Sunday, September 26, 2010

Stuck, Unstuck, Restuck...

My training distance preparing for my first half marathon has gotten longer and longer. I can now easily run six miles and I've already run a couple of nine-milers. My speed has improved and I have noticed an enormous improvement in everything related to running.

Sounds great, right! But...

I seem to have a go-past-nine-miles phobia... Each time I go out to do a run longer than nine miles, I seem to crash a third of the way in. (Mark is giggling next to me while I am writing this. He comments "this is what runners call a plateau, heh heh heh" and "you are just a victim of circumstances, heh heh heh".

So, here I sit, all plateau-ed... stuck!

At least I am aware of it! I even have thought to dialogue about it! But then I realized this is not one of those dialogue things. This is one of those do-it things!

I was not so insightful the whole time. At the end of last week, I was actually downhill-ing instead of plateau-ing. After my ten-mile crash, I started to run six- and seven-milers instead. My hubby interjects "Why????"


At that moment I believed that I had to slow down in order to recreate my base before attempting to reach the next level. But during my shorter runs I noticed that I wanted to make them even shorter. In my head I was figuring out ways to change my route in a way that would make it more comfortable and... shorter.

OK, I am not that simple-minded; I figured out what I was doing. I was going downhill because I didn’t want to challenge myself to get to the new plateau.

"Why?", my lovely husband interjects... again... (He is persistent isn’t he!)


And here I sit. I have been running longer distances again and I am back to nine miles again. Hitting this plateau, again. And I have no friggin’ clue as to why!

I seem to have plateau-ed in this post as well. And as I am thinking about it, maybe I have plateau-ed everywhere in life...

"What do you mean by that?" I hear whispering in my right ear, my husband ready to duck in case I respond strongly.

Ehhh... This isn't a dialogue thing; this is a do-it thing, right?

Ehhh... This is just a plateau thing. What's wrong with plateaus anyway? I embrace my plateau... I love my plateau... Look at the view I have from my plateau... Can I invite others to plateau with me?

The only challenge is that I am on a nine-mile plateau and I have to be on a thirteen-point-two-mile plateau by November.


Any tips?





  1. Do LSD - it means you go out running at a speed where your pulse is lover than 150 (or 160 if you can't make it at lover than 150) and then you just keep running - and it might take a LOOOOOONG time to run the 10 miles, but the purpose is not to be fast but to practise burning more fat and less carbs.

    You can also use these long runs to practise drinking while you're running. Make sure you start drinking after 15 min - and keep drinking a little bit every 15 min.

    You might see if you can find a partner to run with since this speed means that talking should be easy.

    Joyfull running...

  2. BTW if you keep doing your 8-9 mile runs and find a good rythm then you can easily do your half marathon on the day - you do not NEED longer runs before.

    Asger just did his first halfmarathon and finished in about 3:30 - his longest run the months before was 7 km (and I think that his longes run ever was 13-15 km)....

  3. do you 'have to be' at 13.3 miles by november? do you want to be?

  4. LOL, good question, I didn't question wanting to do the half marathon in november.
    I only thought of "why do you believe you have to do more than 9 miles before the race".

  5. I'm no runner, so can't offer any technical help. But going with the plateau metaphor, can you be on a plateau and still be moving forward, towards your goal? Could your path forward have a dip or two (the downhill-ing) before it rises again?

    Also, how do you decide if something is a do-it thing or a dialogue-it thing? (actually I meant to ask you this earlier, when you first posted about it).

  6. Let me tell you that Mark and I had a wonderful fun time while writing this article. It was a “moment”. It is nice to be able to giggle and converse together while looking at something that is challenging to me. The article itself was all about the challenge of running, but the challenge for me that morning was surely not running, it was writing. It really had nothing to do with running!

    I didn’t know what to write about, where to begin or how to end. But I decided that I wanted to write anyway. ..

    I literally closed my eyes, took a breath and wrote down the first sentences. It was one of those rare occasions where Mark snuggled next to me on the couch and read over my shoulder while I was typing the words. It was a cozy moment while playing with words, and the article was there before I knew. It sounded a bit surprised when Mark commented, “That’s how you end?” when I stopped writing. “Yes” I answered happily, curious about how people would respond to this article.

    Clio send me a message through Facebook. And I believe her suggestion will totally work: I say sneak up on it by adding only .1 of a mile each day. In 10 days you will have added an extra mile effortlessly!
    @ clio: I like it Clio! Thanks!

    @Joy: I believe I can and will run the half marathon in circa two and a half hours. The only question really is in what shape will I get over the finish line!? I agree that I don’t have to run the complete distance beforehand. But I want to at least run 2 – 3 runs beforehand that cover 10+ miles. I run right now 9 miles in 1 and a half hour.

    @Faith: I don’t have to “anything”, but I surely want to finish the half marathon running on November 13th!

    @Sree: Yes, Sree! When I wrote I plateau-ed I surely was not stuck! The plateau was about the distance, but I have been running faster and faster. Thanks for asking that! I love it when someone reads between the lines and try to understand what it means...
    While writing I put in some exaggerations and didn't mention some of the insights I had accumulated. For example "I seem to have plateau-ed in this post as well. And as I am thinking about it, maybe I have plateau-ed everywhere in life... " was to see if anyone would ask me about going from specific to general.

    Do-it thing versus Dialogue-thing: You can dialogue anything and any time. For me, when I am in the middle doing something and I want to stop the activity to first dialogue about what I am doing, it's a do-it thing. I want to stop because I am fearful (for example what if I get stranded 7 miles from home). I rather just approach my fear and get through it, then dialogue it first. I can always dialogue afterwards about the situation... When writing the article was not a good moment to dialogue, but if the challenge is not resolved at a later moment, dialoguing it is...


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