Seven of the 15 weeks in this training program are gone. Done. Fini. Gjort (had to throw a Swedish word in there, didn’t I?)!
So I guess I could call this my halfway there reflection post.
This week was our first of two scale-back weeks. We went from a long run of 5 miles last week to 3.5 this week. We ran the same route 3 weeks ago, and I have to say it just felt so much easier and so much smoother this time around. I took about 2 minutes off my time, so that too was encouraging.
And maybe an even bigger milestone: I’m committed. My wife and I got registered for the Bear Chase half marathon. So we have to do it now, don’t wan’t to get a big fat DNS on our record, do we?
One thing stands out about the past few weeks as I think about them: My thinking on goals for this has fluctuated a LOT. When I first started, I had one goal. I wanted to finish. The more I looked into this (don’t tell anyone: I just now looked into it, but it sounds better to say the more I looked into it) the more feasible that goal became because it doesn’t look like there’s a risk of being swept as there are a bunch of longer races going on also. But then, the more I looked into this even more (meaning a second look at the website) I notice that the half and the 10K are running on a different day than the longer races, sooooo….. maybe there IS a risk of being swept.
I don’t have much doubt about being able to finish because I know that I can walk it, I feel like I could walk it today if I needed. The biggest implication of this one goal is, do not get injured, whatever I do. Right now as well as training is going, I think an injury that would sideline me would be devastating. My wife has had to sit out this last week and the week to come because of a torn meniscus in her knee. Staying off her feet is not something she does too well. I fear it could be something that I do far too well, making it harder to get back on them afterwards. But I’ve found myself nearly obsessive over form and over getting the right shoes and all that for that very reason (ya think?).
I’ve been pleased with how I’ve felt after long runs. After my 5K’s in the past, I’d commented that rigor mortis had set in. My legs and ankles would get so stiff I’d be useless. I do know that as I’ve run if I found muscles tightening up I’d let up on the pace a bit, so I’m being extremely cautious about not overdoing it. So far the only thing I’ve felt much is a couple of times my right ankle stiffens up slightly after a run. I busted that up in high school and had some nasty turns with it in the past, so I do think it’s more sensitive even today, but I did notice it giving me a lot more fits after going up and down the ladder at work than it has yet after a run. That is probably the one thing I have to monitor most closely.
As training progressed, I debated whether to run the whole thing or just focus on run walk for the sake of said goal #1. I’ve found the running to get better and better and feel smoother and smoother all the time, so that has morphed into goal #2. Run the whole course (with allowances of course for aid station and facility stops as needed).
Now, as my speed has been inching up just a bit over time, I started thinking about setting a time goal. I’ve wondered if 3 hours was reasonable. That’s about the pace I run now for 2 mile runs, that might be a bit too aggressive for 13 miles. And here’s the thing, as a first timer pushing myself on pace could leave me vulnerable to injury (goodbye goal #1) or push me beyond my endurance limits forcing me to walk (goodbye #2).
So I think I’ll put myself on a 2 goal limit for this race. I can leave the time goal for the next race.
And that, I think, is the biggest and best commentary for me so far at this point of the training. That’s a pretty powerful indication how well it’s going that I’m thinking in terms of next race (as opposed to never freaking again).