a brief 1000 words about my mid-life crisis

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.

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16 thoughts on “a brief 1000 words about my mid-life crisis

  1. I think it’s awesome that you’re so dedicated. I am pretty sure that once I pop out a little human baby friend I will be using that as an excuse to not lift a finger at the gym for at least a year. I’m really putting all my eggs in that whole breast-feeding-will-make-it-all-melt-off basket.

    • Thank you!! Sometimes it feels more selfish than dedicated.

      I’m one of those assholes who lost all the baby weight by breastfeeding. It really does burn a lot of calories (but because of that it’s also very draining. Ugh.) As long as you don’t sit around all day eating whole cans of spray frosting (THAT ONLY HAPPENED ONCE) you should be good to go.

  2. I can guess what your goal is and I think you can definitely achieve it. NONE of my long runs were anywhere close to as fast as this one you did, and I achieved that goal twice anyway. You definitely can do it, I think it’s just a matter of resting up this week and happening to have a good day on race day. I’ll be rooting for you!

    • Thank youuuuu! As long as I don’t fall apart I think it’s possible. I’m even laying off the booze FOR A WHOLE WEEK just on the off chance it might give me 30 or 40 seconds of cushioning on my time. Now THAT is dedication.

      • whoa! That is dedication to the race! That is my someday secret goal, too! (I did not lose all the weight breastfeeding. I still have 12-ish to go, but I’m done serving as a milkbar now, so I’m hoping to lose the rest + the additional 20 lbs that I decided I needed as pre-baby-making cushion.)

  3. Ahhh! Good luck!!! Also, I love how you have become one of those infuriating asses who gets faster after having a kid.

    Ps. I think there is far more than a “small glimmer of hope,” but I am a classic sandbagger myself so I understand that it’s nice to keep one’s expectations low.

  4. “But I’m also kind of obsessed with running.” Uhh, you’re a blogger, I thought that was the point?

    “I feel like if I don’t do all the best running of my life while I still can, the magic will be over” The club I run with includes members in their 20s up to … 50s, probably. (I’m a bad judge of age.) There are plenty of ladies in my club pushing 40 who are as fast or faster than me. Also, there is another local club, who is legitimately fast (lots of Boston Qualifiers and sub-20 5K runners) (unlike my “we love everyone” club which so far has one BQ’er), and they are a masters club (most of them are 40-50). Anyway, you probably still have a lot of good running years ahead of you. Recovery times might slow down, but you can still improve at your pace and distance.

    • Ew, the voice of reason! ❤

      Yeah, I know. I have plenty of running buds who are much older than me and still much faster (and I assume when they were my age they were like, 5:00 milers).

      I've already found my recovery time for hangovers has worsened, so I guess it's to be expected!

  5. Pingback: some training thoughts | Cheaper Than Therapy

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