Whether I would openly admit it or not, early this summer I had been running under an assumption: that I would close out 2017 with another marathon.
I had started looking around – against my better judgment, and before I was really ready – checking the date of Richmond, ogling St. Jude’s in December (a friend here is running it). It gave me a few glimmers of that spark – that desire to run 26.2 again. To go after a BQ again before the year is out.
But in the back of my mind, I thought, Why? Why do I have to go through it again already? Why make another attempt this year? Why not go with the plan I had originally – had I gotten a BQ at Glass City – and take a break from 26.2? Race shorter distances, look at busting up 5K, 10K, target a half-marathon and really take it down?
As I looked more and more at my fall calendar – an increase in work responsibilities and a confluence of stressful work events, travel for different things, and competing demands has been giving me palpitations every time I glance at it – I knew, deep down, that trying to shove 26.2 training into it, and really committing the way I needed to for a BQ, would be nearly impossible. Marathon training and major life changes and stress do not go well together; I’ve already learned this lesson. There’s only so much the body and mind can handle.
But I didn’t want to admit this to myself. Not until I talked to my coach.
Sometimes you just need someone to reflect back exactly what you were feeling to realize, it is okay to feel that way.
What if I didn’t run a full this fall?
What if I took a break from 26.2, to come back swinging in the spring?
I haven’t trained purely for a half-marathon since I raced the Pittsburgh Half in May 2014. And I know when I finally took down that dusty old PR when I race Albany Half this past March, breaking 1:40 at last, that I had gas in the tank at the end. I ran scared the first few miles but then realized I was really that fit and could go that fast. But it wasn’t my ‘A’ race. I held back, just a little, because I wanted to be sure I preserved myself for the full in April.
Once I decided to go for a half, it was a matter of choosing. I could still do St. Jude, but there’s a possible schedule conflict with work (and it’s a Saturday race so taking Friday off to travel was inevitable). Then it was between Richmond and Chickamauga, both November 11. Richmond would be a new venue for me, and I’ve heard great things, but I knew Chickamauga. I liked the size and how nearby it is. So with this crazy fall calendar, I chose ease and convenience. I hit the “register” button today. (It’ll also be my last race in my current age group. So there’s that.)
So what am I capable of? I really don’t know. Truly, right now, I don’t feel like I have much speed. But I did put some big, scary goals to paper a few weeks ago at our local Fleet Feet’s fourth birthday celebration.
Tomorrow morning, I’m racing a nearby 5K. I’m not in any sort of shape for it, but I need a rustbuster. A taste of the pain of racing. TO remind myself how to dig deep, and to get a benchmark for where I am, fitness and toughness wise.
Training will officially begin on August 21 (the day of the eclipse – that has to be a good sign, right?), and will probably include a local 10K at the start of October, and AthHalf later in the month (the course for which has changed this year due to construction, and it is a bitch this year. But that’ll just make me stronger). I
‘ve been building some mileage and momentum, briefly interrupted by a mild ankle sprain a few weeks ago, but I’m 100% now.
I’m ready for the structure and grind of training. I’m ready to run fast again.