Back on the wagon…?


The Catalina Marathon is two weeks from today.  Let’s talk about that.

After the last race I did (the swim in June) things got busy.  New baby.  New home.  New job.  Paul is on a crazy string of rotations again (he just finished another block of nights where we basically didn’t see him for 2 weeks).  In fact, I think February was the first month EVER in the entire history of this blog that I didn’t post anything.

Despite all that, sometime in the fall I decided that signing up for a marathon was a great idea.

Catalina has been a race I’ve wanted to do for over a decade.  It is crazy hilly. I’m running it with my sister and a friend. There is no way at all that I will go fast, I just need to finish.  How hard can training be?



The good news about the training is the weather has been nice and it has been refreshing to be outside and away from everyone else for a few hours.


The bad news is, for the first time I can really remember in my life, my body is fighting me.   I have never struggled training for something as much as I have for this.  And I might have some idea why.


When I was in college I took Psych 101 and remember reading a study on sleep deprivation and physical exertion.  It was from like 1950, had an n of 1, and were a lot of variables that weren’t super applicable to real life (ie, the guy stayed up voluntarily).  But the results were essentially that while your mental capacity is indubitably effected by lack of sleep, your physical performance capability and muscle strength is not.  I distinctly remember a black and white picture of this guy doing push ups after being awake for like 120 hours, smiling.

That image, burned into my mind, helped and me drag myself to morning practice on more than one occasion in college.  I have done some of my best workouts during times in my life when I am getting sub-optimal sleep, and I rarely sleep well before a race.  So I’ve never really worried too much about it.

10399342_523118888402_7356_nme at alma mater pool…on less than adequate sleep

Maybe it’s the fact that my sleep has been interrupted for months on end and the effect has finally compounded, I don’t know.  But for the first time ever I can’t seem to get past the exhaustion.  I can’t get my heart rate up, my body just won’t.

This feeling of debilitating fatigue could also be linked to…


1436_612233407236_7470_nyerm. primanti bros.

For some reason, even though I manage to make sure my children eat just fine, I cannot seem to do the same for myself.  Example: last night HH had lentils, avocado, strawberries, and tomatoes for dinner.  I had 2 hardboiled eggs and half a sleeve of shortbread Girl Scout cookies topped with chocolate chips (I know the chocolate chips might sound like overkill, but trust me.)  Most of the time I am just too lazy to prepare one more meal and do more dishes.  But solely subsisting on PB&J tortillas after a 14 mile run…I am really not helping myself.

These two things combined leads to…


I have a 2 year old in preschool and a husband that works in a hospital.  Walking petri dishes.  In the past two months we’ve all had a puking/GI stomach bug.  TWICE.  And in between those I got some kind of flu.  At one point, about 1/3 of the way into my training plan, I went over 2 weeks without running.  When I finally started up again, I decided to start back at square one to avoid injury…and my entire training plan went straight out the window.

So training so far has been a very weird, unpredictable rollercoaster on both an emotional and physical level.  The past 7 weeks have looked something like this:

Scheduled – How it went
10 mile run – Horrible.  Horrific.  Painful, terrible.  But finished.
12 mile run – A little sore, but OK
14 mile run – Skipped it entirely, too busy puking again.
13.5 mile run – Dreading it big time, but totally fine!  No issues at all, almost ran 15 I felt so good, but held back.
15 mile run – Headed out optimistic.  Felt absolutely terrible.  Body hurt. Joints hurt. Mind hurt.  Cut it short, only did 8.
15.5 mile run – No problem at all, no soreness or pain the next day!  Wheeeeeee!!
18 mile run – Turned into 10 mile run, incredibly slow and painful, took me 3 days to recover.

This is also, of course, assuming I can find someone to watch at least one of my kids for part of the day that I do my long runs.  I’m happy to take them for a couple miles, but at this point I don’t feel like the extra challenge of pushing a double stroller on my 16 miler is necessary.

10399362_576304998034_112_nhow i feel about life right now

I have 18 miles on the docket tomorrow.  Who knows what that will look like.

I’m really not sure what is happening here other than I’m coming into this race pretty significantly undertrained and overtired.  But who knows, given the way things are going, it could be hellish, but it also has the potential to be FANTASTIC.

1918402_733401989426_4762764_nlast trip to catalina, 2009

Go get it.

4 thoughts on “Back on the wagon…?

  1. I was just saying yesterday how I have no idea how I used to even function on constantly broken sleep. And you’re doing all that! It’s so much easier to do stuff when you get to sleep and even lie in sometimes. You’ll be back there soon. And then you won’t be able to even imagine what sleep deprivation was like. It’s weird! In a good way 🙂 Good luck with the race

  2. reading your blog makes me tired. that and the 1 mile walk i did tonight after work. whew! to celebrate i ate a bag of Quadratini chocolate wafers. too bad you’re not as dedicated as me. some people just don’t have what it takes. good luck, i’m sure you will run the whole thing and make the rest of us feel like even bigger losers.

    1. i appreciate the vote of confidence, but i can say in all sincerity that “running” is a strong word to use when describing how i will complete this “race”. i see it more as a super long hike.

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