March Mental State + Ultramarathon Training Week 8

This week was hard.


Not physically hard. In fact, it was a cutback week, and my legs felt great!


No, this week was one of those mentally hard weeks. Those emotionally hard weeks. Those weeks when I trip and fall into the depression ditch.


Who am I kidding? Not only was this week hard, but since coming back from Tokyo I’ve been in the depression ditch. Why? I woke up the sleeping dragon.


I had no problem finding vegan food to eat while in Tokyo. There were tons of great places that offered vegan ramen, tofu wraps, miso soups, seaweeds, salads, etc. Yet, I returned from the trip 9 pounds lighter. I stepped on the scale, glanced down and my jaw dropped.


Luckily, my first reaction was horror. Seeing a one followed by a zero, teetering dangerously close to a double-digit weigh-in, “Oh SHIT, Becca, that’s not good.”


But then the dragon stirred, And I felt a sickening elation. The angry eating disorder stirred from slumber and gave her best YAAAAAS roar. “That’s what I’m talking about, Becca!” 


Old habits die hard.


These weeks post-vacation have been a slide back into that internal battle of eat-don’t eat. This week was especially rough. The dreary, cloudy weather and then added stress of dog-sitting my parents’ new 4-month old puppy (lack of sleep, long commutes, cleaning up accidents from a sick dog) only further fouled my mental state.


So what do you do when you need to sing a lullaby to your inner dragons and yank yourself away from the brink of a very slippery slope, one that you’ve tumbled down too many times to count?


You dive headfirst into the arms of your support system.  


First up, my little brother.  He graciously came up to take over puppy duty over the weekend so I could head out on my runs.  I needed the mental break, the social time with friends and the endorphins.  Thanks, J.


Second, my running family.  I was supposed to race on Sunday.  The Cary March Madness Half Marathon.  I loved the race last year and had a blast.  But this year, with the ultramarathon training, I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to race and perform the same way.  Given all the stress I’ve been feeling this past week, I didn’t think it would be a good idea for me to participate.  I had visions of myself trying to force a fast race, and then becoming disappointed in myself for not being able to produce my typical fast times.  That experience might have pushed me down the slope.


But is it ok to feel that way?  Is it ok not to race because you won’t perform like you normally do, which will cause you a lot of self-doubt and may lead to self-punishment?  That’s where I needed to turn to my running family.  I felt so guilty for not wanting to race, but I found solace with their words of wisdom.  And the answer?  YES.  It’s ok, in fact it’s better than ok to give yourself a mental self-care day.  There’s nothing wrong with you.  Yes, I could have taken it as a training run, and just enjoyed a run out in Cary, but at this moment in time, it was better for me to avoid it.  Thanks, friends.


Third, more family and non-runners.  Even though my parents were out of town and best friends on vacations, they all still found time to answer phone calls or texts and provide a listening ear.  And a rational voice.  And jokes, lots of jokes when needed.  Love you guys.


Finally, nature (and more running family).  Instead of participating in the half marathon, I took to the trails and spent an absolutely glorious morning in nature and among friends. Thanks, EDGE Family.





Inhale strength, exhale stress.  Take care of yourself.  You need to eat to train.  Fuel right to feel good.  Here’s to a better week!


Happy Running,



Ultramarathon Training Week 8

Sometimes you can plan a great week, but reality doesn’t allow it.

(Catch up on other weeks here)


Monday 3/13: EZ 5 at RPE 4

Just had a nice and easy 5 mile run to do today.  It was snowy and windy though!  I was alone on the path in the morning, just me and the snow plows. Total: 5.04 miles, 8:45 pace


Mental State Monday


Tuesday 3/14:  Planned 9 miles of speed. (Actual: 6 miles)

With dog-sitting, I wasn’t able to fit this workout in during the morning like I normally do.  Instead I had to do it around 2pm as it was snowing, after having sat in a bunch of kindergarten-sized chairs and over a 2 hour commute.  But such is life! During the warm-up, I battled the desire to just turn it into an easy run and gutted out 5×5 minute surges at RPE 8 with a 3 min RI at RPE 4.  Kept a consistent pace (for intervals 1, 3, 4, and 5 – 2 was a bit too fast.  RPE 8 sure feels different in the middle of the day than in the morning! Total: 6.05 miles, 7:40 pace


Wednesday 3/15: Strength + EZ 5 at RPE 4

Ended up running more miles because I had to cut the speed short yesterday for the puppy.  I was happy to settle into the groove after a mile – it helped that I reached a plowed part of the 606.  Total: 8.03 miles, 8:15 pace


Thursday 3/16 Rest day: Yoga

Just barely made it to yoga on time.  Glad I got my namaste in for the day.


Friday 3/17: Planned NP + EZ 4 miles at RPE 5.  (Actual: Just a run)

I really wanted to see my November Project family today.  Today was especially hard, compounded by the fast I had 10 hours of sleep since Monday.  But Frizzle was sick in the morning and all keyed up.  I was at my wits end and just needed a run.  Sad to miss the workout, but happy for at least four short, slow miles.  Total: 4.6 miles, 8:30 pace


Saturday 3/18 Long Run

It was a “cut-back” week for me, but I still had to run 20 miles.  I was glad to have company for the first 10 miles and catch up with Luca, Hayley and Kelly.  Since I made the decision to forgo the half marathon tomorrow, I decided to spice up the long run with some surge miles thrown in.  Man, did it feel good to be outside, even if it was a cloudy, dreary day.  Total: 20.30 miles, 8:14 pace. 


Sunday 3/19 Planned Cary March Madness Half.  Actual: EZ recovery Trail Run

As I said above, I had planned to run a half marathon but decided for my mental state it would be better to get in a slow trail run with friends.  Al, Kan and I kept each other company.  I owe them both some energy bites next run! Total: 12.20 miles


Mental State Saturday
Perfect way to end the week. Recovery time at EDGE with friends, post-long run brunch, and a crossword puzzle



Total week’s mileage: 56.22. Total time: 8 hours. 

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