Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I Hit My Wall During Training | The Perils of Summer Runs


As runners, we like to think we are super-human or super-heroes. We face a challenge head on and take pride in the conquer of a goal. That goal might be battling the elements, our schedules, the course, the shoes or more.  We have all heard the term "gutting it out".

Last week, I could not gut it out anymore.  I was done.  

I am entering my 15th week of Full Marathon training.  That means, I have been training for my next full since May.  More importantly, I was training during the awful, AWFUL heat of the Las Vegas summer.  Going to bed at 7pm to 3am wake up calls became the normal. 

I accepted that I had to train when the sun went down or before it came up. Anytime the sun would blare down on me, my metabolic rate would turn my heart rate into the Las Vegas speedway.  Way too many times, I tried running in 90F+ weather with blaring sun only to have the road sway and move under my feet.  

I knew the summer would be tough and I new I would have difficulties, but never did I anticipate meltdowns.  There have been so many times, I came walking in the door after a tough run and the marks on my face were tears, not sweat.  The mental games this heat played on me, were no fun.  

I felt like the lone, whimpy runner.  Everyone else is training in the summer, why is it so difficult for me?  I knew my body was getting stronger.  I knew my legs were stronger - even my youngest kiddo said, "mom, you have muscles in your legs I have never seen before!"  

I kept telling myself, that all the work I do in the summer will pay off ::insertrollingeyes::

I hit my wall on Friday.  I went out for a 12 mile run and by mile 5, I couldn't fight my demons any longer.  I quit my run and walked a mile back home.  The last time I gave up a run...I cannot remember.  

I walked back home, feeling defeated.  The heat had finally won.  My legs were beyond exhausted.  I had no energy.  This was not a bad day, this was the breaking point of how I have been feeling for the last month, if not longer.  

I have less than a month until race day, which means I have less than 2 weeks to go until taper.  Time was running out on me. The ever-present support and encourager, my #RunningBro informed me he has had a difficult time this summer.  Yea, sure buddy - you are still cranking out your 20 milers.  Yet, he spoke the truth, if my body cannot do it, I cannot. I know this, as a running coach and a competitive runner, our bodies are not always on the mark.  I spoke with a few other Elite Racers, and they said the same thing.  I needed to take time off. 

I made the choice to take at least 3 days off, maybe 4.  No workouts, no running.  Nothing.  

This morning I had my first run and it felt much better and the temps were pretty darned high (almost 90F, in the darkness).  

With only weeks left of solid training, I know I cannot move a mountain, but I can and will train, as my body dictates.  When I first decided to run a full in September, I had one goal - gauge my legs.  In 2 years, I have never trained  with entire full training program.  Never.  This will be the first time I run a full, with a full-specific training program under my belt (or shoes, if you will).  2015 is the year I hope to earn my BQ.  This race in 2014 is my fitness gauge, but I will not have a repeat of LAM 2014, that is for sure.  

During the weekend, I cried a lot.  I got through the emotions of failure, defeat, feeling undertrained and "what business do I have to run a full?"  Friday-Sunday night I listened to a new round of Super Sleep CD's to get my brain in the right path. If you have not heard of Super Sleep, please check out the website.  I withdrawing from the Full (#RunningBro won't let me), but I must complete the goal I set out for myself.  As painful and heart breaking LAM was, I was very satisfied I had accomplished my goal - to finish, injury free.

Taper will be okay, it won't be that much relief, because running 5 miles in the heat is just as bad as running 16 miles for me.  But, my mental perspective is different, I can only do what my body allows me to do.  If my cranky 'ole metabolic rate requires me to pull back and not run tempo's or speedwork, then so be it.  I have no reason to push myself to unsafe levels and I will not.  

Do I feel 100%?  Actually I don't, but I don't feel defeated.  I feel content and looking forward to finishing this up and taking a break from Full's until 2015.  I know that the training I have done is not in vain, it will serve a higher purpose.  

I have one wish - is it Fall?  Can I run in my gloves, yet?  

How are you training in the heat?  Has it beaten you up, also?

(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-14
Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
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  1. You are a strong and wise runner and you will meet your goals because of this. Some conditions just make us feel challenged to the point of feeling exhausted and defeated. I think all runners go through this but few of us will admit it, let alone share it with others. It's good when runners share their successes with others, but when they can share their difficulties too, those are huge contributions to the community. It allows others to know that these difficulties are not unique to them and gives ideas as to overcoming them. - ROXANNA

    1. Thank you, Roxanna. I will carry your words with me in the coming weeks. Run FAB-O


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