Adventures in Running with Maurine

Those Pesky Gremlins

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I never like the movie Gremlins.  Of course, I never like any kind of scary movies.  And Gremlins is scary.  The mogwai is so cute – until you add water, sunlight or food after midnight and then it turns nasty and deadly and all the cuteness is gone.

My training has developed its own gremlins lately.  And not the cute ones.  After 4+  months of very consistent training, I should be getting faster, stronger, leaner, etc.  Instead I feel like Superman when he is hugging a nugget of kryptonite.

I’ve been doing some pretty faithful Maffetone Heart Rate Training since the beginning of April.  I was starting to see good progress and see my running speed (ok – make that attempted running speed) get faster than my walking speed and the times were dropping.  Lately, almost anytime I run more than a minute or two I have to switch to walking because my MAF heart rate max has been reached.  I like run/walk and like to do it a lot, but I don’t appreciate being forced into it.  In fact, this morning was the first run in more than a week where I was able to slog along without having to walk, but the speed was more like my speed back in May. I’m thinking this is my water created Gremlin. Right now, there is no way I feel that I can take on a 100 mile race until I can run 5 mph on a regular basis.  At my current turtle speed I am not even running 4 mph.  Very demotivating.  Not giving up – just reevaluating.

My long runs were consistently improving and I even came close to 30 miles one Saturday.  My plans were to do a marathon or ultramarathon training distance a minimum of twice a month by around now.  However, I am now struggling to even consider 20 miles for a long run right now.  I think that it is a combination of being so slow still and heavier than I would like to be. These both take a toll on my body and I am struggling to listen to my body but also realize that some of it may be mind games.  It kind of reminds me of the mental torture of that weekend Matt Williams made me hear so many Taylor Swift songs at the Blubber Creek Aid Station at Bryce Canyon.  This is my sunlight fueled Gremlin.  Probably more so than I can even imagine – because it is often the sunlight and heat in the middle of the afternoon that makes me want to give up on long runs.

Then there is diet.  That food after midnight Gremlin really applies to me.

I love junk food.  I love chocolate.  Did I mention I love junk food and chocolate?  It doesn’t help that we were raised to gulp our food (probably a way to avoid family sniping at mealtimes), clean our plates, and when times get tough – eat lots and lots of junk food and comfort food.  Hard to break those ingrained habits.  They come out without my even thinking about it if I am not careful.

Notwithstanding my love affair with the really delicious food (ie things that are not healthy, taste yummy because they are loaded with lots of fat and sugar) I have been working on improving my diet.  For the last two months I have actually eaten the recommended “minimum” (which is a ton) servings of fruits and vegetables, not eating a lot of processed foods, etc.  I’ve even taken up weight training.  Desperate times and all that good stuff.

So – after four months of serious distance training and two months of eating healthy, I am proud to announce (insert sarcasm here) that I have actually gained weight.  Not a lot, but c’mon – really?  Busting my butt and my butt is getting bigger?  I don’t know what it is going to take to lost the excess weight.  I am trying different things – but this is hard.

I would like to see some progress in my fitness.  Is that too much to ask.  So far I am:

  1. Getting slower
  2. Dropping down from my weekly distance high
  3. Gaining weight

If I didn’t really believe that this will eventually pay off, I would go back to spending lots of time eating chocolate and reading books while lounging in bed. I miss those days.  They call me when the Gremlins are attacking me and trying to eat my hands off or something good like that.  I’ve shoved a few in a microwave and blender but they keep multiplying.

Anyone else dealing with pesky Gremlins?  If so – hang in there with me.  Eventually we will conquer them and get back to just the furry and cute mogwai.

Until the sequel comes around.

Because….face it.  We are ultrarunners.  There is always water (rain and water crossings), sunlight, and eating after midnight involved.  Bwahahahaha!


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