Sail on silver girl...Sail on by...Your time has come to shine...All your dreams are on their way...See how they shine

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mental Block

It seems as though I might be suffering from a bad case of mental block with a dose of the training blahs mixed in. I can't really explain it, but I have just felt "off" over the last few weeks. I can't remember the last time I walked away from a workout feeling accomplished or satisfied with the end result. I have been trying to figure out the reason why my training and my attitude have not been up to par lately, and sadly, perhaps, the answer is as simple as I haven't been trying hard enough. For some reason, I just can't seem to find my mojo, my motivation, my drive to run faster, to be faster.
I can't attribute my lack of luster to "burnout" because I haven't trained for a marathon in almost 3 years.
3 years, is that it? I was 3 years younger then. At what point, do you have to factor age into the equation? Was I in my prime 3 years ago (35), and now sadly, I need to accept that maybe these legs can't run as fast as they use to?
And yet, as I write that last statement, I realize that perhaps,I am just suffering from a bad case of mental bashing.
Afterall, today I ran a 1/2 marathon, and was only off my PR from 3 years ago by 25 seconds, and yet, I am so disappointed in myself. Right now mentally I feel like crap. Today, during the 1/2, I physically felt like crap.
I was hoping for a PR this morning, secretly hoping for at least a 1:32. I am not even sure why I thought I could even do this time, I just assumed I should be able to do this time. Afterall, isn't that how it works? You train, You get faster, easy as that.
Yeah, no. I guess it doesn't work that way. I know 25 seconds doesn't seem like alot, but I was disappointed today for many different reasons:
1)Before starting this training cycle, in March, I did a 1/2 marathon, and was very happy and surprised to see I was able to do a 1:34:55.
2) This course was flat, the weather was perfect. The course in March was more difficult, my PR course was MUCH more difficult. (Today, i would have probably done a 1:36 on that course)
3) I felt like crap! Today, I was ready to walk by mile 9 and although I didn't, I definitely gave up. During Miles 9-11 I was running nearly 30 seconds slower then I had hoped, and I didn't care. I couldn't reach deep enough within myself and find the umph to pick it up, to even try to go faster. I didn't even try. I settled in on the pace and I didn't care. Infact, at that point, I thought to myself, "I am not enjoying any of this." I was remembering back to the days when I would look down at my watch and smile. When the mile markers would appear to be so close to one another. Today,I was waiting for each and every one of them to finally reveal themselves to me, cursing to myself.
Do I just not have it in me anymore? or did I just simply forget that racing is really not that much fun while actually doing it. My coach told me that i did not go into it mentally prepared. I did not prepare for the pain/uncomfortableness that comes with it. Perhaps 3 years has erased from my memory how painful/difficult this entire process can be. Maybe it is like giving birth. Women forget just how difficult pregnancy and painful labor can be, and there they are a few years later doing it all over again.
I realize everyone has a bad day. But I feel like it is more then that. I am just not up to par to where I wanted to be and I am disappointed in myself.
The worst part about it is that I was looking towards this race to build my confidence, to help me get mentally ready for marathon day. Instead, it has confirmed what I had feared, I really am just not where I wanted to be at this point. Sub 3:20 is looking more and more difficult, and I know if I keep feeling this way mentally, it will be impossible to do.
Only 2 weeks of real training left, will that do anything for me at this point?
Ok, enough, with this depressing post. Tonight I pout, tomorrow I push forward!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Training Week in Review

I was serious when I stated that I had to get my butt in gear, and get serious about my training. Although I didn't necessarily feel as though I "nailed" my workouts for the week, I am proud to report that I did stick with them even when I over slept on Thursday morning (and had to do my workout @ 8:30 pm after work) and felt like walking at mile 18 on Saturday.
Weekly workout in review:
Mon- off
Tues - 7 x hill repeats with added mileage after every 3 for a total of 9 miles- definitely didn't feel very strong up those hills as I did in previous marathon cycles.
Wed: 6 mile run @ 60 seconds slower then marathon pace (8:33 min/mile)-success!
Thurs: 2 mile warm-up; 4 miles @ 30 seconds faster then marathon pace: ugh, big fail! I should have been doing 7 min/miles instead I did 7:24,7:16,7:27,6:56 (thanks to the downhill) - just couldn't get my mojo flowing after a full day at work - I was tired!
Friday: Rest Day - success!
Saturday: 20 miles - 10 @ 75 min slower then marathon pace, 5 @ marathon pace, 5 faster. Success! Even though I managed to succeed at this workout, I think that it was only possible due to the fact that I did it on a nice flat trail. I don't think I could have done it if I ran in the park with all the hills. I definitely felt spent with 2 miles to go and wasn't sure if I was going to keep up the pace. I just kept thinking that I could either give it one last effort and feel good (mentally) for the rest of the day or give up and be disappointed with myself. I wasn't about to let 18 miles go to waste, so I just hung in there and kept pushing even though I wanted to slow down so badly!! Last 10 miles: 7:25, 7:24, 7:28, 7:28,7:28, 7:16, 7:12, 7:20, 7:18, 7:22.
Sunday: nice and easy 6 mile recovery run and then the gym for abit of stretching, lower body strengthening and some balance training. Success

I finished this week thinking that I am probably not where I need to be to hit my targeted sub-3:20 marathon pace. After Saturday's run, I kept wondering how was I possibly going to hit those times for a full 26 miles when it was difficult enough to do it for 10 miles after going so slow for the first 10. I am trying to remember if this is right about the time that self-doubt starts to come into play during the training cycle, or if I really am so far behind comparatively to last marathon training cycle?
Next Sunday should be the telling factor- I just signed up for a 1/2 marathon for Sunday, so we shall see just where I am at pace wise. Ugh, I am already nervous about it!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

4 weeks of training left-time to get serious!!!

My, where did the time go???? Only 7 weeks left to the MCM!!! Which leaves only 4 weeks of quality training left, ouch!!!
I definitely do not feel as strong as I did at this point last marathon, and I am starting to fear that my goal of a sub 3:20 marathon might just not be in the cards for me this time around.
I have not really felt strong during any of my workouts lately, and unfortunately, I can't contribute that feeling to complications from "overtraining". In fact, I feel as though I may have been slacking abit over the last 3 weeks.
So,I decided on Sunday night that I have 4 weeks to give it one last big effort! I need to be diligent with my workouts over the next four weeks.
Today was my last day of hill training. Again, I felt sluggish pushing up the hill, the same hill that during last marathon training cycle I felt like Queen of the hills on. Although I wanted to throw in the towel and make the excuse that I had to hurry on home so that I wouldn't be late for work, I pushed through and completed my 7 x hills workout.
Tomorrow I MUST incorporate some core and lower body strengthening. I MUST!
4 weeks of hard work, with hopes of a sub 3:20 marathon on 10/31/2010!