Training Confessions

In case you missed the memo, I have officially started training for my Navy Pier Perfect 10 (mile) race in November. This is now the third time I have started to train for a 10 mile race. I say started because I have yet to actually complete my training “plan” for a 10 mile race.

Last year around this time, I got as far as my 7.50 mile run and then I got a cold so I was forced to take about a week off. After that, I struggled to find the desire to lace up and head out for a run.

So I started to evaluate what was going on with me. I figured it out. My two and a half year struggle with random nausea had finally caught up with me. I started to associate running with getting nausea which lead to me being afraid to run. The nausea was so severe on some days that I would just curl up in a ball on my couch. I honestly just couldn’t deal with it anymore. I had spent a solid year trying to figure out what the hell was going on and I had finally reached my breaking point. I had essentially stopped running because I was so afraid. In a last ditch effort, I went off my birth control. Almost instantly the issue was resolved… I was no longer getting nausea when I ran.

But after two and a half years of having this fear… I now had a mental battle to fight. I had to re-train my brain to NOT fear running.

I completed the 10 miler essentially without training… which is starting to become my specialty…

After that, I knew I had to focus on re-training my brain to stop fearing a run. It was the perfect time to kick off what would be my main goal for 2014… to run consistently and have a good solid base. I decided it would be best to start off small… I would focus on running a mile then two miles and then three.

See, before, I rarely ran more than 2.50 miles because the nausea problem seemed to be more severe when I ran over that distance. So three miles for me was where I needed to get to.

Through the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 I stuck to my plan. Slowly but surely the fear started to melt away. I could plan to run three miles without the fear of getting nausea.

But then it was time to start training for SF10. The fear returned as soon as I needed to run that was over 3 miles. I would feel anxious the entire day leading up to the run. But I forced myself to lace up and head out. I kept this up… forcing myself to lace up and head out for my planned longer run each and every week despite my fear. Throughout all of this, I never got nausea during or after a longer run. However, two and a half years is a long time. My fear wasn’t going to go away in one training cycle.

And then that training cycle ended…

A huge part of that was due to traveling and needing new running shoes. When I was done traveling, I had a very busy week and I wasn’t able to run.

In all honesty, I probably could have but fear is a powerful thing and I allowed it to cloud my decision between running and doing something else. I got to a point where I knew that trying to train for a race that was less than two weeks away wasn’t going to do much. I knew I could finish the race despite not having completed my training cycle. So I made the conscious decision to stop training for those couple of weeks.

That was when I saw the Runner’s World Run Streak for the summer. I knew that would be what I needed to get myself back on track.

SF 10 came and went. I did finish… and I fared better than I thought I would. In fact, had it not been for GI Issues, I probably would have nailed my goal. But of course, I will never truly know.

I threw myself into the Run Streak. It was a game changer for me.

I have always known my body does need rest days, but I also knew that my body would be able to handle a short-term streak of some sort. There were a number of days where I stuck to one mile only but as I started to get more comfortable with running again, I slowly started to add on the miles.

And then I got a really bad cold…

Remember when I said my body needs rest days? Yea…

During that streak, there was a day where I felt great. I wanted to see if I could run 4 miles… It had been months since I had run anything over 3 miles and I needed to find out how my body would handle it. Short and simple… It was amazing.

My plan for the summer had always been to maintain my running base… To run 3 miles a day. More if I was feeling good and less if I felt like I needed a shorter run. So that is what I did. I maintained my base and was consistent.

I also successfully ran more than 3 miles a handful of times over the summer. But as the start of my new training cycle neared, I found that fear was creeping back. I was afraid of my first “long” training run of the cycle… a 6 miler.

Luckily, I had a friend join me on this run which was a wonderful distraction from that fear for the first couple of miles of the run but the fear was there all day leading up to the run. The fear was there again for my next long training run… a run that I had to bail on. Which only increased my fear for my next attempt at my long run.

The fear is still there when I need to run long. I know it shouldn’t be. I haven’t had any issues with being nausea is such a long time now. I am 100% positive the issue was the birth control. But two and a half years is a long time. It will take time to reverse the training my mind suffered… the fear.

I know I am a stronger runner than I was during those two and a half years. What’s more, I feel stronger. Over the past 6 months, I have started to feel like the runner I was back in 2010… when it never occurred to me to be afraid of a long run. The body is there but the mind still isn’t. But I am working on it.

I have every intention of completing this training cycle. Technically training for Navy Pier is just PART of this training cycle. The true training cycle goes through January for Disney Marathon Weekend.

I don’t know if I will succeed or fail. But this time I have something that I didn’t have before… I want it more. I want to finish this training cycle. I want to hit my goals. Finally hitting all of my goals for this year will only help with the goals I am considering for next year. I know that I need to continue to run long instead of letting the fear take over.

It is all mental and I know that. I know my body is capable. For the first time in 4 years I feel capable again.

I haven’t done a training run over 7.50 miles since 2011 but this year WILL be the year I succeed… I WANT to succeed.


4 thoughts on “Training Confessions

  1. Interesting that the 3 mile point is still a hurdle for you, but is understandable given the nausea you used to have. I love longer runs because my legs only really loosen up after mile 2 or 3. After that I can speed up effortlessly. The effort feels a lot easier in the later miles than in the first few miles when I am dealing with initial leg tightness and minor aches and pains. If I had to stop after three I would likely not often experience that “flow” of running. I’m sure once you get a couple of 5+ mile runs in you won’t look back and you will succeed!

    • The three mile point was a HUGE hurdle for the longest time but I am much more comfortable with it now… 4 miles is a bit of a hurdle on some days but I am slowly getting more comfortable with that distance as well. I know it is a process and I am working on it… but the longer runs are still huge hurdles for me. I just hope that it goes away soon

  2. You can do it! Have you ever played around with why you think you might be getting the bad nausea? Food, hydration, overheating, maybe? Dr. Beth just wonders if there’s a physiological reason behind why you’re having the nausea and if that can be taken care of. 🙂

    • I actually spent a solid year trying to figure it out… In the end, as a last ditch effort, I went off my birth control medication. That solved the issue completely and I hadn’t had any issues is almost a year now. So problem (THANKFULLY) solved! I am just dealing with the mental side affects of getting nausea when I ran… I sort of got trained to think that run = nausea so I am trying to overcome that mental roadblock even though I actually haven’t gotten nausea in so long.

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