I think I've told you that I'm extremely excited for this upcoming marathon training season. But there were/are a few things I have to get in order to fully be ready.
1. My injuries I had during my last training season. I feel like I have those under control and my body is feeling pretty great (minus the sore butt muscles due to my bike ride on Monday)!
2. I needed to get my water intake back up. I really slacked the entire training season and no wonder I had more injuries. But I've been doing great with my water intake and feel I am more properly hydrated.
3. Stretching. I slacked the entire last training season (um...no wonder you were injured Amanda) and wanted to do more of this. I was doing well but the last two weeks, I have slacked and I've noticed it in my knee lately. So during the Super Clinic last Saturday, one of the things I wrong on the goal note to myself was to stretch before and after every run. I did that yesterday.
4. I also wrote during my Super Clinic that I wanted to incorporate 2 strength training workouts in every week (since I barely did any last training season). And so far, I got one in this week and am working on getting my second in.
5. The most recent issue I had to work on was internal. My low iron issues proved to be much harder to deal with than I could have imagined! I couldn't breathe on my runs. I could barely run more than 1/2 a mile without feeling like my lungs were going to explode. I walked constantly and it was a little frustrating. I decided that I had to take things slow until my iron levels built back up. I know it takes a few months for that to really happen but you should start to feel some improvement within a few weeks.
Last Thursday during my run, I ran 4 miles straight (at a moderate pace) and that was the first time I ran straight through a run in a long time. In all fairness, after 3 miles, I stopped to say goodbye to someone before finishing my miles. This run gave me a little hope though that even though I wasn't completely better, maybe I was feeling a little better.
It's hard to want to do anything when you have pretty severe anemia. I was irritable and depressed. I was getting in fights with people because I wasn't feeling well. I was tired all the time. People at work noticed and would ask me if I was feeling alright. I would get to work and put my head in my hands and think, "How am I going to make it through an entire day of work?" It would just make me want to cry. In fact, just about everything in my life at that point just made me want to cry. Sitting in my car, I would break down in tears. It was an awful feeling and I really just didn't know what my problem was.
Since then and since I've been religiously taking my iron and vitamins, my mood has improved overall and I feel less tired in my every day life. I'm less irritable and more able to deal with things that are thrown at me. Am I feeling 100%? No. I don't even know what 100% is. But my breathing seems to be getting better, even though I'm still struggling, but I can push through better now. It's going to take some time but I can't wait for a month or two to go by!
So last night I wanted to test out my breathing and push myself a little more. I was running on a new trail that I'd never been to with my FNRC group. It's a crushed gravel trail (Wauponsee Glacial Trail in Manhattan). It was a beautiful evening for a run. On my way there, I started to have doubts about my plan. I wanted to run a warm up and cool down. I wanted the middle three miles to be progressively faster, just so see if I could handle it. I started to doubt I could run 5 miles straight. How can my middle 3 miles be faster if I had to stop and walk? But I had a goal and decided to try it out.
And I did it. I had no music and I didn't run with the group. They were a little in front of me the whole time and one was behind me. I didn't want to run with anyone and have that influence my plans for my run. So it was me, the beautiful sounds of nothing, and the crushed gravel. I took it easy the first mile and ran a 10:22. The next 3 miles I wanted to run 10:10, 10:00 and 9:50. But doubts crept in. Maybe I should do 10:15, 10:10 and 10:05? I didn't know if I could make it and I didn't want to fail. But I wanted to at least try. If I didn't make it, I didn't make it. So I ran mile 2 in 10:10, mile 3 in 10:00 and mile 4 in 9:46. I thought about pushing my cool down mile and running that fast too but I had already met the goal I set out and so I settled into an easy cool down of 10:33. I already proved I could do it and didn't need to prove anything else.
I was still short of breath while running but no where near as bad. I was able to push through. I think having something to focus on (my pace) really helped keep my mind off of being doubtful. So all in all, it was a great run and I was really happy with it. First time in a long time. My average pace was 10:10, so not super speedy overall but I did have a warm up and cool down and avg pace wasn't my goal.
This all leads me to this Saturday. I won a free entry to the 13.1 half marathon in Chicago. My plan all along was to take it easy, not try to PR (and I figured that was impossible with my breathing issues and my performance at Soldier Field - even though I hit my goal there). So the plan was to just run to every water station and walk through that and keep running. I would see where my time was and that gives me an idea for the next 2 half marathons I have planned this year. My focus is the Chicago Marathon and staying injury free.
That sounds like a good plan right? So why do I all of a sudden want to try to "race" it and PR? I have no training in the bag to try to PR it. That was never the goal. I don't want to injure myself. I don't want to start out too fast and completely lose it in the end. But today I made a list of possible times by mile to try to hit and when I added it all up...it was a PR time. I know I shouldn't.
I know I shouldn't.
I know I shouldn't but I'm so competitive with myself. I'll try not to. I'm going to start easy. If I happen to feel good and just happen to run faster...so be it, right? The fact that I'm even considering it must mean I'm feeling a lot better because several weeks ago, I was afraid I wouldn't even make 2:20! My PR is 2:13. So...I'll try not to be stupid. I'll try to run nice and easy. And the rest is history. It's a free half marathon and that in itself is pretty nice!!