Friday, March 7, 2014

Week 12: Run Your Race

If you ask a runner what could be more important than a long-run Sunday, they will likely come up with a very short list. 

I'm on my full rest day of the week and enjoying the subtle joy of not being pulling toward my running shoes for one whole day. That is to say, I am trying to convince myself that my body needs to rest and recover in order to be best prepared for my weekend runs. And yes, I did eat a cookie today. Rebel without a cause.

I have two objectives for this post: 
  1. To recap my training, now 12 weeks away from my first marathon of the season, Mountains 2 Beach Marathon
  2. To explain a very important running and life lesson: things don't always go according to plans.

Let's start with the former. I am using a modified 14 week training plan based loosely off of Hal Higdon's Boston Bound Planning Program, primarily because the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon has a similar topography and elevation change, and I am trying to qualify for Boston at this race. With a fairly solid base fitness, I decided the typical 18 week marathon plan was a bit too intense as I was already logging between 20 and 30 miles per week. And that is how my 14 week training plan was born. Below is a recap of what I've been up to this week:

SUNDAY (3/2)
(to be explained)

MONDAY (3/3)
4 miles tempo
Gym lifting

2 miles + 3x 400m hill + 1x 400m downhill
Gym lifting

4.5 miles tempo
Gym lifting

7 miles tempo

FRIDAY (3/7)

7 miles pace

That's right, folks, I'm logging a meager 25.5 miles this week. Missing my Sunday long-run really took a toll on hitting the ~40 mile mark, but you know what? Sometimes life gives you things that are more important than that half-marathon+ Sunday mornings. Thankfully, these are few and far between. 

That also explains the 3 tempo runs and speed work -- if I'm not going to go far, I'm at least going to put a little extra 'umph' into my workouts. Perhaps the best part about this week is that DAYLIGHT SAVINGS IS ON SUNDAY! So no more running with a headlamp Every. Single. Day. If you can't tell, I'm totally psyched. There are only so many times you can ask a girl to run the same well-lit routes before she's nearly gone insane. Another notable addition this week was my first attempt at using a meal replacement powder in my usual post-run smoothie. It's called The Ultimate Meal and was recommended to me by a CPT friend of mine. You can check out his blog, here.

The Ultimate Meal - maiden voyage
Anyway, there I am, holding a protein shake that looks suspiciously like blended motor oil, split-pea soup, and sand. The jury is out as to whether its long term effects will be worth the cost of getting it out to me, but it's a new leaf for me in the realm of meal replacements and muscle building. I'll be sure to update on what my end verdict is. 

-- -- --

Moving right along to the take-away from this post, however: things don't always go according to plan. This past Friday, February 28th, my grandma passed away at the incredible age of 94 years old; just over a month away from her 95th birthday (and only hours after my first post to this blog). It's a strange thing. My family has had the misfortune of weathering many passings, most untimely, and perhaps the most resounding sentiment is that it doesn't ever get easier; it just gets different. I have to say, as my last remaining grandparent, this one was especially tender with sorrow. No grandma at my wedding. No great-grandchildren (from my sister). It is a profoundly exposed realization. 

And this brings me to why Sunday long-run day really consisted of me waking up, knowing I needed to spend time with my family, and ditching my running shoes with no remorse. Feeling the embrace of Mom's arms will always take precedence over the feeling of a runner's high; and for that, I am grateful.

In the long run, in the scope of life, in the eyes of someone low-key obsessed with this sport -- it is a fundamental lesson that sometimes; on the trail, during the race, or in the course of life; things don't always shake out how you might want them to. You run your race, and that's all you can hope for.

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