My husband Jay and I do our best future-casting on road trips. Driving back home on New Year’s day, we discussed our goals for 2017. Vacation, finances, fitness – we left no stone unturned.
Much like my “training” for the half marathon tomorrow, this blog post hasn’t taken up a whole lot of my time as prep is concerned. I’m composing it on a friend’s couch in my Darth Vader joggers.
But I did want to give y’all the chance to join me as I travel 13.1 miles. These miles I’ll be slow going and I would love to have you along for the fun. Comment below to claim a mile. Could be your favorite number, or just a random choice.
I’ll also ask you let me know if you have a prayer request you want me to lift up. If not, just let me know if you are an encourager or a butt kicker. I’ll need both along the way!
SLS3 offered me a pair of their Plantar Fasciitis Compression Sleeves.Do I have PF? Well, no. Not right now. I had twinges of it in the later weeks of marathon training, but never bad enough to need to take a break from running.
For the past year, I’ve lived in a perpetual state of training. The beginning of 2014 found me in week 5 of marathon training. Following that round with 26.2, I began 10K training, immediately followed by 8K training. Then it was time to training for my fall half marathon, and that training bled into my training for this year’s marathon.
I had planned to go straight into 5K training, in prep for a late May race. Mostly, I just think I want a break. Maybe its the post-marathon fatigue talking, but I have no desire to stick with a straight plan. I didn’t do speed work in the later part of my plan, so I’m not sure what my hesitancy is.
Of course it could just be too soon to think about training. I’m less than 3 weeks recovered from my big race. Add to that the beginnings of what promises to be a big allergy seasons, and I wonder if I’m asking too much for myself. Perhaps I should just allow my body to be active, rather than in perpetual training.
What does that even look like?
My race schedule typically averages over 1 a month. How would my body react to a month without racing?
At the moment, I’ve completed 3 races in 2015. This coming weekend I’m participating in the Ragnar Trail series in Atlanta, but I wouldn’t count that as a race. Its certainly not something for which I’ve trained.
Dare I clear the race calendar and just keep moving? Yesterday I participated in the Total Body weights class at my gym for the first time since January. I enjoyed the change of pace the circuit routine had to offer, not to mention the muscle soreness that hurts-so-good this morning.
Listen to your body.
If you were to ask for advice, I would tell you to listen to what your body is trying to say. You’ve just come off a your 4th marathon – a personal best time yet again. What’s wrong with a bit of rest and relaxation? I guess it comes down to not being able to trust myself. The longer I stay inactive, the harder it will be to get back started.
As in previous years, this race wasn’t my A-race but did fall into my training plan. My Shamrock Marathon spreadsheet called for 12 easy miles as a long run for the weekend. 13.1 about 30-45 seconds faster than easy seemed to be a good compromise.
My cheering squad deposited me at the start line, then found their way to the a spot in the early miles of the race. I found the porta-potty, then the 4:15 pace group and began to mentally prepare my strategy. I wanted to keep the early miles slow and easy
I’ve never had luck with the pace groups for this race. I attempted a sub 2 hour half in 2013, so I joined up with the 4:00 marathon pace group. Despite being well within goal for the first few miles, they lost me.
While I managed to stay with them for most of last year, the 4:15 took the first lap of the race quicker than the 9:40 average needed to complete the marathon at goal. I suppose the strategy is to bank time in the early miles, given the elevation change on the course. However I have never had luck with positive splits, and had planned to do the first 10 miles at an easy-push effort and go from there.
I stayed with the pace group, checking myself on the down hill during the first mile. During the mile 2 climb into the residential neighborhood, I lost them. The coming miles were rolling, and I could have probably caught them but I didn’t want to trash my legs early on.
I fell into a steady pace and found a group of 3 runners going my same pace. I introduced myself, and we stayed together for the next few miles.
Mike, Sheri, and Pre were each running the full, and were trying to set a nice, easy pace for the first of their 2-loop course. Talking to them helped distract me from the steady climb up Trentham, which has kicked my booty in years past.
I also chatting with a 70+ dude who had on a “run for Christ” shirt on. His shirt prompted me to reflect on my memory verse, and I told him as much. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands. 2 Corinthians 8:12. He thanked me for the reminder of why he was out there, then told me about his racing plans. This was his 2nd half marathon, and he was hoping for a full marathon by the fall.
As we crested the top and turned onto Gervais, I said my goodbyes and pushed on ahead. They still had 16 miles to go, and weren’t ready to pick it up. I flew on the downhill approach to the steep hill ahead of me, then kept the legs moving as I tackled both parts of the doozy.
Wearing my heart rate monitor helped me with a strategy on pace. I’ve got no shame in walking a hill like that, but on this day it wasn’t needed. I kept my turnover as steady as possible to the top.
The race is, or at least feels, all downhill from there. Looking at my splits over the years and it would appear that Mile 12 has a bit more elevation gain, than 11 and 13, but only slightly affecting my pace.
The cops at this race were catching a lot of flack from the cars (and from some runners who didn’t want to stay in the cones, as reported by my cheerleaders) so I made a special point to thank them at each intersection. The closer to downtown, the more I passed. In the final mile, however, I was pushing too hard to do any more than grunt and flash a thumbs up.
I finished this race about a minute slower than my time last year, but my last mile had more kick! I think I took it easier on the run for the most part, and am glad for it. I am in taper mode, after all.
Because I know what is important in racing, I posed for post race photos, grabbed a bagel and enjoyed the sunshine on the steps of the state house. While the weather felt balmy by Tennessee winter weather (traveled through sleet to get to my destination on Thursday), the 44* was still a bit cool for my cheering crowd.
Time once again to bear my soul, or at least the superficial surfaces of my brain to link up with Jaime and the gang for Stream of Consciousness Saturday.
Tomorrow morning, I have my 20 mile training run scheduled. For my last marathon 30K was my longest run. This time around I want to follow the plan and see if it results in increased fitness, so 20 miler it is!!
In some ways, I feel ready for the taper. Weekends of forgoing housework in order to get up early and run have started to get wearisome. More from a mental perspective than a physical one.
From a training viewpoint, I don’t feel like I’ve done all that much. Just my standard lunch runs and a bit on the weekend. Of course that’s just not accurate. Wednesday evenings for the past 15 weeks have been dedicated to a “medium” distance run ranging between 5 and 8 miles. I’ve never done those prescribed miles before, and am interested to see if they make a difference.
Am I ready to tackle 26.2 in less than a month? I don’t feel like it. Then again, I also think I’m more than capable. I’m not sure how to reconcile these feelings in my brain. Am I under trained? More than adequately trained for the task? I suppose I’ll get a glimpse in the morning, and better still in 3 weeks.
Starting tomorrow around lunch, taper madness will set in. The mileage will be dialed back and I’ll let my body heal from the past 15 weeks of training. Funny thing, I’m not sure I need it. Easy to say now, I suppose; sitting on this side of the 20 miler.
Here are the rules: there are no rules.
Okay maybe there are a couple of rules – set your timer for 5ish minutes and get to writing. Don’t forget to link up with Jaime when you are done. I can’t wait to read what you decide to share!
Now its my turn – buckle up and let’s get started!!!
Does it count as SOC if I keep deleting my text? I mostly want to whine about being tired. Seems like that’s all I get done these days. Then I hate that I want to whine about it, because otherwise this marathon training cycle is going great! I’m actually losing a bit of weight, the miles are easy, and I haven’t missed any major runs.
Each night I struggle to stay awake to the 9 o’clock hour.
I hate that this is my post though. So many other awesome things going on that I could talk about instead of sleep deprivation. I’m like that annoying mother who dreams of having a baby, talks about how awesome babies are, then complains about a 2am diaper change.
If this is what I wanted, why am I complaining?
So, instead, I’ll focus on “all these awesome other things” – like the girls weekend that is my marathon. We’re starting to plan who’s car we are driving and what-not. We’ve had our hotel booked for months.
Non-running related, I’m excited that my favorite band – Skillet – is going to be in Knoxville next Friday at the Winter Jam concert. Also a week from today, my darling and I will celebrate the 100th monthiversary of that Friday the 13th when we first met. Not to mention the 14th – Valentine’s day, and the 16th – Presidents day (to be celebrated with a hike).
Oh, and as you are reading this, I’ll either completing my 16th half marathon or celebrating with a nice, long afternoon nap.
Confession: This is actually Stream o’Friday. Scheduling the post because I have a busy day tomorrow. I just hope I can remember/find the time to link up with Jaime.
Things are really starting to pick up with marathon training. I’m not sure why, but over these past couple weeks the mileage has finally started to feel “real.” The mid-week runs are up to 7 miles now – given they only climb to 8, I feel like I’m almost there.
Of course we ran 15 miles for our long run last weekend, given us another 7 weeks to build an additional 5 miles. Maybe its been so long since I’ve done 20 I’ve forgotten how daunting it is, or else my body has just grown accustom to the mileage.
Last round – Covenant 2014 – I didn’t even complete a 20 miler. 4 weeks before the race I ran the Whitestone 30K, rounding my mileage up to 19. Then the week of the 20, I chose to ran my annual South Carolina half marathon instead. Intending to add miles before or after, but they just never happened.
Part of me is nervous. Historically I’ve PRed at every marathon I’ve ran. Each time I’ve progressed leaps and bounds as a runner, so naturally my time has improved. As my body has adjusted, 26.2 seems more natural. BUT
What if that’s not the case for this race? What if I train more than I’ve ever trained before and my result falls short of my hopes?
I suppose the optimist would view it as a win/win. Either I do get faster, proving to myself that dedication to a training plan can pay off.
I realize that my body doesn’t require as high mileage in order to run the distance, leading to me running more marathons, whilst training less.
Before anyone says it – yes, I know I think/stress/worry to much about a hobby that’s supposed to be fun. I’m trying to just enjoy the experience, and for the most part I’m succeeding. Every now and again, however, those pesky little doubts pop up.
I participated in the Pistol Ultra race this past weekend, but “only” logged 15 miles. While the common distances at the event are 50K (31 miles), 100K (62 miles), and 100 miles, a couple of buddies and I formed the team Run for Fun and did the 50K relay.
Friday’s pre-race festivities included packet pick-up, pasta dinner, and a brief talk by Jeff Galloway.
An evening (or morning or afternoon) with these ladies guarantees plenty of laughs and general craziness, and this was no exception.
My friend Christal, who had originally signed up for the 50K, only to upgrade to the 100K, had gotten a hotel room minutes from the starting line so we had a bit of a slumber party before hand.
The restaurant right next to the hotel made my traditional pre-race beer easy, before we headed back to the hotel room. Of course we stayed up chatting until well past my bedtime, but without the pressure of a time goal of intimidating mileage, I wasn’t worried.
We got to the starting line early to see Christal and Johnny (Run for Fun‘s runner #1) off. Estimating his pace at approximately a 9 m/m, we had about 90 minutes to kill before I ran. Back at the hotel I’d eaten a biscuit with gravy from the free breakfast, knowing that I had plenty of time to digest.
The Ultra experience is so different from other races I’ve participated in. Given the 30 hour time limit & chip times, people were registering/starting the race after the gun and didn’t seem the least bit nervous about it. Crews had tents, tables, and mini-aid stations set up on the sidewalk near the start/finish.
Each loop (3 loops were required for the 50K distance) contained 2 out and back portions. The first was 9ish miles, and the 2nd approximately 2 miles. The runner will cross the start finish line before actually being finished. Seeing Johnny around mile 9 allowed me to get prepped before he came back up the hill for the exchange.
The out and back nature of the course also meant that very little time on the course was every spent alone. There would most always be someone faster than me headed the opposite direction, or else someone slower than me. The slower pace of the long distance made cheering for other runners far easier, and caused the miles to seem as if they were flying by!
Before I knew it, I topped the hill and headed into the exchange zone. I’m currently training for a spring marathon and my training plan called for 14 miles, and my relay leg only netted me 11. I decided to accompany Amy for a mile or 2 before heading back to the start/finish.
2 miles into the course (mile 13 for me) I stopped at the aid station my buddy Blaik was working, but Amy continued on the course. I ate some pretzels, had a cup of Dr. Pepper before turning around and heading back to the start finish line. The aid stations were top notch when it came to fuel!
While I should have been changing into dry clothes and stretching, I found myself along the side of the route, cheering runners as they approached the start/finish. Very few were actually done, but were glad to accept cheers as they began a new lap of their journey.
Amy finished up strong for the team as we accompanied her across the finish line. Then it was time to report in our time, collect our medals, and start planning to run the full 50K next year.
I’m still not sure what our official time was, but we were 8 out of 24 total teams. Not bad for 3 crazies doing it “for fun!”