By the end of week one I was thinking about how long 18 weeks really is and how much work is ahead of me. I haven’t started speed work yet and my runs are still relatively short, but the reality of what I have to do is starting to sink in.
Week two wasn’t as smooth as week one. My mileage bumped up to 37 for the week so at least that was manageable. We had severe storms overnight on Wednesday and when I got up to run on Thursday it was still lightening out. I’m not opposed to running in the rain, especially in the summer, but it’s pretty obvious that running when there’s lightening isn’t smart. Around 2:30 in the morning my phone was going nuts with flash flood warnings and we’ve had some pretty high water near where we live during some storms the past few weeks so I had to face the inevitable that I’d be running in the afternoon heat. It was hot and apparently my running route isn’t very shady. I had a tough time keeping my heart rate down and debated if it was even worth it to the finish the run. I decided to run shamelessly.
Run shamelessly. What does that mean? I ran as slow as I needed to go. I stopped as many times as I needed to stop. That ended up being 8-10 times in four miles. I did what I needed to do to get it done. It got me thinking about the trend of comparing oneself. We’re all guilty of it. A majority of the blogs I follow mention feeling inadequate whether it’s due to pace or cumulative mileage. How many times do runners jump back into running too soon after a race as to not “fall behind” somehow? Why are we so obsessed with comparing ourselves? I know to run the best race I can, I need to do what I need to do to get to the start line healthy and prepared. I know I can run 4+ miles without stopping and I know I can run it much faster than I was in the moment. I just had to suck it up and get it done however I could.
I knew Friday morning that my run would be slow. I knew my heart rate would be elevated since it had only been 10 hours since I finished my previous run. I took it slow to keep my heart rate down. I stopped when I needed to stop to allow my heart rate to recover. I knew this wasn’t going to be an every-run kind of thing. I had no control of the weather the day before and this was just the hand I was dealt for the week. Running smart and getting my miles done in a healthy and productive way was all I was tasked to do.
I did have some positives in week two. I had a speed test hanging over my head that needed to get done. My coach told me to do it before July so I decided to get it done last week since July is quickly approaching. The weather was actually great Wednesday morning, but I was nervous. I had a specific time my coach told me to try to hit and it was faster than I’d ever intentionally tried to run. After a short warm up, I went to the test running 2 x Yasso 800. I planned to use my lap button, but after the first 800 quickly discovered that I had accidentally turned it off. In that split second though, I realized I had actually run faster than the assigned time. I was instructed to walk the time between 800s which I was happy about and before I knew it, it was time for the second 800. I took off running hard, slowed at one point, and then kicked my legs back into gear to finish strong. I finished my second 800 right around the same time as my first, again faster than my goal time. Generally I wouldn’t be proud of running intervals faster than my goal time – doing speed work too fast is an easy way to get injured, but it gave me confidence that I would be going into my speed work in a few weeks planning for an interval I felt capable of hitting. No doubt adding intervals on will be tough, but it made me excited to get to work.
Saturday my training group was meeting about 20 minutes from where I live so I decided to head downtown and run the back half of the marathon course instead. Still recovering from that crappy, hot Thursday afternoon run, things started out really slow. The first mile was a little frustrating, as was the second since it goes through the medical campus which was hopping that early causing me to have to stop a million times, but once I got through campus I started thinking about things from my first marathon. Like the spot where Nicole dropped her gel and Joe ran back to get it, when I crossed into mile 21 and my friend Dan told me the hardest part of the course was over as I passed him, the location of the water stop where I passed the 4:00 pace group, the coffee shop where my friends were all cheering, and the turn where I wanted to stop, but kept going. It made me so happy to think back on those memories and I was really happy to have taken the time to go down and get some miles in on the course.
Now onto week three. Nothing fancy this week, just more base building. The weather is looking better and I look forward to getting back to my group run on Saturday.