A year ago, I wrote about looking toward the finish of my base building for the Buffalo Half Marathon. I was really proud of it; I started from zero miles per week for months to walk/runs for another month to finally being able to run again. I didn’t jump into anything quicker than my body let me and my body was keen to tell me what was too much. I’m still proud of the discipline I had when coming back from tendonitis, but it feels really good to be in the place I am right now.
I felt a little upset the other day that I wasn’t hitting 20+ miles per week yet, but reflecting on the past year I know I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. A year ago I could only run 2, and maybe 3 times per week with a CrossFit Endurance class, averaging less than 10 miles per week. Now, I’ve been running 4-5 days per week with a regular CrossFit class, averaging 17 miles per week. I couldn’t run back to back days a year ago. Now I’m stringing 3 days together in a row. This is what progress looks like.
Some people have really good luck, or good genes, or some kind of voodoo potion, I don’t know. They can go from 0 to 50 it seems without any issues. I’m not one of those people. I used to envy them and sometimes I still do, but ultimately I’ve come to terms with what my body is capable of doing (or not doing.) I’m an injury prone sack of flesh! It is what it is. I’ll admit I’m still nervous about upping my training despite not having any flare ups in well over a year. I’m not sure I’ll ever shake that feeling; I’m a little scarred by it. I probably take everything a little more conservative than I have to, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. After all, I’m not an elite runner and I doubt I’ll ever win money off racing, so longevity is key.
I feel really good at this point in my training in terms of recovery and potential for getting my speed back. This week I looked at my goal. Sub 1:40. I thought “Shit, that’s fast.” I mean, it’s terrifying actually. I haven’t come near this in three years. And sub 1:40 is actually 3 minutes faster than my PR, so I’m not even thinking “Just PR!” Granted, one year of solid injury, a winter half marathon on snow and ice, and a terribly executed/trained for half marathon last year will most certainly do that. It’s not like I’ve had a goal time for any half marathons since that race. I haven’t even trained for anything other than just finishing a half marathon injury free and then just finishing a marathon injury free in the past two years. So I don’t know, maybe sub 1:40 isn’t crazy? It’s lofty, but crazy? Maybe not.
My PR (1:42:49) is a pace of 7:50 per mile. I find that incredibly fast for how I feel, but I think I can work back to it. Looking at a PR, a 1:40 brings me to 7:37 per mile and 1:38 brings me to 7:28 per mile. “They” say that if your goals don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough, right? Because this goal is mighty scary. Let’s look closer at my goal — I’m looking to PR by three minutes on a course with rolling hills at a pace I ran my 5ks at this past summer. What kind of nut am I? I’m a delusional nut. Plain and simple.
So there we have it. My goal scares the living daylights out of me and I’m going to attack it the best I can. Coming up next, I have 6 weeks in the “prep” phase, as McMillan calls it. Now that I’ve gotten a sufficient base to build off from (20 miles comfortably), I get to add in some leg speed, hills, and tempos. My long runs peak at 105 minutes, but that’s okay because my race specific training has me at 14-18 mile long runs. Hills have always seemed to be the thing that gives me the biggest bang for my buck so I’m truly looking forward to cursing over repeats in a couple weeks.
I’ve also penned in 2-3 races over the next six weeks — a 5 miler, an 8k, and my tradition of Lake Effect Half Marathon. These are going to be key in determining if my goal needs to be readjusted and to see my progress. The good thing is even if I have to abandon my goal for Pittsburgh, I have another month until the relatively flat Buffalo Half Marathon to try again.
Speed, I miss you. Let’s get reacquainted, yes?