The L.A. Marathon: Race Report

Short version: I ran myself into the med tent with mild heatstroke just after mile 16. All the non-sports people I know are like, ‘Oh my god! Heatstroke! You almost died!!’ And, all the sports people are all, ‘It was only mild heatstroke. You could have kept going.’ I’m falling somewhere in between those two right now, and very much never want to try running a marathon again. For at least a few years.

Long version: It was warm. Arguably, it never got as hot as some people were predicting it might, but at 5:45 a.m. at Dodger Stadium it was concerningly warm. All last week I’d been preparing myself for ‘this is going to suck, but you can tough it out.’ My tentative race plan was: 1. You will probably not run your pie-in-the-sky, ‘A goal’ of 3:06. 2. You could still run a PR around 3:10, sub-3:15. 3. Only if you aren’t stupid; don’t be stupid. 4. Go for it, but in a conservative way and 5. When it starts to suck early, because it will, hang tough and know it sucks for everybody.

So, that’s what I tried to do. I ran some 7:05s for the first few miles, but they were all downhill (more or less) and it felt easy slow. I did not let myself get ahead of the 3:05 pace group, because “don’t be stupid.” By mile 2 I was dripping sweat and thought ‘well, this is going to get hot.’ Around mile 4, we went up a steep hill and I let the 3:05 pace group slip away, because “don’t be stupid.” After that, I was sort of just running, some by myself, some through people who were already looking hot and tired.

By 7 or 8, it was feeling really hard and I was getting the chills a bit. But I, literally, thought to myself: It’s not possible to be having heat issues this early; I haven’t even been running long enough, so these chills must be because of the breeze or something (?). And, anyway, I was still running 7:10s or so, so it’s fine. It’s fiiiiiiiine. I was taking water and Gatorade at every aid station, but I wasn’t making it to the next one before I was dying of thirst again. (And, for the record, I had oatmeal, a Gatorade and some water, and a gel before the start, and one more gel around mile 7. After that I was having a hard time imagining swallowing anything else.)

By mile 10, I was struggling. Somewhere around 9, two guys next to me were talking to each other and one said, “It’s not good if it feels this hard this early” and I went, ‘heh.’ I remember hitting the 10 marker and just thinking, ‘Fuck.’ I was still running in the 7:15s-ish, though, and it was hard to tell if we were going uphill, so it’s fine, I thought. It’s fiiiiine. I had promised myself I was going to be mentally tough for this race. I wasn’t going to drop out or check out. I was going to fight for it. So I did. My thing I had planned on telling myself was: ‘You’re tougher than you think you are. You can do more than you think you can.’ I had planned on telling myself that in the second half of the race, because I didn’t expect it to be nasty hard too much before then, but oh well.

By 11 or 12, I was in bad shape. I was getting the chills and things were a little light-headed and dizzy. I was fighting for every mile and keeping them somewhere in the 7:20s, but I knew that it was not fine. At this point, it became one of those battles: If you know you’re in bad shape and it’s only getting worse and you don’t think you can finish, but you promised yourself you wouldn’t voluntarily quit, then what do you do? You make it so you’ll be involuntarily done, whether that’s because you get to the finish or crash out sooner. At least that’s the option I took. I have this tendency to wallow and, like, hope that someone will just spontaneously pull me from the course and tell me I should sit down in the shade and have some nice ice water. But, I wanted to be mentally tough. Instead of wallowing, I tried to smile. Studies show that you can affect your mental state by smiling in races. So. I tried to do all the things that keep you mentally positive. I tried to hang on to people next to me and get whatever boost there was from the atmosphere. I repeated ‘you’re tougher than you think you are’ in my head until it became gibberish. Mostly, I thought, if I’m going to end up running myself into the med tent (which it was starting to seem that I was), then I’m going to run as hard as I can until that happens.

I don’t remember much from 12 to whenever I stopped just after mile 16. I have no idea how I made it that far either. I was almost totally cognizant at the time. I knew where I was and I knew I saw Steve at one point (and tried to tell him with my eyes that I was in a bad place), but it all got a bit blurry, in that way things get in races when it’s like you’re watching from far away on the other side of a bright light. I kept trying to be tough and I would have sworn to you I was hanging on to 7:30 pace, but my Garmin suggests that I actually dropped pretty sharply to 7:50s.

Look, I expected it to get that bad. I did. I’d been preparing myself all week for it to get that bad, for me to have to tough it out for 8-10 miles. I’ve had bad heatstroke before, and I knew there was a chance I’d end up lying down in a med tent with an IV. I just expected that 8-10 miles to be the last 8-10 miles.

By around 16, I was getting the chills regularly. I was cold and hot, and I was dizzy, and things were getting light and dark, and then my chest started to hurt, and my heart felt like something tight was around it (which is new, by the way, that’s never happened before). And somewhere in my head I thought, ‘oh good, a med tent’ and I stepped out of the race and did that crumpling/collapsing thing and laid down on the side of the road. Of course, it turned out it wasn’t a med tent, it was actually just a random tiny tent of people cheering their friends on. So I freaked those people out.

For a few minutes, I just laid there with my eyes closed and rolled onto my side and tried to sit up and tried to get my eyes to focus and the lights to go back to how they’re supposed to be and then that was a lot of effort, so I laid back down. I don’t think I had the capacity to say anything for a couple minutes. And that freaked out the random people I had decided to lay down in front of even more than they were already freaked out. Then the cops and paramedics on bikes got there and also freaked out, and called an ambulance and a fire truck. And, I think my head was sort of lolling to one side and when I did start talking it was all slurred and along of the lines of: ‘It’s fine, ‘tsfiiiiine, my chest just hurts, *wave hands, close eyes*,  whatevvvver, *lay back down*”

Somewhere in my head I knew I was fine, actually. Or, I would be fine relatively soon. This was not a permanent state. I also knew that I always look really bad, even when I’m killing it. And I just didn’t have the wherewithal to explain to a bunch of people the degree to which I was messed up. They wanted to send me to the hospital and I kept saying, “No, no.” Finally, it was decided the ambulance would take me 200 meters down the road to the actual med tent. Then, those doctors kept trying to send me to the hospital and I kept saying, “No, no.” I think I even said, “I don’t go to hospitals,” which is absurd. Of course I go to hospitals. I’ve been to lots of hospitals. That’s how I know they won’t be able to do much for mild heatstroke.

Eventually, Steve found me and Natalie drove over to pick me up and, by then, almost an hour later, I was fine. Not great, not really even ok, but fine.

So, could I have toughed it out for longer? Yeah, maybe. Would it have been worth it? Probably not. Part of the mental calculus that my brain does when it can’t even see straight was that it decided there was no reason to land myself in the hospital. I didn’t care much about just finishing. It wasn’t going to be a good time. And I wasn’t competing for a place. If I really screwed myself up for good, what would be the point? After lying in the med tent for 20 or 30 minutes, I actually thought I should get back up and start running again. Steve said that was dumb.

It always seems to me that how soon after a race you start planning the next one, how much you want a do-over, is often dependent on how much, subconsciously, you felt like you had left to give. The day after my Ironman I basically was Googling to find another one later that month. This time, there is almost no part of me that wants to think about another marathon. People keep suggesting them and I keep cringing. No, no, that sounds terrible. I even paused on an email from the Chicago Marathon and thought about it in passing for a second. I like the course and it’s fast and late this year, but then it made me want to gag. I can, actually, barely think about any races at all right now. They all sound awful. (Which is unfortunate, because I am definitely doing some triathlons that I was excited about.) The amount I am still emotionally and mentally and, to a degree, physically messed up makes me think I didn’t have much more to give on Sunday. For whatever reason. That was all there was.

The L.A. Marathon is Going to Be Hot

Record-breaking heat is expected for the race on Sunday! We’ll have ‘cooling buses’ stationed throughout the course! We’ll start in the dark! Ahhhhhhhh!!!!

Depending on what weather service you look at, Sunday is projected at a high of 85-90 degrees. This is not good. Running a marathon in 90 degrees is awful. But, a few days ago, before everyone started completely losing their minds, I saw that it was going to be in the high-80s for the race and I just thought, ‘well, that’ll suck.’ And that was it.

Today, at Universal Sports, we were interviewing Ryan and Sara Hall, who are going to be racing it and, you know what, Ryan Hall had almost the same reaction to the heat as my initial reaction:

  • Yeah, sure, it’s going to suck.
  • But it was that hot this past weekend, did you not run this past weekend? It’s been in the mid- and high-80s in L.A. before…
  • And, honestly, anyway, that’s the high for the day, not the average. It’ll be cool at the start, especially starting at 6:55 a.m. now. It’ll probably only get to high-70s, maybe 80 while we’re running. (OK, he’s going to finish like well over an hour before me, so it’ll be hotter for me, but you get the idea.)
  • And it’s cooler in Santa Monica, where it’s only projected to be a high of about 83-84 degrees. We’re running towards Santa Monica. That’s got to be good.
  • Mostly, you just have to hydrate and fuel well and not let it get into your head. Seriously, don’t let the heat mess with your mind.

So, at least an Olympian agrees with me. Now, I just have to put it into practice. Because, despite all that, I still don’t do great in the heat, and it’s still going to be nasty and awful, and I’m sure some people will get heat stroke, and it is entirely possible one of those people will be me. Plus, the elites have the benefit of only really caring about their place. They’re not out there just trying to run a personal best; they can run slow (for them) and just focus on the race and the other elites. I am not an elite marathoner. I do not have any particular goals in terms of my place—somewhere in the middle??—but I did have somewhat aggressive time goals. Those time goals are pretty much going to have to get thrown out the window now. It will not be fast on Sunday. It will just be a hot race.

Training Week 18: March 2-8

The main focus right now is not getting sick, hurt, or overly-exhausted. There’s not much else to do for a marathon this Sunday. Then next week is mostly recovery. Then three weeks of hard training, then taper for nationals.

I did want to work some on my Olympic pace biking, which sort of happened, but also I’m sort of too tired and booked for much to happen. I had actually planned on doing more this week, but erred on the side of letting my body recover and my body decided this was what it was going to do. Sometimes my body’s pretty smart. It’s my brain that sucks.

Monday

Rode 10 miles easy on my time trial bike. I almost never ride my TT in the rain, at least not deliberately, because it is an expensive bike and I have an older road bike, so might as well keep the nice one nice. Since it wasn’t raining anymore Monday morning, I thought it’d be fine. I didn’t think about all the sand on the bike path turning into piles of wet sand from the storm the night before. By the time I got home, my bike was the dirtiest it has ever been. There was sand in everything. And, naturally, the brakes on the TT are underneath the frame, so they were filled with wet clumps of sand. God, I hate the beach.

Swam 1,450 yards with some band swimming and pulling and stuff.

Tuesday

OFF, in all caps

Wednesday

Ran 7 miles in the morning, which was supposed to include a decent amount of Goal Marathon Pace and slightly faster miles. I did 3 miles at 7:01, 7:04, 6:57 and it felt shockingly hard, which was concerning and also a sign that it was time to end the workout.

Swam 2,900 yards with The Kids in the evening, which was also shockingly hard. Basically, everything felt disgustingly difficult on Wednesday and my legs hurt and the cut on the back of my leg was still all raw and gross.

Thursday

Swam 2,000 meters. (Turns out the Westwood Community Pool is meters, not yards, who knew.) Did not get up to ride in the morning because I was tired, but didn’t sleep great that extra hour either, so probably wasn’t worth it.

Friday

Ran in Topanga State Park. My plan, initially, had been to do 10-12 miles easy as my last longish run. Typically, this would take about 1 hour, 20-30 minutes or something. Since I ended up picking a route that had 1,800 feet of elevation gain in 3 miles, it didn’t quite work out that way. I ended up doing a lot of hiking up and a lot of trying not to break my ankle down. I only got a bit over 7 miles done in 1 hour, 15 minutes, but I was really over the stupidity of it all.

20 minutes of quick and dirty strength work: TRX, deadlifts, back squats, box jumps, four pull-ups (except technically I think they’re like chin-ups, I don’t know, I can never do them with my hands in the “right” position), and a couple other things and I was out.

Saturday

This weekend was not one of my finest weekends. This weekend and last were supposed to be moderately big training weekends to work on my weaknesses for triathlon nationals. But, school keeps getting in the way. Saturday morning I had to interview someone at a 5K they were doing at the Rose Bowl at 8 a.m. for my documentary. I got there at 7:30 a.m. By 7:50 a.m. it was clear that I had mixed up my days and was supposed to be there on Sunday, not Saturday. By 8:05 a.m. it was also clear that the super unnecessarily mean police officer wasn’t going to let me leave the parking lot, because they had closed it off for a triathlon/duathlon/5K. Goddamn triathletes!

Fine. I’ll just do my workout here. So, I rode about 16 miles in the neighborhood and then around the Rose Bowl. The goal had been to do a few hard laps at race pace around the Rose Bowl, which I thought wouldn’t be a problem, since there was an actual race going on. I mean, my hard training pace should fit right in with a race, right? Nope. I managed to get stuck right in the mix of all the people coasting their way through the triathlon and my hard laps turned into hard efforts + stopping and braking and coasting. Oh well.

Then, Justin met me and we ran 4.5 miles around the outer perimeter, during which it became clear that maybe my Garmin isn’t the most accurate ever. The plan had been to start easy and build to marathon, then faster pace. As I was running pretty hard towards the end, he asked what my watch said I was running. 7:10, why? Because we were definitely running 6:30s, which actually is what it felt like.

Sunday

Back at the Rose Bowl at 7:30 a.m., with the time change. (Did I mention the Rose Bowl is not near my house?) Finally, after wrapping up around 10, I headed out on my ride. I originally wanted to ride about 3 hours, but since I was falling asleep on the drive and felt the worse I’ve felt in a long time, I ended up just riding 2 hours instead. Up Angeles Crest, back, around the Rose Bowl again, and then home to do all of the work.

TOTAL: 9:05

Time to go.

Training Week 17: Feb. 23-March 1

Ah, shit, the marathon is almost here! And also triathlon!

I had to cut back on some things in my life schedule, because I had simply completely overbooked myself and could not physically be in multiple places at the same time. (Seriously, whenever I end up listing all the stuff I’m doing, people always get really worried that I’m going to make it. So, I stopped telling people all of it, because it just stressed me out.) The two little changes seem to be helping, though. I’m actually almost feeling like a person again.

Of course, on the other hand, I started Googling some of my symptoms today and it turns out even my vague paranoia could be the result of a vitamin deficiency.

So, there’s that.

Monday

Biked the 12 miles to school easy.

Tuesday

So tired from UCSD still. Got home so late the night before. Must sleep so much.

Wednesday

The Very LA Training Day: Ran 18-something hilly a.f. miles. Yet, I held up surprisingly well for having no water and trying to swallow my own spit for the last hour.

Swam 2,600 yards with The Kids, hard. I’m not sure it was fast, but it was definitely hard.

Thursday

Swam 1,000 yards easy. Yoga’d and rolled when I got home.

Friday

I told myself this was my last for-real-hard workout that counts before the marathon. You don’t get fit in the last two weeks, you just cash it in. So, my plan was to run two-mile repeats between half-marathon and marathon goal pace. Typically, one runs these starting at marathon pace and descending down to half-marathon pace, but not me. I decided I was actually curious what ascending intervals would feel like instead. In case you were wondering: they suck in a different way. I wasn’t 100 percent sure how many I was going to do either, so I figured I might as well start with the hard ones. And, since I have never run a negative split in a race ever, it seems like I ought to (realistically) work on hanging on to the pace I need once I’m already tired. I did 3 x two-miles at [6:24/6:31, 6:42/6:45, 6:55/6:55]. The astute observer might notice that 6:55 is not my marathon pace, but since I got them under 7:00 I called it a workout. Also: I ran them on the track. This is insane. I do not recommend it.

Did some TRX and light strength at the gym. Then, swam 1,000 yards easy.

Saturday

Obstacle Course Race. I did this pretty casually because I was GoPro-ing it for my short documentary about obstacle course racing. And, by casually, I mean I took a detour in the middle of the race to jog to my car, change the GoPro battery, and then jog back to where I had gone off course. I also walked some. So, no, it was not a race.

However. I still ended up 2nd out of all the non-elite women. This has prompted me to decide 1. that I need to actually race an actual elite heat, so I can see how I stack up and 2. that I am going to become a professional OCR athlete. After I work on my monkey bar skills. Obviously.

For all that it wasn’t a race, though, it’s not hard to see from this photo how I ended up with huge nasty rope burn down the back of my right leg that isn’t healing super well:

atlasrace1

Sunday

Along with the rope burn, I had random other cuts and a couple bruises and was tired and sore from the Friday-Saturday combo. Rode just over two hours relatively moderately in Malibu, finishing right before it started to pour rain. Did not swim.

TOTAL: 10:05

Alright, alright, alright. I am not unfit right now. I am also not in a super ideal spot health-, life- or stress-wise either. I am not sure which of these things is going to win out in two weeks. I think it’s going to all come down to a mental battle, because I’m pretty positive that physically I can run my goal time. I’m just not sure if mentally I can. So, if you see me on the LA Marathon course, you have to yell at me to get my shit together and pick it the fuck up. Those words exactly, please.

A Very #LA Training Day

Last week I did one of my last big training days/runs before the L.A. Marathon. It ended up being a very LA training day.

First, since I had to drive out to Malibu, I figured I’d stop and run on the trails on my way. Always make the most of your driving #LAlesson. I picked a trail that I was pretty sure was going to be an ok trail—since so many trails around here are, well, not. And, I headed out.

Of course, I got stuck in traffic on my way. How was I supposed to know this random side street comes to a complete stop at commute time? #LAlife

Once I got there, though, Sullivan Canyon was great. It’s a gradual up—because all trails here either go up or down (which is maybe my second biggest complaint about running on the trails here)—but it wasn’t so bad that you weren’t able to actually run.

hikespeak.com

I, stupidly, thought I would go out the canyon, up to the ridge, down the ridge, and back into the canyon. Google Maps made it seem like they’d connect. FYI: They don’t connect. But, I had to learn this on my own.

In order to learn this, I ended up enlisting the help of Jennifer Garner. Naturally. It was basically an episode of Alias.

After I’d been running for a century (or, like, over an hour), I still hadn’t found the trail back down and I was getting thirsty. So, I stopped and asked three Hollywood-esque 30-something women walking by if they knew how to get back to my car (so I could get some water). They all sort of shrugged and one of them started to say that she has literally never set foot off this path, and I looked at her—because you should look at people when they talk to you—and I realized that it’s Jennifer Garner. #LA

What was funny was that it took me no time to realize who it was once I looked at her. Sydney Bristow, you can’t hide!

That buoyed me for a little bit, which was just as well, because I had to run all the way back the way I had come. And, of course, because #LA, the whole way back up the ridge was uphill. By the time I got back to my car, I’d been running for 2 hours and 30 minutes without water. I chugged a bottle and then went out for 15 more minutes to round out my run.

Then, I drove to Malibu.

Then, I drove back to USC.

Then, I had a glass of wine and went to swim practice. (OK, that’s maybe not especially an LA thing.) And, I swear to God, I almost drowned at swim practice. I pushed off the wall before realizing I didn’t have my goggles on. I almost got lapped on a 200-yard interval. I flailed and struggled. And, then, my foot seized up and cramped on the cooldown and I couldn’t move it.

Yay, almost done with marathon training!

Training Week 16: Feb. 16-22

This is the week I both realized the L.A. Marathon is less than three weeks away and I haven’t run enough for it, and also that I need to work on my biking short-course speed because collegiate triathlon is fast. Oh, and also, sleep, tired, breakdown, crying, etc, etc.

In case you were wondering: the end of this story is that those things don’t all go together really.

Monday

Ran 2 hours, 40 minutes up in Marin, on a variation of my favorite loop. Exactly how far it was is currently a topic of debate between my Garmin and I. But, the one thing we can agree on is that it was really hilly and debilitating.

Tuesday

I was really messed up from that run. Maybe it was longer or harder than either the Garmin or I think. Maybe I’m really not ready for this marathon. Swam 1,400 meters (ew, meters) and struggled through the day.

Wednesday

Rode 25 miles on the TT with 4 x 3 minutes at “hard” pace. Because I haven’t had time to put the Power Tap on my TT bike yet (which is going to happen this weekend!) and because I was riding on the beach bike path (which is not ideal for, well, anything), this was possibly stupid. I don’t actually know.

Crossfitted. Weirdly, the gym I randomly ended up going to down here turns out to be one of the legit Crossfit gyms and one of the girls in the story I wrote about Grid trains there. So, that was sort of like ‘ohhh, heeeeeey, just ignore me over here doing my weakass deadlifts.’

Thursday

Rest. I was messed up this week. Yoga’d and rolled and called it.

Friday

Ran 6.5ish miles in the morning with a few 1 minute pick-ups, because racing Sunday.

Swam 1,750 yards with a few pick-ups. Felt ok about all this.

Saturday

Rode 10 miles with the pre-race standard: a few hard sprints and a bit at race pace. Skipped swimming, for life reasons. Felt semi-ok about all this.

Sunday

UCSD Tri: Did the UC San Diego sprint race and, wow, I almost had a total mental breakdown in the middle of this. The summary is: I couldn’t figure out why so many people were ahead of me. (The answer—that they’re going faster—should have been obvious.)

I swam great, for me, but came out far enough back that spectators stop counting at that point. When you’re the third woman, they tell you you’re the third woman. When you’re 17th, they’re like ‘yay, Kelly, you can do it.’ Collegiate triathletes are fast swimmers; there are a number of reasons for this, which can be discussed at some other point, but the end result is that my actually-pretty-ok swimming lands me pretty far back. I, then, started to pass people on the bike and thought I was killing it until two people passed me at the end of the first lap and another at the start of the second. That motivated me enough to try to pick it up, but then I had a lap-and-a-half long meltdown, where I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me and why I wasn’t biking faster. I did catch one of the girls, but then another (really annoyingly drafting) girl re-caught me, and I couldn’t drop her and my legs were killing me and I suck and I should probably just quit and it’s clearly not my day and, oh my god, how am I so far back.

By the time I started the run, I was very discouraged and maybe 15 seconds back of annoying drafting girl. I spent most of the first lap of the run feeling bad about and sorry for myself. But, I still managed to pass one person and I was kind of getting a tempo going. At the start of the second lap, I caught the annoying girl and from there I actually raced a race. I spent the second and third laps trying to reel people in and finally feeling like I was moving. Towards the end, I almost had another meltdown when I realized a group of girls was ahead of me that I did not expect to be ahead of me. I mean, man, I just kept passing people and there just kept being more people. BUT—and this is a big but—instead of crying, I picked it up, passed them, slipped and half-fell, and got right back up to kick hard to the finish.

I ended up 7th. I was not thrilled about this. In retrospect, though, I knew it was a very competitive race. Colleges had come from far away and all the good people out here on the West Coast were there. I had expected it to be tough and it was. I was also really proud of myself for not entirely falling apart and coming back from the near brink. What is most interesting, though, is that when I looked at the results later it became clear that my biking didn’t suck as much as I thought it did (especially if I had actually not had the meltdown in the middle) and my running wasn’t as great as I felt like it was. Really, it was all mostly in my head.

TOTAL: 9:25

I don’t know. I’m having panic attacks and if I had the time I’d be panic training, but I don’t have the time, so instead I’m like panic not training? I don’t know. I need to work on my biking and my running and my swimming and my not having weird breakdowns.

Training Week 15: Feb. 9 – 15

I might have broken. The biggest liability for me right now—in training, life, whatever—is if all the stress and deadlines and lack of sleep breaks me. And, it’s getting damn close.

That’s even with last week being the first week in a few that I got real training in again, so that doesn’t bode great.

Monday

Biked the 12 miles easy to school to recover from the Aquathlon.

Swam 2,000 yards slow. I wasn’t deliberately swimming slow, but I was definitely not fast.

Tuesday

Ran track with The Kids: 6 x 800 meters. We were doing them as in-and-out intervals, basically alternating 10K pace and fast pace, which also prompted a lot of ‘that’s what she said’ type of jokes. I ran 3:03, 2:55, 3:04, 2:48, 3:02, 2:49. That’s the fastest I’ve run 800s in years. If I don’t have endurance and general health going for me, at least I sort of got some speed right now.

Did 20 minutes of TRX and strength work after shooting some TV footage of the real track team.

Wednesday

Biked 44 miles down the bike path, out Palos Verdes some, and back. I had intended to do some tempo or hard work, but my derailleur snapped off at the start of the ride. See, that is not what a derailleur is supposed to look like:

Also, my photo skills, impressive, no?
Also, my photo skills, impressive, no?


That meant I did the whole ride in the little ring, which isn’t great for pushing power, especially on a bike path with the wind at my back. And, I had a weird freakout about potentially crashing over a rollerblader or a speed bump or into a parked car. So, I mostly just did a steady moderately hard ride, pushing it more on the way back (into the wind).

Swam 3,050 yards in the evening with The Kids, though I am 98% convinced that the PED pool on campus is not actually 25 yards long. We swim too fast in it. I’m not accidentally dropping 2:30 200s in other pools. Multiple times in a row.

Thursday

Swam 1,250 yards easy in the evening, on the way home from work.

Friday

The Run That Wasn’t: Was aiming to run about 12 miles with 4 x 2-miles descending from Goal Marathon Pace to Goal Half-Marathon Pace. I barely made it out of bed to the bike path, but in the spirit of “the hardest steps are the first ones” I thought it’d get better. Spoiler alert: They lied; the hardest steps are the hard ones. This random guy ran the first two repeats with me, which we did ok on. (7:04s for the first one, which felt fine. 6:58s for the second one, which felt like I was going to die.) Then, I had to take a long bathroom break, which used up most of my allotted time, so I thought I’d just do one more repeat in the 6:40s. I made it about three minutes and I stopped. I don’t know why. I was struggling. A lot. But, it might have been in my head. I don’t know. I’m too tired to think about it anymore. Jogged back home.

Saturday

Cross-country skied a bit over 11 miles with Steve, during which he let me know that his heartrate was lower than the last time we went skiing. I wasn’t wearing a heartrate monitor, because mine (naturally) has torn a huge cut across my chest and I’m currently avoiding it, but the day felt pretty hard to me and I was pretty wiped out. We were out for over three hours and skiing pretty consistently in that time, though there were plenty of stopping breaks and fueling breaks, etc. So, who knows.

Sunday

Swam 2,000 yards at the Truckee High School pool. I was going to swim more. I was going to run after too. But, I could barely move. Instead, I took a two hour nap.

TOTAL: 11:30

Yeah, I don’t know. No more self-evaluation, introspection, whatever. Clearly, I’m tired. I need to sleep and I need to get through things and, hopefully, it’ll sort itself out.

Getting In (Or Out) Of My Head

Here are a few observations about perception:

    • In L.A., I am the most intense athlete I know—give or take. (Like, yeah, yeah, everyone is intense in their own way. Some of my friends are taking some time off right now. And, you should, obviously, always do what makes sense for you.) But, the net sum effect is that, generally speaking, I don’t know people doing harder workouts than me. This messes with my head. Because (CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF AROUND HERE), I’m not really a super intense workout person. I’m used to lots of people I know doing crazier workouts than me all the time. I’m used to lots and lots and lots of people being lots faster than me. And, I’m used to telling training partners my workout plan for the day and having them nod and be all, ‘Yeah, that makes sense.’ When everyone I know is, instead, like, ‘What?! That sounds insane,’ I start to think maybe it is insane. So, if all my internet friends who are Hillary’s athletes (Maggie? Alyssa?) could tell me about their super crazy workouts she has them doing, it would make me feel better and get me back in a good mental place.
    • Friday I bombed a workout. It was 4 x 2 miles and I only did 2.3 of the four repeats. I just was not hitting the times and I had only given myself 1 hour and 25 minutes exactly to do a 1 hour and 25 minute workout. So, when I had to take a loooong bathroom break, I was stuck reevaluating. But, it was easy to cut and I was weirdly not stressed about the fact that I bombed it, because I don’t think I really expected to finish it. This is not good.
    • In the fall, I was very not fit. Yet, I went on a killing-it streak at a bunch of races in October/November. I think it may have been because I knew I wasn’t in shape, so I expected it to be awful and that I’d have to power through. Then, I wasn’t surprised when it hurt. Now, I’m really fit (for me), so I keep subconsciously thinking it won’t hurt. But, it still always hurts.
    • Evidently, somewhere in the back of my mind right now I am expecting an accident or disaster. I’m just waiting for it. Wednesday, I had to cut through a parking garage, because “cycling routes” *shakes head*. And, I had this weird crazy PTSD. It might be the first time I’ve cut through a parking garage since shattering my teeth and I was freaking out. I was convinced that I was going to hit something, or someone was going to hit me, or something terrible was going to happen. Yesterday, Steve and I went cross-country skiing and I was having the hardest time on the downhills, because I was positive, 100% sure, that I was going to have some bizarre accident and end up in the hospital. I’m just too in shape right now, too ready for the L.A. Marathon and collegiate nationals. Something has to go wrong. Something always goes wrong. And, if you really want to get into some Psych 101 stuff, this may be why I’ve been self-sabotaging workouts and races lately, because somewhere in my head I think that I need to balance the karmic universe. (Subconsciously, ok? I’m not doing any of this consciously.)

So, yeah. That’s been fun.