Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Struggle...

I will completely admit that I'm struggling right now with...well, life I suppose! Training is hard, eating is hard, sleeping is hard, work is hard. It just all feels like so much. And because of that I can definitely say that the doubts are wiggling their way in to my head. The doubts in my head opponent is most definitely the toughest opponent of all!

So I had a little local 5k race on the schedule this past Saturday. I didn't really set any goals for it as I knew that I also had 12 miles on the docket and I wasn't sure how all of that was going to work. But in the back of my mind I knew that it would have been so freaking fantastic if I could pull off a 5k PR. You see, at the beginning of this year one of my goals was to set a PR in all the major race distances of 5k, 10k, Half-Marathon, and Marathon (since it is my first it will be an automatic PR...HUZZAH!). The plan in my head was to get up at my normal weekend time of 5:00 AM and have a quick bite to eat before jumping on the treadmill and grinding out at least a couple miles before I had to leave for the race at about 6:15. Then check in at the race at 6:30 and do a couple miles there before the race started at 7:30. Bang out a 5k (with a PR) and then throw in a few more miles to finish off the 12. That doesn't sound so unreasonable, right?

Well, nothing - absolutely nothing - went as planned outside of getting up and getting a bite to eat. But life conspired against me and before I knew it the time was gone and I hadn't even done a warm-up walk on the treadmill. I got to the race and checked in no problem but got caught spending a few minutes socializing with the team from work that was running the race together. I did get in a small warm-up jog of about 1.3 miles but my body was just super tight. My calves were on fire and just refused to loosen. I took a couple stretch breaks to try to loosen my tight legs up to no avail. But I still felt like there was a chance of putting in a good effort on the actual race.

The small group gathered at the start line and someone said something but had no bullhorn so there was absolutely no hearing a single thing...and then the horn blared and we were all off. (Side note: This was a 5k and Half Marathon in Menifee, CA that benefits Central County United Way. It is a super small race - so small they could have the 5k and Half all begin at the same time without any issues whatsoever. My boss in on the Board, so we pulled together a small team of about 5 employees to participate in the 5k. Since I knew I had 12 on the plan, I did consider running the half, but it was $90 (!!!) and I wasn't going to pay that to run in Menifee...not scenic at all, mostly along city streets, so small the course support was minimal, and there were no cheering sections...in my opinion, that price point is WAY too high and they would do a lot for themselves if they lowered it to about $50 until they grow it a little bit.)

I headed out at what should have been a manageable pace but my body just wasn't cooperating in the slightest. I ended up walking a lot of it and by the end of the first mile I knew that it just wasn't my day for anything better than that. BUT all I could think about during my walk of shame was the fact that in three weeks I have that hilly 10k in the mountains that I really, really, really want to nail. That, outside of the marathon, is really my big goal race for this year. And if I couldn't even shake it out on a stupid little 5k on fairly flat ground and not at altitude then how was I going to be able to nail a 10k at altitude with a HUGE hill for about 1.5 miles of the race???

I won't lie...it has shaken my confidence a LOT. I was able to do a light jog several times throughout, but remained tight the entire time. I did help one of my co-workers who was also struggling though...we took it nice and easy and then we pushed through at a sprint to the finish line. My final time was 39:59. To put it into perspective my previous 5k PR is 34:22 at the Hometown Heroes Race last October.

I am happy I supported my boss and spent some time with my co-workers (my Mom & Sister were also there) but I was pretty frustrated with my body at that point. I still had almost 8 miles to run so instead of doing those, I went home. I said in my head that I would do them the next day, but I didn't. I got home and napped for about 1.5 hours!! I was shocked that I fell asleep on the couch and especially shocked that I slept for that long. Typically a nap might be 20-45 minutes. This was double. I must have been exhausted...

And it certainly didn't help that when I got home and stepped on the scale I was up 2.6 pounds. UGH.

So now instead of feeling accomplished I felt fat, lazy, slow, and sore. Not so conducive to the confidence needed for a marathon, eh?

My runs on Monday and Tuesday of this week have been decent...not great, but not bad either. I continue to be super tight in my calves so I am sticking them every night and doing some self-massage throughout the day. I'm going to do yoga tomorrow instead of strength training. The most important things for me right now are:

1. Get my muscles and body looser
2. Get my confidence back up through solid training runs
3. Make better food choices

It's not going to be easy to fight that opponent in my head, but I'm determined to knock that mother trucker out...even if it is only for a moment and he's able to pick himself back up before the 10-count is up. I'll keep coming out swinging...

How do you combat the opponent in your head?


  1. I use a run mantra. "Fast or slow, just go." Sometimes, I say it so loud in my head to drown out all the other garbage! Keep on keeping on!

    1. You're right...maybe one of the things that I was missing on Saturday was a mantra to get me through! Sometimes I have them readily available...but it just didn't happen this past weekend. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Aww boy do I understand that wrestling match that was going on in your head! If it's any consolation, I've read blogs of people who have enviable running paces and lean, muscular physique go through the same exact struggle. I think anyone who is passionate and takes pride in what they do will struggle when they know what they are capable of. The good news is, Kristen, you still have three weeks of training and you've run 13.1 miles before, so you know the 10K is completely attainable. Consider your 5K as a mental training to prepare you for the mother-of-all-runs - the marathon.

    1. And that's why I love ya, Luisa!!! Thank you for giving me some perspective!! Your words are appreciated more than you know... :-) <3