I’ve Got This

I have thrown myself into the deep end of half marathon training. My training team is one of the slowest paced groups, with novice level routes and novice level mileage scheduled for each weeks’ Saturday morning run.

I am a novice and slow (11 minute mile pace in general) but I am committed to getting stronger and hopefully, faster. August 18th was the first time I had run since late July, and I went out and survived 4 miles. I didn’t own them, but I survived them. If the standard training rule is not to increase your mileage more than 10-20% a week, then I have blown myself up going from 0 miles the previous week, to 4 miles last week, to 14 miles this week.

It is not smart to jump into training like this and I know it, but I am the one who chose to leave my running gear at home while I was at Pennsic, and I was too wiped out after Landgrab to run during Peace Week, and I just couldn’t bring myself to lace up my trainers the week after Pennsic. I have 12 weeks left until race day and I am feeling the pressure already (as evidenced by the hours-long stress dream I had about race day last night).

Last night, I felt the intensity of this week’s training pull me under the water. I came home, ate dinner and laid in bed for a couple of hours, wishing I was sleeping, but unable to. I got up and spent a little time with the family before going back to bed and taking two Tylenol PMs and forcing myself to sleep.

Monday, I spent my hour in the weight room, lifting and lifting heavy. It felt really great to find that I hadn’t lost ANY of my strength training while at Pennsic, and in fact, felt like maybe I had even gained some. That is easy to do in such a physically challenging environment (I hauled Grace up the hill to Camp in her cart at least 4 times!).

Tuesdays are for Speed, and I did intervals on Tuesday, which was a very humbling experience. I was unable to maintain 6mph for more than a few minutes, unlike before Pennsic, when it was my “cruising speed” on a treadmill. And forget the 7mph intervals. I could maintain one gut-checking minute at a time, and then have to stop the whole workout for a 30 second pause. I made only 3 or 4 intervals and then spent a couple minutes at 6pmh before throwing in the towel at 16 minutes and only 1.63 miles on the treadmill. All my speedwork I had done all summer was lost to me, it seemed.

Wednesday was my outdoor day and I hit the 3 mile route on the floodwall. It was a beautiful day and the run was uneventful. With a pace of 11:35, I felt pretty good about that run.

Yesterday, I decided to tackle my first real tempo run. The definition of a Tempo Run (or Lactate Threshold Run) is run at least 20 minutes run at a constant “comfortably hard” pace. I am using Runners Worlds’ Training Calculator to guide me with planning my pace for my intended 2:30 half marathon goal, so I set the treadmill for 5.5 mph (10:54 min/mile) and dug in for 3 miles.

I find running on the treadmill to be boring in general, so intervals tend to help keep me interested and in the moment. A constant speed on the treadmill is hard on my brain but music helps me disassociate from the boredom. Halfway through my tempo run, the MP3 player quit on me. Batteries were dead. I wondered if I could make it for 16 more minutes without music to disassociate into and working at probably an 8 out of 10 on my personal Perceived Exertion Rate scale. I started this mantra in my brain of “I am a runner…” and would list a reason that I am a runner. That is where yesterday’s post came from. Some of those reasons were ridiculous, some heartfelt, some made up, some were non-sequitur (I have no idea where “I am a runner for the rockstar” came from). But for 16 minutes I kept up that mantra and I made it to the end of what was one of the toughest workouts I have ever done.

I have never really successfully applied the mind-over-matter idea to running before. This was the first time my brain really engaged in the effort I was putting out and dragged me through to the end without me giving up and giving in. I felt like I had accomplished something pretty amazing by the finish. Not as fast as any of my interval runs, but almost twice as long as those runs normally last. And I never quit, never slowed down, never walked.

Today is Friday and for my training schedule, it can be a rest day or a x-training day. As tired as I am and as much as I have pushed too hard this week, yesterday’s workout did amazing things for my self-confidence, so I packed my workout bag, not with running gear, but weight lifting gear. I will decide at 11:45 whether I am actually going to go pick things up and put them down over and over again or just rest, but I am glad that I have the option to choose.

Tomorrow morning, I will conquer 5 miles, the longest distance I have run since June’s Mud Dauber race. The trepidation I felt going into last Saturday is gone.

I’ve got this.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Julie on August 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I pick things up, I put them down. ;-}


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