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How I conquer a hard run on tired legs: Experience

Good news- I think my hamstring is a little better, more importantly, it’s not any worse!  The past two weeks have consisted of running 3-4 days/week, biking 2-3 day/weeks and swimming 1 day/week. Melody came over and gave me my first real sports massage and it was awesome. I truly think it helped and we are both thinking of trying to keep it up once a month.

I have been following my own special “plan as you go” kind of training plan for Boston. It’s kind of fun to not be so calculated and just work on getting back to into the kind of shape I want to be in. I wanted so badly to get into PR shape after my prophylactic mastectomy and got myself into pretty darn good shape by January, but things just didn’t pan out how I wanted them to after the reconstructive surgery. I was already working on borrowed time after that one and there wasn’t much room for error. There’s a reason most good marathon training plans are at least 16 weeks. If they are only 12-16 weeks, there is likely a nice solid build phase before you really focus and I didn’t have time for all that. I needed 4-6 weeks of base building before serious training and it didn’t happen.

This past Saturday, my “all over the place” training had me running 20 miles. A decision I made after running 17 last weekend. I knew good and well that my legs weren’t going to be recovered from the hilly 17 miles last weekend. I ran them stronger & harder than I had anticipated and felt pretty good. I treated my body very nicely all week and then on Thursday, I ran for an hour on hills with a little pick up in the middle. I really have no idea how fast I ran for the pick up because I wasn’t wearing a watch but it was around 2-3ish miles hard. It felt fast though and it was up and down some good hills. I have done pretty much no speed work since I came back from surgery 2, except for that one baby tempo run I did too soon. (most of the reason, I’m behind now!) So these quick miles on hills definitely tired my legs more than they usually would. 

Needless to say, I knew it would be a slothfest on Saturday, but man I didn’t realize how much. My legs were dead from start to finish. Every mile was hard. At the beginning Glenn kept telling me they’d wake up, and while normally I would agree and I’d be preaching the same thing to anyone I’d run with- I knew that it wasn’t about waking them up. They were just done. Fried. I’m going to go ahead and say that a normal human would have decided to try again another day or most likely wait till the following weekend once they were 5 miles in. I’m stubborn and I was going to crawl my 20 miles if I had to.

We ran out to Griffy again from my parents house in Bloomington. The route we run from the eastside of town to Griffy is a nice rolling route, and then you get to run down Griffy hill, up Hinkle to Bethel and turn around- running back down Hinkle and up Griffy. These are some serious hills that I’ve ran many times and while they are always hard they’ve never felt like this. You are going to breath hard running up the hills no matter what, but your body doesn’t always feel like lead.

Normally Glenn would slow his pace and hang with me on an uphill but on Saturday, he wanted to get some work in up the hills and if he stayed with me, he could have just walked up them. I was determined not to walk, so I chugged along and at every peak I smiled and laughed because it had become comical that I was running on these legs and the thought that I had 12 miles to go made me laugh even more. It was a joke. I wish there was a video of the uphill shuffle crawl I was doing. I really didn’t feel like myself but that’s ok.

A lot of things can be what gets you through a run like that, but for me on Saturday, it was all about experience. It was honing in on all the times I’ve been there in marathons, all the times I’ve pushed my limits and knowing that it ends and you’ll be just fine. You just keep going. I kept telling Glenn- I know your legs have felt like this before, but I want to give you my legs for just 1 minute so you can understand what I’m dealing with here.

Our average pace for the run was about a minute slower than I’d normally run a hilly 20 miles. I didn’t ask our pace one time the entire run, but Glenn was keeping an eye on it. I think the only time he got really annoyed was when I pulled a 9:15 mile at mile 18. And then you know what he did? I heard his watch beep to mark the mile and he told me we were at mile 18 and when I was certain we were at 19. I almost collapsed thinking we had 2 miles to go and not 1. You know when you get your head and your heart set on how much farther you have? I hope there weren’t any kids running around in their yards (we were in Hyde Park) because there were words that aren’t very pretty or kid friendly that came flying out of my mouth. It wasn’t pretty.


Beyond that nice little story- running with your significant other is a whole other post. (many people have wrote about it- one day I will.) We’ve put in a decent amount of miles together over the past 8 years and if you know us in real like, you know that we have very different personalities which can make for an interesting – sometimes fun and sometimes frustrating 20 miles….

Really, I’m being dramatic. Because that’s what I do. But runs like this make you stronger, always. I knew going into this 20, that it wasn’t supposed to be a fast run, and I really just wanted to appreciate being outdoors on a beautiful day with no responsibilities for the time. While I did enjoy that part of it- it was hard to truly enjoy the actual run with the 300 lb invisible weights tied to each leg.

Next weekend I’m cutting down to 12-15 miles and then I’ll hit 20 again the following week. This will be a shorter taper than my norm, but what’s really been normal this past year really?

Post run treats


Day after a painful long run… the bike is calling your name.


Sloth On.

What do you do to get through a run where your legs are toast?

Do you find humor in a run that is tougher than anticipated? 

Do you enjoy running with your significant other? 

Hey by the way- I got some sweet new shades. You dig?


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