Week 7: Wisconsin Half Marathon Training

The theme of Week 7 is wind. After my awesome tempo run I had a recovery run lined up for Valentine's Day. I set out for four miles during lunch and immediately hit what felt like a wall of wind. It was similar to a headwind, I guess, but it was coming from all directions. I was running East to the lake: wind. I made a right: wind. I hit the turnaround: wind. I went through a tunnel underground: wind. I made a left and went through another tunnel: wind. As David Foster Wallace said, "Wind wind etc. etc."

I was also wearing shorts for some reason.


Yeah, I think I'll stay out of the water.

I'm not going to pretend this was fun. It sucked. I had high hopes that this run would at least help me blow off some stress, but instead it was just a cold, windy, unpleasant "recovery" run --but I can't even call it that, since, on account of the icy wind, I ran way too fast in my hurry to get back inside. 


On the way back I was feeling disappointed and defeated until I thought of an article I read a long time ago. I re-found it to post here. The main point is this:

Athletes are frequently exposed to unpleasant sensory experiences during their daily physical efforts, and high physical and psychological resistances must be overcome during competitions or very exhausting activities. However, athletes are forced to develop efficient pain-coping skills because of their systematic exposure to brief periods of intense pain. Therefore, pain coping is an integral part of athletic training, and coping skills are important features in the development of athletic character.

via Runner's World.

There are lots of obvious, frequently-made metaphors about ways that running mimics life. On Thursday I was trying to run from a seemingly inescapable headwind and suffering all the while in the cold. There's a character-building life lesson in there, for sure, but I'm not really interested in developing my character right now. I just want to run fast and PR in May and not be cold.

It turns out "not being cold" just wasn't in the cards this week. On Saturday morning I delayed leaving the house, hopeful that if I just drank my coffee slowly enough, the sun would come out and the temperature would creep above 15 degrees. Eventually I had to face facts and set out for ten miles in 15 degree ("feels like 3") weather. I was supposed to throw some 100m strides in there, and I thought the easiest way to get all of this done would be to run 5 miles to a high school track I had scoped out on Google Maps.

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Within just 10 minutes of running, I was over it and wanted to turn back for home. I had anticipated I'd feel like this and had planned an out-and-back route so that every mile I ran was basically the equivalent of two (since I had to retrace my steps to get home, doubling whatever mileage I had done so far) and wisely left my CTA pass and money behind so I couldn't cheat and grab a cab or a bus home. I was shivering and running straight into the wind. I just focused on the park and tried to think about how great I'd feel after reaching the track.


Of course,  the track I had made my goal for 45 minutes was locked when I got there. Also it wasn't even marked, so there was no point of doing my strides on the track anyway since I still don't know how far 100m is. I thought about climbing the fence but decided to admit defeat and turn back for home.  Running: it will develop your character whether you want it to or not.

I just kind of gave up on the rest of the weekend. I stayed inside and watched TF do this:


I can't believe I took four rest days this week -- but also, it's fine and I'm over it already. It's not the end of the world. Next week is a new week. 

February 11 - February 17

  • Monday - Rest
  • Tuesday - 8.8 mi with 5 at tempo
  • Wednesday - Rest
  • Thursday - 4
  • Friday - Rest
  • Saturday - 10
  • Sunday - Rest

Total: 22.8