Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Quality Miles, or Quantity?

For the past few days here in Chicago, it has been me vs. the sun and heat. I have been losing.

I am not quite sure where this crazy weather has come from, but it went from early spring weather conditions to those that we would typically see in July or August in the matter of days. The last week of May it was in the high 30's here, and I was still sporting my winter gear. Now I don't even want to leave the house because the moment I walk outdoors I feel like I'm in a sauna of death. It is not pleasant. My poor pups don't even want to go for walks, they find the teeniest piece of shade outdoors and look at me with their sad puppy eyes probably thinking that I am abusing them by making them go to the bathroom outside in this heat.

Amidst week 1 of training for the Chicago marathon, and it has been rough so far. My first two workouts were easy runs at 10 and 9 miles, but both runs I cut short for fear of my life and safety. When I got in yesterday from what was supposed to be a 9 miler and was only 7, the temp was 101 on my car thermometer. Yikes. Honestly I don't really mind the heat, but I am used to it coming in late summer not late spring. My body is not conditioned for these temps, and it has been making it damn near impossible to get any quality miles in this week. Today my legs feel sluggish, heavy, and drained from the heat.


When my last training cycle came to a close on May 28th at the Soldier Field 10 Mile, I was on cloud 9. I felt like all of my hard works from the 18 weeks prior put me in a great place mentally and physically which left me feeling excited to start my next cycle. After quite a few days off of any type of activity I assumed that my body would be ready to step into marathon training smoothly. Unfortunately I did not consider the weather, and I am finding myself this week fighting a challenge that I wasn't yet prepared for. Two runs into this cycle and I am finding myself drained. BUT, I have been kind of a dope and went out for my runs in the late afternoon heat which isn't the best time to be hitting the pavement. Just when I am starting to get a tad bit cocky about my abilities, the Lord puts his hand on my shoulder and says "slow down woman, don't lose focus of what is most important in life".


Family, faith, friends; all of these are my priorities as well as my own personal achievements. I am slowed today by the reminder that quality miles are more important then the quantity and that time is well spent focusing on all of the facets of life. My life is a constant struggle of balance where my God continues to stop and humble me because of this. So while I am going to focus on the road ahead and achieving my giant marathon goal, I am also going to keep focused on my balance in life and the quality of miles I am putting in.

I am sure that I can get to that starting line on October 9th with a bazillion miles in my legs, but I know that is not going to be what gets me to that sub 3:10 finish. Its the quality of miles which these legs put in that will get me there and the focus on my family, faith, and friends that will make it all the more worth it.

*Photo credits to Brightroom Photography

16 comments:

  1. I know exactly how you feel about the weather. And while Chicago has a colder winter than DC, we also saw cold temps until mid-may and then BOOM! It was like I moved to a swamp in Florida. I know we'll both be able to manage - especially after the body gets conditioned - but in the meantime, it's hard to run!

    Thanks for the reminder about the important things in life: God, family and friends! Sometimes, it's easy to forget why I'm here - especially when I'm busy and caught up with "me". Let your faith and strength help you train for your marathon - and you'll get your goal!

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  2. PS - LOVE the pics from the Soldier Field 10 miler. You look AWESOME :)

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  3. Great run pics, you look great in all of them and that isn't always easy to do! The weather has been really hard in Montana also, it seems like it is either cold or hot, I wore mittens on my run this morning. Mittens in June! What the heck. and just tow days ago I was dying from the 80 degree temps.

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  4. Quality miles all the way!

    This weather is awful to run in. Just walking outside to and from work every day about a mile each way zaps my energy. I'm sure eventually we will get used to it just in time for winter. I hope October is nice and cool this year :)

    The running- life balance is tough. I struggle a lot with it. I'm lucky to have someone who is very supportive of me, but his patience wears thin when I talk about running too much. He does not share the same enthusiasm as me for running. It helps that he travels a lot for work. Finding the balance and remembering what is important is key to success.

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  5. Great race pics! This heat is definitely making it harder than usual to run..and to recover from a run. I can't imagine running in the afternoon though--mornings or nights only in these temps!

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  6. I can definitely relate to bad weather = bad running. The past few weeks have been constant rain-- it's hard to put in quality miles when your feet are sloshing in your shoes! Good luck running in the heat and getting in those quality miles!

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  7. you're braver than me. if it's about 85, i'm on that treadmill!

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  8. I CANNOT run in the heat. It makes me want to through up!

    I'm still somewhat of a newbie when it comes to running but I'm definitely a quality of run kinda girl. I think it's better for your body in the long run anyways.

    Love those pictures of you!

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  9. Just found your blog the other day but yes, the HEAT is a huge factor. I live in Louisiana so we have the heat + humidity. Yesterday, my car temp read 106. Yikes! We had a mild spring so the heat has come sooner so it takes some time to get acclimated to it! But, I guess I have always been quality over quantity. I find I do better by putting in quality runs versus just building up really high mileage. Looking forward to reading about your journey. I have family in Chicago so hope to make up there one day for the marathon!

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  10. …hold on…did you say sub-3:10 finish…in Chicago…this year??? Also was this post about quality vs quantity miles? Were you just talking about balancing ‘life’ with running? It’s like I’m looking at myself in the mirror and I’m like...hotter or something…

    I’ve always been impressed by the folks who manage to find a way to balance life with running (or other personal goals). I mean honestly…if you ignored everything else and focused solely on a sub-3:10 in October…it’d be freaking easy to do. People do it all the time, and although I have a lot of respect for cats who can run that fast, I’m not impressed by people who allow themselves to live such a one-side life. To me, that’s not real life…or at least not a fulfilling one. I’ve always been inspired by the people who manage to do amazing things…like run super fast…while still being able to post pics like the ones you posted on June 6th. I think you’ve got the right idea.

    That said, when life’s gotten really tough for me, I’ve managed to run some of my fastest races while training only 3 days a week. In fact, my 3:12 from last month was based on that type of training. I had to tweak my training plan and I had to make sure that those 3 runs were the type of quality runs that were as rough, and bad-ass and as grimy as the Wu-Tang Clan…but I did it on 3 runs a week. I’m certain that you’ll find a balance. I say quality over quantity always.

    So are you going to be my pace bunny in Chicago or not?

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  11. I hear ya! It's been a tough hot humid week in IL... makes for a tough week 1. Sounds like this weekend we're gonna get back to normal thankfully!

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  12. I feel your pain with this heat! It's ridiculous, when I go out on my lunch break I am sweating through my clothes because my air conditioning in my car can't get cooled off fast enough. It's insanity!

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  13. Great post!! I hear ya, girl. While I don't have the humidity of the midwest, I have the HEAT. It's already in the 100s here and will be until fall (Yuma, AZ-sunniest place in the US). Running after the sun comes up is just OUT for me. Training for a marathon here during the summer would be a NIGHTMARE, so I am sticking with a good 'ole half. Good luck with your training!!

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  14. Awesome pictures! The heat and humidity have been killing me too. Quality miles all the way :)

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  15. Girl, you look beautiful in your photos. Wonderful running form!

    I hate the heat. I just don't feel too safe in it. After I sleep today I'm going to head out for a jog, but it's going to be sloooow and easy.

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  16. i'm really guilty of trying to run in the middle of the afternoon heat and then wondering what the problem is, lol.

    you posts always inspire me to think bigger! great to remember priorities like that. :)

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