I am into the 2nd week of a run clinic. The goal is a 1/2 or full marathon race in early October. I have 16 weeks of long runs, intervals, tempos, hills (and more hills), speedwork and core workouts to look forward to. Plus, if I have time, some cross-training.
It’s not like my running had stopped and has now suddenly started. It’s been just over a month since the last clinic and race. So that’s had a smaller group of us still meeting on Sunday mornings for slightly shorter long-distances, and also the weekly “I-would-never-run-these (hills, stairs, repeats) on-my-own workouts.”
This week, amongst a fresh batch of newbie runners (first time half- or full-marathoners, first time running a clinic) we did pacing repeats. This is where you run a set distance a number of times. This helps to sort out what group of runners you fit with. Then, generally, when you do longer runs you will run with these people in your pace group who are all aiming for the same finish time. You run the repeat, rest 1-1.5 min, and then run it again, hoping to keep up the same pace as your previous lap. The pace you run is the pace you hope to run your race at, or “race pace.” You do this 4-6 times to get a feel for how fast you can go, and what is ‘uncomfortably comfortable’ for you as a pace you’ll sustain for 21.1 or 42.2k (13.1 or 26.2 miles).
However, as is human nature running in a group, with a known finish line, everyone runs too fast. It was more like pacing gazelles than pace bunnies.
I’m more ready for this clinic now. I’ve had my staggeringly sore feet issue finally addressed — they built my orthotics with a plate in the front portion of the orthotic extending down into my arch and so prevented my arch from flexing. I figured out what pain was after a 32 km run in which I could not walk and that I was in noticeably more pain than anyone else. I had the orthotics rebuilt. I met with my lovely naturopath and realized that fatigue is all relative, but stressors in life add up over time and taking 150 mg of iron / day for months can help with that. Plus I made some further -more drastic- diet changes, not specifically running related.
I am not aiming for a specific goal time in my eventual race. I love to train and my mind doesn’t race well, but that’s for another post. I have finishing times I’d like to see and, of course, running a PB (personal best) is what every runner has on their mind. I think every run I finish is a victory.
As I am edging closer to 40 than 30 in age, the hills are looking steeper, and not just metaphorically anymore. I have kids, I get tired more. Getting up at 5am a few times a week is getting hard(er) to do. I work full-time. I still have to make dinner most nights. Everyone has a life beyond and beside running that they manage and work around. I’m realizing that I can work with where my life is and base my accomplishments on that, not on what the skinny girl next to me who looks about my age is running. Everyone’s look of pain is different.
I’m still trying to organize a schedule, between runs and swims (something I’ve taken up recently as cross-training and because it’s non-weight bearing) and strength workouts and core exercises. It will be a bit of trial-and-error for the next few weeks, mostly to see how much my body can handle and how much time I have.
Regardless, I am looking at each day, and each workout as a victory. On Friday I ran 12 km in pouring rain. It wasn’t pretty, but the feeling after is always worth it. The stress of missing a workout and feeling like crap for not going is harder to deal with than the success of dragging myself over the distance and spending an hour with myself. Ironically, my Garmin gave up on me before I had even started running (low battery) and then my iPod stopped at 32min, probably no battery. It seemed like even when things weren’t wanting to go, I had to keep going. And I am victorious for that.
*What was your victory this week? Where are you running?