Not every workout is glamorous!


I tend to only write about the great workouts and the great weeks... today was not one of those!  Today was my first "progression run", planned to be about a 20-22 mile total run.

First, though, MERRY CHRISTMAS, everyone!!!  Hope you were able to celebrate it with family & friends & loved ones!!

Back to today's workout... oh, man.  I'm not sure what it was about today.  Perhaps it's because we slept in.  Perhaps it's because we lounged around for a couple of hours, eating the plate of cookies my mother in law so generously gifted us yesterday (seriously, Nate and I devoured the entire thing!!! Oh, my...), eating MORE food that was just lying around, and just all-around laziness that comes with a yeah!-no-work holiday! :).  It was probably also due to the fact that I had a long workout that I was a little scared to start.

Mid-afternoon Nate made me get my butt out the door.  As he continued to eat Mike & Ikes!  The nerve :)

Alright, I can do this.  Mesa was SO excited to go out for my easy miles with me.  And by that, I mean, she hid from us so we couldn't put on her coat & booties.  How did I end up with a dog that needs to wear layers and booties in the winter?  At least Stunt Puppy has outfitted her, otherwise she'd be totally miserable.  I still bust out a good from-the-gut laugh every time we put on her booties and she walks around like her feet are striking some hot plate & need to be brought up & flailed about to prevent further pain/damage.  I think she knows I'm laughing at her.

So - 9.1 miles outside in the single digits.  I think the "feels like" temp was -2 degrees.  My forehead skin hurt a little running into the wind.  Awesome.  No wonder Mesa hates running in the winter.

I dropped her off, changed in to dry clothing, and drove to Anytime Fitness.  My goal was was to do about 8-10 miles, becoming progressively faster.  Then I'd do a 2 mile CD for 22.

Except I wasn't mentally into this workout.  I can tell I've lost that "I want to hurt really, really badly" attitude.  I'm actually a little scared to hurt.  At 3.8 miles, I hit the stop button.  I told myself it was my hamstring.  I needed a drink of water and to stretch out the leg (it is having a harder time today, for whatever reason).  Although the leg isn't working 100%, though, I've worked through worse.  And I've definitely hurt worse.  Ug, Nichole! Buck up!

I started again.  My mother called at 1.5 miles.  I looked down at my phone (I'm running with it, streaming music) and almost deliberately missed the call.  I decided to take it on the last ring.  I breathed into my cell (against all gym policies, I'm sure!  Sorry, people...), Hi, Mom!  I'm on the treadmill so can't say much - but would love to hear about your Christmas!  She entertained me for a full 3/4 of a mile, which was great.  She then asked me about my Christmas, and I couldn't really respond.  I told her I'd call her back.  Except that about a quarter mile later, I hit the stop button... AGAIN.

ARGH.  Seriously?  Why did you stop?  I was down to about 6:50 mile pace, which is a little difficult for me (I am not as strong as I was last summer... hmmm), but still - this is no where near marathon pace or an all out effort.  Reach within yourself, Nichole.  You can DO this!  Zoom Yah Yah world record attempt!  OTQ attempt next fall!  You need to welcome pain!

I did another gym no-no, I'm sure.  I hid in a corner and called Nate and then my parents.  I called them to say that I needed to do the next 5 miles as a true progression run.  And that I didn't want to call them and tell them I stopped mid-way.  I would start at 7:30 mile pace and walk down from there.  My parents (non-runners, but understand how important the 2016 qualifier is for me), were quizzically supportive.  I've never counted on them to drive to finish a workout before.

So - start the treadmill again.  7:30 mile pace.  Then down from there... I don't know my exact progression.  I'd increase the pace by .2 (treadmill-speak), then decide that was too much and go up .1, only to go back down a quarter of a mile later.  It was great.  I gave myself the flexibility of pace, and my only goal was to make this 5 miles HARD.  At 2.5 miles, though, I had that voice pop back into my head - you're a little tired, your hamstring is tight, you can totally stop!  Then a second voice reminded me that I'd need to call Nate & my parents with that news.  I did NOT want to do that.  Plus, at 2.5 miles, I told myself, I just had 2.5 miles to do.  Just get to 2 miles to go... and that isn't so far, right?  It's all about segmenting your workout!

I FINISHED the five miles - actually made it 5.5 miles!  Woot, woot!!  5.5 miles in an average of 6:53.  I think my last mile was sub 6:20 (ended at 6:11 pace).  Although sort of a failed start to the workout, I'm proud of myself for finishing, and for making that last 5.5 miles strong.  Great workout.  I got home and added up all of the segments (there were a lot - ooops) to find that I had run 23.7 miles.  Hmm.  Guess that's good, considering I need to run 26.2 in a week and half?

As hard as this was mentally for me, I will definitely schedule one of these runs in weekly through the winter.  I think it's a great way to test your limits, to gain mental strength (or at least work on it!), and to make the miles go by fairly quickly (well - unless you're stopping and starting often).  The miles aren't so bad when ever .5 miles you're considering whether you can increase the pace or not :).

So - not the most glamorous or inspirational workout, I'm sure.  But I DID it, and for that I'm proud :)


Nichole Porath

Nichole is a blogger, elite level runner, and coach. She ran professionally for Brooks for two years after qualifying for the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials. During that time she founded TNC endurance, where she coaches and motivationally speaks to organizations large and small. This blog details her rise to national-level racing, and continues to follow her as she gets back into racing after starting a family. Read on, friends!

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