now list every reason under the sun to love Wegman’s!
Losses: the whole week of my life I spent worked up over stuff that has no bearing on my training or life. Girl, bye.


2 Responses to “Athens Marathon Training: Inside Out”

  1. Leeanne Sciolto August 28, 2017 at 9:01 am #

    i laughed out loud at the “gains”
    hope you’re having a lovely Monday!

  2. Courtney @ eat pray run DC August 28, 2017 at 10:53 am #

    Wegman’s love for life! So happy your week turned around & we had a great Saturday run. xx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: