Nothing like training for a marathon and then finding yourself on the other side of that marathon much fitter, much faster. December though, is always my downfall.
I was never a runner until I was 27. I was one of those: I'll-run-when-chased-and-only-then-if-it-is-really-necessary kind of people. Not to mention I was a social smoker too. Running quickly put an end to that. Still a social drinker though. Everyone needs a vice, you know. Just keeping it real, you know.
The reason I started running was mostly for my vanity. I was recently engaged. I wanted to look fit and pretty at my wedding. Unlike most of my friends, who when they got engaged they were able to hire personal trainers to achieve the same goal, I was a poor graduate student. I couldn't afford a gym membership and with a full course load and 2 jobs running was the only thing flexible enough for my schedule. I ran because it was a last resort.
I have to admit that I really envy those runners who've been at it since high school. I guess if I have a regret it might be that I didn't start running earlier. I know that it is totally gay but I really do regret never going out for track or cross country in high school. My gymnastic coach had even encouraged me to do so but no way-- I hated running. I wanted to do flips and splits. I thought running was so dumb. I comfort myself now by thinking I probably would have suffered an injury or burn out if I'd started any younger.
Oh well, it is what it is.
Six months after I started running I ran my first race, which was the Atlanta half marathon at Thanksgiving. Every year the half has always been my goal to work towards until last year and this past year when I stepped up to a full marathon. Then every year in December I always take time off--or rather, not "off" but cut back. I usually start running in earnest in the spring when it is warmer and I have found my jeans are getting tight. Usually around the time I finish off the last of the Samoas.
This year though I have set my goal for the GA ING marathon in March and I am loath to let all this good training go to waste. My plan was to take December and try to focus on speed and run about 30 miles per week. I wasn't planning on tackling any run longer than 10 miles until January.
But I am finding that I need my long runs. I miss them. I'll run 5 or 6 miles and think; that's it? Last week I ran 12 and it was very nice, leisurely even. I didn't wear my watch but just ran and thought and ran. It was comforting. Yesterday I tried a new route and it proved quite punishing with many the hills. I did wear my watch and the course surprised me by being just over 16 miles. What surprised me most though was that it was 16 miles at an 8:45 pace and it was pretty easy. Not easy in that it was effortless but I felt light, relaxed. (Sore as heck after though-- my ass is hurting! Damn hills.) I didn't even bring any water with me and only had 2 shock blocks. I stopped around 6 miles and grabbed a little water at the fountain at a gas station. Normally on long runs I always carry my fuel belt and drink a lot.
I didn't feel done when I was done, but I had to be done. I could have kept going but I had other, more pressing things to do. I have to be honest here and say I really am feeling a little wayward and pretty overwhelmed these days.
Is it the holidays?
Post marathon blues?
Or just the devastating sadness at the loss of Evan?
I don't know.
All of the above?
This is just a hard time of year anyway. It can be really joyous but I just don't feel a part of that-- at all this year. I want to and I am trying but I'm not feeling it. At all.
And I don't know.
Part of me feels like it is a bad idea to start another training cycle not even a month after a marathon but I think that is what I have done and maybe what I need to do right now. I really don't know what to do. I worry that I am setting myself up for a lot of frustration since I know I won't be able to set and/or meet weekly goals with all that December seems to demand. And not meeting my goals will bring me even further down. I do aim low for a reason. I like to succeed and setting the bar low is definitely one way to do that. However you can get your ego boost, I say.
So what is a girl to do?
Currently, I am thinking I am going to shoot for 40 miles a week and try to do one long run a week of 2 or more hours. That might be doable. It never has been in the past for this time of year but I am a more efficient runner so maybe I can do it now.
Okay, so I need to hear how everyone else's training/races have gone/ are going. And post your race plans for the spring too. I don't care if I know you or not. I want to hear it.
--Bruce, best wishes at LV marathon this weekend. I read somewhere that the weather is not in your favor. I hope that changes. You've been a great cheerleader for me so I'll definitely be thinking of you and hoping you have a great race. BQ is yours for the getting.
--Steph, are you ready for Disney? You've been a bit quiet. I know your knee has been frustrating but I think you will be fine. What about Joe--how is his training going? If he did 1:40 a month ago in a half I am sure he can expect 3:35 at Disney.
--Anne, Camille--any future race plans?
--Charlie, have you done your marathon yet? What do you need to BQ?
--Jason, what are your plans? Will you do the GA ING? I think you should. But then I want everyone I know to do the half or the full.
--Lala, Pop, Bubbles, Vinton, Pookie, Danielle and anyone else I have forgotten are you ready to start your training program for the half?
--Poppy, can I count on you to join me for the full?
--Meme, can't let baby sister be fitter than you. . .
--Tracy? the half, the full?
--What about you Paul and hey, Wes, you too. How about you boys put your bikes down and come get a real workout.
--Hunter? I know you run too. . .
Who else is up for the challenge?
Let's hear it.