Sunday, March 25, 2012

Training update

Alright, I've hit the 6 mile long run! I'm only roughly halfway to the full 13.1 mileage for the race, and I feel pretty good. When I was at this point for the last half marathon (I am continually looking back at the training for that race for comparison), 6 miles nearly did me in. I limped the rest of the day. My muscles were tight, sore, and screaming for relief. I felt good just to finish the mileage, forget speed or anything else. Fast forward to yesterday's run...

And I feel great! It was a little tough getting down stairs, and my calves were really tired from earlier runs so I wore my compression leg sleeves, but overall I felt great. I also finished the run about 15 minutes faster than last time! That's a huge improvement. Keep in mind I'm not trying to break some sort of PR (maybe I am, but it's not #1 for me). I just want to finish the race and all my training in better shape than last year. And since I'm not feeling so physically drained, I think mentally I'm doing better. While it was a huge milestone to complete last year's race, I was mentally burned out and didn't really run for almost a year. Not the kind of outcome anyone really wants.

So what was different about yesterday's run? I keep harping on it, but it's improved form. I can run longer, faster, and take smaller walk breaks than before. Instead of needing a full quarter mile for a walk break, I take maybe a tenth of a mile. I run farther, aiming for at least a half mile before taking a break. So much of that depends on how I feel (earlier in the week I ran a mile and a half before considering a break), that I let my body tell me what it needs. Although I think I'm reaching a point where I really can run more but my mind is so conditioned to need a walk break that I need to break the mental barrier. We shall see.

Post-run I'm feeling amazing. Tired but not sore, tight but not stiff. I have a feeling once I begin really working on the drills I learned in class all of this will improve even more. Even though things have improved, I do keep in mind not all my runs will be fantastic. In fact, Thursday's run was sort of tough. I think the cumulative lack of sleep from the work week had been catching up to me. My mid-week evening runs also have a tendency to not be as good as my Saturday morning runs. Some of that is fatigue, some of it had been from wearing high heels to work, and some of it is hunger. I am running when I would normally be eating dinner.

We'll see how this momentum keeps up. We are now just under two months until the race. The flights are booked, the hotel rooms reserved, the rental car too. We are truly committed! The course looks fabulous, and it'll be a great time of year to be in Chicago. Whenever I think that most people see me as the crazy person paying to run these kinds of distances, I think "yeah I'm crazy and that's cool!". W00t!

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