Monday, October 11, 2010

Slow Runner

That would be me, not the band.

For the time being I've accepted my status as more of a tortoise than a hare. Not that I was ever super-fast to begin with, but there once was a time when I could run a 7:30 mile and not think too much of it. In fact, it felt casual and carefree. Why, just a year ago I ran a half marathon at an average pace of 7:51 per mile.

Not so much at the moment. Since the beginning of the hamstring debacle in the middle of August, my runs have been more about survival than speed. Too many days off have taken their toll.

The Grand Rapids Half Marathon is this coming Sunday. I was supposed to be staring down another Boston qualifying attempt in the marathon, and instead I will be lining up with my dad and the Redhead and hoping to maintain a 9:30 pace for 13.1 miles. Not that running with my dad, the Redhead (and possibly my sweetie, the Engineer) is that distasteful a prospect. I am sure I will enjoy myself no matter what. Any day running is better than a day without.

On October 3 I ran the Big House Big Heart 5K for the fourth time. This is a race I never miss. The thrill of running into Michigan Stadium has yet to lose its luster. Last year I ran the race in 23:46. This year I eked out a 27:24. After a crowd-clogged first mile (9:21) I was able to open up and run an 8:31 mile 2...and then my hamstring decided to revolt again. I was so mad. I had been running steadily and without pain for weeks, and now this. I limped my way through an 8:49 mile 3 to the finish.

It was not the outcome I had hoped for. Fine. Get over it and move on. The half marathon is waiting, and after that, the Thunder Road Marathon in December. Once that race is done with, I am going to back off goal-oriented training. I have been training for once major race or another for three years, and I'm tired of it. I just want to get up in the morning and run whatever distance I feel like, not something that's prescribed on a spreadsheet. I want to be able to run only three miles instead of a scheduled five and not feel guilty. I want to be able to blow off a run here and there because it's pouring rain when I wake up and not beat myself up about it. I need more cross-training and strength training.

The past two years were amazing in terms of my growth and improvement as a runner. I knew the upward trajectory could not last forever. Eventually I was going to crest the hill, reach the apex, the apogee, and begin to descend. I seem to be on a downside at the moment. I hope to pull myself out of this valley. I realize that the sub-22:00 5K, the 3:30 marathon may be beyond my ability. That's okay. I just want running to be fun again.

I may be slow, but I'm working on it.


Carolina John said...

Nice! love the link love.... does that even make sense?

Speed comes and goes. nothing to worry about there.

TNTcoach Ken said...

Good luck on Sunday and running should be fun! You have plenty of time ahead to find your speed again...... On-On

Ironman By Thirty said...

Good luck on Sunday! I'll keep an eye out for you! (I'm doing the full marathon)

Morgan said...

This has been one tough summer girl and you know what, we made it out alive and that is all we can really ask for right? Sure speed and a Full would be great but it wasn't in the books so we just gotta make do and keep on keeping on. We're going to make the most out of Sunday and I can't wait!

Viper said...

The mind definitely needs a break from the training regimen. Go slow and get healthy. Cheers!

Payam Eric Nili said...

There are ebbs and flows to your fitness on a small scale (ie how fast was my tuesday workout vs last week) and also on a large scale (this year with your hamstring injury and general burnt-outed-ness vs last year).

This doesn't necessarily mean that you've peaked as a runner, it just means you need to take a break and get back to enjoying your runs. My advice: lose your watch for all your runs this winter. Run by effort level and judge your workouts by how you feel during & after. Its so liberating to run just for the hell of it.

Also, Chicago rocked and sucked at the same time. We'll talk details soon, but I need some time to get over the whole experience first.

Anonymous said...

Honey, I gotta say there's something to be said for the non-training training. When your body and mind are ready to amp it up again, they'll tell you. I was really burnt out after London, I was so tired of being trapped in the marathon training calendar. Now, I just run whatever distance I feel like every day, Wednesdays sacrosanct for speed and trying to go long (long = 10 miles) on the weekend. You'll find your new rhythm and you'll love it, my dear. See you soon (I hope). xo.

Nitmos said...

I skipped out on BH/BH10K this year at the alst moment. Kinda wish I would have done it.

Jan and Feb are perfect MI months to recharge. I used to largely take those months off in years past and...I kinda miss it.

Good luck in GR!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Slow Runner
That would be me


For the time being I've accepted my status as more of a tortoise than a hare. Not that I was ever super-fast to begin with ....

Hahahahahaha! I'm sorry, sister, I simply couldn't read that title and those opening lines without laughing. Because the paces you limp at are what I kill myself to attain on the best of days! And you may not be running 7:30 half marries at the moment (an amazingly fast pace to most of us, by the way), but you soon will be once again.

I know it's easier for me to say that than for you to make it happen, but you will.

I won't even say "I have no doubt", because it's just a fact that it'll happen.

Good luck!