Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An Epiphany

I was not going to blog today.  But after discussing upcoming runs with Kelly from Running Kellometers, I had an epiphany. 

I realized I've been going in the wrong direction with my running goals this year.  Not only was I going in the wrong direction, I was going in ALL different directions!  Much is the case with the rest of my life lately!  lol.  I try to do everything good or better and instead I seem to make it all worse or make myself incredibly frustrated!

My goals with running this year.. basically to PR every distance imaginable while training for two marathons and PR those too while I'm at it!  Before I ever ran a marathon, that was always the goal, to PR!  Run a 5k...try to beat your old time.  Run the Shamrock Shuffle 8k every year (coming up in March) and PR that too!    Luckily I didn't worry too much about PR'ing anything last year while training for the marathon, because most of my races for that year where passed.  But now that I'm training for a spring marathon, I've got some of these runs coming up that I've done for many years and my goal was always to PR them.  I now realize that is the wrong direction for me to go in right now.

I've been frustrated as of late with my running pace.  I say I'm about a 10 min mile pace.  But to PR any distance other than a half marathon or marathon, I have to be under that pace!  So when I run a 10:15 pace or a 10:30 pace (or even higher) during my marathon training runs, I'm disappointed with my pace!  How am I ever going to PR a 5k or the Shamrock Shuffle 8k while running those paces!  The answer is simple.  I'm not!  And that should be ok right now.  That should be the way it is!  They are called "marathon training runs" for a reason!  I'm not trainig for a 5k, I'm training for a marathon.

My first marathon, the 2011 Chicago Marathon, I had a finish time of 4:53:06 (11:11 pace).  My goal times were somewhere between 4:30-4:45 but to be honest, I really had no idea what I was going to finish in.  I just wanted to finish!  If I finished under 5 hours, I would be ecstatic.  And I was!  I was thrilled with the way my first marathon went!

Right now, the most important thing to me is the next marathon.  And of course I would love to beat my previous marathon time.  While talking to Kelly, we were discussing speed work.  I was confused on what my speeds should be while trying to do speed work.  She was talking about what "they" say your speed should be if you are training for a marathon.  And I thought, but that's too slow!  Now I realize my problem.  While Kelly was advising me the way I probably should speed train for a marathon, I was thinking of the pace I would need to get for a 5k or 8k and the speed that I would need for that.  We were talking about two completely different things.  Because Kelly was in the right frame of mind.  She knew that I should be focusing primarily on the marathon.  Whereas with my frame of mind...I was focusing on other small races that will end up hindering my training properly for the marathon.

I feel like I'm babbling...

Basically, the way I ended up thinking about it today was this.  What would I prefer to accomplish this year?  What will be more important to me when this year is over?  Come December 31st, will I be happier PR'ing the Shamrock Shuffle 8k or one or both of my marathons this year?  The answer is simple:  The marathon!  Without a doubt.  I'm using the Shamrock Shuffle 8k as my example because I've done that run every year since 2004 (except 1) and it's one of the most important races to me every year.  My goal has always been to do better than the year before.  This year, my goals are shifted and I have to let that mentality go.

And when I am frustrated with my pace while doing my marathon training runs, I need to realize that they may be slower than I would like...but right now, they aren't too far off the goal I have set for the marathon.

And yes, I vaguely remember a few other people trying to tell me this in the beginning of the year but I didn't get it back then.  I can be stubborn when I want to be.  I was in a "I don't want to hear it" mood.  I didn't want to listen because I felt like I was being told not to do something.

For some reason I feel so much better about my running right now.  For the past 2 months I've been giving myself a hard time thinking I'm too slow.  It's hard when you are running next to speed demons (Kelly) and they are so much faster than you!  But the reality is...Kelly isn't training for a marathon.  Kelly is working on her speed for the races up to a half marathon right now.  I can't compare myself to her or anyone else.  Right now, I just have to focus on me and the pace I need to get a 4:30 marathon.

And I just realized my marathon is exactly two months away from today!!  


  1. I am happy Kelly helped you come to that realization! It's frustrating when you are marathon training and you feel so slow. I felt that way all last year! SO I focused on the 5K for the last 12 weeks. And I think I am going to continue to focus on shorter distances for awhile.

    Your first marathon time is amazing! Under 5:00 in that weather?! You go girl!

    1. Thanks!! Yeah I do feel slow but after my run today with hill training at marathon pace...I felt great!

  2. I don't remember who I was talking to, but I feel like I've been telling multiple people lately that marathon training will make you slower (not that I've ever run a marathon, but I read that somewhere). I think they were also getting hung up on their "slow" pace and I was trying to being them back to reality.

    1. I think I couldn't figure out why I couldn't do both. But... easing up on myself made all the difference in the treadmill yesterday.

  3. I'm so glad I helped you come to this epiphany! :) The thing that is great is that there are plenty of Shamrock Shuffles and 5ks in the sea! There is plenty of time to reach those goals in the long term while you're focusing on the marathon in the short term. :)

    1. That's what I just figured out Kelly. I was putting too much pressure on myself!