Monday, May 26, 2014

What's Done is Done

The taper -- the time when you back off from running, and then have to deal with the emotional overload that comes from not running. Well, alright, maybe you don't have to, but I feel better when I do. And right now, my way of dealing is by putting it out there for everyone to read.

With five days to go, I'm equal parts calm and terrified. Okay, maybe equal is a lie. But I'm feeling calm and terrified. And a bit excited too. But because calm isn't as exciting to discuss or read about, I'm going to discuss the fear factor.

I haven't talked much about goals because my one big time goal for the marathon is to break 3 hours. Perhaps I've said it before, but I'll say it again anyway. The thought of running a 2:xx marathon scares me shitless. I'm trying to stay calm, because I know that if I get worked up, I'll use that energy to fly through the first half, only to die in the second half. So we'll see how that plays out on Saturday morning.

Taper mode seems to turn me into a huge worrywart. Every little niggle (Aussie slang for minor ache/pain) makes me worried that it's going to turn into something major on Race Day. Which then makes me worried that my sub-3 is out of reach. But all I can do is rehab and foam rolling. You know, all of that ancillary stuff.

I also dealt with iron deficiency this training cycle (and no, I still don't have any idea what's causing the deficiency), and I know that it affected a good chunk of my runs during the second half of this training cycle. How? Paces that used to feel easy suddenly started feeling challenging. And I'd be lying if I said that didn't make me doubt whether I can achieve my goal.

I haven't done as much core and strength work as I probably should have over this training cycle. And that makes me worried that I've kissed that sub-3 goodbye. But I had my first 200-mile month during this cycle, and I lived to talk about it. And that counts for something, right?

As I type all of this, I'm telling myself that worrying about the 15,000 things that could potentially go wrong is like a rocking chair -- it'll help me bide my time, but it won't get me anywhere.


That I need to crush self-doubt. That I'm greater than the injuries that have plagued me. That I've put the miles in, have done the speed work, and what's done is done. And most importantly, that I have an incredible network of friends (real-life and social media runners) and family who believe in me, and will be cheering me on from the race course, sidelines, and across the country. And that, my friends, is how I've calmed myself down. Oh, and listening to my pre-run playlist of Kelly Clarkson, David Guetta, and the like.

My project for the next few days is to keep myself calm and relaxed. I have my pre-race massage scheduled for tomorrow (Tues), a haircut scheduled for Wed, a reunion with the lovely and fierce Erin on Fri, and a weekend at the coast with some awesome running friends. Plenty of things to smile about, right?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Analysis Paralysis: 25 Days to Newport

Hola! Happy Seis de Mayo! Or belated Cinco de Mayo. Whatever you want to call it.


Yes, yes, I know, I owe you all an apology for being AWOL the last two weeks. Unlike my last absence, I can't say that I was on any epic adventures. Unless long runs count.

First things first. Let's all take a moment of silence to mourn the lost of my beloved Garmin Forerunner 305. The intermittent issues from a few weeks ago became more frequent, and after rounds of troubleshooting at 6am with Garmin Tech Support (because 6am is the only time I can catch them while they're open), I accepted that I needed to buy a new watch. Fortunately, Garmin has this awesome program where you can send in your old watch for a $99 credit toward a new one. New Garmin at a discounted price? Yes, please! So I ordered the Garmin Forerunner 220. It has yet to arrive, but when it does, I will be writing a review on it. In the meantime, I'll leave you with a photo from their website.
While I've been (im)patiently awaiting its arrival, I've been running my standard routes. Half the time, I haven't bothered to time them. The other half, I use the iPhone stopwatch, and use that as my excuse to run with music. It's been nice to become temporarily unplugged, but the data nerd analyst in me can't wait to get my new watch so I can resume recording my runs and poring over splits, etc.

Speaking of analyzing things, I've been analyzing my performance this training cycle to the point where I'm mentally psyching myself out. It's a problem, people. (The psyching myself out, not the data interpretation.) The last couple weeks, I hadn't felt as springy on some of my workouts. I tried to figure out whether it was due to not sleeping enough, not eating/drinking enough, pushing myself too much on the hard days, or something else. The other day, I had coffee before my run and felt much faster. And then it dawned on me that cutting back on my caffeine could be contributing to this issue. 

Yes people, I tried cutting out coffee to help with the iron issue. The first few days involved agonizing headaches and withdrawal.

Then I did some more research, and found that polyphenol intake shouldn't occur within an hour of consuming an iron-rich meal. I'm taking that to mean that my mid-morning mug of coffee is still within limits, but all the other cups I had been drinking are not.

But back to my analysis issues. We're 25 days out (holy whoa...), and because some of my workouts haven't gone according to plan, I've been doubting wondering if I have a sub-3 hour marathon in me. I know I've put in the miles, but I just haven't felt fresh and my workout times (for recovery and GA runs) seem slower than they were during MCM and Eugene '13 training. I think I just need to "trust the training" and trust the Pfitzinger plan, and also silence the demon between my ears (i.e., my brain). But still, what if? And what if I can't fix my issues in 3.5 weeks?

Alright, I know that this is complete stream-of-consciousness, but that's the story of my life.

How do you silence your demon and stop wondering, "What if?"