A tough long run and some world championship swimming

Today was not my day. It was just one of those days where I never really got into a rhythm and I just felt off the whole 6 miles of my long run. I felt tired and sluggish and just wanted to be done. I know it’s just one run and you can’t pin everything on it (good runs and bad runs, I know) but I was beating myself up during this run. I kept thinking “come on, it’s just 6 miles” and “you have no business training for a marathon if 6 is a struggle” and of course “toughen up buttercup.” I guess I did toughen up in a way, since I never took a walk break. I just kept trudging along. I’m not sure what the deal was. Maybe I’m tired from doing all morning runs/workouts this week? Maybe it was just one of those days. It was also 70 degrees with 100% humidity today, and that humidity never helps things any. It also makes my pictures hazy.

On a happier note, I tried out some new fuel: peanut butter-flavored Gu. Although I don’t necessarily need fuel on a 6 mile run, I prefer to try out new types of fuel on shorter long runs in case disaster strikes. Surprisingly I liked the flavor and it sat well in my stomach. I think this would definitely be something I would eat in the earlier stages of a race, because the longer I go usually the more irritable I get and the strongly-flavored peanut butter Gu would definitely not go over well with the irritable side of me.

My running brain did entertain me with some random thoughts, as usual, and for once I remembered one of them to share with you! The trail I was running on this morning essentially has a bathroom every mile for the first 3 (if you turn right and go to the trailhead when you get up on the New River Trail). There’s a brick and mortar bathroom at mile 0 and 3, and then there are porta potties at miles 1 and 2. I got to thinking I have become quite a connoisseur of porta potties over my years of running. I often know where all of the unlocked porta potties in town are located, as well as where other public restrooms are. So here’s where my running brain comes in: I decided that was very similar to the kid from ‘A Christmas Story’ becoming a connoisseur of soap.

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Don’t ask why my brain made the leap from porta potties to the Ralphie being punished for saying the F-word. Probably because they both use the word connoisseur (which by the way I had to use spell check in order to spell correctly).

I will leave you with a video of Katie Ledecky swimming the 400 at worlds. It’s worth the watch if you have time. This kid, and I mean kid- she’s only 16, swims the way Steve Prefontaine ran. You may remember her from last year’s Olympics when she burst onto the world scene with a gold in the 800 free.

If you’re interested, the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay was some of the best racing I’ve seen and it has an edge of your seat finish.

Random question: Are elite runners allowed to consume products with caffeine in them while competing in the marathon? Barry had mentioned to me that when he takes in a Gu that has caffeine in it, he always gets a boost. I noticed today that the peanut butter Gu does not have caffeine in it and for whatever reason started wondering if elites were allowed to take in something that would give them a boost during competition.

Anyone else been following the world championships for swimming?

How do you move on from tough runs? How do you keep them from making you feel like the goal you’re training for isn’t attainable?

12 Comments

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  1. I’m pretty sure caffeine is allowed for elites. They’re definitely allowed to drink coffee before a race, so I assume they can during. But what do I know?! Caffeine can make my stomach go a little crazy so I don’t think I’d want one during the later parts of a race.

    70 degrees and 100% humidity will DEFINITELY make a run feel much, much harder than it normally would. Don’t be too hard on yourself! I’d call it a victory even surviving a run in those conditions!

    Whenever I have a really hard run, I’m almost (key word: almost) happy about it because I think that training in the toughest conditions will make race day so much easier. Of course, it’s hard to believe that WHILE running, but once I get through it I’m usually pretty thankful for having done it. Good job for getting it done!

    1. That’s what I was thinking, about them being able to drink coffee before a race.

  2. I LOVE watching swim meets and wish they televised them more. I was a competitive swimmer before I started running, and swimming will always be my first athletic love. So excited to watch the coverage tomorrow!

    Don’t sweat your icky run. You’re going to have off days, but the only thing that matters is that you put the time in. Let it go and focus on the next run.

    1. I also grew up as a competitive swimmer, so I will always have a place in my heart for swimming 🙂

  3. We watched swimming today too! Katie is SO amazing. My sister-in-law grew up swimming on the same team as Matt Grevers so it’s always fun to see him do well, too.

    1. That’s so cool about your SIL and Matt Grevers! Ed Moses’ mom was my 8th grade science teacher and she was always asking how my swimming was going and how I did in my meet. Katie is actually from a local pool my team swam against when I was growing up, which is cool.

  4. I should be paying attention to the world championships. We know Allison Schmitt’s family a little and we know her high school coach well. I wonder if she’s competing.
    That is a GREAT idea… fueling on short runs to test them out.
    Good for you for making it through the tough mental battle. Yuck. You have EVERY business training for a marathon (I know you know that, but maybe you needed to know other people know it, too!).

    1. So cool that y’all know Allison Schmitt’s family! That American record Katie broke in the 400 was actually Allison’s old record 🙂 Thanks for the reassurance on the marathon. Deep down I know it but sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and question myself.

  5. Rough runs are hard and demoralizing, but I think they make your good runs feel really good! I wish swimming and track were on TV more often (and I knew about it to watch them!) because I love watching races.

    1. That’s true! The tough ones make the good ones that much better. I also wish swimming and track were on main TV channels more often. They have a lot of coverage for the world championships on the NBC sports network, but we don’t get that channel, so I’m stuck with whatever they put on NBC.

  6. I don’t know about professional athletes, but in the NCAA, there is a caffeine ban. You can have caffeine up to a certain amount, but above certain levels, it’s banned. A lot of energy drinks are officially banned, too.

    I’ve been having a lot of runs like that lately. I think thoughts like that all the time during them and they just me in a bad mood. But I just have to remind myself that it’s just one bad run and that doesn’t make or break a training plan..

    1. I didn’t know that about the NCAA, but it totally makes sense! Especially with all of those crazy sports drinks they have now a days.

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