C+ For Effort

I have two reoccurring nightmares:

1. I’m back in high school with braces.
2. I’m a junior in high school (can you tell this was a bad/awkward part of my life?) taking world history. At the end of the semester, I realize that there is a huge project (which was supposed to take all semester to complete) that I had totally forgotten about. I have one day to pick a topic and do the entire project. Enter stress…

I was a diligent student throughout high school and most of college, so the idea of just “forgetting” about a big project until the day before is a huge nightmare.  While I certainly procrastinated on projects/homework/studying, I never just forgot.

This is kinda how I feel about my marathon training. I would give my Vancouver Marathon training a solid A. I didn’t miss key runs and maintained a positive, motivated attitude throughout the 17 weeks. However, I would give Portland a C+, which is so unacceptable in my world. Now that I’m just 3.5 weeks away, I really wish things had gone differently. However, the truth is that I had a different attitude in this cycle, and I had to overcome more time constraints and obstacles.

Lessons learned:

• I don’t like to train in the summer. First, I hate waking up before 8 or 9 am  on the weekends, which is sometimes necessary to beat the heat (the few times it got warm this summer). Second, I had to juggle running with weekend trips and other activities, specifically in the month of September. I just got back from a week in Kauai, which was beautiful and lovely, but was terrible for my training. This weekend I’m heading to Lake Chelan with my girlfriends. Next week I’m going to Southern California for a few days for work, coming home for two days, and then packing up again to go to Northern California to celebrate my grandpa’s birthday. Squeezing in runs with my schedule has been a huge challenge and fun trips have taken priority over long runs.

• I started with an overly ambitious program. I think is what most frustrates me because I haven’t totally failed to prepare for Portland. In fact, I’ve done several long runs (13 15, 17, 18, 19, 20), but I did them too early in the cycle, so now they are useless to me! Next time around, I’m going to follow a more realistic program that is better suited to my capability level.

• I need a break from marathon training. After doing two marathon training cycles back-to-back, I’m quite sick of it. I want to take more yoga, spin, and focus on speed/short runs. I have my sights set on a half marathon at the beginning of January, which I’m really excited about. I’m going to do a mini training program and I hope to set a PR. Training for a half marathon is so much less daunting and demanding (shorter long runs), so I’m actually excited about it and hope it will motivate me for the rest of 2012. But beyond half marathons, I have no plans for future full marathons. I’m going to wait until I get the itch for a full. It could take a month, a year, a decade, etc. Who knows!

• I need to learn to balance training with life. Part of the reason I succeeded in my Vancouver training is because running was my priority. It was winter and I had less stuff going on, so it was much easier to make it a priority. But I also neglected helping out around the house and being a good girlfriend and friend. In fact, John called me a troll on more than one occasion. This time, I wanted to make a better effort to not neglect my non-running life. Running/training was less important to me, which contributed to my C+ grade. For my next training cycle (regardless to whether it’s for a 10k, half, full, etc.), I hope to better juggle my responsibilities and succeed in both my non-running life and training.

There are, of course, other lessons, but these are the key ones. I’m disappointed with how this has unfolded, but it is what it is and there isn’t a whole lot I can do about it at this point. Unlike school, I can’t cram the week before. Successful training takes consistent dedication, which I have lacked.

Dad and I are going to attempt a 20-miler when we’re in California (fingers crossed it isn’t a disaster). Then we’ll do a 2-week taper and pray to the running gods to have some mercy on us on October 9.


2 thoughts on “C+ For Effort

  1. Megan, once again I want to tell you how proud I am to know you and to have you in our lives. Your honest self reflections are so refreshing and show so much maturity. i thoroughly enjoyed our time in Kauai!!

  2. It is always a good idea to pray to the running gods.
    Actually, Megan, this post may be one of the most insightful ones you’ve written. It is honest and humble, realisitic without beating up on yourself. You are learning about yourself, what you are capable of doing, what your weaknesses are, what your strengths are; you are learning to accept yourself and still stretch into a better fit with the world. I don’t see how we can view this training cycle as a failure. I know that I have been frustrated with my injuries–but that has pushed me to seek outside help, with the doctor and the chiropractor and the personal trainer at the tennis club. I may not be running very far or very fast; but I am correcting some very old negative habits, and encouraged to be growing in understanding. This is what adventures are like. If it were easey and we knew that we would succeed, it wouldn’t be much of a quest, would it?
    I am proud to be your running partner. I am proud to be your Dad. I am grateful that we are in the same dream–even when it sometimes feels like a nightmare.
    Be gentle with yourself.
    Make friends with the running gods.


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