This training for a marathon business is hard work. And I’m not talking just the actual miles that are spent running. It’s trying to fit in HOURS of running every week around an already packed schedule. I couldn’t do it without the help of T and my parents. Last weekend I did my first 16 mile run since early September. As you know I’ve been battling pain and injury since then. I’ve been seeing an awesome chiropractor who has given me stretching exercise (along with some therapy in office) that have made a world of difference. Unfortunately I now know that I can’t not do these things. I must stretch and roll out my muscles every day if I think I’m going to make it as a runner. It’s part of who I am as a runner.
On Thursday I had a chat with Coach Joe about revamping my plan. I originally had an 18-miler on tap, but I knew that there was no way I was going to make that. So we changed things up a little, slowed down my pace for my goal-paced runs and my long runs and off I went into the land of altered training plans. The good thing about this plan is that since it started back in July, I still had some wiggle room. If you are ever looking for a coach – granted he’s in Oregon and so we email and chat periodically on the phone – Joe is awesome. I always feel reassured that he’s got my back.
Last weekend’s 16 miler, I’m not gonna lie, was hard. I ended up doing it on Friday as it was a holiday (Nevada Day) and T had the day off. That meant he could do his long run on Saturday and would free up time on Sunday. I was a little perturbed that morning because the kids ate all my English muffins so I didn’t have my usual pre-long-run breakfast. I ended up with oatmeal mixed with yogurt. Not bad, but I missed my usual.
The run wasn’t bad, but I was DONE by the end of it. I had nothing left to give. Which actually felt good when I realized that I had zero pain throughout my run. I had my normal aches and twinges, but no pain. That is until about 2 hours later. And then I stretched the heck out of my legs and the pain went away. Getting this run done on Friday meant that I had two rest days before I was ‘scheduled’ to do another workout.
Monday was speed work. I love speed work. It’s fast, it’s hard, but it’s over pretty quickly. The plan was for 8 x 400 m at 1:42 with a rest of 1:30 between each interval. That’s fast, yo. And actually too fast for me to feel comfortable on the treadmill. I completed them in 1:47 each; and I’ll take that happily. The last 400 m was hard and I had to repeatedly tell myself to just keep running. My legs were tired. But I’m so glad that I got it done.
In looking at my training plan I have some longer runs during the week – my Tuesday run – that I know I won’t accomplish on the treadmill. To for instance yesterday’s 8 miler. After talking with T, I decided that I’m going to get the run in when he gets home from work, or more accurately when I get home from being mommy chauffeur. So I tried my best to get everything ready before I left that afternoon.
My legs still felt a bit tired from the speed work on Monday, so I was a little nervous about hitting my goal pace on this run. Not to mention I don’t normally run in the evening, so how was I going to do manage my meals when dinner is usually my biggest meal? I hydrated and tried to eat a nice balance of protein and carbs all day. I ate a protein bar about an hour before setting out hoping that would be enough.
So at 6:30 off I went into the darkness. This was the run I was waiting for. This was the run I *needed*. I felt like I was flying the first 3 miles. Granted I was going on a downhill slant for those 3 miles, but they felt good. I felt strong. And I hit green lights at all the intersections. My lucky day! Then the slight uphill started, but the legs? They were cooperating. I just kept thinking about how tired they felt after the 16 miles and how relatively awesome they felt now. I did have to walk for about 1/4 mile around mile 4 because it was dark, no cars were passing me, and I didn’t want to kill myself on curbs or trip on a rock buried underneath fallen leaves on the sidewalk. I ate a gel at mile 5 and sipped on Cytomax throughout my whole run.
Music was playing in my ears and I was feeling the vibe.
As I turned the final corner, I realized I still had a ton of steam left, so I picked up my pace. I ended up sprinting the last 1/4-mile or so. I ended this run with a huge smile on my face, dripping with sweat, and feeling 100% satisfied.
Now comes the real work. Staying on top of my stretching and rolling so I can build on this strength and endurance I’ve worked so hard for. So here’s to another week filled of runs that I feel good about. Because those awesome runs? They are what keep me running.