According to the Long Beach Marathon webpage, I have precisely: 80 days, 6 hours, 36 minutes, 47 seconds until race time!
I’m 5 weeks into my marathon training and it’s going well. I’m excited and anxious and often, surprised. A few blogs back, I wrote: “One of my favorite things about running is that I surprise myself” and more and more these days I’m finding that’s the absolute truth.
In yet another blog, I wrote about my mid-year’s resolution to shift my focus from quantity to quality–from mileage to speed. And so I dove into my first marathon training plan, which includes different types of running workouts (all of which are completely new to me): hills, time trials, marathon pace runs, strides, speedwork, tempo runs, Yasso 800s…
But, really, it’s going well. I have 11 weeks and 438 miles of training to go before I’ll run my 5th marathon–the 1st for which I’ve openly and repeatedly declared a challenging time goal for myself: Break 4 hours! So like I said, there’s excitement and anxiety. Oh yeah, and surprise. As for that…
I’ve been following my plan To. The. Letter. …until last Friday when I woke up with a sore throat that rapidly progressed into a horrendously awful summer cold that had me laid up for three solid days. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, crawled by, miserably slow, as I toted around my box of Kleenex, downed Sudafed every 4 hours, slept, whined, coughed, and slept some more. And I didn’t run at all.
Three days without running was the longest hiatus I’ve had in months, so when I woke up on Tuesday, finally able to breathe (out of one nostril, at least!), I ignored that overly cautious, health coachy voice in me that said: “Take it easy, Meg!” and off I went.
I was barely 100 yards from my house when I felt that euphoric high of getting back: the fresh air, the wind in my hair, the freedom between each stride and each breath. I didn’t have a plan, a route, a goal, but decided to just run whatever distance and speed felt good, knowing this would be an “easy run” for the books and I should aim for my plan’s easy run pace of 10:00/mile.
And so I ran, nice and easy, smooth and strong (and probably grinning from ear to ear, thrilled to be free), but when I stopped for water at the park, 3 miles in, I was shocked to see my time was just under 26 minutes. I was also shocked at how phenomenal I felt, so instead of turning home, I headed for the ocean, reminding myself: “Take it easy. Remember, this is a recovery run.”
I ran along the ocean, around the bay and back home, picking it up for the final two-tenths to bring it to 6.2 miles in… what’s that?… 52:49!!!!
In the words of my Nana: “I almost dropped my teeth.”
I came in the house and excitedly shared the news with my dog, Sully, who was jumping for joy and wagging his tail all over the place. He was so thrilled for me. Okay, maybe he was just happy to be licking the sweat off my calves…
What’s so thrilling about 10K in 52:49, you ask?
Well, if you noticed my 10K PR on my profile, it’s 55:47, so, that’s, like, pretty flippin’ awesome to have smoked that PR during an “easy run.”
Also, along with my mid-year’s resolution blog, I set a few race goals for myself, one being to: “Run a 10K in less than 52:00,” which would be 8:23/mile–my BQ marathon goal pace–which felt like a super ambitious, pie-in-the-sky, dream-of-a-goal, when I declared it… but I did it anyway thinking: I’ll get there one day…
Nope, I didn’t quite hit my goal this week, but I certainly could’ve if I’d tried! Instead, I almost, accidently!, hit that goal while out for a blissful Tuesday easy run after three days of sickness…
Huh. Surprised myself, yet again.