Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Oh Hello Again

Oh hey there old blog of mine!

It has been eternity and so much has happened since I've last posted, I don't even know where to begin!?!  So bear with me as I try to piece together the last year and a half or so plus what I'm working on for the future.

It was actually my husband who prompted me to do this.  Recently, he said to me, "you should start blogging again, I miss your blogs!"  Although I appreciate his undying support and encouragement, I figured since he, my mom and possibly 1-2 other people where the only ones who actually read this, it was rather pointless to get back at it.

But with my next marathon just days away and me pretty anxious about my goal, I thought I would search through old posts for inspiration and motivation from the last time I had a really solid race with a big PR (which coincidentally happens to be the last time I blogged consistently).

While sifting through old blog posts, I realized that though yes, less than a handful of people may take the time to read what I have to say, one of those people is actually one person who can really get a lot out of reading through my experiences.  That person, of course is me!

Reflection is a great way to so how far you have come and how you can continue to learn and grow.  Unlike using social media to say a few things about how a specific workout went, blogging gives me the opportunity to really "put it all out there."  It's good to be open and honest with ourselves and this gives me a chance to get things off my chest but to also look back on.  I enjoy sharing my excitement and accomplishments as well as my fears and doubts, so here they go...

Spring 2018
Earlier this year, as I continued on my seemingly endless (and hopeless) quest to BQ, I recognized that I would need to make some significant changes to my training if I ever wanted to reach my goal.  It was hard convincing myself of this because I had had so much success with that I had been doing, plus I felt I was at capacity with all that I had going on in other aspects of my life (work, kiddos, social life, etc.).  But as I hit a plateau and even regressed heading into the Twin Cities Marathon last Fall, I figured it was time to make a decision.

That decision started with a race that was "just to finish."  I hadn't done that since pretty much my first ever marathon and it just seemed like something that would be good for the soul.  So when I learned of a marathon in my father's home town of Eau Claire, WI, to be held on what would've been his birthday this year, it was a no brainer, I'd have to do it!  I wrote my own plan, with an emphasis was on speedwork (which is my strong suit) as well as working towards increasing my mileage.  I had to make quite a bit of adjustments for work and travel, but I got through it and felt really strong towards the end.  The cool temps that time of year and running with a group were game changes for some solid long runs.  Though my goal was just to finish, I actually considered going for it because how good I was feeling.

I flipped flopped with the BQ attempt idea for a few weeks leading up to the race.  It was not a part of the original plan and not what I had trained for.  I felt good but was I prepared to fight out there if that's not how I'd been training!?!  My original goal was to run a race that was good for my soul, to soak it in, enjoy the ride and honor my father.  So when I toed the line that morning, with tears welling up in my eyes and still not 100% sure what to do, I made the decision at the complete last second and stuck with it throughout the entire race, not regretting it for a second.

Having my family there meant everything!  And we all got to celebrate my dad together later that day!
I finished the race with my mom, sons, Aunt and Grandma all cheering me in in a little over 4 hours.  With some tough hills and unexpected heat, the course itself was tough.  But with the friends and experiences I made along the way, having my family see me through the end and honoring my dad, it was hands down one of the best race experiences I have ever had.  It was damn good for my soul!

So sweet when it hits your lips

Summer 2018
I had already signed up to do the Chicago Marathon, mostly out of FOMO since several of my runner friends signed up too, but also with the intentions of training for a BQ.  However, I had become so callused by all my past failures, I found myself cutting myself short even before training began.  Not only is summer marathon training brutal because the heat and humidity, but having the kids out of school for summer, plus the increased work load at the gym adds to the challenge.

They don't mind coming to the gym with me, the kids care has video games and basketball!
So knowing if I was going to give this thing a real shot, I needed to identify my areas of weakness and really work to develop those this training cycle.  After some soul searching, it came down not so much to my physical strength but rather my mental.  Yes, I needed a tougher training program that would better physically prepare me for the distance.  But where I was consistently falling short in training and on race day was in my mental game.

Recognizing what I needed to work most on, I hammered out what I felt to be a challenging but effected training plan that would last me 18 weeks.  I also ordered several books on training as well as mind set and got to work in early June for what would be one of my toughest but strongest training cycles to date.

{up next, a review of my Chicago Marathon training...}

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