Posts Tagged ‘Steamtown’

Happy Sunday, Gang!

First question – HOW IS IT ALMOST SEPTEMBER?!  What the heck!

Anywho…now that that’s out of the way…..


As a coach, an athlete, friend, daughter, cousin, and sister….but most specifically as an athlete and coach….I find that keeping a positive attitude about the workout or practice or run or experience makes all the difference.

We’ve all seen the cliché sayings/images that read something like this:


Or like this:


And honestly, as a coach and an athlete, they’re incredibly helpful and true.  A few people who take my spinning classes read this blog – they can attest to the positive nature in which I approach working out.  Often you’ll hear me say things to the class like….

“Yes, you can!”

“Stop telling yourself no.  Change your attitude!  You love this.”

“You’re already doing it, keep going.”


and my favorite….


This is me and my attitude TO A “T”.

I mentioned, about a week ago, about my experience with The Steamtown Marathon last year.  I have not divulged all of the details of said Marathon.  There were a lot of things were not perfect for that day.  There were a lot of things that did not go my way that day.  In fact, one might even say it was THE WORST EXPERIENCE I’VE EVER HAD WHILE DOING A RACE….and yes, Heather and Jen….it even includes the monsoon we ran in during THE LOVE RUN half marathon in March (which we are TOTALLY doing again this year!)

I find that through awful experiences, it’s important to not just accept that you are not having a great time but to see how you can improve for the future and most importantly LEARN from said experiences.  I’ll admit it.  I was incredibly defeated after the marathon.  I stopped posting on here.  I stopped talking about running.  In many ways, I stopped believing in myself.

After a few months….okay, let’s be real…more like 5 or 6 months…I finally reclaimed my stake in enjoying running.  On many runs since then, I have been able to refocus and reevaluate what I did wrong and what I did (if at all) right.

Here’s what I learned:

1.  I was WAY over trained.  Prior to the Steamtown, I had only ran 1 other marathon.  I got it into my head that I could just – Poof! – qualify for Boston.  I know, I’m crazy.  I started following a running plan that was going to make me faster and have me running like 6 times a week.  Keep in mind, many of my friends know I already do this but I am not always running the same distances….I just enjoy running – some times is 2 miles…some times its 8.  It varies.  I don’t have any real goal.  This training plan, however, had me checking times…and doing intervals.  I didn’t realize how “in over my head” I was until it was too late and I was burned out mid training.

2.  Mind REALLY DOES CONQUER over Matter.  I have witnesses than can verify this:

I broke down at mile 14.  My hips started seizing at mile 8 but I pushed through.  Steamtown DOES NOT have a half marathon, like many other marathons….there was no “stopping” until 26.2.  I turned the corner at 13.8 and thank god I had my phone on me….I called my Dad.  No answer.  I called my Mom.  No answer.  I called my sister.  No answer.  I called my Dad, again.  No answer.  I called my sister, again…..she picked up.

The tears just overflowed.  There was no stopping them.  I was walking.  Crying.  Grabbing my hips.  Becoming hysterical.  Basically, what it felt like, was the tops of my legs (you know, where they fit into your hip socket?) were grinding into my hips….BONE ON BONE.  Of course, I don’t think this was really the case…my body was just in all sorts of a mangled position.

As I turned the next corner and continued to cry to my father on the phone – who, as a side note, told me there is no shame in not finishing, especially if I am hurt – an ambulance appeared.  I ended up sitting in said ambulance for a good 20 minutes.  I calmed down.

I contemplated not finishing.  I contemplated just being driven to the finish line. One of the EMT guys on a bike offered to ride next to me for the next mile if I wanted to continue.  These are the things that went through my head:


I can’t stop.  I’ll be a quitter.

I always tell people to keep going – if I stop now, I’ll be a hypocrite (and yes, I realize I shouldn’t care what people think).

Mind over matter, Katie.  You can do this.

Would it be the worst thing in the world to stop?  Plenty of people don’t finish Marathons.


So basically….I decided to keep going.  I got out of the ambulance.  Started running.  The EMT guy could only follow me for a mile…and I went three more miles before walking.  Found some strength….went another 3 miles.  By the time I got to mile 21 I was like…that’s it, I’m done.  But I was at mile 21!  I couldn’t give up then.

I told myself – no matter how you do it, just finish.  At that point so many things didn’t matter.  And yes, you could say it was a pride/ego thing….but I knew that I could finish.  I found a nice woman who hung with me – walked – talked – jogged – for the last four miles.  Until I finally crossed the finish line.

3.  If I had not pushed myself – just a little bit more – I would be incredibly disappointed.  I know.  I get it.  It’s okay to not always finish things, especially if you physically can not.  Unfortunately, I am incredibly stubborn.  I couldn’t help but think:

-If I give up on myself, how will I carry out other incredibly difficult tasks in the future?

-If I stop running, what does that say for my belief in myself?

-If I don’t finish, what will this mean for any task I try to take on in the future?  That if it gets too hard – mentally or physically – I’ll just say…well it’s okay, I tried.

But then I remembered Yoda:

You either do, or you do not.  Simple.

The choice was mine.  I decided to take the harder of the two.

And I was (and still am) incredibly happy/proud of my perseverance.

There are eleventy billion articles about the power of positive thinking and sports.  You can google them for your reading pleasure.

Basically, what I’m getting at is this:










“It’s important to remember that each footstrike carries you forward, not backward. And every time you put on your running shoes you are different in some way than you were the day before.”

That little gem came in my RW Quote of the Day email this morning.  I needed that right now.

Yesterday wasn’t as successful as I hoped.  I did a long run – yes.  It wasn’t 16 miles – it was only 13 miles.  It was incredibly hilly.  This is what the elevation looked like…..

Screen shot 2013-08-05 at 7.58.14 AM

Needless to say, I was not really prepared for this.  I had it in my head (because my running friend Mindy TOLD me it would be this way) that we were going to do a relatively flat run with some hills at the end.  And if you’re a runner you’re looking at this and thinking…well the first part was all down hill….

See Miles 5 through 7?!?!?!  It’s one giant hill.

The elevation for Steamtown (the Marathon I’m training for) looks like this:


Screen shot 2013-08-05 at 8.02.18 AMI’m thinking I should be good to go???  What do you think?

All I know is I’m getting frustrated not getting the longer miles in.  I stopped at 13 yesterday because my hip was KILLING me.  First time in a LONG time that’s happened.

A few things I decided I will do this week – lessen the distance on my runs (keep them between 5 and 7 miles) but make them more quality.  I will also plan to do a flat long run on Sunday.  Probably two loops on the River….each loop is jut about 8.4 miles.

I’ll keep the hills and the speed work…but no more 13 mile or more hilly runs (I’ll probably do it again in September).

I was SO frustrated yesterday during my run.  I was angry that it wasn’t the route I was expecting.  I was annoyed that I couldn’t figure out how to find my usual pace.  Everything threw me off.

I felt bad for Mindy and Ilya because I kept slowing them down.  It was clear they wanted to go ahead of me.  Mindy was super supportive and helpful.  I even doubted that I would BQ.  I get down on myself SO quickly when physically I am breaking down.  Anyone else?

I need to refocus.

The joys I experienced yesterday and today even are that I am now incredibly keen on how I need to recoup when it comes to finishing long runs.

Sometimes I’ll take an ice bath – most times I’ll just shower all the sweat off – put on my compression socks or sleeves and walk around a bit.  I also drink a TON of water right after and throughout the day.  I’ve mentioned how much I sweat – yesterday was no exception despite the cooler temps.

Today is a rest day.  I feel like I could use a good stretch – so I might pop into a yoga class later and/or go for a swim at school.  No matter, I am channeling my energy into the right things today…..

What do you do to refocus?

How do you recover from long runs?  Ice bath?  Sleep?
John “The Penguin” Bingham, Going with the Flow, The Penguin Chronicles Archive