Not gonna lie, this week was a rough one. I had a couple of technical issues during more than one run, my sister was still in town and so my mind was elsewhere, and not to mention the craziness that is my life at present with work and school. Regardless, both Patrick and I made it through alive and well. As I told my dad yesterday after Saturday's eight miler, I am standing and walking, so I think I'm going to make it!
A word about boredom:
I mentioned at the introduction to this series on half-marathon training the fact that I tend to get bored with running. This was real on Saturday. Really real. I was bored to the point of researching running boredom when I got home. This might come as no surprise to you, but other people are bored while running and although several people have written articles on how to combat this, none of them included many tactics I hadn't already tried. The one I found interesting (and P found hilarious... and I think ridiculous, based on his scoff/laugh/exclamation: "who would do that?!!), was step counting. They posed the idea of marking cadence (stride rate) while running by counting footfalls on one foot for one minute. For example, if the left foot strikes the ground 100 times in a minute your cadence is 200 strides per minute (duh). It sounds tedious and kinda pointless, I know but if it distracts my mind from the constant pondering, "Am I done yet?" I'm willing to give it a shot.
As a bonus to this idea, counting can be very therapeutic. It is often used in counseling with trauma sufferers, a topic which I know very little about so I won't go into extensive detail, but my understanding is the therapist counts from one to 100 while the trauma survivor takes themselves back through a past traumatic episode. The idea is the trauma will eventually be paired with the grounded, non-threatening, and possibly relaxing rhythm of the therapist's voice, making it more manageable for the client than the original experience.
While I may not be using the counting to desensitize my memory of a traumatic event, I will be using it to ground my body to the earth, focus my attention on something other than the run, and relax my mind. I plan to give it a try on today's run, so expect an update next week.
As I mentioned, this week was a bit difficult and distracted running aside, but something I am learning is life is not easily compartmentalized and therefore, the chaos managed to seep into my training. Therefore, the six mile run on Tuesday was exhausting and long and the other runs were only okay. I'm not sure why or how, but I was able to center myself enough to pull off a 8 mile run on Saturday which ended with a bang of a final mile (and Chipotle... how's that for motivation?) Patrick will tell you how important those week ending runs really are in terms of motivating the next week of training. We have been lucky enough to end each week positively so far, so hopefully the momentum continues. I will be in Denver next weekend and I am looking forward to our first side-by-side runs of the training program, but really I am most stoked to stand next to one of my very best friends, as she marries the man that makes her heart sing. Yay for love and yay for COLORADO!
As I look back on the fifth week of training, I can't help but feel successful. Saturday's run especially, was great. The runs throughout the workweek have become somewhat routine and less than exciting, at this point. However, I did have a scare when I twisted my knee on Tuesday (though that incident turned out to be nothing more than an overreaction on my part). I do know the shorter runs are extremely important because of the baseline they are creating. Personally, I enjoy the long Saturday runs the most. Admittedly, I had some anxiety leading up to the eight mile run this week. I was struggling to envision myself completing that many miles. Even in the few seconds before the run, Shay and I were talking on the phone trying to get amped. She could probably paint a picture of my less than excited tone. I definitely did not feel, "in the zone" and the feeling continued through the first mile. By the second and third miles however, I settled into a comfortable pace and realized it wasn't so bad. I got a boost of confidence at mile four and began to grasp the reality that I was going to be able to finish. The second half of the run was truly enjoyable. The ever elusive "runners high" I crave, crept upon me and miles five and six were my best overall in terms of time and speed. I was able to get into my music, and may have even busted out a couple dance moves (when nobody was looking). My apologies to the lady biker who passed me as I belted out some J. Cole expletives. When I finished I immediately sent a text to Shay telling her how great I felt, and her response made it that much better... She had finished as well and she too, was feeling awesome. So we've done over half the total mileage of our end goal, which is a huge confidence boost for me heading into next week!
ps look how well matched we were on Saturday, my run on the left and P's on the right: