i’m…so…under pressure

boy, this Long Training Run was the complete opposite of the one back in August

And pretty much, a disasterous 20-miler for me. What happened? Well, when you’re pace leading a 9:30 group, and those 9:15-ish types insist on pushing the pace and not listening to you or your fellow pace leaders when you yell to slow down, well you will die in the last few miles.

(Oh, and to add insult to injury, how about also chatting with a very nice, cute guy for the first 13 miles and having fun doing so-until he mentions a wife. Gentlemen, if you’re married, please please please wear your wedding rings. I’m begging you. Have some mercy on poor deluded single women like myself.)

Well, it didn’t start off so bad. After a lot of rain predictions, it looked like it was actually gonna hold off for us. Me and one of my friends who was also going to lead the 9:30s resolved to stick together this time (last time, she had wound up in a group that was pushing the pace and struggled at the end.) So the two of us and 2 others were the leaders at the front of the first 9:30 group. All the plans sorta fell apart in the first mile…as the pace was a little too fast, and the first mile marker was short, so we couldn’t really gauge too well how we were doing. I kept yelling to pull it back, but the next couple of miles were still in the 9:15ish range. I just dropped back, otherwise I knew I was going to wind up dying, but the damage had already been done…

(what I think was going on here…is that for example, there is a pace group for 9:00, and one for 9:30. But where do those types in-between go? In this case, into the 9:30 group and they have a “pulling” effect on the group. I suggested that in the future, maybe the groups should be, for example, “between 9 and 9:30” and “between 9:30 and 10” and divide into 15 second subgroups. 15 seconds makes more of a difference than you would think…that’s 6 1/2 minutes in a marathon!)

Unlike the very nice group I had back in August, this group just seemed to be kind of disobedient. The 7:00 pace group had passed us on the second loop, and I yelled for our group to get in the rec lane, as there were others coming through, and to share the park, but nope, once again, no one would listen. (Actually, the only one who listened to me and stuck with me and didn’t push the pace was said cute married guy. OK, so I got through to someone!!)

The 3rd loop was miserable. JD and DL passed by with the 7:30 group and JD said I was “looking good” and I just shouted back “No I’m not.” By that time, I was still maintaining 9:30s (give or take,) but falling way behind, to the point where I wasn’t even leading a group any more. And I was really feeling crappy (no pun intended,) to the point where I had to make a port-o-potty stop around Cat Hill. Felt better afterwards, but completely lost my group. I remarked when I saw Jon pass by with his 8:00 group (and he looked waaaaay too happy for having run almost 20 miles) that “I didn’t even know what I was leading anymore.”

On the transverse after that loop, I saw my friend who was supposed to stick with me…well she looked as unhappy as I felt, and her story sounded a lot like mine. We stuck it out together through the final 4 miles…we didn’t even think we could maintain 9:30s at this point, we’re just like “get the job done.” (I had taken off my pace leader singlet for that loop-partially because it had really warmed up, but partially because I was embarassed by how much I had fallen off the pace.) I was just dragging through that loop, plus even though I had taken 3 gels during the midst of this run (and I know I had eaten enough beforehand and the day/night before,) I was still feeling like nothing would fill me up and give me any energy. Finally, we made it to the end…was never so glad to be done with a training run in my life. I got my stuff from the baggage area, chatted a little bit with my teammate who helped coordinate the logistics for the pace leaders for this run (and thanked her for doing a great job-believe me, I know it is not an easy job.)

Unfortunately, this run knocked me out for the remainder of the day. Despite my intention to get some work done, it didn’t happen, as my body decided it had enough, between this long run and just not getting enough sleep this week. (Not that I ever get enough sleep, so why should this week be any different than any other?) I don’t know. Maybe, in hindsight, I should have dropped back a pace group this time around. But I still think I would have been fine had it not been for those fast few miles in the beginning. However, what’s frustrating is that once again, at this point in the season, I should be feeling stronger and faster and I’m just not. (and to top it all off, getting on my co-worker’s scale the day before and seeing the numbers being at least 10 pounds, if not more, over what I wanted to see…man, I really can’t win here.) I mean, if a few 9:15-ish miles screw up a long run, then how am I ever going to run a sub-4 marathon?

Man, I just feel these days, like there’s a dark cloud over me that doesn’t look to be getting lighter or brighter any time soon. I think BrunetteChicagoGal called the reasoning for it right in her comment to me the other day. The work stress is spilling into all other areas of my life. The next 2 weeks are going to be heavier on the weekday mileage, little less on the weekend mileage, and I don’t know how I’m going to get it all in without falling apart. (I’ve already established that social/personal life will have to be put on hold for awhile…) I’m just not a happy person right now, and unfortunately, I do not see things changing anytime soon…

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13 thoughts on “i’m…so…under pressure

  1. Pace leading IS hard–harder than we might think. Plus, you are in the most difficult (physically and mentally) part of marathon training. Don’t worry too much, though, taper phase will restore all that missing energy, and you’ll be good to go on race day. Also–don’t forget, you ran 2 difficult (in their own way) twenties two weeks in a row. Have a relaxing week, and hopefully things will come together for you soon :)runner26

  2. I have absolutely been in your position, and it is super frustrating. Back in Chicago, the Chicago Area Runners Association has a huge marathon training program with organized long runs every weekend. I volunteered one year as a pace leader, and I had a disobedient group, as you put it, during a 16-miler. Didn’t matter that CARA’s long run organizer always tells people before every long run that if they’re, say a 9:15-ier, run with the 9s unless you’re willing to take it a bit slower (which marathon guru Hal Higdon says you should do anyway).A number of them were trying to pull ahead from about mile 10 on (seemingly urged on by this one chick who was a complete control freak). I kept telling them if they wanted to speed up, they should be running with the next fastest group. And then I just maintained the pace; I didn’t care if I ended up alone (which didn’t happen in the end — about half the group stayed with me); they could all do what they wanted and risk injury in the process.When we got back to “camp,” I told the group that I understand when you’re feeling good and having a great run and get an extra boost of energy, but it’s not going to bode well for your training overall, you can risk injury and it’s just not cool to speed up when I and my co-leader have a job to do, which is to keep everyone on pace AND make sure everyone’s doing OK, not having cramps, etc. I reiterated the directive to join another group if this one’s too fast or too slow. Most people were apologetic, although one or two muttered under their breath and gave me dirty looks. Oh, well.Anyway, it IS a hard job, and I’m sorry you had such a shitty time. And I’m sorry you’re feeling lousy. I’ve been there as well — those periods where nothing seems to be going right and that dark cloud hovers…but I truly think it’s important to do at least one good thing for yourself during the week, however you define that. You don’t want to end up walking around with a scowl on your face –especially when a cute, congenial SINGLE guy might be around the corner.Chin up!

  3. eh, social/personal lives are overrated! :O) keep with it, you’re gonna be fine, no matter what the next two weeks brings!!

  4. Hey NFG: 2 thoughts on this. First, let’s consider. You last Saturday ran 20, you’ve had a hard week at work with too little sleep, and to top that off you started this 20 at a pace only 5 sec/mile off your goal marathon pace! Dear god woman, it’s no surprise the last 4 were tough! Now, remember last week’s “Oh, to be able to feel as good at mile 20 of the marathon!!” Draw on that experience for your marathon confidence. Chalk yesterday up to Palisades/work hangover, delete it from memory and move on. It’s still miles in the bank.Second, on the wedding bands, as we discussed yesterday, I don’t wear one when working out. However, if you started marketing a LiveStrong-esque band or a Nike “Just Do It” Sport Wedding Band, I might consider it. :)Be well. You’re in good shape for 4.

  5. I’m with Jon on this one – focus of the positives from this experience.Still, a bad run just plain sucks. I always tried to remember that one bad running day can happen anytime, so better to have it come up during a training run than the marathon.

  6. Hang in there. As jon says, remember the positive vibes from last week, consider your hectic week, which undoubtably had tired you, and chalk it down as completed – Don’t accentuate the down side. Think Positive thoughts.As a single guy (but too old to be cute!), well divorced actually, but single sounds better, I don’t wear a ring, and don’t get cute single girls chatting to me when I run 😦 –

  7. When I read your entry I thought that I had to tell you to concentrate on the positive things, but I can clearly see that others have beaten me to it.1) You managed the distance, and you’ll profit from that on marathon day.2) At least the guy mentioned his wife well before anything embarassing happened.

  8. Pacing isn’t an easy thing AT ALL. And when you have eager runners…it makes it harder. I did one of these long training runs and didn’t like it for that reason…people definitely pushed the pace faster! It’s good that you recognize what you can/can’t do….it will go a long way.Chalk it up for the distance (20 miles is 20 miles!) and rest up…

  9. Chin up, NY Flygirl! You’re in better shape than you think, and it will pay off in the long run [ahem. 😉 ]As for the matter of the wedding bands, I totally hear ya! I was at dinner with some family friends not long ago and was sorely disappointed to find that the gorgeous, smart Argentine I sat next to was wearing his wedding band on his right hand. Just think of it as a practice run [ok, enough with the bad running puns!] and you’ll be ready for when the real, single thing comes along.

  10. Hmmm…that’s funny I never take off my wedding ring..even when running! I wouldn’t ponder to long over your performance on this particular 20 miler…that’s why it’s called training right!! Once you get in that taper come race day you’ll be feeling fresh! Best of luck on the remainder of you’re training!

  11. The wedding ring thing is a very individual decision; some rings are just more comfortable than others. (They actually make such a thing as a “comfort band,” believe it or not.) I always used to take my engagement ring off when I went running because it was a big solitaire and I was worried about losing it, but I never took my wedding ring off. If anyone needs a couple of cheap rings, by the way, let me know. I am not responsible for any bad karma that may or may not be incurred. 😉

  12. I agree with Jon, you’re doing well and should be very proud of yourself, I know I am. Do not get discouraged by one bad run, esp. right one 20 mile run right on top of another! Take Saturday as a learning experience, you are absolutely right, starting out even a little too fast can be deadly. I still say you’re going to kick ass come November.

  13. yikes…so many comments…thanks all!! anyway to sum things up…yep, you’re right about the run…bad days happen (where’s that damn Daniel Powter song when I need it) and just chalk it up as learning experience. (I do still think in hindsight I should have dropped back a group though…oh well.)as for the ring thing…I understand Jon’s and SS’s reasonings for taking the bling off while running. However, I like Jon’s idea about the LiveStrong-esque band. How about a gold one for the men, a platinum one for the ladies? As for the guy, was just more disappointing than anything else, ya know? (the usual crapola…why are they *always* married or taken? especially one that ran my pace, dammit.)

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