Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It Has Been Too Long

I have lapsed again and haven't blogged in forever. This time I have a good excuse! I have been running so much that I haven't had time. I mean that. So what have I been up to...where to begin...

I've had three big PRs since I last blogged. One of them came in February at the Run The Line Half Marathon (RTL). It was long overdue and I was starting to get a complex about it. Half marathon was my worst PR and I was really sick of having to tell people a time from back in 2007 that is incongruent with the rest of my PRs. I had hoped to break it in Memphis and should have been able to but I crashed and burned which happens to the best of us. At RTL I was feeling confident as I had just done a 15K at 6:59 pace. I figured if I had a good day I could probably pull off 7:08-7:10 pace. I took off at that pace and held it until mile 8 or so. Our weather here had been very cold, for Arkansas anyway, and this particular day in Texarkana was warm. It was sunny and got up into the 70s. The week before, a race nearly got canceled due to a big snow and the temps for it were in the 30s. Needless to say, my body was not ready for race day effort in 70 degree weather. Also, the last half of the course is hilly and the wind had the audacity to be blowing right in my face the whole time! I certainly faded a little in the last few miles but was able to hang on to a 7:15 pace and I broke 1:35! This means I PRed by more than 5 minutes. It was not my best race but I'm still pretty happy with it.

In March, I tried out my speed at a 2 miler. I'm training for the Lincoln Marathon right now so I certainly haven't been doing anything that would prepare me for a 2 mile race. My PR pace was slower than the pace I ran at the Valentines Day 5K so, even without speed work, I figured I could easily pull off a PR. I needed to beat 13:01 and I came in at 12:32! Not bad.

In April I ran the Capital City Classic 10K. This is the race that I ran 6 months after Darwin was born and had a time that was several seconds slower than I ran while I was 12 weeks pregnant with him. I pretty much hate 10K and I find that course particularly challenging. It is fast and flat which would normally be considered a good thing but it is so flat that you can see forever and ever. Mentally, this just wears on me. I find it hard to stay focused and I give up. This year was no exception. I did not have a great race. I faded in the last 2 miles and got out kicked at the end but, I still managed a 41:44 which was a 27 second PR. Given the fact that I am not working on short fast races, I have to be at least a little proud of this.

Marathon training has been chugging right along and I'm actually in the last week of my taper for Lincoln. My mileage topped out at 65 and I'm fine with that. One thing I did wrong in preparing for Chicago was to force myself to do all the weekly mileage, even when I was absolutely worn down. I did not do that to myself this time around. If I was dead at mile 12 of a 15 miler then it became a 12 miler. My tempo runs were successful and I did a good 22 miler just a few weeks ago. I also did a 16 mile race pace run that was very promising. For a race like a marathon, I set multiple goals because there are too many factors you must consider. Weather is one of the big ones. Also, sometimes you just don't have it on race day for whatever reason. My "pie in the sky" goal will be to break 3:20. My "challenging but realistic" goal will be a 3:25. And finally, the "I won't be too pissed" goal would be to break 3:30. I ran Chicago 2008 in 3:22 and that was with temps in the mid to upper 80s. Most of the time, I feel like I'm in better shape now but there are times when I'm just not sure. I keep hoping that Brian will reassure me, but he hasn't. He is very realistic about these things so if he isn't confident in it, there must be a reason.

It feels surreal to be a week away from running a marathon. The whole time I was pregnant, I missed being in that kind of shape. Once Darwin was born and I had a hard time getting back into running, I really thought I might never get here again. A year ago, I was still only able to run about 20 miles per week. No matter what happens in Lincoln, I am happy to be a runner again. One thing I have learned on this journey is that being a marathoner is no longer everything to me. The training takes too many hours away from my family and now that I'm older and I've had a child, it beats me up more than it use to. I really think I could run shorter distances and be happy. In fact, the next big race I'm going to focus on is a XC 10K in October. I've run it twice before and I love the course and the XC festival atmosphere. Once Lincoln is over, I'll be cutting back my mileage and running some short stuff over the summer.

I'm both nervous and excited for Lincoln. Part of me is terrified actually and a little freaked out that it is only a week away. Another part of me wants it to just get here already. I have done the training and now I want to show what I can do. Wish me luck!

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