The Week That Could Have Changed It All

Honesty

Last weekend I thought about writing an update post. I was trying to get ahead with my blogging as we had a busy week planned, and we are heading up to Michigan City this weekend (CAKE and CATERING TESTING! EEEKKK!). On Sunday night, I created a new post, and began to think about what I wanted to write, but I soon realized that the weather was about to take a turn for the worse. This week could change everything, and the whole feeling about my training as a whole, so I stopped.

This post has sat blank until now (Thursday afternoon). I am glad I waited, I have a lot to tell you, and this week does not really line up with the rest of my training so far…….

A few weeks ago, I had been telling others bragging about how wonderful it was to live in Kentucky. Steve and I would look at the Michigan weather daily, laughing to ourselves about how cold it was there. I had only done one treadmill run, and even that could have been done outside, I just chose to run inside because I thought maybe I might like the treadmill more this year…..nope……still do not.

Well, it seems I was tempting fate.

This week Kentucky has been hit with some of the worst weather they ever had, and unlike Michigan, they are not so good at cleaning it up. After my cold long run with Allie on Sunday, we knew we were going to get dumped on with snow on Monday, but a foot fell in one day……the 4th highest snowfall in history in fact.

IMG_7931Steve and I braved the snow on that first day, for almost all of our run, and you may have seen on Instagram that a small part of me enjoyed it. However, in the back of my mind I knew that day was not what I should be worried about.

Steve and Tina brave the cold

I managed to get 2 runs in the next day; the treadmill was bearable for the 9 miles in the morning, and the 4 miles in the afternoon, Steve and I found a stretch of road that was clear, so we ran up the turn lane of the road! But, that night we got another 4-5 inches.

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I had already come to terms with the fact I was going to have to do a treadmill workout, but the more snow that piled up meant more days disrupted as there is no way Kentucky was going to clear off the sidewalks or any paths (hardly anyone walks anywhere anyway!).

So Wednesday morning, I had 3 Mile, 3 Mile, 2 Mile on the treadmill. I already knew this was going to be tough, and even tried to convince Steve to change the workout, but he showed how far he has come with standing up to me as he stuck with his decision, this was an important workout, and we could not afford to move it around.

I did my very best to go into it with a positive mindset; Tuesday’s runs had felt good, and I have my new and improved form to help make treadmill running easier.

However, within 2 miles of the first repeat, I was already starting to panic. 6:10 pace felt HARD, way harder than it “should have”…..Steve is constantly telling me to drop the “should have”, and sometimes I can, but this was not one of those days, especially when it was staring me in the face on the screen.

After the first one, I said to him “I dont think I can do this”, and he told me to slow down on the next one. Stubborness took over, and I did the second one at the same pace, but towards the end, Dustin (the PT) informed me that my form was breaking down; arching my back, over striding. I made it through the second, and once again questioned if I could do the 2 mile.

I started the 2 mile, and felt okay, I allowed myself to listen to music on this workout (which I NEVER do), I picked the best motivational music I could find, but soon into the repeat I felt myself losing control. I turned up the speed to 6:00, as usually when I begin to struggle, if I push just a little harder, it helps, and I get through it.

However, it did the complete opposite. I started running at the end of the treadmill, my attention to form had completely gone. As much as I knew it was all in my head, I couldn’t calm down. I gave steve a panicked look. He turned the elevation down to 0.5, which helped for a few seconds, but I had already quit. It wasnt enough, and I needed to stop so I pushed the Stop. I was incredibly disappointed in myself, I felt like a failure; I do NOT quit workouts!

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The whole day I felt annoyed at myself, and thought about what I had done, but Steve was proud of me. We got in what we needed to, and this was a defining moment for London marathon training.

What does that mean?

Well, you know I had been struggling to make these form changes, and I had seen little glimmers of hope in how much it was progressing, but maybe I was already becoming too confident, already becoming to comfortable with my training.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone, and my dedication and determination to be ready for London was once again tested. I will have run 80 miles this week; 33 of which were on a treadmill, and although I broke down on the treadmill mentally, part of being a good runner is accepting that there are highs and lows. You are only human, and sometimes we all crack mentally.

I just wanted to show you all once again, that even for elites, things go wrong, not every elite runner (in fact most) do not have access to the super equipment. Even if they do, a treadmill is still a treadmill. Even if you have the snow to look at to remind you of what you could be facing outside, or you have a nice TV to watch, its still running in one spot for an extended period, removing half the fun of running.

You still have to push through it, and most elite runners do not just battle it for 40 mins, but hours at a time. At times like this, I admire the runners who complete 120+ miles a week. Those are still tough, no matter what help you have to get you through.

What is my point? Well, life throws curveballs, and you can either let them define you, like I could do right now with this treadmill workout, allowing me to spiral out of control; questioning my fitness, and taking on a negative attitude for the rest of the marathon segment

OR

You can say “hey, that was a bad day/week/month”, but I did the best I could for what I had (Take what your body gives you), and I am proud of myself for that. I was out of my comfort zone, and I am accepting that mistakes make us better people, as long as we learn from them. Time to move on.

Elite runner Tina Muir talks about how life can throw you curveballs, and you can either spiral out of control, or get control back and move on.

I dont know how your weather has been. I know a lot of you have it WAY worse than me, but I do know that all those struggles, all those moments where you question it all, if you perservere through (being smart!), and trust that you are going to come out of this stronger, you WILL get the result you deserve; the when and where just hasn’t been decided yet.

I know come April 26th I will remember this week, and in those dark moments during the last few miles of the marathon, I will think back to this, and how I got through it.

How have you kept your mind in the right place when curveballs come your way? How good are you at treadmill workouts?

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36 Comments.

  • I can’t tell you how glad I am that you wrote this! I love your honesty and it’s just SO helpful to us “everyday” runners. I have the same this is “harder then it should be” moments on the treadmill and I’m just glad I’m not alone. I ran 40 miles on the thing last week and I’m facing another 7 miles on it today and I want to cry. This will help me get though it…and your latest podcast. Thank you Tina!!!

  • Lisa@runningoutofwine
    February 20, 2015 5:28 am

    Such a great reminder- I think that so many people can relate to this feeling of one (or several) workouts not going as planned and questioning their training. I know I have been there and its always better to take a step back and look at the big picture. You have gotten in great runs, you made some really positive changes in your running lately, and you pushed through when it became mentally challenging. All of those things will definitely help you on race day, and I can’t wait to see how you do in your race!

  • I am glad you were able to get through it and it’s so motivating Tina. I have always appreciated your honesty in blogging and in life. Lately running on the treadmill has got me questioning everything.

  • Yes yes yes, so true how our mental strength grown in those horrible treadmill moments will come back just when we need it during the race. When I’m pushing through a tough time I will channel not only the tough workouts but the tough moments in my life in general and make them work FOR me. You’ve got a great thing going on! And I hope so much that your snow goes away asap so you can get back out on the road.

  • The whole reason I started my little treadmill series over the last few weeks was to help us all (including me!) get through these winter runs inside! It’s all about staying positive. It takes some time during some runs to adjust and feel “right” which is never as “right” as outside but I swear by the positive thinking (I think you saw that post I did on positive thinking throughout the treadmill long run?)…I get frustrated sometimes, even start to wimper during the first mile or two or three but I fight it off and tell myself this is where I am running, I am not giving up because I want this and can do it and will learn to like it! Sounds so silly but it works. If you really want it, you have the power to do it. Some runs still stink but some on that mill? can actually be good.

  • You rock on so many levels, Tina! Love the brutal honesty…too often we only hear about the positive workouts. I don’t want you to struggle, of course, bit it IS refreshing to see that even you do. And you overcame it, which really is a defining moment for this cycle. Way to get it done. And wow–that is a ton of snow and yes, it does make a difference where that snow falls. Maryland is terrible with snow removal and having grown up in Ohio, it still drives me nuts!

  • The treadmill is very very hard for me mentally and I don’t expect great things when I’m on it! This week I had 3 tm runs and I totally feel that pain of not being able to hold it together. I think your message is a great one for people training for any race – it won’t always go as planned and that’s okay, it really shouldn’t go as completely planned and some workouts really should challenge you to the brink of what’s possible. You are insightful and inspiring, thank you!

  • I just can’t do the treadmill. It “hurts” haha! So last week I decided not to run since being outside would have just been stupid and dangerous and I didn’t want to fail on the treadmill, so I switched it up and did some HIIT on the bike and a nice crazy inclined treadmill “fast walk”. Much better and I still felt good!

  • I think that this is something that we are all dealing with, in one way or another. Treadmills really do change how you use your body–and can even cause set backs if you aren’t careful. But safety first as always! I finally had a really solid morning treadmill run yesterday. But all I can say is thank goodness that I’m in taper right now!

  • sheswickedhealthy
    February 20, 2015 7:47 am

    This is experience is going to make you way stronger – especially mentally! To me, running is so much about your mental toughness and drive – your body responds to what your brain tells it. That being said…Living in VT, I’ve faced my fair share of these experiences and I’ve got to be honest, I’m over the snow! Stay warm and safe!

  • This week has been terrible for weather. Our house is still covered in inches of ice including our sidewalk and driveway. It is bad……. We got all of your weather in ice. Blah!! Either way it is not fun.
    I have some bad runs days like this where my “comfortable” pace feels like a sprint. It is so nice to read that even the best have that too.

  • I used to hate running inside, but now I actually love the treadmill for all of my speed work .i do it so much faster and push so much ahrder when I am on there than outside. I definitely think its totally just another of those mental battles we runners face.

    and good on steve for standing up to you 🙂

  • Wow that’s a lot of snow!
    And it’s nice to know elite runners have bad days too. You’re human and bad runs happen – they make you appreciate the good ones so much more. And plus, get those bad runs out of the way now before the big race.
    P.S cake tasting for my wedding was probably the highlight of planning our wedding. SO good.

  • Heather @ HeatherRunsFast.com
    February 20, 2015 8:54 am

    Just started following your blog and I love your honesty, realness and insights. My favorite part of this post: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

  • Treadmills are great for mental toughness aren’t they?! By having to run on your treadmill, while not ideal, I know you’ll get stronger in other ways than just physically! Thanks for sharing Tina! Today’s a new day:)

  • Kudos to you for finishing that workout! I am lousy at the treadmill and the highest speed on it, which I can manage without falling, is 5.5. Even music, podcasts, or watching tv, or challenging myself to push hard for the 200-400 meter dash doesn’t do it. I can handle ellipticals – preferably crossramp or armless – and yet any workout outside is the best. Keep up the good work and be proud of yourself for sticking with it and stopping it! You played it smart and that takes guts.

  • Thanks for sharing this! I have had to do a lot of workouts on the treadmill this winter (well, all of them for December and January) and YES… to me they feel so much harder than they “should” and the mental battle of the treadmill is as big as the physical challenge. Congrats on a great workout (and attitude) and I Hope all that snow melts away soon!!! 🙂

  • I’ve been on the treadmill all week too and I can’t wait to get back outside (today!). I can’t believe you do it without watching anything, I honestly don’t think I would last if I wasn’t watching something! Getting through the tough runs builds mental toughness and I think those are often more helpful in preparing you for race day than the runs that go really well. Great job and I hope your snow melts 🙂

  • Rachel @RunningRachel
    February 20, 2015 10:34 am

    Oh my goodness! All.The.SNOW! I thought I had room to complain. Nope. You are a rock star!! Way to keep going when the weather wants you to quit. 🙂

  • As others have said, your honesty is so refreshing! Yes- the weather has been insane this month… fingers crossed we’re almost through!

  • Love your line about “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” SO TRUE! I think it’s great that you opened up about this and hope that you feel some sort of cathartic release from it, too. I hope the snow clears for you soon so you can get back outside!

  • This post reflects how I felt on my run today! I actually don’t mind the treadmill sometimes in winter, but after doing most of my miles on the treadmill lately, I needed to run outside. It was incredibly wind, frigid, and the loop I was on had some very steep inclines. I wanted to quit so many times, and I was one of those runs where I wondered how I could run my upcoming race at my goal pace, but I just kept pushing to get in my 7 miles. You’re so, so, SO right that those runs don’t define us, but are just something we can accept and grown from.
    Stay warm in Michigan City this weekend! I live in Valparaiso (about 20 miles south) and the wind chills have been around -20 to -30.

  • Michelle Gleave
    February 20, 2015 12:41 pm

    i had a similar crisis last night…forced to run on the TM due to miserable weather here in the UK (I had already done one very wet 10km this week); I only had to do a 5km tempo but it felt so hard…however as my half marathon is only 10 days away I had to continue. I did finish it (although I expect my form was bad now you mention it), and although it was harder than it “should have” been it did make me realise that actually I really do enjoy running outside 🙂

    it’s great to hear elites have “normal” problems too. thanks for the insight! fingers crossed for better weather for all of us!

  • Laura Anderson
    February 20, 2015 2:06 pm

    Definitely had those workouts…on and off the treadmill. I have had to do many on the treadmill this winter so far, and of course some are better than others. Over the years I have gotten really comfortable taking to the treadmill when need be- but when I get outside I question things (Hey I don’t have a belt carrying me those paces now). But getting the workouts done, whenever wherever is what counts. Eventually winter goes away (I hope so) and can be outside more. We all have times we question ourselves but you get through it and it makes you stronger- cannot wait to see how this fuels the rest of training. London will be awesome!

  • Love this – it is refreshing to know that even though we run at different levels we all have struggles on occasion. Glad that you listened and hit Stop when you needed to – not worth risking an injury or anything else.
    I do like to run on my treadmill – this week I got just over 65 total miles on it.

  • I love your honesty! I’ve been having really hard treadmill runs lately where I feel slow, heavy, and sad. This is motivating!

  • Once again, thank you for opening up– it’s nice to know elites have bad days too. I have a deep amount of empathy for you. I think we all have this question, ” come race day, will we have what it takes to accomplish my goal?” I know you will be stronger than ever come April 26, you will run with all of your heart, for Steve, your family and for yourself– you will be home, in the arms of your city, and that will pull all of your strength to the surface. You will be force that day. So looking forward to following you. Wish I could be there!! PS- consider moving out here to avoid all of this- haha!

  • Martina Di Marco
    February 20, 2015 5:00 pm

    One of my favorite running quotes (from Kara Goucher): “Progress is rarely a straight line. There are always bumps in the road, but you can make the choice to keep looking ahead.” Proud of you for making that choice 😉

  • life does throw curve balls indeed! You are tough and I love to read about how you get it done no matter what. Treadmills are my worst enemy.

  • I am so impressed that you did over 1/3 of your miles on the mill! I do everything I can to avoid it. I’ve been doing speedwork weekly inside bc it’s just tough to be consistent and fast in these conditions outside. But almost all my runs have been outdoors. Tomorrow I have a long run, and yes, I’m heading out into the tundra…

  • Thanks for this. Not that I’m glad that you struggled of course, but It’s nice to know us regular runners aren’t alone in having bad days. We pick up and move on to the next one, no point in dwelling over something you can’t change. I love the treadmill, but had a really crappy 16 miler on it last week where I wanted to quit a million times. My running buddy even got off 2 miles early but I kept trucking no matter how bad I wanted off. It was one of my worst runs. In retrospect I did everthing as I was supposed to but sometimes the mind wins unfortunately. I hope you guys dig out of the snow soon!

  • Sandra Laflamme
    February 20, 2015 10:39 pm

    Such a great post. It is nice to see that even the elites have tough days in training. I had a day like that today in the pool where everything just felt off and I was feeling intimidated by the workout. definitely best to not fixate on it and to just move on!

  • Hugs to you! I’m sorry you had a tough workout. Hate those ones that make you briefly question whether your training is going as it should. I hope you have nothing but good training runs from here on out and that the snow melts quickly for you!

  • I’ve said this before Tina, but your honesty is so, so refreshing. Life isn’t always roses and lollipops! Sometimes stuff happens and we feel crappy or off or… something. When you share your stories with us, it makes us realize that its normal – even the elite runners go through it!! Love your writing, love your stories. Think about all of us cheering for you in London!!!!!! The hard work will pay off!! xo

  • I’ve used the treadmill so much this winter I’ve finally decided it’s not so bad. Curve balls? I’m dodging a few as we speak!

  • This post was what I needed to read today. I’ve seen the quote that life begins at the end of our comfort zones, but you drove it home for me. I struggle with panicking mid race to the point of making myself physically sick, but maybe if I can remind myself that it is part of the journey to becoming a better runner/race, then I can rise better above it and trust my training more. Thank you for sharing your own story with this.

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