Friday, May 8, 2009

Ramblings on a rapidly approaching race

San Diego is 3 weeks away...yikes! In all honesty I'm not really where I wanted to be at this point. Yes, I've done 99.9% of the runs on my plan, I've cut minimal mileage (only twice have I cut more than 1/2 a mile from any run) and in some cases, I've even added miles. Despite successfully completing the past few months of my modified FIRST plan, I still feel under prepared. I read about others completing awesome weekly mileage of well over 45 miles and running speedy miles during long runs and just get discouraged. I know running is an individual sport and everyone is different but it's hard not to compare yourself to others.

During my first marathon training cycle, I wasn't blogging, I didn't have Twitter or Facebook or really any runner friends (besides Mr. Pi), I just went along with my training. This had pluses and minuses. The HUGE minus to not having a blog is not having all of you wonderful readers/supporters (to tell me I’m being silly, I know I am but I need to get all this out). However, I also didn't feel the need to constantly compare myself to other runners or feel shame about the time I completed my long runs since the only person I told was Mr. Pi. During Arizona, I was blogging but I got injured and sick and didn't feel any pressure for big results. Just finishing that race was going to be an accomplishment. This time around, I really wanted to push myself. Maybe I pushed too hard and peaked too early, maybe I didn't push hard enough, maybe my expectations were too high, maybe they were too low...all I know is, on paper, I've run more miles and worked hard to incorporate pacing but feel less prepared than the past two cycles. Running certainly has a mental element and maybe that's what I need to train the next 3 weeks since I have consistently put in miles (maybe not 45+ but consistently in upper 30's, certainly more than before). Am I alone here? Anyone else ever feel running pressure?

Moving on and looking ahead...

As I said, SD is 3 weeks away. I have one last BIG run, then taper time. My goal for my 20 is to finish and not feel like I want to die. Last weekend my long run was terrible, I wanted to quit 2 miles in. This weekend, I NEED a good long run to boost my confidence. During the taper period, I’d like to enjoy exercise again. In high school and college I loved the gym and my various team practices. It was MY time. Time to clear my head, release stress, challenge myself and during practice, time to hang out with friends. I want to go back to crazyweights class and spinning. Given my history with ass pain, I also need to stay on the yoga bandwagon (or at least good deep stretching). Gazelle and I were talking about how easy stretching is and what good things it does for us, keeps us injury-free and our bodies happy, yet, it’s one of the first things I’ll skip if I'm crunched for time or just because I “don’t feel like it.” Regardless of the outcome of the marathon on May 31st I would like to get through it without injury.

Marathon goals…

I think it’s time to publicly re-evaluate my marathon goals. I set out to hit a sub-5. My training log seems to suggest this is probably not realistic, given that my fastest long run was 11:45, I don’t anticipate tomorrow being faster (4:59:59 is 11:28 pace). Frustrating as it may be, I think my “speed” did peak a little early this training cycle. A few months back, I was consistently running in the 10:30 range for shorter runs and long runs were never over 11:30. As the mileage increased, so did my minutes per mile. I’m not really sure what a realistic pace is for me anymore. However, I have decided on the following goals:

1) A new PR (current PR is 5:56, done while sick and injured)
2) 5:27:30 this is 12:30 pace (this also beats Katie Holmes, someday I'll beat you Oprah)
3) 5:14 this is 12:00 pace
4) Anything under 12:00 minute pace would be fantastic and my A++ goal BUT not a goal that will determine whether I’ve had a successful marathon

I’m slow and that’s okay. At some point I’d like to not be the slowest of my runner friends, what can I say I’m competitive by nature, BUT for now I’ll take my spot in the back of the pack and enjoy all the cheerleaders I’ll have waiting for me at the finish line in San Diego!

P.S. Recipe of the week will likely be a weekend post, I’m cooking tonight.

P.P.S. Good luck to all the racers this weekend, especially Gazelle and JM!