I’m a slow person (with regard to running but also in general I’m just not all that bright) but still take me seriously for just a minute here.
I can’t remember how much of this I’ve published and how much ended up festering in my drafts so forgive me if I’m repeating something you’ve already read, but here’s a little background on what my training has looked like during This, My Triumphant Return To Running (TMTRTR): some varied shit throughout the week and a long run on the weekend. That’s it. Training for the November 3 half marathon, I ran five or six days a week, increased my long run by one mile every other weekend and did an eight or nine mile long run on the off-weekend. My goal was just to complete the mileage and not worry about speed. It worked out for me and I PRed. After that, I decided to try more speed work and also vowed to do more strength/conditioning. I’ve done that (well, for the last five weeks I have done that), adding in some intervals and some progression runs and some tempos, lifting at the gym and also doing a trail run once or twice a week. Already I’ve gotten faster.
I think I’m sort of going through a mid-life crisis. Or maybe a third-life crisis since I plan to live beyond the age of 66. I love my baby and everything, she’s the light of my life and nothing brings me more joy than when she hugs me or holds out her bear to have me kiss it or laughs or lays her head on my husband’s shoulder after a nap. But I’m also kind of obsessed with running.
The thing is, I had resigned myself to being a 10:00+ miler, to just not being a natural runner, to always being sloppy and awkward and marginally overweight and to running at the back of the pack. So when I started improving…ohhh, I liked it. When I could run for two hours without hurting the whole time, it felt good. Like, crack good. And so I’ve been chasing that high. I have to run. Every day. I have to. And on top of that, I feel this urgency to do it all right now. I’m not getting any younger (in runner years I am probably way over the hill), and I feel like if I don’t do all the best running of my life while I still can, the magic will be over and all of a sudden I’ll be 45 with chicken legs and a fupa and nothing to show for it. (This will happen regardless, I know, but just humor me.)
Anyway, so my next half marathon is next Sunday. I was going to play it safe today and do a taperish 10 miles, except that I ran 10 miles last Sunday and doing 10 again just sounded incredibly tedious and boring. Plus, I haven’t done anything over 10 since the November 3 and that fact was making me feel under-confident. I wanted to do 12. Twelve would make me feel better. Twelve miles would convince me that I could still run 12 miles.
I decided to make it a mini tempo: I ran the first four miles without looking at the Garmin at all. It was hidden under my sleeve and I just listened for the signature Garmin bloop at each mile. For the middle four miles, I wanted to do 8:45s (ended up being more like 8:48s). For the last four miles, I just tried to stay in the 9:1Xs. (Except right at the end when I realized I could potentially come in under 1:50, I broke the rules of training and of tempos and I raced the last mile. Gah.)
I have a secret goal for this half marathon that might seem pathetic to some of you and might seem like a humblebrag to others but that’s where I like to be: right in the middle, pissing off equal amounts of people on either side. Today’s run assured me that there is at least a small glimmer of hope for that absurd goal. (You can probably guess by looking at today’s run what my goal is.)
So I’m going to do taperish things for the rest of the week. I’ll likely still run every day, but I’m not going to go crazy with mileage. And for the race, I’m really just winging it. But I’m definitely racing: I didn’t pay 50 bucks to just go out there and have fun. I can think of a lot better ways to spend 50 bucks if I just wanted to have fun.