My Super Sweet 13(.1)

A 1st Half Marathon

89 Days Until… (Mental Flossing)

My mind runs with my body, does yours?

Sometimes the highest mountains you climb are in your head.

It’s been a wonderfully busy week – I turned in a draft of my dissertation (aiee!) which, upon review, will determine if I can apply to graduate in May. Imagine finishing your first half-marathon and graduating a couple weeks later with your doctorate. Oh happy coincidence it would be! But it might not be a go. It’s up to the universe to decide. It’s also up to the universe to decide when I hear call backs regarding jobs I’ve applied for, but that’s another worry. I’ve also got seven weddings to attend this year and several other paycheck-demanding events to think about. There’s a lot going on in my little world… and now I need to run more and further. Well. I guess I’ll have just created more time to think then.

I’ve found that I run further, and better, however, when I leave the worries behind and just <i>go</i>. It’s cold, lace up your shoes anyway. Yeah, it’s early, but put on your gloves and get out the door! I’ve found that, in order to increase my distance a good bit (and thus to feel better prepared for running 13.1 miles in one go, which, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve never done before and am thus a little scared of) I need to put in some AM runs. Argh, the inhumanity of waking up at the crack of dawn to go pound the cold hard pavement! My sleep patterns are… well, I like to sleep in. I can stay up all night but I like to move slow in the mornings. This will probably help my AM run be more of a base run than speed work. And that’s good. Also, I run better – more even tempo, less aggressive speed bursts – when I think of happy things or accomplishments to be had. So that’s my tip for the week (and the weak): think of the light at the end of the tunnel when you feel like you’re running in one.

This Saturday’s group run at Blue Mile was good, but we did 45 minutes – to a point and back – and I had 12:00 left on my clock when I got to the return point. I ran around a couple of blocks, still 5:00 to go – run a little more… And I could’ve gone farther. I’ve decided to start running with the full marathon groups a little bit. I might not go as far as them, but I’m totally fine running a 5k every time I run – I need to increase my distance and running with others always helps me pace myself. According to this article, my running up the hard hills lately will pay off, but I’m looking to move to another course. Something a little flatter. The big hills wear me out quicker, and my local loop has two – I’ve yet to go the whole 2.2 miles on this course without stopping to walk for a minute due to the hills, though I ran through a whole flat 5k. Also, it’s hard to run in the cold (Runners World has tips!) but I am doing it. I chickened out of the Blue Mile group run on Monday – I was intimidated – but I talked to one of the employees up there about it this Saturday and he soothed my worries. So tomorrow, group run! And this weekend, the final leg of the Polar Bear Grand Prix, the Snowman Shuffle Four-Miler! Woo! Attaining goals!

I spoke with a friend who’d done two minis before this week – she came to yoga with me! – and she told me that one of the best things I can do to help myself train is to cross-train. I am doing this, mostly because the weather’s been really rainy and cold this week, so I only did two outdoor runs, the rest of the week consisted of indoor gym work (and one tiny indoor run) and yoga. Livestrong.com points out the benefits of cross-training during mini and marathon training, noting:

“Some proponents of cross training advise running only three days a week and cross training the rest. If you minimally cross train, do it on the day after your long run. Weight training should be a separate workout; don’t do it before or after a run. If you run the same day, give yourself at least five hours of rest in between. Also, if you’re fatigued, you can cut out your cross training workout, but balance it out by cutting a run instead of the cross train the next time.”

Part of my problem this week was fatigue – I was working again, which is a different sort of work than staying by yourself in a retirement community and doing nothing but running, writing, reading, and yoga – and the weather took two days of potential running away from me (pouring rain in freezing temps I do avoid). But I do cross-train already, as well as (minimal) strength training, so I should be good. I miss swimming, but it’s enough that I get the motivation to run – swimming involves cold wet head. I’ll be back in the pool in March, thanks… I did get into a groove when I swam, however, and time would just fly by – I’m looking forward to that point in running, where I lose my racing thoughts and fall under the spell of the run.

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