In May, Sarah finished half marathon no. 5 in beautiful Vail, CO – 13.1 miles in honor of a boy battling ependymoma. In her own words:

Altitude changes are always hard for a runner, but the Vail Valor was particularly difficult. Technically I knew what I was getting myself into after signing up to do 12 half marathons in 12 months, knowing that I would be living in both Rhode Island and Colorado during different parts of the year. However, after spending a couple months in Rhode Island, training lackadaisically during finals period, and then spending a week in Moab, UT learning how to rock-climb (details on First Descents in my next post!), my running muscles were feeling pretty lazy!

May happened to be brain cancer awareness month, and so I dedicated this half marathon accordingly. There are a few patients I met during my journey that stand out in the brain cancer realm. In particular, in my radiation clinic, I met a patient diagnosed with ependymoma. Or rather, I met the parents of a child diagnosed with ependymoma as they were being told that their son’s radiation would cause him to be deaf in one ear and would probably result in developmental delays. I was just a physician’s shadow, but the hopelessness on the father’s face was striking. It is very difficult to describe the desperateness of cancer treatment unless you’ve witnessed it first-hand. You go into treatment full throttle, receiving lists upon lists of side effects that you or your child or your aunt or your grandmother will experience. Ultimately, you know exactly what is going to happen to your body. There are very few mysteries regarding the mechanisms of the poisons and radiation that are thrown at us (with some notable exceptions). Knowing your son will probably be half-deaf following the treatment to save his life does not make it any better when it happens.

On an unrelated note, during this race I met a man who was running his 100th marathon—yeah, you read that right! His HUNDREDTH marathon. I struggle just running 12 HALF marathons in a year! Not only that, but he was running back to back marathons- he had just run another marathon the day before. I think that he said he was 70 years old. I envy his energy and ability, even though I am fifty years younger!

Psst! Sarah is almost halfway through running 12 half marathons in 12 months, but she needs YOUR HELP to get her halfway to her goal of raising $10,000 for childhood cancer research. Please give what you can here, and thank you for helping put cancer on the run!

Today I want to talk to you about what to do when you have a bad run, because guess what? The reality is at some point during all these weeks of marathon training you’re going to have a bad run (more like several, actually).

And that’s okay.

Yesterday’s long run was a terrible no good very bad run. I have a condition (with a complicated medical term when abbreviated is known as SVT) that sometimes causes my heart to “short-circuit” and then start pounding like it’s gone into hyper-drive. This kind of episode happened three miles into my scheduled 8-miler. I was forced to run-walk the rest of the way to keep my heart rate down.

I was frustrated, disappointed as it seemed I’d wasted a training run. I HATED walking, but one of the MTT coaches (who was kind enough to stick with me those last, slow five miles all the while feeding me really useful information on how and why I should monitor my heart rate more closely moving forward — more on that later) advised it was for the best.

So what do you do when you have a no good very bad run?


That song is stuck in your head now, isn’t it?

No, seriously.

How to Recover From a Bad Run in 3 Easy Steps:

Well, that sucked. Accept that not every run will be a good one. There will be days when you don’t finish a distance or meet a pace goal. We ALL have those days.

The takeaway. The best thing you can do is learn from a bad run. Were you dehydrated? Did you go out too fast? You’ll be a better runner for it.

Shrug it off. Don’t waste energy dwelling on it. Instead, remember the reason you began running. Remember to have fun, enjoy it! After all, a bad day running is still easier than chemo.

A few new things shook up last week’s training. Here’s the rundown:

1. RIP Newtons. I was explaining the tearing sensation in the fleshy part of the bottom of my foot I sometimes get while running to my marathon training team coach, and his response was to get out of my Newtons. My response:

Following the advice of my coach, I hit up my favorite local running store and asked about a neutral shoe with forefoot cushioning (jargon alert — if you’re like me and are kind of lost as to the difference between a neutral or stability shoe and which one is right for you this article should help).

I walked out of Point 2 with the new Mizuno Wave Rider 17. Breaking them in was terrible, but they felt better during Sunday’s 7-miler.

Since the switch, I’ve become obsessed with what other people run in. What’s your go-to running shoe? Are you a brand loyalist? Do you alternate running shoes?

2. Hills Hills Hills. Hill repeats started this week, and I’ve been told it’s speed training in disguise but really it’s just hard as hell. The way it works is hills target different muscle groups (DEM GLUTES) than normal speed work ultimately making you HARDER, BETTER, FASTER, STRONGER.

If you’re a staunch hill hater, check out this article from Runner’s World and repeat after me: “Hills are my friend.”

3. Still Easier Than Chemo stickers! YESSSS!

Look what we have here: just some awesome Still Easier Than Chemo stickers — now available at shop.stilleasierthanchemo.com! They’re only $2, and — as always — sale proceeds are donated to help fund cancer research.

Finally, a little motivation to kick-start your week:

 

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