Why hello there

I didn’t intend to take two months off from blogging.  It kinda just happened.  One day I was wrapping up the last of my race report for Portland Marathon and saying that I had kicked off training for the 3M Austin Marathon (for a second time).  The next thing I know I’m crossing the finish line in Austin.
As always, life got in the way.  A busy October and November lead to an even busier December with Christmas shopping, personal travel, business travel, and houseguests being driven to the emergency room.

But now, a month into 2011, I can say that everything is going well and starting to look normal.  And I am very happy to say that my running has only seemed to improve lately.

First off, I bit the bullet and joined a gym.  After running outside straight through winter 2009-2010 I can say I have the wherewithal—and flat out balls—to train and run outside through a New York winter.  However, now that I’ve proven that I don’t feel compelled to prove it again and have signed up for the other gym in my neighborhood (i.e., not my old gym, which thinks I moved back in with my parents in Florida two years ago).

I have to say, I really like the new gym.  From the initial tour I really liked how spacious it was, how it didn’t feel pretentious, and the assortment of machines.  It falls weak in classes (apparently only housewives take classes at this gym) and is a good 10-15 minute walk from my apartment, but those are really the only drawbacks. 

Perhaps it was nostalgia for the treadmill after taking a two year break, but while training for Austin I really enjoyed being back on the treadmill—far more than I expected to and perhaps more than any runner probably should.  I missed the creature comforts of having a towel handy and bathrooms within reach at any time.  I also liked catching the news and sports reports in closed caption.  I found myself enjoying my runs so much more than when I was running outside.

Also for Austin I took an aggressive stance on my training for several reasons.  First, I believed that a faster runner lived inside of me, but that I had become too comfortable with my paces and training plans and that he was never going to come out unless I pushed him forward.  Second, I was tired of seeing tiny improvements in my race times although I swore that I was increasing the work in my training.  Third, I really, really wanted to get to another running milestone—in this case, a 1:40 Half-Marathon.

Instead of tweaking around with past plans and Frankenstein-ing my own training plan, I went back to the Ultimate Half-Marathon training plan and followed the advanced plan to a T.  I didn’t switch around days like I normally do, I didn’t add workouts I liked or take out ones that I didn’t—I just stuck to the plan.  And from the get go I based everything off a 7:40 race pace, which would translate into a 1:40 finish.  This part was the most freighting when I was putting the plan together (and harkens back to how comfortable I had become): my current HM race pace range was in the 8:12-8:20 range and I was planning on pushing that down by over 30 seconds.  However, I forced myself to go through with it—despite those mornings when I had a hard time maintaining that pace for even three miles. 

Actually, what forced me to keep up the pace during training what an short, unexpected conversation while Wifey and I were in Florida for thanksgiving.  The weekend before Thanksgiving my aunt had a “for the hell of it” party with friends and family.  One of my aunt’s friends whom I hadn’t seen in years but she has known me most of my life was there.  She’s one of my friends on Facebook so she knew I was a runner and asked what race I had coming up next.  I told her about Austin and my 1:40 goal and how I was scared of trying to get that time.  She simply responded “you just have to push yourself.”  There was something about the simple truth of those words—and the realization that I had forgotten to push myself during training.  And most days when I was looking at a particularly hard run at 6am after trudging through the snow I remembered these words and the sudden wave of energy that possessed me carried me through that run.

The race report will come shortly, but I will say that all the training paid off.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Welcome back :) Looking forward to hearing more from you.