A New Plan

Early Tuesday morning my alarm rudely woke me up and out of my running dreams (I was honestly dreaming about running when my alarm went off. Definitely a good sign if you ask me). I rolled out of bed, ate some toast, and drove to the track.

The track technically doesn’t open until 7 a.m., and I was worried I would have to jump the fence to get in. I’m a law/rule abiding person, so breaking into the track didn’t appeal to me. Thankfully, the gate was open and there was another lady on the track. Crisis averted –I wouldn’t be taken away by the track police.

I warmed up and did three 1,600 repeats. It’s been a long time since I’ve done 1,600 repeats, which was evident in my pace. I was slow. Even though my pace was disappointing, it was a good workout and I was glad I made the decision to get out of bed early. It was nice and cool outside, and it felt good to be back at the track working on my speed.

During my workout I thought a lot about how I need more time. Skagit Flats is nine weeks away, and I’m not where I should be speed-wise if I want to break the 4 hour barrier. I know I’ll be physically capable of running a marathon on September 9, but I’m not positive that I’ll be physically ready to meet my time goal. In the end, my goal isn’t to finish another marathon and get a medal to hang on my wall. It’s to break 4 hours and get a step closer to Boston.

Midway through my run I realized that the Portland Marathon is conveniently four weeks after Skagit Flats. Four extra weeks to get my butt ready to run 9 minute miles for 26.2 miles. I toyed around with the idea and settled on a new plan: Switch my Skagit Flats registration to the half marathon and run Portland four weeks later.

I don’t take the decision to transfer from a full to a half lightly. Part of me feels like a failure, but I’m not doing this because I’m wussing out over 26.2 miles. I want to run a full marathon, but I want to do it when I’m in peak condition and ready to attempt my goal time. Long distance running is all about listening to your body and knowing when you need to push it, when you need to back off, and when you need to change your plan/goal/etc. It’s about being flexible and realistic.

Additionally, I can now approach the Skagit Half as my goal half marathon. I’m running the See Jane Run Half this weekend, which was originally supposed to be my goal/PR-attempting half marathon this cycle. But realistically I’m not as fit or fast as I was when I ran the Honeywagon Half in March. I’ve been pretty bummed that a PR is highly unlikely, so I’m excited to race the Skagit Flats Half. I should be faster and ready to kick my PR’s butt to the curb.

Thinking about running Portland makes me giddy and excited. It’s such an awesome race, with fantastic volunteers, fun course entertainment, and the most amazing spectators. It will be the perfect race to get my sub 4.

In the 48 hours since making this decision, my attitude about training has completely shifted. I am no longer panicking about not having enough time. I’ve built up my mileage in the last three weeks (95 total miles) and no longer feel like a lazy blob, so I am mentally and physically ready to attack my training for the next 13 weeks. Instead of feeling stressed about my lack of time, I am pumped and ready to build up my speed and endurance.

I was a bit nervous to share my idea with Dad and thought I was going to have to sell him on it. When I told him, he responded, “Well, I have one big problem with the idea.” Uh oh. “If you run Portland, I’m probably going to get sucked in and run it with you.”

That’s a problem I can handle.

We’re waiting a few days to register (just to make sure this is 100% what we want to do), but I’m confident a run around P-Town is in my future. It will be Dad’s 10th Portland Marathon and hopefully my first sub 4.

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