Last racing season was awesome for me. I completed 12 half marathons (for a total of 13) and a full marathon - which is something I never would have imagined being able to do. I set high goals for myself and came close to achieving one - a sub 30 5k, with a time of 30:05. I was getting faster, stronger, and building endurance. I signed up for the Chicago marathon and had high hopes for that to be an amazing race. Then life happened, and running took a back seat. I wasn't able to train for Chicago. I figured I'd still go, and make an attempt, but then I had a toe injury that prevented me from running the race. I was a bit discouraged, but I set my sights on my next goal - the Disney Dopey Challenge in January of 2014.
I looked up a training plan and found that Hal Higdon has a training plan for the Dopey Challenge. I was already behind on training, and it was more running days per week than I would have liked, but I would at least make sure to get the long runs in. There are also 3 weeks (I think) that have consecutive days of running to prepare you for the challenge. I would have to make sure to do this as well.
I also decided to be healthier during my training. In the past whenever I try to eat healthy I feel that my running suffers. At this point I'm starting up again, and attempting to complete an actually training program, so I figure my body will just have to get used to using healthy foods as fuel. So far, so good.
On Thursday, Oct 24, I started training. I set out to do a 7 mile training run. I had been making sure to drink a lot of water in the days prior, while I was letting my toe heal, and I had been eating better. I headed out and started my run. I realized I had forgotten my GU and I hadn't brought any type of hydration. I thought about turning around, but I just ran with it. Pun intended. An hour and 23 minutes later I finished my 7 mile training run. My legs were sore, but I felt good.
Two days later I would be running the HCSO Ranch Run. A friend of mine, Natalie, had posted that she was going and I don't see many races of 15k distance so I was intrigued. I was off from work that day and I had 16 miles on the training schedule. I figured, why not run a 15k and then get in another 7 miles a little later on, after a nice lunch perhaps? So Saturday morning I headed over to Temple Terrace dark and early.
The weather was awesome for running a race. It was nice and cool and I hadn't gotten to run in such cool temps in a while. We started the race and I kept pace with Natalie and Leah. Typically I am terrible at keeping a steady pace and I start off way too quick at races and then crash and burn. I felt strong keeping a slow and steady pace. We stopped for a quick moment at mile 3 to take in some GU and then started back up again. Then again at mile 6. Except for those 2 brief stops I ran the first 6.5 miles straight, something I haven't been able to do in a very long time.
After the 6.5 mile point my legs really started to feel the combination of what that had just run steadily and the 7 miles I ran 2 days prior. I was tired. I couldn't keep up with my friends. Plus the course had been full of rolling hills. I HATE inclines. I needed a breather, so I listened to my body and slowed down. From that point on it was run/walk, with a finish time of 1:46:29.
My finish time was just shy of a PR, so I couldn't be happier. Tired, but happy. I had barely been running, just ran 7 miles two days prior, and wasn't expecting anything EVEN CLOSE to a PR. This was a great morale boost, and got my psyched for my training.
I went home, showered, grabbed a nice sushi lunch, and threw on some more running clothes and was back out the door. This next run was a lot more difficult. My legs felt like lead. Then were heavy and running even just a mile was exhausting. This time I had my fuel belt and some GU, so I was more prepared, but my legs were aching. There were a lot of walk breaks, but I got the 7 miles done.
It may have taken me almost the same amount of time to run the 7 miles as it did the 9, but I got in 16 miles total, and my training for the weekend was complete.
I'm excited for my journey back into running and training, and hope to eventually conquer all of the goals I had set for myself for this year. Even though I had some set backs, I was able to keep my head up and keep going, and that what matters most. Some times you have to take time off, sometimes you have a crappy run - but you just have to keep at it to achieve what you what to achieve for yourself.