Pulling weeds: marathon week three

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Week three started off kind of iffy, but ended well. I am optimistic despite the fact that I’m sitting here on my couch instead of doing my first 20 miler.

Take a look at my Believe I Am journal entries from this week. They basically center around my left hamstring and its varying degrees of gimpyness (I don’t think that’s a word, but I’m leaving it).

Part of the “job” of being a Sisters in Sport blogger is to check in on our goals which we established earlier this month. My goal is to use my BIA journal to track my progress with injury prevention. Instead of being stubborn about my training, I modified my pace and took out the strides that I normally do on Tuesdays. I added extra stretching and spent every evening sitting on a bag of ice (as well as Friday morning).

On Saturday Pete and I traveled to the Bertie Spooktacular 5k in Windsor, NC. This is our third year running this race, a small town 5k that attracts some fast regional runners due to the decent prize purse. In 2010 I finished 2nd, and in 2011 I finished 4th. Last year I was coming off my first block of marathon training and felt great for most of the race. This year I knew I was going into it at a completely different stage in my training, so I was a bit nervous. Luckily I was able to put my Believe I Am journal to good use.

Notice the bumpy handwriting due to bumpy car ride.

I identified the negative thoughts that crowd my thinking so I could replace them with positive ones.

Pulling weeds… changing the conversation.

Everyone goes through a give and take in their mind before they race, kind of like on TV shows and in movies when the character has a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. By pulling those “weeds” and replacing them with “flowers” (like strong and relaxed, my two favorites) you can remain focused on your race and not be sidetracked by the chatter in your head.

So that’s what I did. The race was very spread out up front. I took my split at mile 1, just over 6:00, and knew I was not going to run a fast time. Besides a few male age groupers that I passed between mile 1 and mile 2, I was all alone with my thoughts. I did not feel good at all during the race and could have easily given up after a slow first mile, but I knew I would not be happy with myself if I gave in to excuses. So I pressed on through the winds, and ran as fast as I could down the long finishing straight. When I crossed the finish line I realized two things: that I had finished third (one place better than last year when I was in great shape) and that my hamstring did not hurt at all!

Post-race exhaustion.

I was going to decide this morning whether to cut the 20 miler short today and just go with one 20 miler for this marathon build up, but the decision was made for me. Hurricane Sandy has already flooded our streets and my treadmill is up on cinder blocks in the garage. I’ll probably do some yoga this afternoon, but mostly I’ll be resting and preparing for next weekend’s race at the NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5k in Central Park. To all my friends on the east coast, stay safe!

How do you deal with the negative thoughts before races? Has Hurricane Sandy interrupted your training or racing plans this weekend? Know anyone braving the storm to run Marine Corps Marathon today?

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2 thoughts on “Pulling weeds: marathon week three

  1. Fellow sister in sport checking in! (just got updated email with blogs/pages etc) Yay for no hamstring pain and for finishing in third, awesome! I had a hamstring strain which required 2 months of PT and then my other leg decided it wanted attention so I am now dealing with pes anserine bursistis. Right now I’m using my journal to track my injury recovery process and build fitness foundation back so I will be super prepared to hit the road running again! Can’t wait to read about your next update!

    • Sorry to hear about your injuries, that’s a major bummer. The journal has really helped me stay accountable. I hope it does the same for you. I’ll check out your blog too!

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