July 13, 2015

Half Marathon Training - A Few Setbacks

I have less than 3 weeks until the Minnesota Half Marathon/RBC Race for the Kids and I'm starting to get nervous.

I encountered a few setbacks over the last week with my training.

Setback 1: Canadian Wildfires. 
You heard that right. The wildfires caused some problems here in Minnesota last Monday. The smoke was thick as was the smell - akin something to the tune of burnt plastic. Air quality warnings were up everywhere and those in "sensitive" categories were likely to experience issues. Although not in a "sensitive" category myself, going out to run 5 miles in the smoky haze was probably not the best plan. However, I did it. At about the 3rd mile, my chest had a strange burning sensation so I dialed it back a bit for the last 2 miles. Ha. Take that wildfires.

Setback 2: Blood Donation
For the past 3 years at my job (not counting the year I was pregnant and on maternity leave), I sign up to donate blood at the blood drive here in my office. Seems like a relatively simple thing I can do with my universal blood type to do some good. Save a life. Last Tuesday, I donated my blood. They told me no vigorous exercise for 24-48 hours. Of course I shrugged it off. I didn't run that night, but I did run the next day. Guess what? I should have heeded their advice. Barely two miles into my 5 mile run, I started feeling incredibly ill - dizzy, short of breath, heart racing, nausea. For the first time ever, I thought I might have to call someone to get me home. I took a breather and continued on with walking - I cut my run short at 3.7 miles. In fear of making this situation worse, I took the following night off. Friday night I had plans so no running. Saturday I decided not to run in lieu of my long run planned for Sunday. As I hit up the Google for more information on donating blood while training for a half marathon, I came across a LOT of information. What did I find? That everyone reacts differently when donating blood. Some bounce back immediately where others will encounter decreased performance for weeks. WEEKS??? I'm trying desperately not to let my mind tell me that this is my reason for my performance issues so I'm going to continue to follow my training plan for the next 2.5 weeks and pray that things start to get better.

Setback 3: Mother Nature
I'm not going to get all TMI on you all here, but personal mother nature decided to pay me a visit early. I know women don't like to talk about this business - but aunt flo shuts me down. As an endometriosis sufferer, I endure a lot of pain at her hand and despite all attempts to ignore her, I usually lose that battle. Nonetheless, on the hottest day of the year yesterday, I embarked on my long run with my two teammates starting at the beautiful Hidden Falls Regional Park in St. Paul along the Mississippi River. 12 miles was the goal. At mile 6, I called it and knew there was no way I would be able to make it that far. If I learned anything from Setback 2, it is that you must listen to your body. You must slow down if you don't feel good or something isn't right. I survived 9.1 miles which, you know, hey, it is not a anything to shrug off. Still... I felt like a failure.

I wasn't sure what this structure was at Hidden Falls Regional Park,
but I do know that after running 9.1 miles it was fantastically cold to sit down on. 

Will I ever run another Half after all of this? I want the dorky 13.1 sticker. I want to cross it off my bucket list. I confessed to my teammates that after this year, I will not run another distance greater than a 10k. I want to get back to a place where running is fun. If I'm being honest - this is not fun. I am hurting. I am tired. I feel like I don't have time for anything else. I miss going to Zumba and group fitness classes. Heck, I even miss just getting on an elliptical. All this energy and training focused around JUST this one thing is just sucking all the life out of me and I'm over it.

However... I'm not done after this. While 13.1 will be all but a memory after August 1st I still have 2 major distances to tackle yet this season:

August 28 - 29: Women Rock Starlet Challenge - The great thing about this challenge is that it splits up a bunch of miles into 2 days. Friday night is a 2.5k, Saturday morning is a 10k, a 45 minute break (give or take) followed by the 5k. 4 medals, a necklace and a whole shitload of swag. It's a lot of running in a short time, but I think I've got this one and I'm looking forward to it.

September 12: Mill City Suds Run - Finally a fun run! I'm looking forward to kicking out a 5k, grabbing a quick beer and getting home to celebrate my son's 7th birthday and still be able to walk! Score!

October 4: TC 10 Mile - This is the one race that is a maybe for me - and only because I have entered into a lottery for the chance to run. Two of my teammates and I signed up for the lottery as a team, so we are hoping (well... kind of hoping) that it buys us into the race. Again, kind of a check off on the bucket list to be a part of the TC Marathon Weekend which is a huge deal for runners in my hood. FYI - the lottery for this race closes THIS FRIDAY!!! If you want to do this and need a team to run with - go ahead and choose "Sole Sisters Running Crew" from the team dropdown in your registration and I will welcome you with open arms!

I'm far from giving up on this goal - I will conquer 13.1 miles!


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