I am officially in the double-digit weeks of marathon training! With a PR under my belt, I am also feeling a little – just a little – more optimistic about being able to finish my marathon in 4 hours and 20 minutes. While remaining optimistic, I’m also not resting on my laurels. I have followed many bloggers who have trained their glutei maximi off only to not meet their goals come race day. Health issues, weather, or even a mental setback are all variables that can impact all mortals on race day, and as a mortal, I fully recognize I am not immune to any of those variables. I am still citing my mantra of “stick to the plan” when I want to skip a run, and making every attempt to not allow negative runs spoil my training weeks. Last week definitely challenged me, and I do feel so much mentally stronger for not allowing a missed run or a bad run to have defined my training week, especially my half-marathon race!
Four recovery miles. Because it was President’s Day, my husband had the day off, and we decided to do a family recovery run together. I pushed my two-year-old in the jogging stroller, my husband ran with our dog, and my ten-year-old rode her bike. It was sunny, in the 50’s, and absolutely wonderful to be running with my family. This recovery was such a treat, and the four miles flew by so fast because of the company, the weather, and the beautiful views.
Five miles. I got the opportunity to run outside once again and I was completely grateful for all the riches and experiences in my life. My gratitude for all of my blessings cannot be quantified with words, so I will not attempt to do so. The best way to express my gratitude is to acknowledge that all of my materialistic belongings are inconsequential, and that in the end, what people pine for most is freedom. Freedom to express oneself, whether verbally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, artistically, and yes, even financially. I’ve been blessed with all of the aforementioned freedoms, and being outside with nature is a clear reminder that my life is filled with unlimited opportunities to embody the liberty so many pine for.
Four miles. My outside running streak came to an end. These four miles were on the treadmill, but I was okay with that. My legs were rather sore, but not from racing on Saturday, but from heavy back squats on Monday and heavy front squats from the morning. Despite the sore hamstrings and quadriceps, I was both shocked and appreciative of how rapidly my body had recovered from racing 13.1 miles. In fact, while running, my joints, legs, muscles, and back felt great! In many races, the first part of my body that begins to feel fatigued is my back. It begins to lean forward, which then causes me to lose my already imperfect running form. During the race, I expected for some kind of discomfort to occur, but surprisingly, my discomfort stemmed more from my lungs while training to maintain a breathing rhythm as opposed to my joints or muscles. It is my only hope I will experience this same physical and mental strength during my marathon.
Six miles on the Treadmill. I did a sprint session following the six miles and I ended up with a total of eight miles once it was all said and done. After my run was over, I was drenched in sweat, and I felt like a sinner in church who had been absolved from sins. Sweat is so humbling yet so powerful. A good sweat session always leaves me feeling like I’ve conquered the highest mountain climbing it with my bare hands and feet.
Four easy recovery miles and nothing more to it. By the time Friday rolls in, I’m ready to get my long run in so that I can check off another training week.
Eleven miles. My running friend (Sarah) is injured, so it was just me and my shadow on the run. There wasn’t much of a shadow though, because it was windy, gray, cloudy, cold, and semi wet (it rained the night before and I got pelted with small, hard drops during my run). It took some self-cajoling to step outside the door, but once I was out there, I was ready to tackle the 11 miles that stood between me and the last day of training week 10.
I started off at a very lethargic pace, but I tried not to fret too much about it because I understood it was supposed to be a long and slow distance pace and not a racing pace. Besides, after a long hard run on my half-marathon race last Saturday, I wanted to take my time.
Prior to the run, I wrestled whether I should tackle the hill with an elevation gain of 800 feet, or the one with 400. Last time I attempted to climb the former, I ended up stepping on black ice and slipping about ten feet. Because there has been an abundance of sunshine the last couple of weeks, I decided by mile two that I would tackle the slippery hill in hopes that the snow and ice were no longer present. Should the ice and snow still be on the floor, I would tackle the other hill and still get some good training in my run. Much to my success, the snow and ice had disappeared and the trail was mine for the taking.
The last time I tackled this hill was last Fall (September 20) and it was the first time I had made the 800 feet climb without stopping. My time: 15:20. This Saturday, I once again made the climb without stopping in 14:49! While it does not seem like a big difference, shaving off 30 seconds on a steep hill was enough for me to feel good about my training and how far my running had come! It was also a great way to wrap up week ten of marathon training.