Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Burnout or just a bad day?

Yesterday (Monday) was not a great day for me. It actually took me most of the day to realize I was having a bad day; I started out kind of low physically which eventually took me low mentally.

I set the alarm for extra early in order to get out running at 5:30. I was supposed to be in Monroe (about half an hour's drive away) at 8:30, which meant that I needed about an hour extra time to get my usual run in.

First problem—waking up before 5 a.m. on a Monday after staying awake till who-knows-when on Sunday night. Actually waking up wasn't that hard, even getting up wasn't too bad, but I know that I was operating on very little rest.

Maybe that's why I couldn't run (figuratively speaking). I'm used to being slow on Mondays, I can deal with that, but I didn't feel horribly slow, I didn't have heavy legs or anything. That's why it was so frustrating to average slower than 10:30 for the first three miles, when I felt like I was running about a ten-minute pace. My legs and brain were not on the same page at all!

The same thing happened in the next 4.5 miles with Arjin. Typically I run a little faster than I intend to with him. An easy run means 9:30-9:45 pace, max (often quicker). Well, this time I succeeded at dragging him down, and our average pace (including the two miles I ran after leaving him), was about 10 minutes per mile. Again, I felt like I was running 9:30 or 9:45 pace, but in reality, not so.

Despite having plenty of time afterwards to get ready, I dawdled and managed to arrive late to my destination (a work retreat). Didn't matter that much, they were still eating breakfast. I got some food and joined in.

Unlike some work events, this was a low stress meeting. Just this side of dull, really. And we got to spend the whole day lounging at someone's house instead of running around court. Should have been a great break. Unfortunately, I think I was experiencing a little piriformis strain (i.e. a pain in the butt), because my backside and leg were twinging all day. I finally ended up standing around quite a bit because that was more comfortable than shifting around on a couch.

We got done early so I headed home and paid some bills and contemplated heading to the Y. By this time I was feeling very tired and dragged out. My legs ached (not hurt, just ached) all down the backs. I really didn't want to to to the Y, and I especially didn't want to go to Pilates at 6:00.

However. I was unhappily aware that the breakfast casserole and banana bread, plus potluck lunch that I had eaten earlier in the day had really taken a hit on my calorie allotment for the day. Even with the nine miles I had run in the morning. I felt quite distressed about this (another sign that my head was not working well). I decided to go ahead and spend some time on the elliptical and decide about Pilates later.

I kept the elliptical on a moderate resistance and pedaled away for about 70 minutes (the time I had to spare before Pilates). At about ten minutes before 6:00 I reluctantly decided, since I was there anyway, to face up to Pilates.

And Pilates kicked my butt. Literally. Not only did it strain my untoned core/abs, most of the positions also seemed to aggravate my tender piriformis and tired hamstrings. At one point I was so stressed that I felt emotional, which is not usually a reaction I have to exercise! Only the humiliation of leaving kept me from walking away.

Luckily I managed to hold my own in the pushups, which kept me from feeling like a total loser.

At 7:00 I staggered away and headed home to make a sandwich for dinner. I didn't feel up to cooking. I went up to bed pretty early and spent the rest of the evening switching from the Olympics to other TV shows. I unintentionally fell asleep for an hour or so and woke up during the ice dancing... I enjoyed several of the performances but just couldn't stay awake to finish and find out who won!

Earlier in the evening, while I was on the elliptical, I wondered whether my weakness signified a little bit of overtraining (or whether I was just weak). I find it hard to believe that my 40 miles a week (or so) running, plus cross-training, could be the cause of burnout when so many others do way more than me!

I think that sleep deprivation between Sunday night and early Monday morning played a big part in my difficulties. And everyone has a bad day sometimes, right?

I have decided this week to change my Friday morning run to Thursday instead, in order to rest a little on Friday and help have fresher legs for a 10K I am doing Saturday. I haven't yet decided whether to go cross-train on Friday morning or make it a real rest day. On the one hand, the elliptical is generally pretty easy on me, particularly if I don't make the resistance too high. On the other hand, I suspect that my two hours of elliptical work on Sunday afternoon may have played a part in my tired Monday! My decision will partly take into consideration whether we decide to go skiing on Friday night or not...for now, that is open.

I am feeling a little tired this afternoon but that seems more like typical midafternoon-at-work tiredness. I am still on board for a trip to the Y and yoga this evening. Then I will see, tomorrow morning, how the running legs are doing. I know that it is not possible to completely fall apart between my tempo work on Friday and Saturday, and yesterday morning's run. Not possible, right?

It seems kind of crazy but amid all these thoughts of burnout and overtraining, I have also spent some time this morning thinking about other races I want to sign up for this spring and summer. I am almost certain I want to do the Langley Half Marathon on July 11. It should be fun and scenic, and really not that hard to get to, even though it's on Whidbey Island, as the ferry leaves from Mukilteo which is just down the road from me. It's a more than a full month after the Newport Marathon and almost three weeks before the Anacortes Half. Of course I also have the Yankee Doodle Dash 10K on July 4, and possibly a 5K or two somewhere in between.

My big question (for myself) is whether I want to run the Seattle Rock & Roll Half Marathon on June 26. I have never been particularly attracted to this one, but it seems like everyone I know who runs, and some people who don't, is doing it, and I kind of hate to be left out! Someone I know is a pacer and she was really positive about the route for the half, and says it's better than the Seattle Half...which I actually enjoyed. So those are the reasons to do it. Reasons not to? Three weeks after the marathon. Expensive entry fee, even if I register before the price goes up on March 1 ($85 before, $100 after). And I would have to stay in a hotel the night before; after the Seattle Marathon traffic debacle I cannot see trying to drive down there for a run that starts at 7 a.m.! (Another pro—I'd probably be done by 9 a.m.)

So I might take the decision route that I did with CIM, which was to make a hotel reservation first, then after I got a room at a reasonable rate, I went ahead and registered. We shall see....

(Does that sound like someone who is burned out?)


lifestudent said...

ooooh. June 26 is my birthday and I've never been to Seattle. That sounds fun!

Lisa said...

It sounds like a combination of lack of sleep and a little bit of overtraining. You body sometimes just says "no mas" whether it is 40 miles a week or 60. I'm sure with a little rest your body will once again thrive with that mileage.

I totally know that frustrating feeling when it feels like you are running one pace and it turns out to be much slower. I think you actually gave me a pep talk after the same thing happened to me. It was one bad day. Your speed will return.

Good job getting all the miles in. When I feel like that, I don't always get out there.

Terri said...

oh my god, I'm getting tired just thinking of doing all of that! wow!

9 miles on a monday morning? let me repeat myself, holy crap.

prashant said...

I'm sure with a little rest your body will once again thrive with that mileage.

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