I am officially at the halfway mark of my marathon training. Week 11 proved to be a little challenging for me, but I stuck with the plan and I managed to make it another week where I completed every single one of my runs. I have now ten weeks remaining and headed closer to the Eugene Marathon.
Five Recovery Miles. I did a Crossfit session of heavy back squats in the morning, and my hamstrings and derriere were definitely sore. Fortunately, I was not running for time, only for distance. I am back to running on my good old, faithful treadmill, so there is not much to write about.
Tuesday called for an eight mile run, half of which was supposed to be run at half-marathon pace. Tempo runs intimidate me. While I was confident I was capable of running four miles at an 8:20 pace, the darn pesky negative voices inside my head always seem to find a way to get to me. Plus, I was running on the treadmill, which is not the most exciting machine in the world. At this point you may be wondering why I don’t run early in the morning, or in the evening when my husband is home? Well, I could run in the morning, except, my husband works out between the hours or seven and eight. Which means I’d have to be ready to go by 6 am on short runs to make it back in time for my husband to work out. I suppose that is not an issue on short runs, but when eight miles are part of the plan, it becomes cumbersome. Plus, the mornings are complete chaos when you put a slower-than-molasses eleven-year-old who needs to be told over a 100 times to get dressed in order to avoid missing the school bus. Thus, mornings are not a good fit for our household. The evenings call for even extra amounts of patience because it involves homework with an eleven-year-old who hates homework as much as the next kid. I hated homework as a little girl, but I hate it even more as a parent. Where was I going with this rambling? Oh, yes, why I run on the treadmill instead of running outside. Basically, it is more convenient at the moment to run on the treadmill while the toddler naps. Perhaps that will change once the temperatures get warmer.
Despite my apprehensions, I absolutely loved my eight mile run. I ran every single mile with confidence, which in turn made me feel strong each and every step.
Another five miles. This time, I had a blister on my right foot tagging along. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but still a nuisance nonetheless. Survived the five-mile blister run.
This run was definitely the one in my schedule that I was looking forward to the least. Because I had done back squats on Monday, front squats on Wednesday, and had just finished an upper body workout (back, triceps, and shoulders) earlier in the morning, I went into the nine mile run feeling extremely fatigued. The first five miles were an absolute mental-tug-of-war. Anything weighing on my mind made sure to interrupt me during my run. I had to stop about five times to tell myself to remain focused and keep-it-together. It wasn’t until mile 4.5 that I finally found my rhythm and was able to regain both my mental and physical composure in order to make it to the ninth mile alive. Thursday was most definitely a mental marathon training, and I was relieved to have survived it.
Ugh! Just when I had professed my allegiance to the Hoka One One shoes I purchased last fall, I am now considering a “conscious uncoupling.” My husband was none too pleased when I informed him I would most likely be purchasing a new pair of shoes. I fully recognize how much of a luxury I have purchasing another pair of running shoes, and think it is valid that my husband would express displeasure in dropping more money on a different set of sneakers, but I am so invested in this personal goal, that I feel it is necessary to protect my feet in order to make it to the starting line. Plus, it is not just about the marathon. Running is my sanity. It is the only part of the day I devote to myself; not because it’s my alone time, but because it is my way to give thanks, to find relief, to find courage and power, to inspire, and to exercise freedom. It may sound melodramatic that running could mean that much to me, but this is where I find and lose myself. My husband wasn’t trying to be critical, because I definitely understand the importance of budgeting and spending, but the investment is not so that I can keep up with appearances, it is genuinely so that I can fulfill a part of me that sustains my ability to think and perform on a day-to-day basis. Anyhow, ran the four miles to close out my weekday runs with frustration at my feet (and running shoes).
Fifteen!!! Ahhhh!! These 15 miles were symbolic of so much more than distance. It’s not a comeback, because I feel like I am actually stronger and so much more disciplined compared to where I came from. In my opinion, the 15 miles were a testament of hard work. They were a testament of commitment, and perseverance. They were a testament that when you really covet something, the best way to attain it is to earn it. I’ve run 15 miles in the past, but the drive behind the distance was fickle. These 15 miles had possession of my complete devotion.
The first five miles definitely psyched me out, but once my friend Sarah joined me on the run at mile six, I was full of energy and excitement. There were a couple of times in which I prematurely celebrated them, but I had to restrain my excitement and continue to push until I was actually done. And push I did, because we had to fight 20+ mph of headwind on our return. Once I did cross the finish line, I was all smiles! This was the furthest distance I had covered since the Fall of 2011 when I was training for the Portland Marathon. Furthermore, I was celebrating the most miles logged in a month (43) since the Fall of 2011 and the most MILES EVER run in a single month (153.85)! February, I LOVE YOU!