Miles run this week: 7.6
Days until Newport: 79
Another blogging hiatus! I took that rest month in June pretty literally. At the 4-week rest mark, I ran my favorite race: the BAA 10K. It was nice to go out and run this race just to run, rather than gunning for a PR. It also marked my "revival of running" anniversary. My PR last year in this event rekindled my relationship with running; I bought a couple books and started really looking at what it would take to be the runner I want to be.
I didn't PR. But that's OK. I ran the second half of my race faster than the first half. This is the first race I have in memory (or ever) that I successfully ran negative splits (which is a holy grail for me...and is part of the art of racing). It was also nice to be able to run a race with my bestie.
Now I'm back at it for the Newport Marathon.
There's a noticeable change between my mentality before Burlington and my current state of the union. Burlington was a no-holds-bard quest for a sub-5 hour marathon. I didn't miss many workouts, but when I did and had to make them up, I prioritized the hard over the easy. I ran fast. A lot. And then I got hurt.
This time...I don't know. I don't really care if I break 5 hours. I mean, sure, it'd be nice to say that I completed my primary goal (finishing 5 marathons before 10/25/12) and my secondary goal (running sub-five hours). But after I hurt God-knows-what in my right leg, I realized that destroying my body for the sake of an arbitrary goal isn't sustainable or smart. If I want to run until I'm an old lady, I have to be realistic about what my body is capable of, and accept certain truths. This doesn't mean I can't always be pushing for improvement, it just means it might be slower increments of improvement, to allow my body to catch up. I think I can go back to running to be healthy - in all senses of the word - rather than being hung up on a time.
Sometimes I see times that other runners - or even people who don't consider themselves "runners" put up. And I could lie and say that I don't compare myself to them (even though one of the things I love about running is how individual it is). But I do. And that has been fueling these time caps in my head. To be a "real" runner is to BQ. To be a "real" runner, you need to run a sub-25 5K and a sub-45 10K. I know that for the most part, those numbers are so far out of reach for me - so much so, that it doesn't even bother me.
But can't I be proud of myself for merely just setting the goal of running the race, rather than worrying about how long it took me to get to the end? Especially since I tend to gravitate towards events that need at least 2 months of prep work, isn't more of the process just lacing up on days I'd rather sit on the couch? Or prioritizing my schedule to make sure I get a work out in?
I started running because my lifestyle was unhealthy, and I didn't want to have to worry about heart disease, diabetes or other weight-related health complications. But I feel like with Burlington, I swung the pendulum the other way: I became so focused on getting the miles in (without other workouts), that I'm doing damage to my muscles, joints and bones.
My goal for Newport is to finish the race, healthy. Which can be broad, but I'm thinking of it as:
-Enough cross training & strength workouts to balance out all the impacts from running
-Listening to my body, and rather than bagging a workout because it's sore, doing an easy one instead (i.e. not bombing race pace up Summit Ave)
-Carb loading properly, so I'm not just packing in sugar and fat that I have to work off for months to come
My theory for Burlington was: if I stick to the training plan, the minutes will melt off my finish time naturally, which was largely true. I did PR.
My theory for Newport is: if I stick to the training plan and are safe & smart about it, I won't have a 2 week layup before the race, and therefore, I'll probably PR.
But, this is number 5 for me. The last of a crazy trip of self-discovery. I think I'm going to back burner my "PR OR BUST" attitude, and just enjoy the capstone of the challenge I gave myself over 3 years ago.