Monday, August 19, 2013

Inertia

(noun)
1. inertness, esp. with regard to effort, motion, action, and the like; inactivity; sluggishness
2. the property of matter by which it retains its state of rest or its velocity along a straight line so long as it is not acted upon by an external force

Source: Dictionary.com

Clearly it has been a while.  And I had such high hopes for the summer with regard to so many things: vacation, blogging, running, yoga, etc.

And in some cases, life did not disappoint.

 from the plane on our way to the
Cayman Islands (my first trip--thanks mom- and dad-in-law)!!

The view from our condo patio . . .
I mean COME ON!  This trip was a real winner.

































But other things have certainly taken a back seat since May in my life.  
  • I miss practicing yoga every day . . . I can't believe January actually happened and I am trying to figure out how to get back on track.  With at least 4-5 classes a week.
  • I wrote in June about starting my training for the fall . . . and then promptly took another four weeks off from running.
  • I imagined, at a minimum, bi-weekly blog posts this summer about training accomplishments, challenges, and maybe a few fun Summer in the City activities with my pals . . . instead I haven't been on line in two months.
And let me tell you, getting back on track is really tough.  Once I stopped moving, it became really hard to start again.

So here I sit, 7 weeks from my first fall marathon, and I've yet to run anything longer than the half marathon distance since May.  

A few weeks ago I made the decision that I would wait and see how training went before committing to which marathon I would race this fall and which ones I would frolic (originally the plan was to race Wineglass and frolic NYC/Rehoboth).  At this point, it is clear that I am not going to be in PR shape by Wineglass, and maybe not even NYC.  But, there is always Rehoboth, right?

So now the question is, do I use actual marathons as training runs?  My pal Laura seems to do just fine running lots of races and she can still throw down a PR with the high volume.  And I do love the energy and spirit of race day.  And road tripping with Fiona will be a blast!  

There is also a tiny part of me that thinks maybe, even if I don't train hard, I will just show up and bust out that 3:xx:xx marathon (this is the same evil me that encourages sleeping in on weekends instead of getting up and running long).  For you beginners reading this--do NOT listen to this tiny little me.  She is a liar.  And yet, I can't get her to shut up!  

I'm also battling the flip side of that coin, which is to say, I am starting to let the voices of doubt get louder.  

"I was never an athlete"
"There is no way I'll ever run sub-four"
"Who am I kidding with all of this ultrarunning nonsense"
"I should just give up"

I think a lot of this is because after running 5 marathon PRs in a row, I didn't do it again in Vermont.  And it really bummed me out (even though i knew I was under-trained and completely cashed from too many miles last spring).  I will also admit (which I haven't out loud until right now) that it was hard to watch someone I train with a lot, and with more miles on her legs, rock a significant PR and get that sub-4:00 I so desperately wanted this past season--you are my current running rock star BTW--and I know you know who you are.

In the end, if I am going keep my schedule as is, I need to get some mileage on my legs.  Safely but quickly. And in order to do that, I need to get out of this training funk.  That is to say, find a way to get started so I can actually enjoy training again.  I need to figure out what my 'external force' actually is.  Or I am going to be stuck sitting on the track not going anywhere.

So, for this week, birthday week,(yay for Margaritas on Friday!!), I am going to spend some time with myself thinking about why I want to run. Is it intrinsic or extrinsic? Is it for the PR? Is it about the people? Is it for my own health?  I have a lot of questions to answer.

Perhaps you'll answer two for me?  Why do you run?  And why do you race?


Monday, June 17, 2013

At Long Last vs At the Start

In my friendly neighborhood subway station these two saying live on the floor as you approach the turnstiles.

We live at the last stop on the A train--if you've ever been to Inwood you know it can be quite a journey depending on where you started.  And it certainly feels like the start of a lengthy adventure when waiting for your train to depart.

These are the thoughts in my head today as I get ready to head out to Run Club.  I am finally starting my fall marathon training program.  It feels like it has been forever since I started a 16 week training cycle (probably because I didn't really stop training after my fall peak race last year . . . . not did I really start a new cycle for my spring races).  Everything just sort of mushed together.

And thus, I feel very much like saying at long last I am finally here!

And yet, it is week one.  Not just that but day one of week one.  I have 16 weeks of hard work ahead of me and an aggressive goal that I know is possible but is also really scary.  Which means I am also at the start.

As I think about the start of my training plan, I've decided to share a few goals and aspirations for the next 16 weeks and for the Wineglass Marathon on October 6th that waits at the end of my latest journey.


  • I will train for a sub-4:00 marathon
I am at a point where I've done enough of these to know that it starts with the training.  I will log the miles, practice fueling, run on tired legs and commit to the hard stuff when I really just want to stay in bed.  It is going to be hot, uncomfortable and probably frustrating.  But ice baths are so much more fun in August.  And that means I'll be ready for race day.

  • I will run a smart race
My peak fall marathon last year was ruined because I didn't follow my race plan.  I didn't fuel properly.  I didn't hydrate well.  I went out too fast.  Basically, I made all of the mistakes.  My redemption marathons were both PRs but I didn't train well for them and I walked off both courses with gas left in the tank.  I used the fitness I already had to run smarter--but I didn't run better races.  And my last marathon of the season was done on overly-fatigued legs, on a day where all I wanted was to just go back to bed. In the end, I let my mind get the best of me and didn't push myself at all--which resulted in my first non-PR marathon (that was really depressing).

  • I will respect the distance
This will be my seventh marathon.  And I think I have gotten a little cocky in thinking I can just throw down 26.2 miles without much thought.  While I long for that day to come (my ultramarathon goal is still out there, never fear), I need to remember I am not there yet.  I need to log some serious miles if I am going to achieve my goal.

And so, here is my basic plan.  I'll share more details in the weeks to come but for now, here is an outline of my plans for the next 16 weeks.
  • Weeks 1 - 4: Base-building--four to five days of running each week (mostly at an easy pace with one day of speed work at Run Club), lots of yoga, strength training and some spin tossed in for fun.
  • Weeks 5 - 8: Sharpening period--four to five days of running each week (Long run, speed or hill day, tempo day, easy day(s) with form drills), yoga and strength training.  There may be spin too depending on how I recover from the harder workouts and whether I do a fifth day of running.
  • Weeks 9 - 13: Peak period--five days of running each week  (Long run, speed day, tempo day, easy day, easy day with form drills), yoga and strength training.  I'll be dropping spin to accommodate a fifth day of running to focus in on race preparation.  And I am considering adding a fourth 20+ mile training run (eek!!).  Although, the jury is still out on this one.
  • Weeks 14 -16: Taper!!  It is all in the bank at this point.  I'll practice a lot of yoga as well as maintaining my fitness and focusing in on race pace workouts with a little speed tossed in for fun.
What about you?  Fall marathon plans?  Has training started?  20 weeks?  16?  Or do you like a shorter more focused cycle?