Martini Fridays: What My Problem Is

I think I’ve finally figured out what is keeping me from all of my running goals: it’s my job.

See — in case you haven’t figured it out yet, given my long-winded posts about just not feeling the running love lately, I’ve been in a tiny slump lately. Not the sort where I consider taking up another sport — friends have long tried to get me into roller derby but I just don’t like pain enough — but a small slump where I look at my times and wonder why I seem to be getting slower rather than faster. With all of the speed work and long runs that Coach Christine has prescribed, I should be a mighty and fearsome (and mighty fearsome) running machine by now. And, yet, I am most demonstrably not.

I’ve been thinking about all of the things you think about when in a small slump, many of which one of my favorite running bloggers touched on this week. Maybe I need to hydrate more? Maybe beet juice? Maybe I should eat more kale? Or less? Maybe I’m over-training? Or under training? Maybe I have some exotic disease that has no other symptoms other than not hitting paces? Maybe it’s just summer that’s bringing me down? Maybe? Maybe? Maybe?

Not even new Saucony gear can shake me out of my funk. The Pinnacle shorts are pretty sweet, though. And it's harder to take a picture of your own arse than you might think.

While all of those things probably play in, I discovered the true culprit on Tuesday. I was already taking the afternoon off for a doctor’s appointment, that yearly one that every woman loves, and decided to take the morning as well. I’ve been cleaning out my son’s room for the last week — yes, it has taken that long because I can only handle an hour in there before I’m overcome with both dust and ennui — and thought I’d put in my hour in the salt mines rather than head to the office. Before that, of course, I’d work in the eight intervals of 2 minutes at 9:30 with 2 minutes of recovery that were on the schedule.

Since I didn’t have to scramble through my morning routine of run, eat fast, shower faster, and get to work, I lingered over my bowl of cereal and cup of coffee. I took the time to deal with email. Plus I got to spend as much time as needed to “drop the kids off at the pool.” By the time I hit the track, it was 9:30, which is more than 3 hours later than I usually get there.

My cheering squad as I ran up to the high school track.

While I’d been apprehensive about the workout — eight intervals just seems like a lot of intervals, right? — once I got started, it went really, really well. I mean, it wasn’t easy but by interval #8, I still felt like I had some juice left. Having said that, I’m not sure I could have squeezed out an interval #9 without being chased by one of our local bears. Regardless, it was a pretty amazing hour at the track and one that left me feeling like a true BAMR.

Which leads me to conclude one of two things: either a) my ideal time for a run is mid-morning, which means I need to be independently wealthy so that I can quit my job or b) I need to start getting up at 3 a.m. so that I can eat and poop a full three hours before I lace up my shoes, which, frankly, is never, ever going to happen.

Which means I need to continue working around the parts of my life that I can’t change. Does anyone have any suggestions for improving my morning routine, including, maybe, one that lets me shove some easily digested (but non-banana) food in my face before my run? Or, even better, one that leads me to becoming filthy rich without having to do something gross or morally repellent?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a couple of other running related items, even though I can’t think of a seamless way to work them into this post. That amazing interval run starved a few of my writing-related brain cells. So:

I let Coach know that I’d be busy most of last Sunday and needed a run short enough to fit into the time I had. She scheduled an 8-miler with a 5 minute strong finish. It was nice to only run 8 miles. If you’d asked me if I would ever describe any run with the qualifier “only” a few years ago, I’d know you were nuts. Still, it was only 8 miles, which I started before the sun came up.

Yes, we could stand a new marquee.

Why was my Sunday busy? Oh, you know, I was just giving the sermon at my church. I do this once a year or so, generally when more qualified people aren’t available. This one was called “The Last Mile” and can be read right here.

Don’t feel too bad if you missed it, even though we did save you a seat, a slice of post-service cake, and talked about how much we would have liked to have seen you. At Zooma Cape Cod in September I'll be speaking on Friday evening about embracing your inner wicked fierce runner and/or singing show tunes if I run out of material. Two other BAMRs and I will be woman-ing the AMR table at the Expo. Come on over, paw our merch, and say hi.

Speaking of, as was spilled on the excellent podcast with Marianne and Heather last week, all three of us all be holding down a table at the Wineglass Expo. More details on that one as we have them.

First, however, I have  to get through the 13-miler on Saturday (with the last two at race pace!). Fingers crossed for cool weather, a quickly digested breakfast, and cooperative bowels.

18 responses to “Martini Fridays: What My Problem Is

  1. Such a great post! I also read your sermon which was really fantastic as well. It was just what I needed to read as I head into the last four weeks of my 10K Find Your Strong training program. I keep wondering how am I ever going to run 8 miles (the longest distance in the training plan)? I will somehow do it..I thought that of my 5.5 mile run too and I did it without dying and in pretty decent time. The “gap” you spoke of on your sermon is so dead on. Loved this! Great writing!

  2. Yeah, when y”all figure out how to be independently wealthy, let me know. I’m probably about to get fired as I have just wasted the entire day here at work reading the blog Shut Up and Run! Thanks for introducing, she is hysterical!

  3. If I’m going to un more than an hour, I like a small cup of rice (if there are any leftovers from dinner) works pretty well, too. The ride is easy on my stomach. And yes, work gets in the way of lots of runs! But until I hit the lottery…I will continue to maneuver around full time mom-ing and full time working!

  4. I think I say this at least once a week: My damn job gets in the way of all the things I really want to do.
    Have you tried Quest bars before a run? Or even just half of a bar? They are packed with protein and don’t make me burp like most other foods do.
    I love your posts, Ms. Martini. Sometimes I feel like you are inside my brain reading my thoughts. Keep them coming because you validate everything I am feeling and thinking.

  5. Have you considered running at night? I am not at all a morning person (I feel like that makes me look like a horrible parent, so it’s hard to admit!). I’ll do a morning run when I need to, but I simply run better later in the day. It took me awhile to understand it, but a friend and Father Runner who has been a runner since high school told me that he runs best later in the day as well. So, I’ve stopped fighting it. 🙂
    Last night I did intervals with strength work at 10pm. 😉 Gave the second shift hospital workers near my 1st stop for strength exercises something to talk about, I’m sure!
    If you do try running at night, I suggest ditching the headphones (which is cathartic in itself!) and carrying knuckle lights or a headlamp. I don’t wear a vest, but I run in the middle of Pgh.

  6. I think I also have the exotic disease that has no other symptoms other than not hitting paces. Maybe if we find a cure for that, we will become wealthy? For morning runs, I eat a frozen waffle for longish (8+) miles or a bagel with cream cheese for really long runs. Great post!

  7. I would very much like to learn the secret to becoming independently wealthy. If I do, I want to time it when both boys are in school so I can have my days to me. #soselfish

    I sometimes eat before a run, sometimes not depending on time. I like mini Larabars, graham crackers with peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies (don’t judge) and uncrustables.

  8. For morning runs up to an hour, I don’t eat anthing before. Even on speed-work days, I’ve got plenty of stored energy, I find. And I love my after run breakfasts.

  9. I enjoyed your post and your sermon. For me, running is often about getting my head out of the way and letting my body do what it can. Similarly, lately I have been thinking the same about faith; I need to have faith that God is taking care of things and then get out of the way and let Him do it.

  10. Lovely sermon Adrienne.
    I’m so happy to hear there will be a booth at Wine glass.

    I have no solutions on the job thing 😉 I work 10 hour days and leave at 6, so short dog walks are my early morning exercise. It’s either hot and slow runs after work or day off and weekend mornings.

    I was also a late starting runner and can remember how hard it was at the beginning. I got sucked into marathon training with friends when I hadn’t raced more than one 10K. We trained through a bitter cold NNY winter, when our power bars would freeze solid (long before gels were available). I’m enjoying reading other people’s journeys into running.

  11. You have also been running in heat and humidity….which is there even early in the morning, so that’s a factor. Love that running 8 miles is not that hard for you anymore….it is amazing to me that a few years ago I couldn’t run, and now running up to 10 miles I don’t really stress about.

  12. Also a UU here 🙂 And a SUAR lover as well. AND I also run terribly in the summer. The humidity likes to be around 80% when I run in the morning, which is unacceptable. Fall will be here soon and you may see that running is a lot easier. Have you considered running at lunchtime once it’s a better temp in the middle of the day?

  13. Instant oatmeal for my workouts(swim/bike)-but I don’t eat anything before my early (4:30) runs as during the work week they are 4 miles or shorter. I do have coffee with milk/cream tho to get things going-Have to that early! For longer runs I take a gel or two and water. I don’t “get” the slump stuff…..the only time I didn’t run was when I couldn’t due to illness or injury. Going on my 44th year of running and 33rd year of training and participating in tris, I long for those days when I spent the whole Sat. morning out on trails somewhere. Even my being at work by 7 a.m. (with a 45 min. commute) isn’t keeping me from getting a few runs in (or rides/swims) before I chase preschool kids around all day….count your blessings that you GET to run a 13+ miler! Someday your body may not “let” you anymore…mine is fighting me tooth and nail! Now, get out there…

  14. Plain vanilla yogurt is about the only thing I can get down at the crack of dawn. I’ve also started taking in fuel (GU) more frequently when I run that early. It’s made a huge difference!

  15. And another UU member, born and raised. I think the summer puts me in a slump because a) I sweat “like a 400 pound man in a sauna” and that requires drinking so much fluids that I need to hydrate as though I’ve been trudging through the desert which in turn requires lots of “comfort break” time…all very time consuming! And b) summer is supposed to be relaxing and lazy and slow and nothing about getting up with an alarm clock says that. Just when my kids get a break from routine, I’m on a strict one to beat the heat and get in my runs so we can then relax on a summer day. Exhausting! As far as food, I can eat just about anything before a run but I need 33 minutes to have a cup of tea and drop the kids off at the pool. If I’m rushed (30 minutes), it won’t happen. See you in September!!

  16. I have been eating a serving of unsweetened applesauce (for short runs) ever since listening to an AMR podcast regarding nutrition.
    As for independent wealth, sorry, if I figure it out I’ll share. I’m afraid I’m no help for scheduling, I am one of the crazies who have been getting up 3:30 or so to get my mid-week AMRFYS marathon training runs in before I need to leave for work @6:15 (at least for the summer.)
    Not bragging, just confirming crazy status!

  17. I could’ve written this post! I have the exact same problem lately, and since going back to work full time (I’m a teacher) two weeks ago, my weekday runs have been non-existent. And I know I cannot train for my January marathon solely by running on Saturday and Sunday.

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