Monday, September 30, 2013

RAG Training Month 2: September



What’s a Labor Day without laboring? Well, this Labor Day, I was invited to another 8 hour run, this time at Lake Heath Park. I didn’t get the memo that everyone was doing the smaller loop, so I wound up doing less laps, but more mileage per lap. The day started at 6 am and was humid and hot for most of the day. My goal was to do my weekend mileage of 19 total miles (9 for Saturday, plus 10 for Sunday) in one sitting. 

Somewhere around 10 check marks in I met my quota and decided I would just go for any extracurricular miles I could get in. So I continued to proceed with my plan as though I were doing RAG of run a set period, take a short break, repeat so many times to a longer break. I think it worked out to two rounds of doing this and then starting a third round. I wound up doing something like 24.7 miles. It was a really great day. I stopped when it hit 2:00pm even though our original cut off time was scheduled for closer to 2:15 because I knew at that point I wouldn’t be able to make it another lap before the cutoff.  At the end of the run, I felt completely unphased other than my usual chaffing. I went home, took a shower, and did some housework.
The best part of that run was that it was very much my run. I owned it! I ran by myself (seeing the faster folks loop past me on a few occasions.) I ran for the whole 8 hours with ABSOLUTELY NO MUSIC. Now, if you know me, you know I love to run with music. Mostly because it makes me happy and blocks out the sound of me breathing, and of course, because I get bored and it keeps me amused. I often use music as a judge of time like how many songs pass and distance and what not. Well, not on this run. It was 8 hours of random thoughts, cicadas, occasional car sounds, kids playing at the park, music from someone having a BBQ in their backyard, Charlie laughing while playing with Kena’s son, George, but not my typical running mix of carefully selected songs to run to. I was completely OK with this, too. 

I decided to swap my weekday runs to one night and consolidate all miles. Instead of two 3 mile runs, I did 6 miles in one night. I ran with the Couch to 5K group for a bit. I also tried out some Newton’s at Big Dog. They were horrible. I’m not sure why I tried them on other than everyone loves them and I wanted so much to love them too, but they were beyond wrong for my flat feet. I only did maybe 1.75 miles in them with the C25K group and constantly focused on all the horrible things about me as a runner like my flat feet, how I’m slow, I need to lose weight, and it made that run even more miserable. I totally lost focus of things and in turn made my run miserable. After I got back to Big Dog, I ditched the Newtons for my Sauconys and went back out for a few more miles. I only added an extra 3.25 bringing me up to 5 miles. I ran into Brooke, who was out training for the Soldier half marathon, and trailed Jennifer back in on her way to pick up Cupcake so she could do a little running. I followed my run up with a Planet Pop and went home to do one more mile with my boys.

I’ve been enjoying running with Charlie as he is excellent at setting my pace. He lacks endurance to do anything over 1.5 mile now, but for the little distance he can put in, he is great! We did a family loop around my 1.2 mile loop and that squared away my night.

The rest of the week was pretty bad for me. I was supposed to do 35 miles over the weekend and wound up doing nothing. Friday I found myself leaving work early due to ovarian cysts popping. That was miserable. The pain didn’t stop then. It lasted well into Saturday and then on Sunday, my only day to play catch up, I got hit hard out of the blue with a sinus cold. Instead, I spent the day sleeping, or rather knocked out, from whatever was attacking my body. At that point, I decided maybe it’s best to re-assess my training plan (yet again!) to consider an “off” week where there is no running at all for the case of simply allowing my body some time to rest and recover. This would most likely be the week after my longest long run. 

The next run of the week was a week night run with Jesse. It was brief and not even really equitable to a run rather a “break in new shoes” jaunt. Jesse was tired, I forgot how annoying it is to break in new shoes, and we just ran by a house my mom and dad are thinking about buying so I could show Jesse the neighborhood and the house. He liked it and thought it would be cool if they could move out here. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.

Two days later, we went out for another run. We only did a short distance, maybe 3 miles. He didn’t like the run and thought it was not a safe area and insisted he did not want me to run that area again due to the high volume traffic and lack of shoulder. I assured him it was fine and that I had taken safety measures necessary to be highly visible and safe by running on the grass on the side that was somewhat shoulder like if necessary. He still did not approve of this. I told him he needed to get used to that idea because during Run Across Georgia, I would be running on highways. 

Later that night, he told me he did not want me to do the race at all. He said he had been thinking about it for the past two weeks and decided that he wanted to put the nix on it officially. He didn’t want to crush my dreams, but he said he couldn’t do things at home on his own. It was too hard. I told him it wasn’t any easier when he was working and I had to take care of the whole house by myself but without a washer/dryer in the house or a car and had to commute via pushing a stroller hauling laundry to the Laundromat, or groceries home attached to the stroller. He said my argument was not a fair one in the sense that it was not right of me to say because I endured a certain amount of responsibilities at home it was now his turn. That it doesn’t work that way. The argument was left as is and it was determined I could not participate in RAG next year at the end of the discussion.

A few days later, I wanted to go for a run. While I was not allowed to do RAG, I was allowed to still do short runs, occasional long runs, and finish any races I had previously committed to. (As a measure of peace keeping, I downgraded my registration for the Miles for Maria race in Kennesaw the week after the Savannah Marathon from the 12 hour race to the 6 hour race, greatly in part to the fact it is on Jesse’s birthday and I know he was not happy about that one at all.) 

I talked Jesse into going out with me on either a longer run or a more substantial run. I suggested we do a sunset trail run and he was open to that. It was his first time doing trails and I think he was kind of excited about it. We went to Flatrock and only did 3 miles, but he had a fun time and said he would be down for doing trails again. 

Naturally, since our post-no-RAG talk, I had been re-analyzing the training plan. I realized most of my training would be taking me through the fall for the races I’m doing now, so RAG would just be an extra 5 months. As much as I dislike the idea, I came up with a condensed training plan that fit into a 5 month period and still follows the Galloway method but also incorporates some other concepts from further readings including off days and active recovery. It also found my B2B runs not going from a full day of running two days in a row but rather a full day on one day and half the distance the second day, which was more an issue of recovery. I figure it’ll work or it won’t. It seems like at this point it is largely mental and you either have the physical ability and the mental power to do it or you don’t. So, my mind is in the right place, but we’ll see where my strengths lie. 

I pitched the idea to Jesse that I’m already running so much for my current races. Maybe in a few months we could talk RAG training again. After all, if two months in he says it’s too much and he can’t hang, the rebuttal would be that we’re halfway done. He agreed that isn’t that big of a deal and said that while he is not going to agree to anything now, he will be open to discuss this again come January. In the mean time, I am not prohibited from running anymore (as I thought originally), just limited on my frequency and durations. Occasional long runs are OK, but not all the time or back to back. Although I think we need to redefine “long run” for argumentative sake. Long run to me is anything over 20 miles…

In other news, Charlie has been joining me on neighborhood runs as he is signed up to do the Kid’s Soldier Marathon again this year. He did it last year and really enjoyed getting his medal so we thought we’d let him do it again. I ordered him some kiddie Saucony Kinvaras because his old running shoes from last year are getting too small. Anyway, my two favorite training buddies run with me on Wednesday nights. We just do short distances for recovery mostly. All three of us did the 1.25 mile loop. Then, while Jesse got Charlie set up in the shower, I did another loop and came back and Jesse went out and did his. We’ve been doing this family loop thing a few times so it’s kind of becoming a thing in our house. Everyone seems to like it a lot and we’re thinking of making it a regular thing.

I started to taper for a bit in preparation for The North Face Endurance Challenge. Crystal talked me into doing a trail 50K with her. I love to run trails, but I also don’t really enjoy being on them for that long. But I know it was on her bucket list to do it and I felt like I had to be supportive. I didn’t doubt my abilities as I had done several runs where I was on my feet for a long period of time. Anyway, long story short, I did not make the cut off time of 10 hours and it actually took me 11.5 to finish it. But, I did finish. And that was my goal. The details of that race are in a blog of itsown because it was pretty extensive in itself! 

The day after, I went with Jesse when he did the 5K. He did great and came in 6th for his age group and had a blast. He was a little achy after and didn’t want to do much because he was booking it on the trails. Charlie wanted to go run a mile around the neighborhood, so I hobbled out with him to help him train for the Kid’s Soldier Marathon. I wish he would have just ran his mile at the Kids K at North Face because then I wouldn’t have to run with him and he would have got a medal! Oh well. 

Anyway, this month wrapped up with 76 miles even though I didn’t really even try. It just happened. October will be a month of continuing marathon training and hoping Jesse considers letting me do RAG again in the spring. In the meantime, I’ll keep doing my thing and keep on running.

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