Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Staying in the Mile

"Believe that you can run farther or faster. Believe that you're young enough, old enough, strong enough, and so on to accomplish everything you want to do. Don't let worn-out beliefs stop you from moving beyond yourself."

John Bingham

With every new goal, new obstacle, and unvisited experience, there comes a certain amount of fear.

Am I good enough?
Can my body handle it all?
Will this be worth it?
Am I crazy?

For me there is a lot of fear moving forward with this fall marathon pursuit; fear that I am both my best and worst supporter and can easily allow myself to get carried away. 

I've spent most of 2013 rebuilding my running routes and starting back at square one. Staying well within the lines of my comfort zone. Playing by the rules, being realistic, and taming my overzealous spirit. Obviously it was the right choice because I'm here now, feeling stronger and more grounded than I've ever been while nailing my workouts. It's been a long time, and oddly enough it's been a tricky thing to get used to. Who would have thought success would make me feel so uneasy?

There is, and most likely always will be, that voice inside my head telling me to push harder, run faster, and go further.
That voice is filled with plenty of nonsensical reason and makes me more of an irrational human than I already am.
One that thinks excess can lead to better things than logic and conservation.

Keeping that in check is very challenging for me.

When a workout is going well, it takes every ounce of my willpower to not press harder or get in just one more mile. Instead, I'm constantly in a state of reminding myself that steady control is my friend and will be the secret to any successes this fall.

Today's tempo was no different.

Plan was to hit 4 miles on rolling hills in the 6:35-40 range.

For the first time in ages, I felt completely in control inside of my body. The foreign feeling of the mind and body working together harmoniously to accomplish the same thing was uncomfortably intoxicating, leaving me drunk on my sweat.

Relaxed as the legs fluidly moved forward clawing at the ground, it was easy in the early miles talking myself into adding an extra tempo mile for the day. Rounding things out at 5 instead of 4.
Everything was saying lets ride this high and keep the train-a-rollin'.

I think it's entirely normal to have those realistic fears of uncharted waters.
What isn't okay is convincing myself that sailing those waters before I'm ready is a good idea. 
Everything comes with time.

And I still need some time to get there safely.

As quickly as I talked myself into that 5th tempo mile, I talked myself out of it.
Seems like the better decision since I walked away from the workout craving more with an little extra pep in my step. Clearing away a wee-bit of doubt and uncertainty about the logic of this road workout by workout is all I can do. 

Be in the mile I'm in,
and let go of the next.

Monday, August 12, 2013


Last week marked 2 new 2013 milestones for me...

My 1st official 15 miler since marathon training last year.
Officially clocked 15.5 miles yesterday morning on a very hilly (for me) route in 2:01. I waited kind of late to leave the house where it was very sunny and fairly humid by the time I was a few miles in. Pretty sure that I lost at least 5 lbs. of sweat. Seems as if I have forgotten how hard these longer runs were in their absence. 

Everything after the 12 mile mark felt like a crawl as my skin seemed to be baking in the sun and I begun to get antsy.

I'm sure it'll get better with time, and since I am very out of practice with these long runs it only seems right that they are a little extra challenging. As odd as it may seem, the challenge is reassuring. Gives me something to work towards while keeping my workouts honest.


1st week over 50 miles
Clocked 53.79 miles total for the week.

That included a 5x1600 cruise interval session and a 6 mile GMP (sort of) run in addition to that long run. A pretty solid weeks work for me, probably the best in the past 18 months.

3 weeks into things, I'm feeling pretty solid.
Challenged, but confident.

89 more days to go until the big day...

but really who's counting.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Training mode on

2 weeks of work complete and 14 more to go.

Sheesh, didn't think I'd be here again so soon.
But I am. And I'm loving it.
At least so far I am.

Hard to explain how this really all transpired. All I know is that one minute I talked about how training for a marathon again wasn't going to be on my radar any time soon and the next I was being offered the opportunity to run the Naperville Marathon representing the running store I work for. And I took it. That was back in early spring.

Now I'm two weeks in and have already put in fair a variety of workouts.

There were some mile repeats,
4x1 to be exact with very short recoveries.
6:20, 6:20, 6:18, 6:15

A goal marathon paced steady run that was everything but GMP.
In the general area of that ideal pace at least.
Still need quite a bit of work hammering down this pace.

A fartlek that kicked my butt.
I started out too aggressive and was once again reminded that I have to work from where I currently stand instead of where I think I should be.

A 4 mile tempo on rolling limestone trails.
6:44, 6:38, 6:36, 6:28

That one felt pretty damn good
At this point, 2 weeks in, I'm feeling good. On the right track and building a decent foundation for the next 14 weeks. But it hasn't been an easy feat to get to where I was a year ago and where I am today with running.

There have been a lot of adjustments.
And a completely different mindset.

So I'm taking a bit of a different approach.

Making more of less.
Last time I trained for a goal marathon, mileage and workouts were in ample supply. In my peak weeks I hit 80+ miles and weekly clocked in the 60-75 range for my cycle. Lots of double digit runs, lots of tempos, and lots of 20+ milers. It didn't exactly work out for me in the end, so there is no logical reason for me to take the same path this time around. There is never just one way to get somewhere, so I'm trying something different this time. 

Putting on some weight.
Yes, that's right. Put ON some weight. Intentionally. This is a touchy subject, one that I tend to avoid discussing with most people because I really don't value their opinions about my appearance. I am what I am, and I'm not what I'm not. Okay, I'm thin. I'll admit it. Running has given my body a very athletic build. Lean, strong legs, scrawny arms, and not a lot of excess baggage where women usually carry weight. I don't have control over how and where my body stores weight, none of us do, that's just the way the cookie crumbles. I don't dwell on it much, and I would hope that others take the same approach. But, spending the past year focusing on a little less movement to help me carry around a few extra pounds has done wonders for my energy levels. Recoveries are easier and I have more energy to tackle everything else in my life.

Starting back from the beginning.
Sometimes you have to take a few steps back to get ahead. It can be frustrating and annoying, but there is always a bigger picture is life that doesn't necessarily revolve around running and PR's. Instead of jumping head first into where I want to be, I'm taking things one day at a time and appreciating the work I can put in because of where I currently stand. Good things come with a lot of hard work and patience. So I'm staying patient.

Having ending point flexibility.
While I would love nothing more than to end the year with some shiny new PR's before taking time away from racing to start a family, I'm also still very adamant about avoiding overzealous goals in 2013. That 3:05 dances around in my mind from time to time, but honestly I'd rather be realistic. Maybe that means busting out incredible splits, and maybe it doesn't. Either way, it'll all work out as it should and I'm not stressed about it. Instead, I'd rather enjoy things as they unfold and appreciate the destination it all leads me to.

Training is good.
But life is better.