Running is mental; it’s a good thing I’m insane…

Running is mental – in my “expert” opinion, it’s about 80% mental and 20% physical and once you get to a certain point in your training, it can get as high as 95% mental and 5% physical. So it’s a very good thing I am insane and if you don’t believe I’m insane, have you not looked at the pictures in my post last week?

Anyway, I do believe that your body gets to a point in marathon training when you’re physically capable of running the full 26.2 (that’s why the longest you’ll run up until the race is around 20). At that point, it’s your mental state that will help you through it. After completing three full marathons already in the course of six months, fully training for two of the three, and then fully training for one that did not happen, I know that my physical state can handle the training and likely the race (knock of wood). Of course, if I want to PR, I’ll need to focus on strength training and speed work, but most of the endurance is there. Through the tougher workouts and longer runs, I know it is critical that I am in the right state of mind; that I am being positive and playing tricks on my brain so that way it doesn’t get discouraged. It’s amazing no matter the countless double digit runs I completed in the last 14 months, I still psych myself out the night before and morning of a long run. I am constantly surprised by how nervous I am the morning of that I still need force food down my stomach.

There are certainly good weeks and there are bad weeks, this week was a so-so week. There were definitely a lot of mental games involved in making it through this week of training.

Monday – Mental State: 0; Physical State: 0; Cindy’s Belly: 1
I planned for a day off on Monday so I can meet a friend for dinner in the city. We went to Fig and Olive, one of my favorite restaurants of all time. For two petite girls, we ate a lot! Please look at this menu because it is yummy! We ordered six crostinis to split (two of each: mushroom, artichoke, scallion, parmesan; burrata, tomato, herbs, balsamic; manchego, fig, marcona almonda). I had penne funghi tartufo with shrimp for dinner and then we shared the caramelized apple tart. And oh, I treated myself to a good glass of the Grenache/Cinsault – La Chapelle Gordonne from France. I clearly do not know what any of those words means and just picked it because it is a rose, and the menu said “fresh, delicate, red berries.”

Tuesday – Mental State: 0; Physical State: 1; Cindy’s Belly: 0
I had a doctor’s appointment in the morning, so I lucked out and was able to pick up my new gear a day early! Even though it looks awfully similar to last year’s, I am so excited to have more Alzheimer’s clothes to cycle through my week (I’ll have to take a picture for next week, it’s all in the wash right now!). Tuesday was another rainy day, we seem to get a heavy rainstorm on one of our practice days each week for the last couple of weeks. Fortunately, despite getting completely soaked by the time I made back to work, the rain stopped just in time for our speed workout and strength training (sometimes, I wish it would just thunder about 30 minutes before practice, that’s the laziness speaking). The goal of our practice is supposed to build lactic acid in our muscles, recover, and then do it again! We ran our lactic acid tolerance intervals around the 200 meter track by the great lawn in Central Park. It was 45 seconds of sprinting followed by a 2-minute recovery jog. We did each variation six times. Afterwards, we focused on strength training and core work. By the time our workout was finished, my legs were jelly.

I think Coach Brian was about to tell me I run like a
penguin here…

Wednesday – Mental State: 0; Physical State: 1; Cindy’s Belly: 1
Less than 12 hours after Tuesday night’s practice, I went for a recovery run. I had dinner plans with co-workers after work, so it forced me to get up early and go for a run. I surprised myself by my diligence to get out of bed when my alarm went off about an hour earlier than it usually does. It definitely helped that Josh was already awake! I rewarded myself by eating my weight’s share of chips, salsa, shredded beef enchiladas, and drinking a glass too many margaritas at Charritos that night.

Thursday – Mental State: 1; Physical State: 0; Cindy’s Belly: 1
I should have gone to practice on Thursday, but I didn’t. I was just so overwhelmed at work and instead of forcing myself to leave on time, I stayed at work late and then stressed myself out about it. I should have known better. Typically, when I skip a practice because of work, I feel like I am resorting back to my old ways when I used to give work 100% ALL the time and my personal health 0% of the time. I know I am being overdramatic and it is just one run, but when you’re the only one in an empty office, your mind really plays games on you. I could have gone for a run when I left, but at that point, my mental state was in the gutter and there was no hope pulling me out of it. So I went to meet Josh and a couple of friends for dinner. A steak sandwich, fries, and sweet tea vodka with lemonade later (I wanted an iced tea, but the bartender convinced me otherwise!), I still didn’t feel better. P.S. I know I have been drinking a lot this week (a lot is relative) considering I usually can go weeks without drinking at all (I’m making myself seem like an alcoholic in this post instead of Josh, that’s a change).

Friday – Mental State: 1; Physical State: 0.5; Cindy’s Belly: 0
Friday should have been about redemption. I had grand plans to go to a barre class and then for a run afterwards. I made it to my class, it’s a good thing they charge me full price if I cancel too late, but I didn’t make it for the run. In whiney Cindy fashion, I came home from the class and declared myself too hungry and tired to run, so instead we went out to dinner! I don’t give my belly a score for this day because I don’t think I overindulged at dinner! Sushi and udon noodle soup is not overindulging!

Saturday – Mental State: 0.5; Physical State: 1; Cindy’s Belly: 1
On Friday night, I realized that in order to run before heading into work on Saturday, I’d have to get up at 5AM. I quickly vetoed that idea and decided that I was going to go later that afternoon. After work, Josh and I went to Pier 13 to try one of the food trucks, Shorty’s. I ordered the roast pork special – pork with provolone cheese, broccoli rabe and a side of roasted garlic au jus. We shared an order of the Italian fries. As soon as I got home, I was in a food coma and needed a nap (tough life, huh?). Two and a half hours later, I woke up groggy and forced myself to go for a run. Instead of running outside, despite the nice weather, I convinced myself that it was too hot and since I was doing a long run on Sunday, I should just run on the treadmill. Amazing, the tricks you play on yourself. As soon as I got on the treadmill, I felt great and didn’t want to stop – perfect example of how running is mental. We ordered dinner when I got back, and it was yummy. We have my pre-long run carb loading down to a science; we ordered from Napoli’s: margherita pizza with portobello mushrooms, penne with broccoli, chicken, garlic, and olive oil, and a salad. Perfect meal (and perfect amount of food for us to have leftovers for next day’s lunch) to kickoff my lazy evening on the couch. I even stayed awake to a watch movie last night – To Catch a Thief. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Alfred Hitchcock movie before, but I highly recommend even though this is considered one of his less popular films.

Sunday – Mental State: 0; Physical State: 1; Cindy’s Belly: 0
Today was the NYRR ING NYC Marathon Long Training Run #2. The last long training run, I was sick and couldn’t complete the additional two miles that I planned on. I was determined that today was going to end better than that. Through my nerves and anxiety this morning, I still managed to eat a bowl of oatmeal. To calm myself down though, I played UNO on the iPad while eating and I even won the game; that must be an omen for my run! Despite receiving the wrong bib and waiting on a ten minute line for the porto-potties, I still had time to stretch and jump into the 10:30 pace group with a couple of teammates. The first loop (6-miles) felt great, second loop (5-miles) still not too bad, and the third loop (5-miles), I started with a cramp but managed to pull through and finish the entire 16-mile run pretty strong (our last mile was the fastest). When I started the last loop with the cramp, my teammates asked if I wanted to walk and I definitely didn’t want to since I knew that would discourage me further. To fight through the cramp, I convinced myself that if I could run to the next water stop which was about a mile away, I would be golden. I knew the initial mile of that loop were through a couple of rolling hills and if I could make it past those, the only remaining big hill in my way is Cat Hill but that wouldn’t be for another three or so miles, and once I make it to Cat Hill, I know the end is in sight. Overall our average pace was around 10:15 per mile despite walking through the water stops. If my last couple of training periods are any indication, I am anticipating to run at least a minute slower on the training runs versus the race. Since it’s only August too, I am feeling confident and strong (knock on wood). I am not sure my belly will win today. Usually I don’t have a big appetite after a long run, and the next day I’ll be ravenous but I am looking forward to a home cooked meal tonight!

P.P.S. I am also looking forward to making breakfast for tomorrow. A friend posted a link to overnight, no-cook refrigerator oatmeal on Facebook and I knew immediately that I had to try it. I am planning on trying the banana cocoa refrigerator oatmeal tonight and if that goes well, I’ll make some of the others during the week. The only ingredient I didn’t purchase are the chia seeds. I wanted to make sure before I bought it that I spent some time reading about the health benefits. I’ll definitely share how this went in my next post!

I’ll need to do more of these if my belly score continues
to skyrocket!

P.P.P.S. My final score for the week – Mental State: 2.5; Physical State: 4.5; Cindy’s Belly: 4
I’m not sure I fully understand what these totals mean yet, but what I am sure of is that my mental state score should be virtually zero on good weeks and my physical state should be around six since that is the number of days of training. In terms of my belly, maybe I should weigh myself in the beginning of the week and then at the end so I can judge what the right score should be!

What games do you play on your brain so you can make it through a workout? Any good new recipes lately?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *