Monday, July 13, 2015

The Wall...

I hit the wall yesterday. No, not the super awesome Pink Floyd’s The Wall, but the dreaded runner’s wall. And I hit that thing hard without a safety helmet or a seat belt.  Sundays are my long run days, and my intention is for long runs to happen first thing in the morning, ideally around 7:00AM – before the temperature halts any ambition I may possess. 
Sadly, the fact that I didn’t even wake up until 8:00AM was a pretty good indicator of how my day was going to go.  Upon waking up and realizing that it was going to be a humid, gross kind of day I decided to head straight over to my garden plot before it became too hot and humid to survive. After a sweaty hour of weeding, planting and harvesting my husband and I headed home.  Now at this point I knew I was a
little over heated and decided to hold off on my run for a little while (clearly by now I knew a treadmill run was in my future) until I cooled down a bit.

Side note – I understand that I can’t always control my climate and I need to “get comfortable being uncomfortable” when it comes to running. However one of the side effects of living with M.S. is managing the heat, and I have learned too many times the impact on my body when I overdo it – I am sometimes taken out of commission for almost a week.   Humidity has become public enemy #1 for me which I why I know that summertime outdoor running must take place under specific conditions, otherwise I will hold off on outdoor training until autumn/winter. No, this isn’t ideal but it is better than the alternative. I suffered through some really scary heat-induced M.S. symptoms last summer that I hope to never repeat.

Anyway…. while I was cooling down I decided to clear out my fridge to make space for the harvest from my garden.  To make a long story short, I completely clogged the sink with broccoli  which resulted in 2+ hours of my husband having to take apart the plumbing to clear out the clog while I made an emergency trip to Lowes for a snake and Liquid Plumber (FACT: I would never have this problem with a cupcake, as a cupcake NEVER goes uneaten in my house. IPSO FACTO: I should just give up on broccoli and stick with cupcakes).  By the time we had a functioning sink again I was irritable and tired but nonetheless I trudged upstairs to change into my running clothes and headed to the treadmill. 
Within 5 minutes of running I knew something was wrong, I was completely unable to manage my normal pace and I couldn’t focus.  I was completely out of breath and my legs felt like bricks.  I took an extended walk break hoping that I just needed to push through it and my mojo would kick in, but it didn’t. I just stopped the treadmill and stood there for several minutes staring at the LCD screen, beyond defeated and confused. 

Did I just give up?

Yes I did. Instead I went and watched season 3 of Downton Abby and wallowed in self-pity the rest of the evening.

The Dreaded Bonk
I went to sleep around 8:30, woke up at 4:30 still feeling exhausted but I was determined to find out what caused my complete mobility shut down the previous day. This morning I stumbled upon an article in Runner’s World that helped me trace my steps to find out the source of my bonk (FYI thanks to this article I learned the fun term, “bonk”). 
What had I eaten yesterday prior to hopping on the treadmill at 2:00 PM? About 4 rice krispy treats and a cup of coffee.  Ok, looking back on it I can see how that may have been a contributing factor even without the assistance of this article.
Was I operating on a good night’s sleep? Hell no! I had slept on the couch both Friday and Saturday night with an 18lb wiener dog and a playful wiener dog puppy which resulted in 2 nights of fragmented, uncomfortable sleep (Another long story short - my husband scratched his cornea on Friday and had to sleep on his back, propped up, which is the prime position for him to really accentuate his nose symphony = no sleep for me)
Just these 2 miss steps alone could account for my complete physical and mental shut down. Punctuate the crappy nutrition and lack of sleep with my over-heated morning and the stress of clogging the sink and I realize I may have been doomed from the start.

My take away message from all this?
1)      Cupcakes are my friend and would never sabotage my plumbing

2)      I need to research proper nutrition for runners and put what I learn into practice

3)      When I am kicked out of my bed due to ear-splitting snoring, sleep in the spare bedroom and not on the couch with space-hogging wiener dogs.

4)      I AM NOT A QUITTER OR FAILURE! This was a learning opportunity and I always have to look at these minor setbacks as a chance to grow as a new runner, not as an excuse to give up.
Tell me, how do you push through when you hit the wall, and what tips do you have to avoid the wall altogether? 

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