I am officially at the halfway point of my marathon training! This is probably one of the few cases where “it’s all downhill from here” just does not even apply.
This has been such a crazy and unexpected couple of months. There has been far more frustration and all over the place emotion (I’m happy! I’m sad! I hate running! I love running! I’m hungry!) than I anticipated, but I’ve also gone way out of my comfort zone and done things like run 17 miles that I definitely didn’t think I’d ever do even 10 months ago. And I’ve become a faster runner regardless.
Luckily we’re on a happy Amy week right now, so no complaining! Yay!
This past weekend, our plan called for a half marathon race. Incidentally, there happened to be a half marathon organized in Albuquerque, but we decided to save our money and run our own.
We chose a hard course near our house that includes a 400 foot elevation gain over a mile and a half…but we went around 3 times, so I had to run up that hill three times. No matter what, I can’t get myself up that hill with any type of speed, so I knew there was no way I would be able to achieve a half marathon paced run. I focused on getting up that hill as fast as I could (ranging from 8:50 for the first time around to about 9:30 for the last) and running everything else at an 8 minute mile pace or under.
I finished 13.1 in 1:52:47, at about an 8:36 average pace. Not too shabby, even though I would have liked to go a bit faster. I was also pretty dehydrated. We chose this course so we could do a bottle drop. We had a few little water bottles placed along the way that we could grab during our 3 times around this loop. But, somebody stole one of my water bottles. What is wrong with people? I just hope that person was about ready to pass out and really needed it. Or choked on it enough to remind them that stealing isn’t cool!
Next week we have 19 miles. And then we’re almost at our max mileage! Crazy to think that my first 20 miler is in two weeks.
Since I am at the half way point, I’ve been looking back at all my workouts over the last couple of months. From my first long run (7.5 miles at a 10:15 pace) to my 17 miler at a 9:35 pace. I have gotten faster and stronger. Even this past 13.1 was way faster than my long runs pre RnR Arizona, so I’d like to think that if I ran a real half with real competition and sans the 400 foot elevation gain X3, I’d have a fantastic half PR!
See, I told you I was in a good mood!
So, this will be a comprehensive reflection of the last two months.
What’s Going Well:
1. Sticking to the plan: Even though Aaron has been on reduced mileage for over a month, I’ve been sticking to it and running solo. While I’d obviously rather run with him, I’m proud for doing a lot of this on my own.
2. Getting over the pace obsession: It hasn’t been easy. I try not to let my long run paces get me down, but I am slowly understanding that my long run paces aren’t too indicative of my marathon pace come race day.
3. Picking myself up when I want to quit: Last week was a rough week. I questioned my sanity, and at one point during a workout I wanted to give up altogether. Then I realized that I’m not a quitter, and the only person making myself miserable was me. After a quick attitude adjustment (and a good long run), I am completely rededicated to making this BQ happen! And it’s not like anyone forced me to do this.
4. Injury Prevention: I’ve managed to keep little annoyances (knee pain, IT band pain, and heel pain) from becoming big problems. I hope we can keep it this way!
What Needs Work:
1. Eating well and drinking less: I can clean up my diet for two months. I thought I’d start from the beginning, but I really like food and beer (and margaritas and wine), and giving that all up was not as easy as I hoped. But I’m ready to give this healthy lifestyle thing a go. Starting tomorrow. JUST KIDDING!
2. Getting the Emotions Under Control: Training for a marathon is hard. Duh. That doesn’t mean I can get sad after every bad workout. Because then I eat badly and write long blog posts about how much I hate running. No fun for anyone!
3. Rededication to the Goal: I was very public about my goal because I hoped it would push me harder. I think I’ve lost a little bit of that focus thanks to frustration and also the ease of letting myself off too easy. I’ve got two months to whip myself into shape. I can do it!
I bet the people who came in last for the Olympic track and running events wish they had tried a little harder. I know even Pre wished he had pushed a little harder in Munich! I don’t want to finish my marathon wishing I had tried harder. And there is no time like right now to start.
Have a fantastic week!