Speaking of nerves, I went to the doctor yesterday to discuss my anxiety. My depression is under control right now, but my anxiety has been through the roof lately, and it's been causing me physical symptoms. I also wanted to ask her about the weird abdominal muscle spasms that I get when I run (which started in November).
I asked my plastic surgeon about them, and based on my description, she said it was very unlikely to be caused from the surgery I had five years ago. I also saw another doctor about a month ago, and she was stumped about them as well. They've been frustrating me so much, because there is no way of predicting when they're going to happen. Some runs are totally fine, and I don't get the spasms at all; but when I do get them, they pretty much knock me to my knees and it hurts just to walk.
Anyway, my doctor gave me some suggestions for handling the anxiety. I also made an appointment with a psychologist/therapist for Thursday. I'm really skeptical that it will help, but I'm willing to try anything at this point. About the muscle spasms, my doctor was really unsure about what it could be. She's very interested in sports medicine, and reads a lot about it, so she ended up suggesting that I try drinking pickle juice. I'd heard of this before, but I always assumed that it was just the salt that helped athletes, so I never tried it. My doctor said that it was actually something about the vinegar that helps stop muscle cramps almost immediately.
My issue is more of a spasm than cramps, but I figure that the pickle juice certainly can't hurt, so I might as well give it a try. Luckily, Eli LOVES pickles (as do I), so I bought an enormous jar of them at Sam's Club. I emptied out a couple of 5-Hour Energy bottles (the perfect size and container for a shot of pickle juice), so I'll fill them with the pickle juice and carry one with me on runs. They'll actually fit into my FlipBelt, so I won't even notice they are there--perfect!
Jerry came with me to my appointment, and we went to the running store to get him some running shoes. He's thinking about doing the Rock 'n' Roll Half in Virginia Beach when we go in September, so he's been getting back into a running routine. It was SO nice outside yesterday, and it really felt like spring. We got our first McD's cone of the year, and it was the perfect way to spend 170 calories!
I've been making my way through Matt Fitzgerald's book RUN: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel, and some parts have really resonated with me. (It's meant for experienced runners to be able to listen to their intuition when it comes to a running plan/schedule. Since my intuition has been doing very well with my weight maintenance and staying binge-free, it sounded good to me!) One of the things that I found really interesting is that the best type of training workout is what will make you feel most confident going into your race--if you truly believe that you're going to hit your goal, then you probably will; but if your training doesn't give you that confidence, you will have a very hard time hitting your goal.
The training plan that I'm following now (the RunBritain plan for a sub-50 10K) is the exact opposite of confidence-building for me. I enjoy the plan a lot, but I've been saying all along that it's against my intuition (namely because there are no real tempo runs, or longer runs at a harder pace), but I kept trusting the plan. Reading Fitzgerald's book makes me realize that maybe I should listen to my intuition and do the runs that build up my confidence the most. This isn't to say the training plan doesn't work--confidence-building runs vary by person--but I want to feel as confident as I can going into the race.
The workouts that make ME feel most confident going into a race are runs that I do at race pace--if I can do it in training, then I know I can do it in the race. That's not typical of most training plans. I also know that I get bored really easily, so I constantly feel a need to change things up. I always thought that was a bad thing, but the book made me realize that I can trust my intuition and change things up as often as I want while still training effectively. I don't have to have a set-in-stone plan; rather, I can have a basic structure and change things up based on how I'm feeling each day or week.
I've discovered recently that I really enjoy the 80/20 Running method, so I'll still stick with that ratio. But as far as the 20% of moderate to hard workouts go, I can change them up and do whatever sounds good to me. It's kind of exciting!
Since I'm down to the final month before my race, I want to build as much confidence as possible that I can hit this goal. The last three days I did easy runs, and today, I decided to do a race pace run. I wanted to aim for 3.5 miles today, since I did 3 miles last week. If I could do it, it would be the farthest I've ever run at a sub-8:00 pace.
As I started running, I started debating whether to do a tempo run (5 miles at 8:10-8:15 pace) or to do the 3.5 at race pace (7:55). After a half mile, my pace was under 8:00, so I decided to just go for the 3.5 at race pace. My first couple of miles were actually really great, and I hit 7:48 for each of them. The third mile was tougher, but I tried my best to keep going. Third mile was 7:51.
My 5K split actually would have been a 5K PR if I had been racing!
When I hit 3.5, I was so ready to be done ;) I stopped my Garmin and started walking. When I caught my breath, I checked out my splits and was very happy!