Monday, November 9, 2015

I'm still breathing

I know I’ve been MIA for a little while. Truthfully I’ve felt like I kind of lost my mind temporarily for a bit there.  It’s a series of factors all lining up all at once to create the most “off” mood.  It’s like the normal let-down of post accomplishing epic goals coupled with pure exhaustion and burnout and then on top of it the weather changing into cold and depressing territory.  It was inevitable that my high would come crashing down. I didn’t expect it to be quite so epic.  Honestly it’s a chemical imbalance in my brain that truly exists as well.  I tend to run away and hide from the world in such times.  Truthfully I have shut down from most parts of my life. I can’t exactly tell you why but I haven’t talked to or seen my family in weeks.  It’s bizarre for me. Of course I am still talking to and seeing Chris because well obviously he is my husband and we live in the same house so that is unavoidable.  Not that I would want to avoid him anyway.

I’ve been trying to work out my own inner demons.  They still exist and sometimes get the better of me. I have honestly been so majorly depressed for no good reason and I thought it better to avoid real life as a result.  I have been doing a better job the last week of sticking to some medications and trying to pep myself up and I guess that’s working okay.  Depression is a VERY real and very serious thing.  Let’s not forget that I come from the same genetic gene pool as a man who killed himself.  I am not trying to sound all poor me, but I’m just stating the truth.  I suffer from my own moments of mental issues that are completely derivative of both genetics and environment. 

Which leads me back to running.  Why running is so important in my life because it helps deal with the mental fog that I sometimes get in.  BUT alas, as the weather turns it gets harder to run outside and feel that freedom.  It’s sort of a catch 22 you see because I am tired and exhausted from running and want a break but the longer I take a break the more mentally depressed and unsure of myself I become.  I start to get panic attacks that I am going to lose all my ability to run.  And mentally I start to beat myself up as self-doubt enters the brain.  It’s all so stupid I know.  This Friday I leave for Vegas.  I feel like I should be more excited than I am.  It will be fun and I will have a great time I am sure.  But I also have a panic moment of what if I can’t run 13.1 miles?  I’ve been utterly slacking in my running as of late.  The last time I ran any major distance was on October 25 when I ran my last marathon.  That’s 3 full weeks.  Sure I ran some distances in between.  Like 3 or 4 milers during the week, but nothing more than like 4 miles. And it was hard. But the treadmill is always harder than outside. 

I’m getting into panic mode that what occurred last year is going to repeat itself. History always repeats itself right? After Vegas last year I didn’t run. Like not much at all. And consequently running got VERY hard.  Terrifyingly hard.  I don’t want that to happen again.  Today I went ahead and signed up for 2 half marathons after Vegas. One on November 29 and one on December 13.  Most likely these will be awful weather kind of runs. But it is what it is.  I am not sure if this was a really smart or really stupid idea. Probably a little of both.  Part of me wants to leave Vegas and not run again for months but the other part of me knows that ultimately it would cause me more stress. Even if I grit out shitty times, at least I will be putting the miles in and mostly at this point that is all that matters.

Trutfully I’m more freaked out because I can’t stop eating and I know I’ve gained like 10 pounds post Maui.  I am pretty much not joking.  I not only eat whatever I want, but I eat excessively shitty things.  Like since returning from Maui I have consumed all by myself not a like, 5 or 6 entire tubs of frosting.  Yes, I eat Rainbow Chip frosting by the spoonful right out of the tube.  It’s my favorite frosting ever and they recently brought it back. I am pretty sure that you aren’t supposed to just sit and eat frosting like it’s a candy.  Not to mention the constant Mcdonalds and other treats I somehow find myself justifying.  Bags of Oreos? Yup.  It’s cool. I can eat whatever I want, right?  WRONG.  I know its all wrong.  And all of it is just succeeding in making me feel worse.

This last weekend I did not exercise once. I took off Friday night and then all weekend. I didn’t leave the house but once on Saturday to go to the store to buy crappy ass food to eat. I ate and ate and watched TV and movies for almost 48 hours straight. And slept.  It was the most self-indulgent, inactive weekend I think I’ve had all year.  Not a lie.  And while resting felt good, it also felt horrible.  I can’t shake the you are a failure self-talk.  And the fear. Truthfully it’s the fear that because I have only successfully loaded my body with junk that I am going to be slow as fuck running.  That I won’t be able to endure 13 miles and it will be slow.   And honestly going to Vegas this weekend doesn’t produce high hopes for eating better. It’s Vegas. 

But maybe AFTER Vegas, right?  God I hope. REALLY hope that I can pull my shit together. Its called zero motivation at all. I give zero fucks about anything and it REALLY is showing in my behaviors. And if I’m not carefully it’s really going to start showing on my body very soon. I feel like I can already tell. But that is more so probably my brain beating me up than anything major physically.   But I realistically know if I don’t stop my behaviors it will be real all too soon.  Get thru this week, get thru Vegas and then fresh start? Please please pretty please.

I hate feeling this way. I hate depression and what it does to your mind. I hate that I have to deal with it at all. I hate that I can’t just ride the happy wave of feelings for well forever honestly.  But life doesn’t work that way. Never has.  We all have ups and downs.  I happen to be in the down right now. I will pick myself up and dust myself off and find a way out of this. I know I will.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bad attitude

I have been taking it easy and I do feel better. Unfortunately when you take it easy, it’s hard to find the motivation to return to working out.  It’s ridiculous how quickly you get out of the habit.  I also think it’s partly the change in the weather. It’s cold and yucky outside and its depressing as hell and I just want to go home and eat and rest. 

I have decided that my body is truly just tired.  I am trying to forgive it for kind of falling apart because it took a real beating. I asked it to do like crazy insane things and now I understand its tired. I honestly think it’s going to take a couple weeks for me to return to any amount of normal.  I have been “going” for so long that it just wants to stop.  And hibernate and eat.  I can’t stop eating for the life of me.  Everything and anything.  And my willpower is non-existent.  My desire or motivation is totally lacking. See, we all go thru ups and downs.  I know this is normal.  I know that my generalized exhaustion is not helping.  I don’t feel that well as a whole and therefore it’s hard to exhibit signs of control in other parts of my life.  Makes total sense honestly. 

I think I should just function in survival mode for the next couple weeks.  Just survive.  Especially since Vegas is coming up VERY soon. Like in 2 weeks almost. Shit. How the hell did that happen? I honestly don’t even want to go.  I’m that tired and exhausted.  I pushed myself too hard honestly.  But I can’t back out now because Amanda and her boyfriend Rick are going.  And it will be fun.  I just wish I felt a little better as a whole.

On another note, my mom and two sisters joined weight watchers on Monday night.  This should help make my life a little easier as a whole.  I am hoping at some point here soon everything just clicks and it will help provide me with an extra little bit of motivation myself.  I refuse to get on a scale because I know things are spiraling out of control.  But honestly, I need to knock it off.  I truly need to get my act in gear soon before things get VERY scary. I just honestly feel so drained all the time it’s hard to care about much.  Tis the season I suppose.

I feel like I need about a week off to just sleep my life away.  But I suspect most people feel that way.  I will survive I am sure.  Plus let’s not forget that typically I always experience an afternoon slump so that’s part of it I am sure.  I just need more sleep as a whole.  And probably an attitude adjustment to boot.

I wish I had happier things to say today or anything really more positive than all of this, but generally speaking this is where I am at right now, and I can’t hide forever. I also want to be accountable to myself.  This is the downward spiral part where things fall apart or I figure my shit out.  I’m going to be okay. It’s all going to be okay. Somehow what is meant to be will find its way.

Monday, October 26, 2015

1 more to insantiy

I am exhausted. I am both physically and mentally spent.  I suspect this might be right on schedule for this time of year. After enduring a very run heavy summer culminating in pushing thru October I am just drained. I do believe this happened to me last year.  This is arriving right on schedule.  This weekend a year ago I ran a Halloween half marathon.  Then for the next couple weeks I barely ran and then went to Las Vegas in November and ran my final half of the year.  After that, I was just pooped and basically quit running all together for months.  This resulted in the idea that I didn’t think I wanted to run anymore.  And it also resulted in January not being able to run 3 miles without major effort.  I don’t want that to happen again.  I can’t allow that to happen again.   But right now I’m TIRED.

Last week I knew I was slipping. I knew things were falling apart.  Physically I felt horrible. By Wednesday I was sick.  I felt exhausted and drained and got hot and cold chills. I went home sick.  In the 7 years I’ve worked at my current job I have only called in sick 1 time.  Wednesday I went home sick so you must know that it was real.  For the life of me I could not make myself do anything basically Tuesday thru Friday. I had mentally just checked the fuck out.  I know that sounds harsh but it’s true. My physical tired/sore made my mental state horrific.  I was all over the place.  I had signed up for one last full marathon yesterday. It was in Tri-Citites Washington.  It is about a 4-5 hour drive from our house. I honestly debated not even going.  Chris didn’t really want to go honestly. But we decided that we should just power thru and do it.

I worked out last Monday night and went to the gym Tuesday but didn’t do much of anything.  I did not work out Wednesday thru yesterday. I have never taken that long of a break. I was uncertain how that would affect my full marathon yesterday.  Oh let’s not forget that I have been eating like shit too.  This goes hand in hand with exhaustion and fatigue.  Tired, beyond tired.  I knew it was going to be rough. I knew running a full marathon with little training was a stupid idea.  It pretty much was.

I have always said pretty instantly in a run I can tell how it’s going to go.  I just have a feeling.  I knew less than 2 miles into the run that it was going to be hard. That is was going to require everything I had just to finish.  At mile 2 I had to use the bathroom. I knew this was a 26 mile run so if I already had to use the bathroom that I needed to just stop and take care of it.  I ran off course to a bathroom in a park. It was locked.  I was pissed.  Not only did I run off course and screw my time and my distance but I didn’t get to pee.  I kept running.  It was getting worse.  Finally at mile 4.5 exactly another bathroom presented itself, this time it was open. I went for it.  This added minutes to my time as I dead stopped to take care of business.  At this moment I didn’t even care about going fast. I knew it would be all about just surviving and the time was not going to be great.  My legs didn’t have that extra spring in them.  So I did my business and got back on course.

In case anyone is wondering, 26.2 miles is a LONG way.  At around mile 8 I kind of wanted to be done.  I wasn’t running particularly fast. I wasn’t trying but that’s also because I knew it was a long race and I had to preserve my energies.  I am not joking for mile after mile I kept repeating in my head, this is brutal, this is all about finishing.  Just finish today.  I never found any sort of groove.  Almost every step was a struggle but I did push on. When I finally cleared the half way mark I was in a park and kind of ending up taking a wrong turn, adding a little more distance yet again to my Garmin.  Because 26.2 miles just isn’t far enough let’s keep adding on distance.

This was a small race.  So there were points in time where I was pretty much alone on course and somehow I end up taking wrong turns.  Lucky me. It wasn’t too bad.  It was beautiful scenery mostly so it wasn’t a bad course.  I just didn’t have my heart in it.  Once I got to about mile 16 my body was TIRED.  I knew I had 10 miles to go and then I knew that was another hour and 45 minutes of running and I wanted to cry. I didn’t want to go another step.  This race was most difficult for me in the 16-19 mile range.  Somewhere around mile 17 or 18, I honestly don’t even remember I came across Chris who was suffering the same fate as me.  Ill-prepared, lack of good sleep, lack of training and being spent.  I stopped and walked with him for a bit.  My body was aching. Physically my legs and hips and feet were aching.  And I had a long way to go.  We walked about ¾ of a mile or so and then I decided that I needed to try and jog on. Because at mile 18, I still had 8 miles to go and as much as I might want to, I could not walk 8 miles.  So I started running again.  Slowly.  About 11 minute mile pace.

Knowing I had 8 miles left was daunting.  I had serious moments of not wanting to go another step. It was miserable honestly.  That is what being ill prepared does to you.  Somehow though once I hit about mile 20, at my current 11 minute mile pace things felt better. It was like once I was in the 20’s it was less daunting.  Somehow being at mile 17 or 18 is hell, but once you are in the 20’s it feels much more bearable.  I was pretty much alone on course, which was a weird experience. Just me and my headphones trying to make it thru  the grueling final miles.  Each mile passing was a blessing.  I was still keeping a pretty consistent 11 minute mile pace and despite all the burning pain, I kept going.  I kept telling myself to push on. Each step was one step closer to the important finish line.

I also knew at this point that I was over on distance and my time was all about just finishing.  Gone were illusions of even touching my Portland Marathon time.  But honestly those illusions were gone after 2 miles.  I knew it was going to be a rough brutal kind of run.  Honestly even a half would have been hard yesterday yet alone a full marathon.  Somehow I dug deep and the last couple miles I managed thru.  I honestly think I handled the last 6 miles better than I handled miles 14-20.  Go figure.  I crossed the finish line at 4:50:44  I also crossed the finish line with my  Garmin reading 26.65 miles.  Could be better, could be worse.  Considering how out of sync I felt pretty much the entire run. The bathroom stops. The waking of mile 18, etc., 4:50 is acceptable. 

This was a humbling experience.  26 plus miles is a LONG way.  My legs ached. Badly. They still ache today.  I learned that I can’t take anything for granted.  You should never take running a marathon lightly. I was not prepared physically or mentally for it.  I was exhausted before I started. I had been sick the week before and mentally I had checked out some time ago.  Thus, just finishing is a victory. I pretty much ran everything other than that Mile 18.  I will take it.  I hurt pretty good towards the end and crossing the finish line was a huge relief.  Despite everything being stacked against me, I finished.

And now today I am pooped. So beyond drained that I just want to close my eyes and sleep. After we finished the marathon I had to drive 4 ½ hours home too.  We didn’t get home until fairly late last night and sleep is a precious commodity these days. I need more relaxation. I realize now my body definitely needs some time to recover.  I have put it thru an epic amount of shit and it’s time to be more kind.  In the last 5 weeks I ran 3 full marathons and the fastest half marathon I’ve ever ran.  In exactly 5 weeks’ time I asked my body to perform a lot. And now its exhausted as a result.  I do understand. I do get it.  It’s tired.  It needs a break. It’s not recovering well because I keep asking it to do crazy things. 

This is going to be an ease back into it week.  I say ease back into it because I need to also ease back into healthy eating.  I seriously have been horrible for 5 solid weeks pretty much. This week is getting the food back under control and being kind to my body physically.  This weekend I only have a fun 5k planned.  I am sure I am just walking it with my family so it’s not even as if I will run it.  In fact my next race isn’t until November 14 in Las Vegas so I do think I am going to allow my body some time to try and repair itself.  I have truly asked it to do so much in such a short timeframe.

I am pretty sure most things I read online told me that running a marathon is had on your body and you need all this recovery time, etc. And somehow I thought it would be okay to run 3 marathons in 5 weeks.  For the most part I did it.  But yesterday I knew was rough.  Yesterday I knew my body was at its limit.  I’m overall grumpy and irritable and lack any motivation.  It’s time to rest and recover and give myself a break.

A month and a half ago I hadn’t run a marathon now I have done 3.  That’s kind of a lot really.  I will try and not take for granted again how difficult 26 miles is on your body.  It’s hard. Plus honestly for the past couple weeks I truly have been so mentally off and I am thinking it’s a lot to do with pure exhaustion.  So I do think I am NOT going to the gym tonight. I am going to let my body rest one more day post running my 3rd marathon.  Instead today I am just going to try and not binge on food.  That’s really the plan for today.  One day at a time.

There’s a saying that’s something like, you’ll never know your limits unless you push yourself to them.  I discovered my limit this weekend.  I pushed and pushed and pushed until I hit the limit.  That’s it. I’m calling it. No more full marathons for a while. Next spring.  Oh, I will run another one, don’t get me wrong.  I will probably run a few more for sure next year.  But not for a while, and not without training for them.

My legs hurt.  Just a dull tired ache.  And mostly I just need to sleep.  For like a week straight right? Ah ha.  I honestly never claimed to be the most rational or sane person around. 3 marathons, 1 half, 5 weeks. Sure. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Thirteen Point One

I’ve generally been a little all over the place lately. I have been finding it hard to find any amount of balance or consistency in my life or schedule.  I am definitely feeling the effects of not having a concrete goal or plan. Meaning I generally find it harder to say no or resist food temptations.  It’s like, eh, who cares right?  And I guess that’s okay on some level. On some level it’s not that good either.  I’m giving myself this week and then the following week of recovery and then I need to be good.  I’ll explain that later.  But first, let me talk about something else.  This last weekend in particular.  Because I ran my first half marathon in a month and my first post running 2 marathons and I was kind of curious to see what I could do with it.

Meaning, my previous PR was set on August 15 basically before I had ran any distance past 13.1 miles.  It was 2:03:49.  This was a solid time for me.  Pretty much in the couple months of marathon training I kept improving my half time every run fairly consistently.  Let me put it this way.  My PR for all of 2014 and withstanding until July 11 of 2015 was 2:09:39 This may not seem like a big difference but 6 minutes in the world of running 13 miles is just shy of 30 seconds a mile. That is actually quite a lot.  It is for this reason that I wasn’t sure how much more I had in me.  It has always been in the back of my mind that someday it would be cool to run a sub 2 hour half marathon. This is kind of like a cool runners mark. But honestly after having run so many I kind of thought it was most likely impossible for me.  I’m not a “fast” runner.  Just consistent.  To go from a PR of 2:03:49 to sub 2 hours would require almost 20 seconds a mile faster.  Seems damned near impossible honestly. 

In the world of running all the conditions have to line up just perfectly to achieve PR’s.  Meaning, you have to “feel” it. Your body just has to feel right and of course the weather and course conditions have to be ideal. Meaning no huge hilly sections, and the weather has to cooperate.  Basically its asking a lot to line up all at once. But the weather was almost perfect for running on Saturday. A little cold and a smidge with the rain.  Just sprinkles.  But I also knew that would be perfect for actually running.  And the course, as I recalled from running it the previous year was pretty good.  A few rolling hills but nothing at all major.  I simply decided to throw all racing rules and knowledge out the window and fuck it, run as fast and hard as I could for as long as I could.  This is not a good race strategy by any means and one that would kill you in a full marathon. That’s all about pace. 

I started running and I knew I was running faster than I could reasonably keep up for any duration of time.  I knew I was pushing myself.  I knew eventually I would have to slow down.  My first mile was an 8:40.  I never run that fast.  Second mile was 8:53. Mile 3 was 9:02.  Yes slowing a bit for sure.  But all still beyond what I normally run. I knew that this was going to eventually bite me in the ass. I could not keep this pace.  I knew this because my breath felt strained already. I felt like my heart might explode. But I said, no, keep giving it everything you have and if you peeter out in the end, oh well.  Let’s just see what we got in us.

Mile 4 I slowed. 9:12. Mile 5 was 9:16.  And then for some reason I got a spurt and Mile 6 was 8:59.  I really wanted to hit that 6.55 mark, the halfway point at a fast speed. I remember looking down at my watch when it hit 6.55 and noting I was at 59 minutes and a few seconds.  If I could keep up this pace I could be under 2 hours.  But I knew that I was asking a lot of my body. I was already exhausted and wanted to quit.  I honestly didn’t think anything around 2 hours was likely at that point.  I knew my pace was slowing.  I knew it had to be around a 9:10 pace to hit 2 hours.  I stopped at every single water station and drank.  It was only seconds I am sure but I knew those seconds would add up.  But I needed the water with running faster than I normally do.

Mile 7 was harder, 9:27 (water break) Mile 8 was 9:13, Mile 9 another water break and 9:28, Mile 10 was 9:13 again. But I knew after mile 10 that it was getting so hard and I wanted to quit so bad. I kept having an internal conversation with myself.  What does quitting mean anyway Emily?  You are going to walk now?  After a couple seconds you will want to run again and you will just be mad at yourself for walking so don’t do it.  Just keep going. It’s all in your mind anyway.  Be stronger than the pain.  Mile 11 was 9:22.  I knew I was in striking distance but I was also realistic. My body was so tired. Pure exhaustion and I gave myself permission to just run as best as I could knowing that as my overall pace clicked past the 9:10 mark that I was not going to hit a sub 2 hour half but that I would be dang close.  Mile 12 was my worst mile both mentally and time wise, it was a 9:41.  After I saw the mile 12 marker pass I was able to mentally tell myself it was now only 1.1 miles and holy hell to run with all my heart.  Mile 13 was 9:16. And then I saw the finish stretch and looked at my time and the seconds were ticking by and I looked up at how far I had to run and knew I wasn’t going to hit it. I ran as fast as my body would allow but I was seconds off.

I crossed the finish line at 2:00:31 seconds.  31 seconds shy of my 2 hour mark. 32 seconds shy of a sub 2 hour.  I initially was beating myself up a little bit. It sucks to be so close to a personal record and come up short.  But on the plus side, I am “that” close to it.  This was a great PR.  I never imagined I was this close to running that fast.  This means I literally ran at steps shy of a 6.55 mile per hour pace for 2 freaking hours.  That’s a big deal for me.  That means I know I have a sub 2 hour someone inside of me. I am this close to it. I can’t be upset about any of it.  Here’ the other tidbit. My Garmin tracks moving time and elapsed time. Meaning it registers the moments where I stopped at water stations. It knows how many seconds I did not move.  My elapsed time on my Garmin was 2:00:35 (couple seconds difference for stopping/starting) whereas my moving time was 1:59:41  Essentially combined at all water stations I stopped moving for 54 seconds. That sounds about right.  If I could figure out a way to cut out some water station time I would have been there.  Oh well, right?

All of this means I am just that close to it.  That close to something I honestly didn’t actually believe was possible.  Of course like I said all the factors totally lined up perfectly for this one.  The next one they might not.  The next one I might feel like crap. The next one is most likely going to be cold and rainy given the fact that it’s now late October in Oregon.  But now I know what I am actually capable of. I just have to keep pushing myself.  I really did push beyond anything I ever have before. So I just have to be proud because truthfully maybe this is going to be my PR for a while.  Conditions could not line up again for a while. Until next year maybe so I need to be proud that it was pretty much a 2 hour half.

We will see where everything goes from here. I have another plan for this weekend I want to share but for now, this is where I am at.