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Athens Marathon Recap

21 Nov

Last week, I joined the ranks of people crazy enough to run 26.2 miles just for the fun of it. The day didn’t turn out quite how I hoped it would, but the thing about the marathon is that you spend a tremendous amount of time and energy preparing for a single day wherein dozens of crucial details will be out of your control … Which is to say that the day probably won’t go how you hope it will. We don’t get to choose the frame our hard work gets hung in.

The trip to Greece was fairly uneventful. MrKef was thrilled to have 6 hours of in-flight entertainment, while I was content to watch Girls’ Trip on rapid repeat for the duration of the flight.

My aunt and uncle picked us up from the airport and a three-day Greek feast commenced. My aunt was so thoughtful and prepared all kinds of perfect-for-running meals– pasta, salmon, salads, and I considered more than once declaring a new marathon event: eating 26.2 pieces of my aunt’s cheese pie. But that wouldn’t be hard so everyone would do it.

And then it was race day! JetSet jaunted in from Dublin (as one does), and we headed to the expo. It was superwell organized and, despite being forced to walk through all the vendors, we managed to have some fun.

Afterward, we met my cousins at the spectacular new Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center, which is a spectacular building and worth a visit.

One tram ride later that nearly ended my running days for good (because when the tram comes but you still have no tickets, you stick your leg in the door until your brother gets the ticket machine to work), and MrKef and I were settled into the hotel. For the first time in my life, I actually chose to eat in the hotel restaurant because they were serving salmon and that’s what I like to eat the night before a run. We enjoyed a surprise date night– we were the only ones in the restaurant for most of the meal and got to dine by candlelight with the whole place to ourselves.

I got my things ready for the morning and settled in for a good night’s sleep. That lasted for about 2 hours, after which I woke up and was totally unable to fall back to sleep. MrKef came back from some revelry with JetSet around 3, and there I was… wide awake. I must have fallen asleep again sometime around 430, and when my alarm went off at 515, transferring to the eating race crossed my mind once again.

Despite my lack of sleep, I was feeling great. I ate an RX bar,  blasted my feel-good playlist, and headed out to the bus. My bus experience was seamless– I got on about 640 and was at the race start by 730 or so. I was hoping to sleep but, alas, it eluded me. There’s a short walk to the stadium, and there are tons of portapotties (but inside the dugout there are flush toilets whose lines are shorter and faster–a win!).

Here’s where the fun started. We were supposed to use the track at the Marathon Stadium to warm up, but the portapotties were lined up in the outer lane of the track, so of course the lines formed around the track. Undeterred, a group of guys in Spartan costumes started doing laps in the center, so there was a hilarious layered effect of portapottie lines, then people stretching and lounging about, and then the inner circle of Spartans and their growing ring of joggers.

And that’s also when the heat started– temps called for 65F with 98% humidity at the start. I knew the day would get hotter as the race went on, but also knew that the cloud cover would be my best friend. Well, my BFF was nowhere to be seen at the start, and I was already sweating before the race for underway. I was not thrilled by this turn of events, but was still feeling jazzed to get this show on the road. The race started promptly at 9, and I was off by 920 or so.

Things started off well enough.

My race plan was to keep things around 9:30 effort, knowing that the opening and closing 6ish miles were downhill, so I’d be able to bank some time in the beginning  before heading into 12 middle miles of hills. I kept to that perfectly for the first ~4 miles and felt good, but realized I was getting HOT quickly. I slowed down a bit for the next two miles and poured water over myself every water stop, but I just could.not.cool.down. The sun was definitely strong and I could tell other people were struggling as well, but it became clear pretty quickly that overheating was how the lack of sleep was going to manifest itself. I started to feel exhausted around mile 5- not muscle or mind fatigue, just get-me-to-my-damn bed tired. With 21 miles to go, this was not a good sign.

Luckily for me, we entered the first big town since Marathon right around then. Whole families were out to cheer, and people lined the street blasting traditional music, performing Greek dances, and cheering us on. I got a second wind, high fived everyone I could, and took in every “Bravo, kouritsimou!” that came my way.

At that point, I thought my tired troubles were over. The promised clouds showed up and I felt slightly less hot. I got a huge boost when I passed the first of my family members who came out to cheer — it was so special to have them out there. I was starting to feel pretty good. Maybe I had run through the fatigue.

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Or maybe not. Just when I was starting to cool off and feel better, the hills started. And continued. And kept on going. These hills went straight up Elizabeth Warren on me and frigging persisted. 

I got to a water station somewhere around mile 12 or 13 and suddenly knew what it meant to “hit the wall.” I struggled to open my Nuun packet to refill my water bottle and was starting to feel dejected. I slowed down to a walk and just tried to focus on getting the damn Nuun open. And then all the Greek Gods smiled upon me from Mt Olympus– I heard my aunt calling my name and my uncle reached out, ripped open the Nuun and poured it in my water bottle before sending me back off on my way.

I passed JetSet somewhere between miles 16 and 17  — a good brother will fly to across the world for ~30 hours to watch you run, but the BEST brother will BRING YOU A SPINACH PIE AND OFFER IT TO YOU DURING SAID RUN.

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I was all smiles there, but I knew I was sunk — I was feeling so crappy by that point I even refused the spanakopita.  I can’t even revisit such a low point in life. So let’s keep going.

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find any energy to pull it together. There were maybe 30 seconds after seeing my aunt and uncle where I felt like I could finish the race running. I ended up run-walking the rest of the way, sometimes using long time intervals to break up the running with walking, and other times just trying to run until the next telephone pole. I was on track to finish under 4:10 until about mile 15, and then it was a never-ending descent into “I have no idea WHEN the hell I am going to finish.” The distance  between kilometer markers stretched on so long that I convinced myself that someone had messed up and used kilometer signs to mark off miles. Not good stuff.

The crowds only got bigger as we entered the city. The downhill felt good for about 3 kilometers, and then the wall I had been pushing since the halfway point became The Great Wall. After what seemed like 10,495 hours, I finally made the left turn and could see the stadium in the distance. The crowds were huge at this point, and all the excitement and adrenaline I had been hoping for finally kicked in and I made a mad dash for the finish. Running through the original Olympic Stadium was incredible.

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4:42:36. Certainly not the time I had trained or hoped for. I eeked into the top 40ish% for total participants, gender and age group– so that’s something. About 4,000 people who started the race didn’t finish. Everyone was hot, most people were doing at least some walking, and the last 6 miles were filled with  many audible promises of “never again.”

I’m disappointed about my time, but I really meant it when I said the other day that the amazing 22-mile run was validation enough for a training cycle of hard work. I wish things had gone differently performance-wise, but I’m not too hung up on that.

The biggest disappointment to me is that I wasn’t in a good enough place to really enjoy myself. I wanted to finish the race exhausted but exhilarated, feeling proud of myself and filled with all the warm and fuzzies of having done some certifiably awesome. There were definitely times when I could appreciate how special this race is: running through an entire town of people dancing the Syrtaki, kids giving out Laurel leaves and olive branches throughout the course, couples in their 70s and 80s cheering on runners, seeing my family throughout the race and at the finish line, a cadence-quickening percussion troupe in a tunnel near mile 24, and — of course — that historic finish in an Olympic Stadium. But I was just too tired for too much of the race to really savor any of those moments.

There are definitely things that I’m proud of. Despite feeling like crap physically and knowing that I just didn’t have what I needed to run the race I wanted, I was never actually in a bad mental place. I realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to have a great day and can say for sure that I made the very best of it that I could. I finished the damn thing, despite being out in the hot sun 30 minutes longer than I thought I was going to be, and despite the fact that I wanted to quit pretty much every step of the way after mile 12. I’m hoping that, with a little time, the disappointments fade and make some space for the special memories of the day.

When everything goes wrong, what a joy to test your soul and see if it has endurance and courage! –Nikos Kazantzakis

I am so, so grateful to my family, who cooked runner-friendly meals, watched thousands of people run by just for a sweaty mid-race hug from me, flew across the world and then made the ultimate sacrifice and ate my spinach pie for me, waited for hours at the finish line (and then almost an hour more when I messed up the post-race meet-up point…), and congratulated me as if I had won the whole damn thing. Plus, they made sure I had the headgear of a champion, and I am now the proud owner of TWO στεφάνια, the famous leaf wreaths:

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AND DID I MENTION THE POST-RACE FEAST???

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That’s right, people– TWO kinds of wreaths, and TWO kinds of cheese pie. Our Greekness is your weakness.

And, of course, I can never say enough about my incredible husband — who cheered me on throughout the training, delayed his summer vacation until November, and only complained about the months of early-to-bed Friday and/or Saturday nights when it meant he had to go alone to see whatever new superhero movie was out.

I don’t know if I’ll run another marathon. Of course, a part of me would love to go back to Athens next November and show that course what this Spartan woman is made of … but another part of me would be happy to never, ever, ever run farther than 22 miles ever again. I’ve known for some time now that I strongly prefer training to racing — so I might train for a spring marathon without signing up for one to keep mileage high and pressure low. But who knows– I may get the itch to try my legs at this beast of a race again. Only time will tell.

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Athens Marathon Training: I Can Do Hard Things

9 Nov

Greetings from somewhere over Iceland! I’m attempting to tap this out on a tablet … So let’s just overlook any typos and hope I manage to avoid causing an international incident because I can’t find the caps lock, shall we?

Speaking of caps: IT’S RACE WEEK! I had a couple short runs this week and now all I have to do is keep running for 4ish hours come Sunday to cover a distance I’ve never done before on a course I’ve never run before. No big deal.

With just a few days to go, I’m alternating between heart- swelling excitement and pants-wetting fear. It’s basically starting the ascent of that first rollercoaster hill– as I inch closer, a sense of “who the hell thought this was a good idea?” grows, but eventually I know I’ll get over that crest and the dread will give way to sheer exhilaration… Or I really will pee my pants. But I’m cautiously optimistic because, as my Oiselle teammates like to say, I am an athlete who can do hard things.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, I am already incredibly proud of myself and the work I’ve put in to get to this point. A year ago, I wouldn’t have believed that I could run 22 miles, but it turns out that I can and that those 22 miles would become the best long run I’ve ever had. So I’ve already won, if you ask me.

… But because I am who I am, I still have some other goals, too.
A GOAL: have the time of my life, soak up whatever good stuff the day holds, finish the race feeling strong and proud of myself. Also, to scream “eff yes!” at the finish in tribute to Shalane’s epic bad-assery at the NYC marathon finish last weekend.

B GOAL: finish under 4:20. In life, I am quite sure I have a sub-4 marathon in me, but I have no plans to make myself nuts chasing it on a punishingly-hilly course with rain in the forecast and end-of-race temps projected to get close to 70.

C GOAL: finish under 4:30. Or really, just finish. B

Lots of people have asked if they can track me– you should all, of course, feel free to download the app and  wake up at 1 am EST to watch my little geotag bounce along some 7,000 miles away… Or just check Instagram Sunday morning ( EST) for an update.

Athens Marathon Training: The More Things Change

30 Oct

Yo, man– this marathon is less than two weeks away. I finished my last double-digit run this weekend, and now the most I have to do is all the running around to get ready for race day and a much-needed vacay with MrKef.

Today, we’re taking a trip down memory lane to revisit the ghosts of runs and races past. I originally thought this post would be about how much my running has changed over the last 7 years, but it turns out I’m not overturning any old adages this time– the more things change, the more they really do stay the same.

Athens Marathon Training Week 14: The More Things Change

Monday: Yoga Nothing at all exciting to say about this, so let’s throw it back to my very first race: the Capitol Hill Classic 10k. I can’t remember why I signed up for the DC Road Runners CHH10k training group, but I still remember the thrill of finishing my first Saturday Long Run (which was probably only 3.5 miles) and how quickly I fell in love with starting my day with the sound of my own feet on the pavement (and the cheers of my own personal fan club–shout out to North Capitol St of yesteryear!)

Tuesday: Arms & Abs at Solidcore. Here’s something that has definitely changed– I used to be a sporadic (at best) strength trainer and nevvvvvvver did speedwork. Thanks to the good advice of… everyone … I cut that ish out, and am now a weekly speeder and strengthener. Aaaand if you look very closely, you can see some baby abs poking out– excuse ME.

Wednesday: Unintentional rest day. Sadly, there is no amount of speedwork in the world that will help me get a good race picture. Some lowlights, from top to bottom:

1) COTTON pants … in a race … in MAY

2) at a 10k where the photographer caught me changing

3) looking every bit as cold and dead as I felt while waiting for the worst-produced race of all time

4) securing my spot as the poster child for the Mall Walkers of America

Thursday: Run 45. After this lovely run, I ate a lot of blueberries. This, too, seems to have been a pattern since the beginning of my running days.

Friday: 3x 1-mile @ 7:25 plus warmup and cool down. Just because I know speedwork is good for me doesn’t mean I look forward to it. Track workouts get me a little worked up– what if I can’t make the intervals? what if I can’t finish the workout? what if I die right there on the Banneker track and by the time anyone finds my body the smell of fries from the Georgia Ave McDonald’s has seeped so far into my cold, dead tissue that people think Happy Meals are being served at my funeral?

But the thing is- I almost always nail my workouts. And even when I don’t, I dig deep, fight hard, and am getting stronger and tougher just by trying. This week was no exception- I came in way under time (7:10, 7:12, 7:20).

This, too, has been recurrent in my running: I set a goal, face down whatever self doubt bubbles to the surface, and end up surpassing the original intention.

Case in point–3.5 years ago, PurplePenKef sent me an email with the below subject :

To which I responded:

And — because PPK has always been one of my biggest champions, and because she has often known things about me before I knew them myself, and because one of the main reasons we have stayed friends all these years is so that we have someone to email between 5:08 and 6:32 am — she quipped:

And now here are, less than a fortnight from my first marathon. I really hate it when she’s right.

Saturday: run 90 minutes. I was up in Staten Island visiting family, and this run was pretty close to race conditions- hilly, 68 degrees, sunny with little shade, and long stretches of decidedly-unscenic highway views. I wasn’t feeling it at first but I eventually dialed into a groove and had a great run. The next double-digit mileage I will do is 26.2!!!

Weeks to race day: 2

Total Miles This Week: 20.25

Gains: lots of time

Losses: anything witty left for this portion of recaps

Athens Marathon Training: Greece is the Word

16 Oct

Apologies for the blank email/fake link yesterday and thanks to the many of you who told me about it– I really should not be allowed near technology.  Good news for everyone who could not care less about running is that I actually did some cooking over the weekend, so one of these days we will talk about something other than whether all ten of my toenails are going to survive this race.

Turns out, my first marathon is JUST ABOUT ONE MONTH AWAY.  When I was in school and would tell people I had XX months left, I wished a slow and painful death on anyone who responded “Oh, that’ll fly by.” But these couple months really did — guess I like running better than busy work and B.S. tests. Who knew?

I am starting to get cautiously excited about the race itself, but I am unabashedly enthusiastic about my upcoming time in The Hellenic Republic. So today we’re gonna focus on the nation and people who have given the world everything: Greece!

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Athens Marathon Training Week 12: Greece is the Word

Monday: Arms & Abs @ Solidcore. Since revisionary history seems to be the creative trend these days, I am going to pitch a show wherein the Spartans had the megaformer Pilates machines that Solidcore uses– think “Man in the High Castle” meets “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” Insane Spartan discipline + side plank crunches = total world domination. The opening sequence would be this group of Greek women pushing each other up the Acropolis in a display of their brute strength:

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Tuesday: 60 min run I had to run after work, which is generally not my preference. Despite that, I was smoking the damn sidewalk Tuesday afternoon — not quite sure what got into me, but it was one of my speediest runs in awhile. If I had been in Greece, I would have known that this was a run fueled by the most beautiful part of the day: the afternoon light.

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But, instead, I was in DC and was perhaps fueled by my hatred for the new development at the Wharf, which will certainly ensure that the low-income housing left in that part of SW will disappear within the next 5 years.

Wednesday:Hills for breakfast. I lugged myself up and down Capitol Hill  several times. Whenever I thought about stopping, I remembered that this damn marathon is going to be hilly — but if I finish the damn thing and live to tell the tale, my post-run feast will look like this:

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I am thinking Pheidippides didn’t really care about telling the Athenians about the outcome of the battle — he was probably running all those miles just to get to his Aunt Lena’s eggplant pie, too.

Thursday: yoga + ST. I don’t have a lot to say about tree poses and lunges, but no post about Greece would ever be complete without what remains my favorite picture of all time:

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Friday: rest day, mostly because I was at work until 8:45. That’s bad enough on a Friday, but it also meant I had to push back my weekend runs, which I don’t love.

Saturday: 30 min run. Nothing to say about that.

Sunday: 90 min run. I’m gonna let this training cycle finish, but this was one of my best runs OF ALL TIME. The miles just flew by, they were all paced within a few seconds of each other, and I was feeling so good at the end that I actually opted for the route home with more hills. Praise the sweet Lord baby Jesus.  Speaking of babies, here’s my favorite little moraki, edited for his mother’s privacy concerns:

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Weeks to Race Day: 5
Total Miles This Week: 25
Gains: a new goal: eat all the Spanakopita I can post-marathon 
Losses: 
you know, this week was a lot of wins– let’s just leave t there.

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Athens Marathon Training: If I Ran 20 Miles but my Garmin Didn’t Record It, Does it Still Count? And Other Quandaries

11 Sep

Ed Note: It’s not just another Monday, but I don’t generally use this space for anything particularly poignant, so you can take the run chat for whatever it’s worth today.

Last week, we answered frequently-asked questions. This week, we’re pondering life’s tough questions as they apply to running.

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Athens Marathon Training Week 7: Quandaries

Monday: I bumped my long run back to Sunday last week, so Monday was a rest day. There are no tough questions on a rest day, because the sun is always shining and the birds are always singing when there are no workouts scheduled. Am I right?

Tuesday: 90 minute run I’m having a little trouble adjusting to my new commute schedule, so of course missed the absolutely gorgeous running weather Tuesday morning only to realize it would probably rain Tuesday evening. I stayed ahead of the rain until the last ~20 minutes, which is when I was about 5 steps ahead of the rain and then eventually swallowed in a torrential downpour. It’s been awhile since I’ve run in the rain–  but the next time someone wonders, “Do you need the rain to appreciate the sun?” I will be able to reply with a well-informed and resounding, “NO.”

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Wednesday: Yoga @ Past Tense. My hip flexors were barking.

Thursday: 5x1000s @ 4:21. Repeat of last week. The first 3 felt easier than last week, the last 2 felt a little harder. I came in  at 413/420/421/422/420. It takes a certain mental fortitude to run around the same oval a few dozen times and still care about the time required. Until about three weeks ago, I mostly spent my time on the track pondering the great philosophical questions: how many angels can dance on the head a pin? Why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway? What if the Hokey Pokey IS what its all about?

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… I should probably stick to just focusing on the workout.

Friday: I think I did something Friday morning, but I really can’t recall, which probably means I went to yoga… but I guess we’ll never know.

Saturday: 20 mile run. Actually…

  I RAN TWENTY MILES

As discussed last week, I usually run for time, but this week the group I was running with had 18 miles on the books, and I was feeling like a new personal distance record, so I ran their 18 and tacked on what I know was at least two miles at the end to make 20. In an example of the cruelty of Garmin and the futility of running for distance (vs time), the GPS function of my watch was a hot mess and couldn’t really sort out where those last two miles began and ended… unless I was actually the one who lost all function and it really did take me me 10:36 to run 0.33 miles. So, maybe I even ran more than 20 miles– which brings us to the original tough question: if a runner runs 20 miles and her Garmin didn’t record it, does it still count? Let’s go to the expert on this one:

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Anyway, it was an amazing day for a run, and I had great company– thanks as always to the great group at ARRC for holding it down. I came home and couldn’t decide if I wanted to eat for the rest of the day or just put my legs up the wall and never bring them down, so I just figured I’d try to multitask and see what would happen. For the record, it is very hard to eat pizza upside down, but I got the job done.

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Weeks to Race Day: 9
Total Miles This Week: 35?
Gains: new distance record, another well-fueled long run to help me figure out race-day nutrition plan
Losses: some distance lost to the ether of a funked up satellite somewhere in Garmin land.

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I Ate Only These Healthy Cookies For A Week and You’ll Be Blown Away By What Happened Next

8 Sep

No, your favorite Gluten-free Greek blog has not gone all Buzzfeed, despite the clickbait headline. But I did eat these chock-full-of-goodness cookies pretty much for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a week… and what happened was that I still wanted some damn more.

Super filling, brimming with fiber/protein/healthy fat, and right up my taste-profile alley (hello ginger and sweet potato!), these rank right up there with my other RFES love, Superhero Muffins, but are even quicker to throw together. Extra points if you’re a parent trying to convince a picky kid (or a wife trying to convince a husband with a bland palate like someone who may happen to be my sister…), there are real, live SWEET POTATOES baked into these puppies. Oh, and they just-so-happen to be vegan. I have died and gone to baking heaven.

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Finally, these guys were amazing pre-long-run fuel, and I am pretty sure I am going to eat them pre-marathon… assuming I can put them down long enough to run 26 damn miles. Only time will tell.

Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies from Run Fast Eat Slow

Ingredients

  • 3 c old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 c almond flour
  • 1 tsp ground ginger (or 1 TBS fresh)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 c sweet potato puree
    (I tried both the canned syrup-free puree and pureeing my own by roasting the potato for ~40 minutes, removing it from skin, and mashing it … canned was still very good, but I did prefer the earthier taste of the one I did  myself. I also think pureed pumpkin would work, but I’d remove some maple syrup to decrease liquid and sweetness)
  • ½ c maple syrup
  • ½ c coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup raisins (optional, but you want them)

Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In bowl of food processor, pulse oats for 5-6 times, until roughly chopped (note: I skipped this step entirely and cookies were still amazing). Place oatmeal in large mixing bowl and combine with almond flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In separate bowl, whisk together sweet potato puree, syrup, oil, vanilla, and raisins until well combined. Fold into oat mix and stir until blended. The dough should be thick.
  3. Use ¼ cup measuring cup to drop batter onto baking sheet. Space cookies 1 inch apart and slightly flatten.
  4. Bake until bottoms are deep golden brown, 25-30 minutes.

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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

longrun

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.

athens

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