Only Different In Your Mind: 2019 Giant Race San Francisco Recap!

Sleepless Knight

Jedi Knight Seeking His Jedi Princess
Joined
May 15, 2008
And now a real update from me. The week went well. Aside from yesterday at the office when the phone decided to stop me from getting all sorts of other things done. Still on track to get through the end of this month though. May have to ignore the phone to make sure that happens.

After getting through the survive and advance portion of training, I successfully started writing notes after my runs again this week.

10/22/18

4.44 miles. I feel like running blind is helping on the longer runs when I run not so blind since I want to make sure I practice fueling properly. Starting Friday evening of last week, I noticed some knee pain in the left knee. I fear it has something to do with the 10K tempo. It has yet to be a major problem and I will not let it become one. I learned in training for Dark Side this year that I can function perfectly well with either no knee pain or minimal knee pain by slowing down.

New feature for my updates. I'm going to start noting days where I do some form of strength training. I hope this will allow me to address some of the challenges I faced during the Giant Race and thus prevent them from happening during the marathon.

10/23/18

2 miles at 17:30, 0.5 miles at 110 12:00/30 seconds 17:30, 1 mile at 17:30, 0.5 miles at 110 12:00/30 seconds 17:30, 1.5 miles at 17:30. I was concerned that my knee might protest, but not really.

4 minutes peak
73 minutes cardio
24 minutes fat burn
131 average heart rate
25 minutes leg strengthening exercises after the run.

10/25/18

3 miles at 30 seconds 17:30/30 seconds 14:45. I think I’m beginning to better understand how cumulative fatigue works. I felt more tired than normal after a 3 mile run, but I think that’s due to the 9.5 miles I ran on Monday and Tuesday.

15 minutes upper body weight lifting before the run.

10/26/18

5.46 miles at 30 seconds 17:30/30 seconds at 14:45. Feeling the fatigue, but that’s okay. I definitely think running blind helps me more mentally. Since I don’t know how long I’ve been going, I think I settle into the zone quicker.

12 minutes of lower body strength training before the run.

10/27/18

8.44 miles at 30 seconds 17:30/30 seconds at 14:45. Didn’t feel as tired as I thought I would this morning, so that’s good. It was supposed to be fuel practice run, but I sort of failed and sort of succeeded. I had planned to take a sport bean at around 45 minutes of the run. I chose to run this blind in the hopes that it would make the run not feel quite so long and perhaps that idea worked a little bit too well. When I checked to see how long I’d been running, it had been almost an hour. I took a sport bean then and then another one about 40 minutes later.

25 minutes of lower body strength training/stretching after the run.

I also realized this week that this I ran close to the same number of miles this week as I would run in the longest week of a Galloway 10K/Half challenge plan. That realization is helping me work through the mental barrier of the long run being substantially shorter than the actual race distance itself
 

SarahDisney

So ... Yeah
Joined
Jul 23, 2014
Congrats on a good training week!

I love running blind. I do most of my runs at least partially blind (I'll look at distance but not pace and/or not make adjustments ... easier outside than on the treadmill, but on the treadmill I usually try to just set the pace and pay attention to the TV and not the numbers in front of me). Definitely agree that it helps me settle into the zone quicker because I'm just running and not thinking about how long I've been out there and how much longer I have to go. (Although since I do almost all of my running outside, I kinda do know how long I've been out there because I know what street I'm on and how far it is from my house...)
 
  • Sleepless Knight

    Jedi Knight Seeking His Jedi Princess
    Joined
    May 15, 2008
    Congrats on a great week!
    I'm impressed with the cross-training portions. I need to do more of that.
    To me the great benefit of cross training comes from increased strength. My first half had no cross training. I started out way too fast, had to slow down less than half a mile in to avoid injuring myself, and eventually finished in 3:05 with no stops at all. My second half had cross training mostly focused on my upper body, though I did some leg work. I finished in 3:07 with an unexpected restroom stop in California Adventure and about 15 minutes of character photos. I trained at the same 15 minute per mile pace for both races and the only other difference was the second to last corral instead of the last corral. Maybe it doesn't make me run faster, but I believe it helps me sustain faster paces longer because my body is better able to support the strain of running.

    I'm not lifting a lot of weight. From everything I've read, I want to be careful to not over do it on that front. Maybe the benefit is only psychological. But it works for me.

    Congrats on a good training week!

    I love running blind. I do most of my runs at least partially blind (I'll look at distance but not pace and/or not make adjustments ... easier outside than on the treadmill, but on the treadmill I usually try to just set the pace and pay attention to the TV and not the numbers in front of me). Definitely agree that it helps me settle into the zone quicker because I'm just running and not thinking about how long I've been out there and how much longer I have to go. (Although since I do almost all of my running outside, I kinda do know how long I've been out there because I know what street I'm on and how far it is from my house...)
    Thanks. While it was only one more day than last week, I think between the cross training and getting back into a normal pattern, it felt a lot better. I don't think I wanted to run last week, but knew I had to so I did. This week I wanted to run. I think there's a valuable lesson in there about getting my mental training figured out heading into the race. I alternate between feeling fine about the mental training and perhaps even more terrified about the mental aspect than I am about the marathon itself.
     

    Bree

    Runs on Coffee
    Joined
    Jan 5, 2009
    Awesome week! Strength training has such good benefits beyond running. I worry about losing bone density as I age. Lifting weights maintains (and can even increase) bone mass reducing risk of osteoporosis.
     

    Sleepless Knight

    Jedi Knight Seeking His Jedi Princess
    Joined
    May 15, 2008
    Past time for an update.

    October miles: 70. Second highest mileage month of the year behind March which was building up to Dark Side.

    Between craziness at work and having to prioritize when I ran because I wanted to do other things after my runs, I slacked off on my running journal and recording how things went.

    Last week brought a discouraging setback which sent me into a running funk for a while. My 9 mile marathon tempo run on Saturday November 9th was difficult. For whatever reason, a pace I had held to in the fairly recent past do felt nearly impossible on that day. I had to take a mile slower than tempo, but got back into it and finished the run. Then Tuesday's tempo run struck with a vengeance. Shortly before the tempo portion was supposed to start, I felt off. I figured it was my brain trying to scare me, but when the tempo portion hit, it did not go well. At all. I eventually cut the run short, but after a few seconds I wanted to get back out there and attempt it. Which I did. At this point, everything started to escalate and culminated in an extremely tight calf muscle. I haven't felt that kind of tightness there in 7 years when I was training for my first half marathon. At this point, I decided that discretion today is the better part of valor in January and ended the run just short of 3 miles when I was supposed to go 6.

    Feeling defeated, frustrated, and extremely discouraged, I sent off a panicky, somewhat fearful recap to coach. Honestly, I thought about calling the entire trip off and eating the cost of Dopey registration because I felt so depressed. Eventually I remembered that I had spent entirely too much money on Dopey to simply quit. But I still had to deal with my mental demons.

    The first thing I realized was that calf tightness was contributing to my misery. I packed my bag to go running after work the next day as usual, but gave myself permission to skip the run depending on how the calf muscle felt. Better to take a little bit of time off now than to push too hard and pay a much heavier price down the road.

    The second thing I learned was why I needed to give voice to my fears. I was not in a good frame of mind. Coach probably recognized that and may have even wondered why he agreed to help me in the first place. But as I gave voice to those fears, something else happened. I acknowledged their reality, but instead of trying to bury them deep inside, they were out in the open so I could confront them. At least for me, realizing they were there helped me to begin to move on. It's almost like giving myself permission to acknowledge them helped me to also worry less about them. They were out in the open so I could begin to confront them. I shared them briefly in the running thread and many people over there were very kind to offer me encouragement and some even feared that they were being too blunt in telling me to not give up.

    Let me say this. Giving voice to my fears and sharing them was a great decision for me because it forced me to deal with them and decide how to respond to them. It also helped immensely that so many people offered encouragement and real experience, both their own and others. And coach essentially gave me the freedom to make up my own mind about the entire thing. Instead of telling me to get back out there, he told me to see how the calf muscle felt and keep him apprised.

    By Friday the 16th, the disastrous tempo run on the 13th was in the past, to be learned from, but not dwelt in. Two days off running altogether and some muscle rolling helped me reach a point where I at least wanted to get out there and see how it went.

    So the 5 mile runs scheduled for Friday and Saturday went off without a hitch.

    My FP+ day came and I was able to get all the FP+ reservations I wanted to. Had to switch some times around and settle for some different days mostly tied to Slinky Dog Dash, but that's okay. One trick about FP+ and races is that do as much as I want to do in a single day mentality butts heads against being in the parks late. I just have to accept it and move on. I can't will myself into being magically faster, but I can train to finish the race and that's why I'm here.
     

    SarahDisney

    So ... Yeah
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2014
    The second thing I learned was why I needed to give voice to my fears. I was not in a good frame of mind. Coach probably recognized that and may have even wondered why he agreed to help me in the first place. But as I gave voice to those fears, something else happened. I acknowledged their reality, but instead of trying to bury them deep inside, they were out in the open so I could confront them. At least for me, realizing they were there helped me to begin to move on. It's almost like giving myself permission to acknowledge them helped me to also worry less about them. They were out in the open so I could begin to confront them. I shared them briefly in the running thread and many people over there were very kind to offer me encouragement and some even feared that they were being too blunt in telling me to not give up.
    Yes!!! So much this!! I don't do this nearly enough, but it's important to give voice to your fears so that you can acknowledge and address them ... and maybe even get help from others. I skimmed a lot of the things people were telling you on the running thread and it seems like voicing your fears there really helped, so I'm glad you did it!
    I didn't share it there because I've been a little too busy for long responses, so I'll share my thoughts here:
    You've had some good race experiences, but you've had some rough ones too. But one of the things I really admire about you is that you learn from your difficult races. You take the lessons from your difficult moments and take them into your future training and races, so if anything goes not-as-planned marathon weekend, you can continue to learn, and with all the lessons you learn, the marathon will be your best race of the weekend!
     
  • Sleepless Knight

    Jedi Knight Seeking His Jedi Princess
    Joined
    May 15, 2008
    But one of the things I really admire about you is that you learn from your difficult races. You take the lessons from your difficult moments and take them into your future training and races, so if anything goes not-as-planned marathon weekend, you can continue to learn, and with all the lessons you learn, the marathon will be your best race of the weekend!
    Thank you. That means a lot. One of the things I appreciate about you is your honesty. You'll say it if training is difficult or if a race doesn't go as you hoped. It's so easy to see that smiling happy post race medal photo and think "that person is such a great runner and I'm out here miserable feeling like I failed." Those triumphant photos don't show all the days where any runner just had to persevere through it even though they wanted to quit or even the races where the same thing happened. Being authentic helps us understand what it really takes to run. And simply endure running as sometimes happens. Maybe more often than we would like it to.

    And you're one of the people who helped me understand my reasons for running the marathon. Your comments about not thinking any less of me if I decided against running the marathon helped me understand why that decision belonged entirely to me and feel good about whatever decision I made.

    Up now is future race plans. Even if they're a long ways away.

    2019 will mark the 10th anniversary of the Giant Race. My little sister and I had planned on running it next year with some tweaks from last year. The Giants also offer a spring training race, a race for the Single A team in San Jose, and a race for their AAA team in Sacramento. Two races is the double play, 3 races is the three bagger, and all races is the series sweep. Since timing or travel or distance from the Giants can be an issue, they offer virtual components to all races. Like the runDisney challenges, the Giants give you the double play and three bagger medals in addition to the series sweep if you run a race at each event. Meaning you could run the shortest distance at each event and still earn the corresponding medal.

    For 2019, my little sister and I planned to do all 4 Giant Races, with spring training definitely virtual, and possibly Sacramento as well. The race dates have been announced and I will have to do spring training virtual and now Sacramento for certain. San Jose happens on her birthday, so we'll see if she wants to run on her birthday.

    The other big thing the Giant Race announced is their first ever component challenge. Which being suckers for challenge races (hello Rebel Challenge x3, Dark Side Challenge x2, and Dopey), we're both looking at doing. Only this one has a bit of a twist.

    The Lou Seal Challenge involves a special medal given to runners who complete both the Giant Race Half Marathon or 10K and the Giant Race 5K the same day. Lou Seal is the Giants mascot. Lou Seal Challenge finishers will also receive the Half or 10K medal and 5K medal.

    Now I have decisions to make. I'm almost certain I'm going for the series sweep. The question becomes do I want to the 10K or the 5K for the virtual Sacramento race, the 5 miler or the 5K for the San Jose race, but especially the half or the 10K for the San Francisco race. While I really love the 10K distance, I looked at the 2019 Giant Race as a PR attempt after last year's PR on a rough day for me. But now with back to back races on the same day, part of me says go for the 10K/5K component as it will not involve a leave it all out there on the course PR attempt on the half followed by a 5K an hour or later even if I would leisurely walk the 5K.

    While I could wait until after Dopey to see how I like running 16.2 miles in a day, the early race registration discount is substantially cheaper so I just have to make a decision before December 4th. Which I will probably go back and forth on until seconds before I actually register.
     

    Sleepless Knight

    Jedi Knight Seeking His Jedi Princess
    Joined
    May 15, 2008
    The second thing I learned. . .
    So I want to add a third item to recent lessons learned about running. Namely, getting back out there even when you don't want to. As I noted earlier, a couple of weeks ago I was in a bad mindset. I even entertained a very bad q word for a few minutes even before realizing that I had spent too much money on registration to seriously consider that. So while getting back out there helped a little bit, this past week still loomed large, namely the marathon tempo run on Saturday. After two bad tempo runs, this one kind of scared me. Did I just have two bad runs or was something else going on? Well, Saturday's tempo run was more or less fine. While I did have some issues transitioning from run pace to walk pace and calf tightness following that, I managed to get through that. Soon enough I had settled in and was doing just fine. Finished the run with no problems, which gave me a real mental boost that the pace Coach has set for me is still in the cards come marathon weekend. It's a roughly 6 hour pace, which matters mostly because it gives me cushion should I need it for finishing.

    Now why it's important to just get back out there sometimes. Ultimately, the mental barriers I battled two weeks ago could only be conquered through doing. No amount of not running or feeling sorry for myself or whatever would successfully resolve my issues. I simply needed to do it.

    I feel training burnout start to set in. Last week I surpassed my previous month record for miles this year with this week still to come. But it's almost here.

    As for the rest of the week. I discovered Wednesday evening that my Christmas tree disappeared. I don't know where it went. It isn't where it's supposed to be, but all my other Christmas decorations were there. So, if anyone stole that tree, I guess the joke is on you. It looked every bit like the $20 I paid for it 8 years ago. This also meant having to buy a new tree and found one on sale, so I suppose that works. My little sister and I went movie shopping for Black Friday. I think we succeeded in not buying too many movies as both of us put quite a few back for a variety of reasons. After my runs on Friday and Saturday, I put up my decorations and cleaned up. There went my plans for a nice relaxing long weekend of doing whatever after getting my long runs in. Lesson learned for next year: Put Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving. Even though I don't want to put them up that early, I think doing so will allow me to actually enjoy the long Thanksgiving holiday a lot more than I currently do. Over the years, I've amassed a lot of Disney and Star Wars ornaments so it always takes a lot of time to unpack them and repack them for decorating. But at least I like my tree in all of its geekiness.

    I did manage to get everything finished up so I could do something really fun Saturday night, so I went to see The Crimes of Grindelwald. For point of reference, I love the Harry Potter books, like the movies, but think they were often missing something likely due to my desire to see certain things realized on screen that were not put in the movie, and enjoyed Wizarding World. But I don't have Harry Potter decor (Star Wars however is quite prevalent along with my collection of Disney fine art).

    I really enjoyed The Crimes of Grindelwald. I think it really helps me enjoy these last two wizarding world movies more since I have no idea about what's going to happen. I can let the movie tell me the story and decide whether or not I like it instead of thinking about all the things I wanted to see and/or the things they cut for time.
     
  • mankle30

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 5, 2017
    Congrats on "doing." I think that your revelation that you can't get over the malaise by not running is very profound. Thanks for your honest thoughts!
     

    OldSlowGoofyGuy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 4, 2013
    Thanks. I'm not sure if I aced that tempo run, but getting through it with minimal problems was a victory.
    It's like test pilots say about landings: 'Any landing you can walk away from is a good one.' Just substitute 'run' for 'landing'.

    And thanks for verifying 'aced/acing' is a word. Somehow 'acing' didn't look right. It seemed too close to acking (which probably also isn't a word).
     

    Sleepless Knight

    Jedi Knight Seeking His Jedi Princess
    Joined
    May 15, 2008
    Congrats on "doing." I think that your revelation that you can't get over the malaise by not running is very profound. Thanks for your honest thoughts!
    Thanks. Before my first half marathon, I never actually believed that I could do it. I had trained enough for it. I had gotten all the long runs in including 14 miles just like the plan said 2 weeks before the race. Yet in spite of what I had already done, I still managed to convince myself that something would be different on race day and I was destined to fail. That mindset nearly ruined my very first race and I can almost guarantee that if that race had ended in failure, I would have responded to all future race opportunities with "oh, that sounds like a fun theme. Too bad I am literally not capable of doing it."

    I do think there are definitely times when we actually need a break from running. Injury or excessive soreness are usually indicators that time off is necessary. The trick becomes learning the difference between I should take some time off because I need to versus I want to be lazy today. Because for me, it doesn't take very long before want to be lazy today turns into I have been lazy for weeks now.

    It's like test pilots say about landings: 'Any landing you can walk away from is a good one.' Just substitute 'run' for 'landing'.
    I really like that. I had a rough run last night. The not valid arguments for why I should not run last night may have influenced the first couple of miles of the run. Long story short, my entire right leg hurt. As far as I can tell for no reason at all. My left leg felt perfectly fine for the entire run. Stubbornness kicked in and I finished the planned number of miles even though the discomfort never went away entirely.
     

    Sleepless Knight

    Jedi Knight Seeking His Jedi Princess
    Joined
    May 15, 2008
    Spoken like a marathoner.
    Now let's hope I can say I am a marathoner come January. I finally convinced myself that I had to run last night when my brain said pretend that you're at mile 22 of the marathon. Suddenly all my then possibly reasonable reasons to not run felt really silly. Quite often, I can usually get out there to run when I tell myself that I'm really at mile whatever of the goal race and almost there. Now I just need to make sure that stubbornness holds true for the marathon.
     

    OldSlowGoofyGuy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 4, 2013
    I finally convinced myself that I had to run last night when my brain said pretend that you're at mile 22 of the marathon. Suddenly all my then possibly reasonable reasons to not run felt really silly. Quite often, I can usually get out there to run when I tell myself that I'm really at mile whatever of the goal race and almost there. Now I just need to make sure that stubbornness holds true for the marathon.
    Stealing a quote: 'Mind what you have learned. Save you it can.'
     

    Sleepless Knight

    Jedi Knight Seeking His Jedi Princess
    Joined
    May 15, 2008
    So the insanity of Thanksgiving week meant I slacked off on strength training, but remembering what happened during the Giant Race helped resume it this week. It did resume, but another crazy week meant I didn't do as much strength training as I would have preferred. But it has resumed and I can do better next week. Plenty of time before the marathon to keep doing it consistently.

    11/26/18

    4.44 miles at 30 seconds 17:30/30 seconds at 14:45. My legs felt heavy today, but I decided that it was once again my brain trying to convince me to go home and relax after a much busier than I wanted weekend and an insanely unproductive productive day at the office in which I was always busy, but rarely dealing with the tasks on my list for today.

    I definitely like running blind. I think being unaware of where I’m at in relation to the end of the run helps me stop fighting the “I want to be home acting lazy” mindset and simply exist in the moment. I’ll have to figure out how to handle this when mile markers during the marathon tell me where I’m at, but at the same time practicing running blind may help me see mile marker, make sure my pace is acceptable (early on not too fast and later on not too slow) and move on immediately.

    22 minutes lower body strength training

    11/27/18

    4.44 miles at 30 seconds 17:30/30 seconds at 14:45. I really did not want to go out for this run tonight. I found reason after reason after reason to not go running. And then I decided to pretend that I was really on mile 22 of the marathon. And that finally did it. At least until the run started. Mere minutes into the run, my entire right leg hurt. Everything hurt. Meanwhile my left leg felt completely and 100% normal. No issues whatsoever. I wanted to take this as cosmic proof that I should not run tonight and that I could go home like I wanted to.

    But stubbornness or a desire to finish the marathon come January forced me to keep going. After an indeterminate amount of time, the everything hurt in my right leg downgraded itself to a dull pain here and there. Sometimes when I run, initial pain and/or discomfort vanishes entirely once my body realizes that I’m refusing to stop. I hoped that would happen tonight. Well, it didn’t although the pain did downgrade to dull aches here and there and not the entire leg so I suppose that counts for something.

    Maybe this is what mile 22 of the marathon will feel like. Honestly, I hope it doesn’t. But at least I finished the run at the desired pace. Most runs I truly feel like I can go longer. I don’t know if I felt like that tonight. I was very happy to be done with it. But I did it.

    This proves why missing one run can be disastrous. I didn’t want to run Monday night either. If I had decided not to run both nights, then one missed run on Monday would have turned into two missed runs. Instead, I’m tired and sore, but I have good reason to feel that way. Success? Or at least not failing?

    11/29/18

    13 minutes strength training on upper body.

    4.44 miles at 30 seconds 17:30/30 seconds at 14:45. Happily this run did not involve my legs trying to protest the idea of running.

    11/30/18

    4.44 miles at 30 seconds 17:30/30 seconds at 14:45. My shins felt sore before the run, but didn’t bother me at all during the run. Is phantom pain a thing? As in can my brain try to tell my body that it shouldn’t run by sending false pain signals to try and convince me to not run? I always try to run through that sort of thing and ignore it unless there’s a real reason to ignore it. Almost always, the pain either goes away entirely or rarely subsides enough to finish.

    12/1/18

    4.44 miles at 30 seconds 17:30/30 seconds at 14:45. This run felt a bit tougher at the start, but eventually settled in.

    25 minutes lower body strength training after the run.

    I also logged a personal highest amount of miles run in November and crossed triple digits in monthly miles for the first time with 106. Would have been over 110, but the running crisis of mid November caused me to cut a run short and skip a run. November's 106 miles also crushed my previous high of around 70 in a month. I'm also beginning to really tire of running, but I think this is completely normal when training for a marathon.
     

    mankle30

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 5, 2017
    I am also getting tired of running (in the mental sense), especially of going out when the weather is cold/snowy (although today was a glorious 6-10 degrees Celsius while I was running). But I think I'm over the hump of fear of whether I'll be able to finish or not (I was considering trying to change to the 1/2 marathon at one point this month). I can feel that the longer runs are getting easier and I look back after completing mid-range runs and tell myself that it wasn't that hard, actually. Plus, the nearing date of departure for southern Virginia and then Florida helps motivate!
     


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