So in 2015 I didn't try to set any speed PR's, at least in that I didn't do speed training, and all that good stuff that comes with setting PR's. Actually in 2015 I ended up with a decent quantity of races and a distance PR. I did 3 full marathons (two which I was a pacer for), 3 50k's and my biggest distance yet, 100k. Just through sheer dumb luck and a lot of miles on my legs, I did manage a marathon PR of 3:33 and two first place overall female 50k finishes. But that was due to running 60-85 miles per week and doing insane back to back long runs (ie: 25 miles on Saturday then 20-30 miles on Sunday. OUCH!)
So this year, 2016, I decided I am going with less quantity and more quality. So I am starting the year off with my first full of the year and with a goal to PR. And of course, trying to avoid the heat that May races bring ( I don't do well in heat), that meant an early spring marathon. And due to work obligations it needed to be driving distance. So of course that limited the selection and the one that got picked.. Charlottesvile VA. A hilly course. Of course I would pick a hilly course to try to PR on. I believe my exact phrase when me and my training partners were discussing it was "We are going to EARN that sub 3:30". Yeah, now 11 weeks into the training plan... I am getting slightly concerned.
So for the last 11 weeks I have done speed work, intervals, tempo runs, hill repeats, marathon pace runs on hills, marathon pace runs on flat, slow runs, and slower runs. I have run 5 days a week, lifted 2 days a week, swam 2 days a week and even (for the first time EVER in my running career) built in stretching as a daily occurrence. I even asked a good buddy of mine (who is ridiculously fast) to coach me. Then I grabbed two of my favorite running people ever and we slugged through the runs, encouraging each other, helping each other reach new paces and abilities.
So now there is 31 days left. Monday I did my last BIG track workout of the season after work and It. Was. Tough. My legs were tired from a fastish long run Saturday then a trail run Sunday. Then this morning I got up at 5 am and met a friend for a 6 mile hill run through a close-by neighborhood, and after work I hit the gym for a full body lift and long swim. This of course having become a typical beginning of the week, I realized I am ready for this training cycle to wind down. Don't get me wrong, I genuinely enjoy speed work!! It is SOOO hard, but the feeling of pushing through the hurt to get to the finish faster than you thought you could is always worth it. Plus, I have always thought that speed work is kind of like an instant "Bad Ass Badge". I also genuinely enjoy lifting and swimming (there will be another blog about that later). So now thinking about this marathon, most of the work has been put in. I am ready to finish up these last few hard weeks with fast runs and to get to the taper. According to coach I have two more fast runs this week, and then everything after this will mostly be race pace intervals and runs.
I also give up "unnecessary sugars" ie: donuts, cookies, candies, chocolate bars, cupcakes, etc the final month before the race. I caught myself with a package of whoppers in my hand around 11:00 am, then realized I was about to demolish them and put them back in the candy bin. No sugars is hard for me! But it has purpose in my training.
SO I guess what I am saying is I am hoping and praying that I can hold it together for another 31 days and that all this hard work pays off. So if anyone see's me in the next 31 days, give a shout out! And if you see me with sweets, quickly grab it from me and run while yelling it's for my own good :-)
Happy Running and Be Not Afraid of Hard Work. Because like me, you have to believe it will pay off!