Well, it’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Thanks for coming back, anyone who’s here! Life’s been a bit busy and unfortunately blogging has fallen by the wayside. I’m still waiting for one of those summers when things slow down. But I know I’m not alone, and let’s be real – I’ve chosen to lead an intense career path. It happens. I’m still enjoying life. I’m trying to remember this on the busiest days. Fortunately, for the most part I’ve still been running. Not as much as I should, but I’ve been running.
I’m keeping the primary goal – crossing that finish line in Chicago – in mind, and trying to remember how I felt about running a year ago when I first really started actually thinking about it. I remember realizing that I was getting faster, and starting to feel that competitive voice piping up in the back of my head, egging me on, forming race goals, pushing me to think bigger. But I was stressed out. Seriously stressed out. Not about running, about everything else. But I was aware enough to know that I didn’t need another stressor in my life, and that goals and numbers could become that stressor. I made a promise to myself to keep running, to keep dreaming, to keep pushing. But not to stress. Enjoy this. Don’t make it another ladder to climb that only becomes frustrating. Never be mad at the end of a race. You can be disappointed, but only momentarily. Let it fuel the next one but not get me down. Never be so frustrated that you can’t enjoy pancakes.
All of this is to say that it took me 3 tries to hit 14 miles on a long run. Not the most auspicious mid-marathon training performance. But you know what? It happened because I was visiting family and friends, and the combo of travel plus crazy humid places did me in. I made a good effort, and I got over it and tried it again. I’m behind, but I’ll be ok. Don’t get me wrong, I beat myself up a bit, but then I enjoyed a donut one week, and time with my sister, her husband, and my precious nephew the next. Life is more than a few miles, and there’s always the next try. If this marathon is super slow, there’s only more room for plenty of PR’s in the future!
I’m going to run through my training so that I have it here to look back on, but will try to be quick since I have a good 3 weeks to cover. A couple firsts have happened in the last few weeks – first true nighttime (read, 9PM, not right after work) run, first double, first spin class in a year. Seems we left off on July 27th, so let’s just get right to it:
Sunday 7/28 – Saturday 8/3
Sunday: Tennis match. I don’t have written in my training log whether I won, but I’m pretty sure I did. In 3 sets. I’m becoming the master of dragging matches out as long as possible.
Tuesday: Unintended rest, but did do crunches, planks, calf strengthening exercises.
Wednesday: 5 early morning miles @ 9:11, got caught in POURING rain out of nowhere at about 4.5, felt great actually. (Incidentally, this run rounded out the month at 95 miles. Highest monthly mileage ever for me, which is peanuts for some people, but exciting for me!)
Thursday: 4.5 miles @ 9:50
Friday: Rest, drove to B’ham Friday night. Resisted my mom’s repeated offers of ice cream and wine when I got home since I was running at 6 AM. Hindsight, should’ve given in, the next day couldn’t have gotten much worse.
Saturday: Met up with the Birmingham Track Club for a 14 miler. So many nice people, and I met Lisa, who couldn’t have been nicer, particularly with her considerate answers to my emails the week before asking if they were a good group to run with. Long story short, going out too fast plus crazy humidity (how did I EVER play tennis for hours on end on August afternoons in Bama growing up?) and my body just generally shutting down on me resulted in my stopping at a gas station around mile 9 and calling my dad to come pick me up. I was pretty discouraged, but once Dad told me he was impressed by those 9 miles and bought me a blueberry donut, all was well in the world again. Dads are the best. And ending runs with donuts is a pretty darn good idea Spent the rest of the weekend hosting a shower for a dear friend whose baby will arrive very soon, and taking my parents to a belated birthday dinner at one of my very favorite Birmingham restaurants. Family, friends, good food. Missing those extra 5 miles will be ok.
Sunday 8/4 – Saturday 8/10
Sunday: Rest, drove back to Nashville. 3 solid hours in the car with good friends. 3 hours straight never seems to happen anymore, so the drive flew by.
Monday: 5:45 AM spin class! Planning to make this a regular occurrence. I’ve long heard about the teacher being awesome and hard, and finally am getting it into the rotation. My quads are weak. It hurts, but it’s great.
Tuesday: Tennis. Indoors. Humidity. But tennis is always fun, even thought I lost. Bummer. I really don’t like losing.
Wednesday: 6 sweaty, humid miles at 9PM. Wore my phone on my arm for safety’s sake for the first time in forever. It’s still kind of speckled from the water that apparently seeped inside the front cover. While creepy at times, it was really peaceful running at this hour. May have to try this again. 9:45 pace.
Thursday: Rest, unintentionally. Work’s a bear sometimes.
Friday: Rest, unintentional again. Flew to Charleston to then drive north to meet my sister, her husband, and their son at the beach. Intended to drive straight up to the beach and get in some miles before the sun set and they got there. Sat at the bar at Husk and drank a cocktail and ate delicious food instead. Like I said, life. It needed to happen since reservations at the newly-opened Nashville version are currently very hard to come by.
Saturday: Woke up at 8 instead of 7. South Carolina humidity is no joke and an hour matters, so I put off the long run till the next day.
Sunday 8/11 – Saturday 8/17 – Brought to you by my new alarm message:
Sunday: Got my butt out of the ridiculously comfortable bed, resisted my nephew’s adorable chants of “Aunt B!” (he finally knows me! Beach trip mission accomplished!) And headed out for a slog of what I hoped would be 10 miles. Had thrown the 14 goal out the window in the soupy humidity of the low country, and thought if I made it to double digits I’d be happy. Highlights of the run included my sister and nephew driving by in the golf cart around mile 4 and a half-mile run/walk on the beach around mile 8. I slowed down significantly (tried to keep it no faster than 10 minute pace) and just tried to enjoy the run. Semi-successful. Made it just over 9 miles and turned in. Kind of discouraged, but the greetings of “Aunt B!” made it all ok, as did discovering that my brother-in-law, who played #1 on a division 1 tennis team, only made it 2 miles that AM. Granted, he’s in an intense cardiac surgery fellowship program and not in the shape he was in in college, but still. Anyway, vacation long run accomplished, even if it wasn’t as long as planned. Moving on, life is good, spent amazing quality time with family, it’s ok. Flew back to Nashville a happy camper. Only thing that could’ve made the day better was Tom joining the beach trip, but work’s crazy for him, so next summer.
Tuesday: 7 miles at speed sessions. 8 x 800 @ 3:49 pace. I was SHOCKINGLY consistent on these. Ran the first way too fast (3:32) then settled in for 6 at metronome-like pace, which is not like me. Ran each between 3:46 and 3:48. Cruised in at 3:42 on the last. I was a happy girl. 7 miles total including warm-up and cool-down. Ran with an adorable girl who’s just starting her senior year and running on the cross country team. Can’t wait to follow her season.
Wednesday: Strength stuff at home – crunches, planks, calf exercises. Trying to be good.
Thursday: My first ever double! Stayed up working later than intended on Wednesday, so instead of starting early and meeting the lulu club at 6, did 5 hilly miles in the AM with the lululemon run club, 5 flatter but hotter miles right after work. AM pace: 9:01 (started too fast!) PM: 9:26. Not too shabby for me, and not the same as 10 at once, but my legs felt like they had done 10 at the end of the second 5.
Saturday: 14 miles with my Fleet Feet Crew. Third time’s the charm! Most of the group was doing 16, but there was a logical stop at 14, and after my biggest week ever, decided to be smart and stop at 14. I’m behind, but I’ll be ok. Better to stay healthy. The run was hilly and tough, but I kept it steady, and felt tired but good at the end. Fleet Feet had PTs there for screenings at the end, and I got the ol Achilles looked at. The PT was fantastic. She gave me some exercises to do, but it’s pretty certain I’ll be seeing her regularly for awhile. Which I figured might happen, but if it means I get through the marathon, I’ll do it. She’s a runner, and ran Chicago a couple years ago, so she gets it. This is a good thing. (I think?) I know I need to get it taken care of, so hopefully the consistent AM achiness and the lump on the back of my Achilles will get better.
There have been some mental ups and downs in the last several weeks, but I’m doing ok right now. I’m headed toward a weekend where a long run is going to be hard again, but whatever I get done will be great. I’ve been reminded time and time again of the importance of friends, family, and doing what you love lately. I love running and training, I do. But it’s not everything. There are other parts of life that sometimes take precedence, and I can’t beat myself up for imperfect training. I’m continuing to put the work I can in, and while it may look like a pathetic effort at marathon training to some, it’s what I’ve got in me. Hopefully it’ll get me there. Regardless, weekends with friends and family, celebrating, mourning, and just being, are balancing me. We’re all busy, and running ironically slows me down, which in my neurotic world is a good thing, so I’m trying to stick to it while also making time for the important people in my life. And getting my work done. But keeping it all in perspective. Because isn’t that really what it’s all about?