Well, it’s about time. I started really running again and it was a huge sigh of relief to not experience any discomfort after two weeks of an iffy hip situation. Despite feeling disappointed that I couldn’t keep my 20 mile weeks going after the race because of my hip, I know it was in my best interest to get the situation fixed instead of making it worse. It worked. My hip pain was non-existent after the trip to the Chiropractor and a massage; I was rested and ready to start putting some work in.
I started working off the plan that was emailed to us through the Chicago Marathon. Laura and I had already discussed getting a solid plan started with about 16 weeks remaining give or take, so in the meantime, I thought I’d get used to following a plan again. I think those two weeks of recovery set me back a little on the time frame she had in mind, but ultimately we’ll still get to a good place by the end of this training season.
I won’t lie; there’s a lot of uncertainty I feel regarding training for a marathon. I wasn’t injury prone, but once I got the first bug, it seems the littlest things can set me back. My strength training has helped me make great strides (slight pun intended), but it took me a lot to comfortably get to 15 miles per week without something acting up. I have always been a lower mileage runner, peaking around 20 miles for a half marathon, so starting off around 15-18 miles per week isn’t the scary part, it’s the whole “body holding up” thing that’s scary.
Overall, last week was an incredibly motivating week for me. Not for the miles, not for the times, but simply the fact that I was busy every single day and finished all my runs. Some of my nights the only thing on the calendar was to run, but by the time I get home from that run, it’s between 7 and 8pm; the day is finished. Some days it was nearly impossible to run (the entire weekend) but it still happened because I made it a priority. For me, that’s motivating — I know I can do it. And to be honest? A little bit of me loved being as busy as I was. I have another week just like that with even less flexibility, so it’ll be interesting to see how I fair come Sunday night.
Last week I had a good CrossFit workout, followed by a longer run (with stops for nature — what can I say, I’m a sucker for pictures of animals), and I even went to the track. I have been missing track workouts something fierce lately, so this was probably the most motivated I’ve been in months. That is absolutely no exaggeration.
J and I ran to the track that day and it was a perfect mix of overcast and breeze to kick off my first day back. The workout was an inverted ladder starting with 800m at 10k pace, 400m x 2 at 5k pace, 200m x 4 at 5k pace and back up to 400s, then the 800. My last 5k was in Virginia with the girls for Hollie’s wedding so I based my times off that but extended my range to be what I anticipate this Friday’s race to be — hopefully faster. As expected, I was on the faster end at the beginning and slower towards the final laps. It wasn’t necessarily because I was tired, though I was, but I was really trying to get an accurate pace on my watch. I haven’t had to “feel” a specific pace in so long that I really struggled. It’s just another thing that I’ll work on as I focus on training with a purpose this cycle.
Now that I’ve had a track day, I’m also beginning to crave hills. My half marathon PR came after a winter of training on disgusting, large, steep, awful hills. Hills are bad as it is, but hills covered in snow? I mean, it’s not my idea of the most fun I’ve had… But it worked. I wasn’t running hill repeats but at least two of my long runs each month were on that terrain, which apparently was enough to make me fly on flat land. I’m ready to go back. They’re always awful the first few runs, but there’s nothing better than finally being able to run up Mother Hill without a break in stride.
And of course, another integral part of this training is doing things that aren’t running. I wasn’t able to get my bike out like I had hoped, but J and I did walk and hike a ton last weekend.
We started doing birthday ‘experiences’ instead of gifts this year and it’s so much more fun. He took me to Ithaca where we started off with a run to a farmers marker (could it be more perfect?), went wine tasting, had a delicious dinner, and ended up at a running store (accidentally). The next day we hiked a trail for a couple hours, complete with gaining and subsequently losing 2400 feet of elevation, and eventually made it home exhausted. I surprised myself and got my final 3 miles in that I needed to round out my week with a number I’d be happy to see.
Granted, every weekend won’t be that intense — at least intense for me — but it’s going to be a busy summer. As I eluded to earlier, I’m notorious for putting my runs on the back burner when things get busy. I love my nights on the couch don’t get me wrong, but that final run on Sunday after so much traveling, not enough sleeping, and too much drinking kind of sealed the deal. Yes, I’m busy, but yes, I can do this.