Friday, September 7, 2012


I hate hiccups. My friends and family know this about me; I can't stand having them and I despise when other people are overcome by them (call me overly empathetic). Not only are they uncomfortable and annoying, but they make you wonder if they will ever stop.

Similarly, I hate hiccups in training. Inevitably, every workout won't go well. But when a couple bad ones string together, it seems like a downward spiral. It's annoying, uncomfortable, and you wonder if and when it will stop. 

This past week has been full of hiccups. It started last Wednesday at track practice; right from the beginning, I felt a little off and just didn't seem to have it. But I surprised myself, held on, and handled it. 

Two days later I was back at it, trying to squeeze a long run in before a holiday weekend getaway. It wasn't the best of plans, realizing I wouldn't have ample recovery after the track workout, but it was a "now or never" situation. I had planned to do a few miles at a good clip, but faded quickly. I hit every water fountain, splashed water all over myself, nothing helped. I gave up on my pace. But by the end, I was crawling, slower than I've run in a long time. When I got home, I was completely drained. I skipped my strength exercises (against my blogger advice) in favor of recovery. Looking back, I could come up with a zillion excuses as to why this run went poorly (too little recovery time, a killer combo of heat and humidity, a new sports drink that I was a "tester" for; it will not be getting good reviews), but all I can think about is how that was the last solid long run before the half and I bombed it.

I enjoyed my vacation for the next few days, relaxed at the beach, the pool, went for one short, slow run, and took two days completely off. I figured I'd return extra recovered and ready to go. 

But I wasn't. Tuesday's run wasn't anything special, but I couldn't help but notice that it was quite a bit slower than the same route last week. I blamed the humidity. 

But then came Wednesday. I started feeling a tickle in my throat, and my stomach was a bit off all day. The track workout was daunting: 4 x 2k, much faster than I prefer to go (or, possibly, am capable of going). Again, I felt it from the beginning. But I hung on last week, so I tried to keep at it. My stomach was not having it, and threatening action. On the second repeat, I fell far back. The second repeat!? I usually fall off on the last, but we were barely started. And the pace was continuing to drop. On the third, far back again, Coach made me call it at a mile. I took the extra break, debating if I had one more in me. I decided I would it give it another go, but only a mile. Once again, I fell back after 2 laps, and barely got through it. I felt completely wiped and drained. I couldn't even keep up with the girls on the cool down. Moreover, I was upset because I can't honestly remember the last time I cut a workout short. I've definitely adjusted my expectations and slowed (see above for the long run disaster) but never didn't finish. I feel like endurance is my thing, and until now, I've been able to at least endure the workouts, even if they are at a slower pace than I'd like. Maybe that's a silly philosophy to have -- there is certainly no reason to run yourself into the ground if you don't have it in you -- but I'm disappointed I couldn't complete it. 

The biggest problem is the half marathon is looming, a short week and a half away. My confidence is lacking, and that's not the attitude I want to go into a race with. With no marathon this fall, I feel like this is my moment to shine. This will be my favorite and best distance until the spring. Of course I'm shooting for a big PR, but I need to build my confidence back up to believe that's possible. 

One way to get rid of hiccups is to focus on something else--to ignore them. Easier said than done. There is a great quote in the Wear Sunscreen graduation speech-turned song: "Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how." Everyone has bad workouts, but they are so much harder to forget than the good ones. Particularly in the days leading up to a race, why can't we forget the discouraging days and focus on the encouraging ones? If anyone knows how to do this, how to ignore the hiccups, tell me how. 

Dream big, 


  1. Here's a compliment to remember: you are heroic and inspiring. Without the hiccups, anyone could do what you do, but they don't.

  2. Hi, from one runner blogger to another. I've nominated you for the Sunshine Award. You can find out more about it here:
    Blessings! Susie