truth be told

One week to go. And there is nothing I'd rather do less right now than run. I'm ashamed to even admit it, and I hate it, but it's the truth. I seemed to have lost my motivation after the 15k, rather than it getting me excited for my next race. A couple months ago my training was going well and I felt strong. Not now. The past few weeks have been rough.

I could come up with all sorts of excuses. I was sick, busy, tired, out of town... Nothing different than anyone else could come up with I'm sure. When I should have been decreasing my mileage in preparation, I was just holding steady, trying to get in a run here and there. Those runs have been fewer and shorter than ever. It's not that I don't want to run at all. Going out for 3 miles is fine, I even enjoy it at 5 or 6 miles. But my excitement wanes considerably when I see the numbers 8, 10... 13.1.

I've been mad at myself more than is worth typing. Mad that for the second year in a row I've set a goal and not gotten to where I want to be. And this time it wasn't an injury outside of my control. But I am proud of where I am now compared to where I started. As a teenager, and still five years ago, my jeans were a size smaller, my face was a little less full. By my definition that meant I was in better shape. Yea? That me couldn't run a single mile. Take that 22 year-old self.

I'm still going to do this race. I know that it will still be an accomplishment, no matter what the clock reads when I finish. But realistically I know I won't be able to run the full 13 miles. I think I could probably get about half way through with my training thus far, plus race day adrenaline. But that leaves quite a distance to the finish line. My plan now is to do the half marathon with a run/walk method. I know it's not a great idea to switch things up at this point in the game, since I really don't have a chance to try anything out. But it's pretty much what I've been doing on my runs the last several weeks and at least now I'll be doing it with intent. I also figure this isn't truly a change as if I were pushing my body too far too quickly, wearing new shoes or eating/drinking something different on race day. From what I've read here and here, this may be my only hope right now to finish strong, and possibly salvage a decent time. Exactly the opposite of what happened on my last race day.

So here's what I AM looking forward to:
(Please forgive me that I couldn't come up with a full Top 10 list.)

5. Running because I enjoy it, not because I feel chained to it.
4. Going on a walk or bike ride with Brett and not feeling guilty for not using the time to run.
3. Seeing the finish line.
2. Visiting with a friend I haven't seen in 5 or 6 (or 7?) years. I'm so excited to catch up with her when she's in town for the Mini.
1. Guilt-free carbs. All week.


sitting on ice

Yes, literally. I've got myself propped up on the sofa with an ice pack on each hip, a couple packs resting on my knees and ibuprofen in my system. Yesterday's 500 Festival Training Series 15k was rough. In the past 3 weeks, I had run fewer than 9.3 miles total (darn lingering sinus infection), and I covered that distance in less than 2 hours yesterday morning.

I hurt.
I look funny when I walk.
And I'm sitting on ice.

I ended up walking a good portion of the race, and the majority of the last couple miles. To this point in my training I've been doing well at conserving my energy, starting off slow and runing through the end, even picking up pace in the last mile. But aside from the shorter BigTen 5k last month, this was my first long distance race and I definitely learned a few things for next month's half marathon.

(Any other new runners? I would definitely recommend doing a training series or 1-2 shorter organized races before your goal race. It's much different than running along city streets or recreation trail.)

1 - I won't be carrying a personal water/gatorade bottle. During my longer training runs I have. It's never bothered me and I've been glad to have it. But the 15k aid stations were so well-spaced that I really didn't need it. Plus I found it annoying and heavy.

2 - S.L.O.W. Down. I was definitely anxious on Saturday morning. I had no idea what to expect as my last long run had gone well, but my training lately hadn't been. My adrenaline took over and I did my first 2 miles in 20 minutes. Much faster than my 11-11:15 training pace. I never recovered and finished with an average 12:30 pace.

3 - Drink more water all week. In general I know I don't drink enough water. I keep a sport bottle with me almost all of the time, in my purse while running errands or between meetings and on my desk all day. I'm conscious of the fact I need to drink more, and half the time I still don't finish it by evening. But with training I need to be drinking even more, and not just on Friday when the "Crap, I'm running a 15k tomorrow" thought kicks in. Cramps plagued me all morning, starting around mile 2. With 7.3 miles still to go...

4 - Good or bad day, I will cross the finish line. I will also likely spend the next couple days icing down my body.

Finally, thoughts and prayers for the man in the final couple miles of the race. As I approached, I saw a couple of people huddled at the curb ahead. I figured someone was ill, but as I got closer I saw they were frantic and performing CPR on a man lying on the ground. An ambulance was right behind me. Thankfully that part of the race route is very near a hospital. I haven't seen anything reported, but I pray he's now recovering.