July 3, 2012

The wall

On Sunday, as scheduled, I set out for a ten mile run. I was beyond thrilled. I was pumped. I was ready to watch the sun rise as I worked through my first long run along the lakefront path in nearly a year.

Except.

Except that I hit the wall. Of my ten planned miles, I ran two before I found myself overwhelmed and needing to stop. It was both physical and mental, and I found myself walking for a few minutes, then running another half mile, walking, running a half mile, walking, running a quarter mile, and then taking the bus and the subway home. Add in the last stretch from the main road to the apartment, and it was just shy of 3.5 miles.

I was crushed. Disappointed in the run, in myself. I wanted the first time back to be magical, to be everything I'd dreamt about back in California. But I couldn't do it. Not even do half. Not even a quarter before I had to stop.

I know exactly why the run was a flop.
  1. Per usual, my body decided to get me through an incredibly stressful time, and then just as I think I'm in the clear, I get a ridiculous cold. First the sore throat and coughing, then runny nose, and finally a fever and full-body exhaustion. On day two of feeling this lousy, I decided to run ten miles. Not my smartest decision.
  2. It was very hot out - we're in the middle of an intense heat wave right now, and even though the temps are about the same as I was running in back in California, the huge difference is humidity. I could wear light cardigans over my sundresses to work a week ago; today, a tank top and shorts feels excessive.
Related, I didn't properly hydrate during the run - I have never used a water bottle before while running, and without the humidity it wasn't terrible. This run absolutely knocked me out. I was drenched in sweat after the two miles - more than my nine miler last weekend.

I came home, complained to Matt, and then cried in the shower. Even though I knew what I needed to do to make the run better, I was devastated. And even though I went out that afternoon and bought a running water bottle and some Gu/Clif gels, just thinking about reattempting the run tomorrow morning is leaving my stomach in a knot. I'm nervous, and I'm scared. There's always that little what if? in the back of my mind: what if I can't do this run again, tomorrow or ever? What if I can't get my act together, even in Chicago?

Because the thing is ... my first run in California was supposed to be a ten miler.

And I bonked that one, too.

And then I pretty much quit running for two months.

And everything else became a struggle again for the better part of a year.

I can't do that this time. I may have fallen, but I have to get right back on the horse. Post-California move, I was running just to run. This time, I have immediate race goals - the first being a half marathon in less than three weeks.

And even more than the upcoming races, I have my renewed sense of motivation. I couldn't finish my long run, but that doesn't mean I've failed, not even short-term. There are any of a million things that can go wrong during training runs while a race ends up being great; you can have flawless training runs and the race can be a fiasco. I'm going to go back out there tomorrow, more properly armed, and give it everything I have. If I hit the wall again, I will have to reassess some things. But I'm absolutely not going to give up, no matter what.

July 1, 2012

Workouts: June

I am in Chicago! Alive! Safe and sound! And absolutely, incredibly, phenomenally happy.


I teared up a little as the train pulled out of the station in my small California town, and again as the plane took off from San Francisco International Airport. But for the most part, I kept cool and composed ... until we landed at Chicago's Midway Airport, and the flight attendant said "... and if Chicago is your final destination, welcome home."

Cue me, in my seat, losing it.

Full-on ugly cry, and entirely unashamed. I've never heard anyone say that as the plane landed; it felt like a message meant specifically for me.

My first day was very eventful: helped a friend of Matt's move (lifting and lots of trips up to/down from a third floor apartment, good workout!), went to the laundromat, finally was able to get new clothes by going to stores and trying things on (not just ordering stuff online and hoping it fits), rode the el and the bus, and walked all over while running errands.

It's a silly little thing, but when it's very humid out, my hair gets extra curly - a little halo of curls all around my face. I've always hated them - but yesterday, I saw them, and I loved them. California, or at least where I was, was not humid. The curls have been hiding for almost a year. Now they're back, in full-force, and it's just another little comfort I've been appreciating lately.

I usually do my monthly workout roundup post on the first of the month, but alas - my computer is in a box, waiting to be picked up from the post office. From memory, though, I know this was a good month. Not great, but good. And an especially good end to "that one time in my mid 20s when I lived in California." I biked over 60 miles before selling the bike. I walked a TON - not something I log, but I still felt very good about. And I kept up with marathon training, which was one of my goals.

I also left California weighing less than when I arrived, which felt good. The "no binges" and the 101-in-1001 goals sort of fell by the wayside, but I have big things in store for July and forever after. I'm binge-free for nearly two weeks now, which I am exceptionally proud of. I am finally starting to feel wholly healthy again.

July is going to be huge for me. Double digit long runs, a half marathon in a few weeks, and the first 31 days of my hundred day challenge. I have my sights set on doing great things this month!

One challenge for this month is food-related. I've written exhaustively about the difference for me between overeating and binge eating. In addition to no binges, I want to make sure my eating stays healthy and well-balanced. I'm nervous about a few things while living with Matt - the tendency to go out to eat instead of cook, the box of cereal and giant jar of peanut butter, our shared history of overeating. But I'm feeling confident right now: we went shopping yesterday morning and made great choices, reading labels and comparing products as we worked our way through the grocery aisles of Target. He started his own blog, and has a few nutrition-based ideas on his list of goals, so I think using those as mini challenges will help us stay focused and on-plan.

Something else that's a bit of an interesting challenge is with weighing myself. I discarded my scales when I left California, and even though Matt has scales here, I'm trying to break myself of my daily weighing habit. My priority for July is not weight loss, but focusing on keeping up my binge-free streak. When I don't binge, weight loss naturally follows, and I don't want to upset myself or possibly trigger anything by seeing the daily fluctuations on the scale. If I do well, I will get good results. My initial plan is to weigh myself every 10 days, for my hundred day challenge posts. We'll see how that works out.

What about you? How was June for you? What are your goals for July?