Monday was 8 weeks to Boston. 8 WEEKS! A few people have asked me lately if I’m excited, honestly, not yet. I’ve been signed up for the Shamrock marathon 3 times and have never finished it. Once, I found out the Friday before the Sunday race that I had a stress fracture. So, I don’t take anything for granted these days. 8 weeks is a long time and a lot can happen. I try not to look too far ahead. I like that I get my training plan one week at a time. I only have that one week to think about, sometimes stress about, and that’s it. No looking ahead and worrying about a workout 3 weeks away. No stressing about upcoming high mileage. I just stay in the week I’m in. And lately, things have been going really well!
It’s amazing how different running feels depending on your attitude. I know, I know, it’s common knowledge, and everyone talks about how mental running is. But it’s one thing to hear something and it’s another to feel it. A month ago, I went into every run dreading it. Even the easy ones! I just didn’t want to run. I was mad at my body for not cooperating, for not hitting the paces that I wanted to hit. One the one hand, I felt like I was in great shape. I was running much higher mileage than I was 8 weeks before Erie. I do a lot of strength, yoga, core. I felt like I was doing everything I could to get where I wanted to be but every run made me feel out of shape and that my fitness just wasn’t there. I started to wonder if I was over training. I’m prone to adding runs and doing too much which is why I turned over my training to coach. But maybe even his conservative plan was too much for me. Maybe I just can’t handle higher mileage (and by that I mean between 55-62, that’s the highest I’ve gotten this cycle. I’m not doing anything too crazy.)
And then, it clicked. I think part of it was the break at Disney. And part of it was coach’s advice to suck it the hell up. But I got back and decided I was going to do this. Stop whining. Stop making excuses. And just do it. I decided to stop worrying about pace so much. Maybe I could and maybe I couldn’t hit some of the paces he wanted me to hit. But more importantly, I needed to get through the workouts instead of bailing on them. So, a few weeks ago, I put out a plea on my running board for someone to come out and help me get through my tempo run. I’d been failing miserably on the treadmill and really wanted to get outside and get through it. I got a response that a woman and her husband would come out for 3 of my 5 tempo miles. So, I did my warm up and got the first 2 done before meeting up with them in 6:50 and 6:53. Not as fast as I’d hoped, but it didn’t matter. I picked them up and they asked what pace I wanted to hit. I told them I didn’t care and just wanted to finish. Under 7, but finishing was more important than worrying about pace. We hit mile 3 in 6:33. Don’t under estimate the power of company! We turned around half way through mile 4 so it was slower and it was hard. When my Garmin beeped 4 miles and mile 4 was 6:49, I thought I was done. Between gasps of air, I told the girl I was running with that I didn’t think I was going to make it. Had I been alone, I would’ve stopped. But then I remembered, the only reason these two were out here was to get me through this workout. I wasn’t going to die. Of course it hurts, it’s supposed to hurt! And I was almost done. So I dug deep and got through that last mile in 6:52.
While my training plan had me at a faster pace, finishing this workout was much more important mentally for me than getting stuck on pace. I did it. I DID it! It was the training breakthrough I’d been needing. I’d been going into every workout so full of self doubt that I wouldn’t let myself finish them. Since then I’ve finished some awesome runs. And each one gives me a little more confidence. Lately, most of them have been on the treadmill with all the snow we’ve gotten but even the treadmill seems better since that run.
Sunday’s long run was 15 miles, 5 easy, 3 tempo (6:50’s), 4 easy, 3 tempo(6:40’s). Because of the snow and lack of clear paths, I had to do this on the treadmill. I didn’t think about it, I just got on and did it. Luckily, I had a friend on the next treadmill doing her long run as well. Having someone to chat with and keep me accountable is so huge. The first 12 miles actually went by really quickly. I only made it through 2 miles of the last tempo miles but still couldn’t have been happier! I wouldn’t have even attempted this last month. (It also helped when I found out later than coach bailed at 2.5 on the last interval. It was a tough run!) Yesterday’s workout was 2 mile warm up, 6 miles 7:15-7:25, 2 miles tempo 6:45-6:55. I nailed it! I was so excited after this run. No excuses. No doubt. Just me on the treadmill cranking it out. The last mile was hard. But I never doubted that I would finish it. I KNEW I would. And I did.
Frustration has been replaced by confidence. And excitement. Seeing progress makes me wonder what’s possible. Paces that seemed impossible 2 months ago are now doable. What will be possible 6 months from now?
Two years ago today, I was on the elliptical at the beginning of this injury journey. My entry from daily mile:
Decided to switch it up today: 30 minutes elliptical / 15 minutes stepmill x 2. Before I got into that workout, did a foot check and ran a slow .5 miles. Felt much better than yesterday but still not ready to start running on it again.
Oh silly girl. Why were you trying to run on that foot?? If only I knew then what I know now!
Last year today I was in surgery getting my foot glued back together again.
Going into surgery, my only running goal for 2014 was to re-qualify for Boston in Erie. I didn’t know if it would be possible in such a short time, but I was going to try.
Today I’m feeling excited. I’m a little more than 2 weeks out from the Rock n Roll half marathon. I’m not sure what that day will bring. I’m not tapering for the race, but still hoping for a good day. If not an actual PR, hopefully a post surgery PR. It’s been a long road back to running but I learned some important lessons along the way and I’m excited to see what 2015 has in store for me.