Carmel. 

I feel my posts are a little more “real” when I have a glass of wine, couple bottles of beer, or a Manhattan before typing something up. As I write this, the choice is a glass (okay, two) of wine after a bath with lavender and tea tree essential oils. The bath lately has been less about sore muscles and more about relaxation and stress relief. 

I don’t know why I’m nervous to publicly post this… post. (The two semesters of being an English major in college are totally cringing at this, my goodness.) Okay, it’s a lie, I do know why I’m nervous but I also think I’m being totally ridiculous for feeling this way. 

So, let me just come out and say it – I’m dropping from the Carmel marathon to the Carmel half marathon. 

Ugh. 

I feel like I quit, I failed, I gave up, and the most important feeling to me, like I’m letting down a lot of people. I have many friends who love the marathon, like, really, really love.  And truthfully, I feel like I’m letting down those people because I’m dropping the ball here, just a couple months short of my goal race. 

This decision hasn’t come lightly. The thought first crept into my mind after I had to take some time off because of Cranky Groin. It wasn’t a lot of time but I missed 3 stress workouts in that span and it kept me from increasing to the mileage I wanted. I pushed it out of my head when I compared my mileage and training to that of Chicago. I was a week or two ahead of what I was running in preparation for Chicago and I finished Chicago, so I’d be fine for Carmel. 

I had a decent 16 miler during Lake Effect Half Marathon as well. During the workout I kept thinking how much better this was than anything I did during Chicago. I’ve had struggles but what marathon cycle doesn’t? My knee bothered me but that kind of shit happens. Twinges come up, marathon training isn’t perfect, you adapt and move on. 

But then I really thought about what I’ve been doing. My plan has me well above 30 miles per week and I’m hovering at 30 per week.  This is better than Chicago where I peaked at 31 and then had ankle issues and my taper was like 10 miles over three weeks – no joke. But, ultimately I’m not doing my plan justice. Could I finish Carmel? Absolutely! Could I finish faster than 4:20:05? Pretty certain. Is/was my goal to “just finish”? That’s a hard NOPE. 

Besides that, truthfully I haven’t enjoyed marathon training. I didn’t love it when I trained for Chicago either but I figured it’s because it was hard. It was also summer and I was trying to balance coming back from my nasty bout of tendinitis, vacations, and running. I didn’t love running forever on weekends, but I enjoyed hitting new distances and knowing one of my best friends would be running by my side. This time around, things felt less hard and mentally, I’ve been much better prepared but… I still don’t love it. I have plenty of friends who love the long run and especially love ultramarathons. The thought of that makes me cringe. 

Some people love running slow and forever, but hate faster efforts. Some people love both types of runs. Then there’s me – I would rather run a hard, fast, gut-wrenching half marathon or 5k that burns my lungs to the core than be out there running a conversational pace for 3 hours (or more).  

I don’t know if, or when, I’ll tackle a second marathon. I thought a half marathon was my one time bucket list item, but maybe it’s a marathon after all. I’m finally starting to feel “okay” that I’m not in love with 26.2. Sometimes I get caught up in what everyone else in this world is doing. So many are drawn to the BQ, or running sub 3 or sub 4, or whatever the goal is. It’s everywhere. But I realized that desire is not mine and that’s okay.

So what are my goals? I’m still going after that sub 1:40 half marathon. I’ve taken a handful of days of this past week because of my knee, but also, work has been super stressful and instead of wanting to run to feel better, I need to lay down with some Candy Crush and Investigation Discovery. I have some work to do because marathon pace has been my jam the past two months and speed has been on the back burner. I’m going to run Carmel as a hard workout, maybe even race it to get an idea of fitness. Then I’m going to run Buffalo Half as my goal. It holds my PR and I’m ready to see what I can do. I may be way off sub 1:40, but I’m excited to see what comes of the next 12 weeks.

When Fitness Returns

Oh, hi. I’m still here. I’m still training. But it’s been a month and there’s been changes. 

After my last post some not so good things happened. I got sort of injured. Running those 12 miles with 6 in the snow kicked my ass, in the wrong way. My stabilizing muscles were unhappy, ohhh so unhappy. I ended up taking a few days off, shortening my long runs, skipping Murph, and taking away all my speed workouts. Wahhh. 
Then I sulked. What if this nagging pain didn’t go away? Guess I’ll have to run the half marathon instead. Well, I’d probably enjoy the half marathon a heck of a lot more… but I snapped out of that because within ten days of being smart, I felt better. The endorphins came back and yanked me right out of that sulkfest.  All the groin pain was gone and somehow, things felt even better than they did before. 

So since that, I’ve nailed an easy long run and a hell of a tempo and despite the increasing mileage, my legs have recovered well. Believe it or not, this week I’ll should hit my highest mileage ever. During last marathon cycle, this is when the wheels started to come off but feeling pretty good this time around.  My fitness feels like it’s finally clicking and I can’t think of a better time than the final two months of training. 

This weekend is the yearly tradition with Laura and Heather for Lake Effect Half Marathon. I can’t believe that three years ago, I took a chance on this race and meeting up a few internet friends (Hollie was here too!) to finally say “hi” and it’s turned into a tradition and great friendship. This is the first time I’m using a race as a workout. I have 16 total miles on the table with my final 6 (basically the last loop of the course) getting down to 8:30s… so we’ll see how that goes. I think given the atmosphere of a race and friends, my adrenaline will be ready to go. 

I recall my first 16 miler, ever. It was a hot af day and I had just come back from vacation in Maine. I kept counting down how much further I had to go. I ran out of water. I literally ran/walked the entire 16 and it was awful. I know Sunday will go much better than that disaster and set me up for a great final 8 weeks. 

Hopefully it won’t take me another month to write another post, either…

Buffalo Half Marathon 2016

So many of you reached out when I whined a little (okay, maybe a lot) about feeling totally unmotivated to train or run and told me that taking Buffalo easy, running it with my cousin, and absorbing everything from a different perspective would “fix” me.  I’m back to say that was the best decision I’ve made about running in quite a long time.  Truthfully, I don’t think I stopped smiling from the time I woke up at 4:15am until I came home and realized how exhausted I truly was. Continue reading Buffalo Half Marathon 2016