Demonstrated by my lack of blog updates, this has been a rough training cycle. I just haven’t been into it. I’ve physically and mentally struggled through my runs. I haven’t wanted to do them, but I have forced myself to get off the couch and hit the pavement with the hope that it will get easier.
And, now in week nine of training, Megan has finally got her groove back. I am now excited that in less than seven weeks I’ll be lining up amidst 12,000 of my closest running friends to tackle my second marathon.
What prompted the shift? Well, a couple things.
First, I ditched my training plan. Frankly, it was way too hard and is designed for more advanced runners, and I’m still a newbie. Also, it made my training runs incredibly un-fun. Runs became so formulaic; I had to run two miles at a prescribed pace, then a few more miles at another prescribed pace, etc. I spent many tempo runs staring at my Garmin and being upset that I couldn’t keep up with the prescribed pace. I felt defeated at the end of every run, which made me even less motivated for future runs. Rather than following a strict, regimented plan, I’m now following the basic principles, but I’m basing the intensity of my runs on how I feel that day. Some days are better than others, and I’m not going to beat myself up every time I have a bad day. When I”m having a good day, I’m going to push myself and take advantage of the opportunity.
Second, I acknowledged that training for and running a marathon is hard. This sounds dumb, but I think I forgot that this was supposed to be hard. I thought about this a lot during a tempo run a few weeks ago when I just couldn’t get myself to run faster at the tempo pace. I thought about why I wasn’t pushing myself and came up with the most simple answer: because it’s hard. Because it’s uncomfortable. Because you get that terrible out of breath feeling and may even get a side ache. But, if I want to learn to run faster, the only way I can learn is to RUN FASTER. And that may mean I will be uncomfortable and out of breath. But guess what I can do when that happens? I can walk for a minute and let my heart rate go back to normal. Not exactly a difficult concept, but apparently I needed to remind myself.
Finally, I’ve accepted that we marathon runners are truly a bunch of weirdo knuckleheads. I mean, who chooses to run 17 miles on a Friday night while “normal” people are going out to dinner or having drinks with friends? Oh right, I did a few weeks ago before our trip to Leavenworth. Who chooses to wake up early on a Saturday morning to get her 20-miler in before it gets hot? Just did that last weekend. During my long runs, I often pass “normal” people who are leisurely strolling around Greenlake with a Starbucks drink in hand. Part of me is a little jealous when I run by these normal people, but boy does it feel good when you cross that finish line or complete a hard run. It feels better than any Starbucks latte, and I guess that’s why I’m a weirdo marathoner.
The road to Portland has been a rocky one thus far, but I’m officially back in it. I’ve regained my positive attitude and I’m pushing myself to be as ready as possible for October 9, 2011.