“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”
~ Benjamin Cheever, Strides

Sunday, April 8, 2012

On Perspective

Saturday Mornings are mornings I spend with my running group MiT, Marathoners in Training.  For those who don't know, MiT is a full service running group.  They provide training schedules for your target races, hydration on long run Saturdays, and divide into pace groups for the long run training runs complete with pace coaches to lead those runs.  The distance of the training run each season is determined by the schedule for the local target race.  This season, that race is the Cap City Half Marathon, my next race.  

Most of the season, I have been using the Knoxville training schedule and have been "off schedule" from the rest of the group.  Being off schedule sucks.  It often meant I either ran a few extra before or after the group run (by myself or with other friends), or on fallback weeks in my schedule, I had to turn around and run half the distance by myself.  (We run an out and back on the Olentangy Trail).  I know many people run by themselves, so that probably doesn't seem like a big deal.  In fact, I trained for my first Half by myself, but I joined this group partly for the long run company, and have grown accustomed to it.  I hated ditching the group to run back by myself.  I always had to reassure other groups on the trail that I was okay, etc., etc.  

Needless to say, this week, I was excited for multiple reasons. (1) I was no longer off schedule.  Cap City was my new target race. (2) The Cap City Schedule was on a fallback week - perfect, since I ran a Half last weekend (Recap HERE). (3) no more alone time on long runs.

Or not.  We turned North on the Olentangy Trail upon leaving our normal meeting point.  I know, from experience, that my training group puts out hydration 3 miles from the start point when going North.  (going South - hydration is provided 1.5 miles from the start point).  I mentioned to a couple of my good friends, "hmmm, we won't hit a water stop before the turnaround point."  I wear a fuel belt, so for me, this isn't a problem, but I also know, from experience, that MiT doesn't usually do a long run without stopping at a hydration stop (because people usually complain).

When my Garmin hit 2.5 miles and we showed no signs of turning around, I began to fear that we were going for the hydration stop anyway.  I was willing to concede, though, that my watch was showing a different mileage than the pace coach and kept going.  At 2.6 miles, I decided they weren't going the assigned mileage and turned around. By myself.

As I ran back by myself, I began to get angry.  I'd looked forward to a simple 5 mile run post race and time to chat with all my friends.  Just a few weeks ago, the coaches had written a long blog post/email about the importance of fallback week for healing muscles.  How it was important not to run extra miles or run faster than normal because "The reason we fall back is to allow our bodies to recover, replenish glycogen stores and prepare for the build weeks in front of us"

It repeated this over and over to beat some of us that needed it over the head with the idea.  The fact that they were expressly doing the OPPOSITE of what they said made me FAR angrier than it should have.  Anger is very good for my speed (but perhaps not LSD speed).  Although I ran out with the 12 min pace group, my average time for the overall run was 11:25 min/miles.  Oops.  I'm not sure what is worse fallback week behavior, running closer to tempo for half the run, or running an extra mile?
Me at the finish of the run, caught up to the 11:30 group. (Front left)
When I got back, I was angry enough to ask the head coach what the assigned mileage was, he said 6. (which is actually wrong, I double-checked). Turns out, because many of the groups went North, most groups ran almost 6.  The 11:30 group ran only 5 though....hmmm.

I hung around after the run to drink water, stretch, chat with some friends that were in the 11:30 group, and wait for my friends in the 12:00 group.  I had told my husband I would be home by 9, but I wanted to see how far they'd gone and I'd missed chatting with them.  As they came in, I made no secret that I was annoyed.  (I'm not really good at hiding my emotions from friends).  I'm typically a happy, bouncy person, so in hindsight, it was kind of silly how mad I was.  One of my friends, Lynne, pointed out that it could be the scientist in me, being disturbed by the wrong number.  She's so smart.
As proof of my normal nature, on our mid-week workout,
I made Laurie climb on my back for a picture
Another of my friends, S, came in a bit behind the main group.  Initially, I thought nothing of it, because she'd mentioned walking in the extra mileage before I turned around.  (I still turned around because I wanted to finish the big hill running).  As her and our other friend spoke though, I realized something was wrong.  I asked if a hug would make her cry.  Yes.  I asked if she wanted one anyway.  They laughed.  I admitted, I'm a hugger.  

Turns out, she was injured.  MiT now provides athletic trainers at our long runs to talk to if this occurs.  We suggested she talk to the trainer.  As the trainer was examining her, I was hovering.  I could tell she was embarrassed by the attention, felt she was in good hands, and was half an hour late to relieve the husband so that he could run, so I left.  

After I got home, I got a text from Laurie, saying that she was with S at Urgent Care, that the trainer thought it was a stress fracture.  Perspective.  I felt terrible for multiple reasons.  (1) I'd left and gone home. (2) I know how much a stress fracture hurts.  (3) I know how much it sucks to have such an injury less than a month before a target race.  (4) I'd been whining and ticked off about 1 measly little mile.

Turns out, urgent care doctors suck, and no definitive words on my friend's injury.  She was diagnosed with a "painful limb" - which for some crazy reason, we found absurdly funny.  She is going to our awesome Sports Medicine Doctor this week to find out the real scoop.  Her response/attitude in text messages was amazing.  "if I am sidelined I will become the best spectator you all ever knew :)".


Sure puts my anger over one extra mile into perspective.

Normally, in my training, a mile here or a mile there wasn't a big deal to me.  I'm not sure why it mattered so much this week, but I feel rather silly about it now.

Have you ever gotten so disproportionately annoyed about something?

Have you ever had an injury derail your training plans?  What would be the best cheer-you-up idea?  (I was thinking food and beer).

Do you run with a group or solo?


  1. Love the post on this fine Easter morning! I think we all get disproportionally frustrated from time to time. Case in point as Laurie and A. Were escorting me to Laurie's car yesterday insisting THEY get my wallet and cell phone for me, I snapped and told them I could get it myself with s few choice words mixed in. I groveled and apologized to both of them since...

    Perspective is a good thing. To me, the most important things include recognizing and then owning it when our annoyance takes over. Btw next time make me take the hug. I needed it and the tears that would have come along with it would have Benn an OK thing. Nothing wrong with crying...

  2. I love love love this post. It is awesome. Totally the theme of the title. Love how Jeff messed up the mileage. Apparently he won't like the email I was going to send him about that! And yes, I have gotten very angry about something too! I was confused as to why you were alone, but you knew that!

  3. I've definitely gotten upset over silly things for no good reason. :) I'm jealous that you have a great group to train with! I do most runs solo, which I don't mind until the runs get longer. Injuries are the worst... and stress fractures can be tricky to diagnose as they often don't show on xrays. I'm sure food and beer would be appreciated!


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