As I spoke quite a bit about in my last training log, I have been contemplating doing another full sooner than later in hopes to secure me a spot in the 2018 Boston Marathon. The rational coach side of me says I should probably give it at least another month or two to recover, start a new training cycle that I can complete in its entirety, and attempt a late Spring early Summer race. But the stubborn, strong willed and impatient side of me is saying I have the miles, I have the fitness and I have the burning desire to give this another shot ASAP.
So conflicted with this decision and wanting to make a smart and healthy choice, I sought the advice of a few run coaches who also happen to be good friends of mine. Their responses, however, were essentially the same things I have been telling/asking myself, leaving me just as if not more conflicted and confused as to what to do, lol!
So there I was last week, about six and half weeks from the race I didn't know if I should run, but really want to, figuring it was about time I make a decision. So that's what I did and here is how it happened, along with my week of training of course....
MONDAY: Lift + Spin + Run
It may seem like I spend my whole Monday working out. I do have a busy, fitness filled mid-morning, but I feel like it's a great way to get the week started. The kids head to school a little before 9, Hunter has a class he teaches at 9 and I teach spinning at 9:15, so I am able to sneak in a quick little lift before my class while I am kid and husband free. After spin class, Hunter and I are able to run together, which has become one of my favorite runs of the week. He's not a huge fan of running, in fact he used to absolutely hate it. But he's been trying to lose a few pounds and figured the cardio would help with that. He keeps a pretty solid pace in the mid to upper 8's so it is always some great recovery miles for me. I spent most of the rest of day flip flopping back on whether I should run the Celebration Marathon or not. I checked their website to see if they still had open registration. With a teeny, tiny small part of me hoping to see it was full and my decision made for me, I was more so incredibly relieved to see they still had over a 100 spots left. Back to contemplating...
TUESDAY: 5 mile Progressive Run
Normally I spend my Tuesdays doing speed work, but not sure about what to do moving forward with training, I figured I would take it a little easy on Tuesday. Also, if I decided to do a long run that week, it would most likely have to be on Thursday. So pushing it on Tuesday may hinder what I would attempt to accomplish two days later. The run went pretty well, nothing special or spectacular, just pretty routine and I was happy with that. In the past, I would have been very frustrated with a so-so run. I felt as if I had to get better and faster with every single week. But this was a good "listen to your body" kind of run and I am more proud of myself for that than a super fast track workout. A "knock it out of the park run" would probably have had me running to my computer to sign up for the race in January. But I still wanted to wait and see how Thursday, if I decided to run then, would go for me.
WEDNESDAY: Strength Training
Tuesday evening, I pretty much made up my mind I would attempt an 18 miler on Thursday, and depending on how that would go, I would decide if I am signing up for the marathon in January. I had ran a slow, easy paced 16 miler two weeks prior so I wasn't all that crazy for going for 18. With that being said, I have really been enjoying my weight room workouts these past few weeks. Once Space Coast was over, I was ready to get after it and move some big weights. Not wanting to let go of that momentum but knowing I had a big run the next morning, I still pushed through a pretty tough workout on Wednesday. Kettlebell swing, box jumps, hurdles, jump rope, slams, all the fun stuff. I figured I had plenty of time the next day to workout the soreness in my legs as I ran for a few hours.
Thursday: LSR 18 miles
With an early morning wake up call to get my warm up miles on the treadmill, I went to bed a little earlier the night before. Man was I sleeping like a champ when my 4am alarm went off. Luckily only the slightest part of me wanted to shut it off and go back to bed, but I didn't. I got up, got dressed and got going. I knocked out about 3.5 super easy miles on the treadmill before heading over to the park to meet up with my Moms Run This Town mamas. I did another easy 4.5 with them before they all had to leave to get their kids off to school and/or go to work. The sun wasn't quite up yet so I figured it'd be a little safer to do another mile or two around the lighted, crowded park.
With the sun finally up and 10 of my 18 miles complete, I figured it was time I head over to the trail. Up to this point, my pace had been pretty easy around 9ish. Although that felt easy and I felt great, I didn't want to push it too much more until later in my run. My plan was to take the pace down to the mid 8's once I hit the trail and hopefully push it to the finish with a sub 8 mile or two at the end.
It was certainly not as crazy hot as it had been for my previous long runs of the Summer and Fall, but it was warm and humid out there. I was covered in sweat, it was even dripping from my visor. Because I did not have enough time to prepare for my run (I like to get my pre-run goodies from Whole Foods), I had not fueled properly and feared that would be a factor. I also was in need of new shoes (the ones I ordered were on back order at the time but luckily came in this week), so I was dealing with some foot and calf discomfort. But surprisingly, nothing about that run seemed insurmountable. I was able to push through, hit my paces and finish strong. In the words of Forrest Gump, "I just felt like running" so that's what I did Thursday and I was happy with my performance and ready to make my decision about my race.
Friday: Upper Strength Training + Marathon Registration
With little time for a workout that day, I had to knock out a quick one at Planet Fitness before the kids got up. I was not in the least bit sore or exhausted from the day before, in fact I found it a little odd how good I felt after running 18 miles less than 24 hours prior, lol! Still, I did not work any part of my lower body and stuck to my "gun show" workout. I headed into work and as I sat at my computer, I went ahead and did what I know I wanted to do not just all week but for the past several months...I signed up for the Celebration Marathon on March 29, 2017.
Saturday: Run + Swimming
With my long run done and my decision made, I was excited for a nice easy run on Saturday along with some laps in the pool. The miles from the week had definitely caught up with me and my run felt like it took a little more effort than necessary, but got it done. Then in the pool, my darn googles kept flooding, so having to stop and readjust made for a frustrating swim. Certainly not the workout I had hoped for that day, but a solid workout nonetheless and it closed out a busy exciting week. Spent the rest of the weekend with my favorite boys getting ready for the holidays.
Later that weekend I told my husband, who had been doing his best to help me make and
support my decision, that though I know I could not guarantee a BQ (there are always just too many variable on race day for that) but I was
more mentally prepared for one than ever. My mental game is where I
have always struggled in the past. I have always focused so much just
the end goal, and an entitled goal at that, taking an "all or nothing"
approach on race day. Going balls to the wall at the start of the race a
bit faster than the pace I assume I should be running thanks to an online calculator hasn't really
worked for me (I know I should know all this and I do, but this along
with my "entitled goal" is a more detailed story I'll save for another
post). Realizing there is a much better course of action along with recognizing
what I am indeed capable of, I will take a much more educated and
conservative approach to this race, in hopes to at least match or beat
my current PR of 3:38:42.
So here's to another (brief) marathon training cycle and another shot at catching my unicorn!