Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Gaining Confidence For My Next Big Test (Myrtle Beach Marathon) in 2 Weeks

I hope everyone has been able to stay warm and get in their workouts as we all look forward to the spring running season.

I started off 2013 hating the dreadmill and loved telling anyone who would listen to me how much. Over the last 3 months, as the weather has turned colder, I have had to use the treadmill more often if I am going to make progress towards personal records in upcoming spring marathons (Myrtle Beach in February & Boston in April). Today I did a hard 12 miles on the treadmill and spent some time thinking about how much I actually like running on it. Some of the benefits, I am enjoying are great temperature in the gym, less damage to my body, able to control the pace much better than outside, able to run with my buddies regardless of their pace on the machine beside me at the same time, and able to watch TV while listening to music. The biggest advantage of running on the treadmill is learning to turn my brain off and push through the miles. If I am able to grow being comfortable running and watching the same spot in front me for an hour and not go crazy, it will help me when I am hurting in ultra marathon races. Often on the treadmill, my mind is shouting, "QUIT" this is stupid. The more I can train myself to not listen to the evil voice that wants to me to stay in bed the better, more consistent and stronger I will become. I find it funny, I am able to enjoy something I feared and hated a short time ago. There is probably a life lesson in there for me to reflect on. The more time I spend running and thinking about life, the more I have come to the conclusion that success is determined by my mindset, consistency and attitude. I am trying to find the good in every situation and people; some days it takes more effort than others.

I am feeling good about my training for my first marathon of the year coming up in 2 weeks. My big goal is to break 2:55 at Myrtle Beach assuming good weather. I cannot allow myself to worry about things I don't have control over and weather falls into that category. All I can do on a daily basis is do the work and let the results take care of themselves. Here is another life lesson for me to absorb.
My miles have averaged in the 65 miles per week range. When I get into the 80 miles per week training cycle, injuries start happening and I fall into a fatigued based state on how hard I train. My quality workouts have been on Tuesdays at the track with a 90 minute marathon pace workout, Thursdays have 6 mile tempo run at half marathon speed (20 seconds faster than marathon pace) for 9 miles total and Saturday long runs of 18 or more. I have put in 2 runs of over 26 miles and a 31 mile race in the last 6 weeks. I continue to rest or go to Yoga on Sundays. The other days are easy with my pace being 60 to 90 seconds slower than my marathon pace to give my body a chance to recover. I continue to go to the gym at lunch to do 40 minutes of cross training & plyometrics to strengthen my core. Overall I am happy with this training cycle and am interested to see how my body reacts at mile 21 of the marathon when I dig in for the finish.

What I am most proud of is helping a new runner get ready for his first marathon. His name is Sonny and he is going to do great. Last week we ran 26.2 miles together and I wish you could have seen the smile on his face when he finished. He could not have been happier with himself and told me and Victor over and over, he could not have done it without us. As I get older, these types of moments don't happen as much as I would like. His pace is slow compared to others as his goal is to finish and not walk. Running with Sonny gets me to slow down and helps me to get more time on my feet. He has done everything I have asked of him and does not complain about how hard it is. I only wish I had more Sonnys in my life. What inspires me to train hard is remembering how just 18 months ago Sonny was struggling to run a 29 minute 5K and now he is going to run a marathon. Sonny teaches me every day that consistency is the key. Some of my other running buddies (Keith, Stu, Caleb, Kelly, Steven & Victor) have the potential to really do well at the marathon (New PRs -Personal Records) if they embrace the taper over the next 2 weeks. If they get nervous and try to get in some last minute fitness gains, their race will suffer. Experience is the best teacher.

As I look to the marathon, I am committed to doing my taper correctly. I have to believe the work is done and it is now time to let the body rest and heal up. I keep repeating to myself it is better to arrive to the race 90% trained than 1% over trained. I also have to remember I cannot affect my performance with 2 weeks to go, but I can hurt it by arriving to the starting line tired and mentally drained. Trying to do everything at the last moment never worked well for me in school or life and has not worked in running. Here is another life lesson for me to absorb.

Someone asked how I am doing on my New Year's resolutions. I am on track as of today with my daily tasks (doing at least 1 mile, pushups, lunges and squates). I will be volunteering my help at the Winter Flight 8K race next weekend. I also have reached out today to learn how I can help the local groups with trail construction. The fall 100 mile (Grindstone 100) race I want to run requires 8 hours of trail work so the sooner I get started the sooner I will reach my goals.
I read over the Fall one of the best things you can do to help your body get use to running a 100 miles in 24 hours is to stand at work. I currently sit at a desk all day. I am having my desk raised a foot so I can stand and do my office work. Instead of spending a ton of money to buy a special desk, I am going to raise my total workspace but putting wood blocks under the feet and spend around $20. I have to remember that throwing money at something does not mean it is the best way to accomplish the task. Here is another life lesson for me to absorb.
Check out my newest favorite ultra running blog This little lady is awesome. She lives in Alaska and pulls a sled (this time of year) which holds her shopping purchases to help her train for 100 mile races. She will get in 20 miles or more a day a couple of days each week while doing her shopping and jogging back home. By the way, She has little ones too. I could not imagine have to tend to little ones, a husband and train for 100 mile races. After reading this blog, neither you nor I have any reason to complain about not having enough time to do the important things. Check out the my other favorite blogs to the right as they all have something to offer about life and fitness.
Keep in mind Groundhog Day is coming February 2nd. Lets all pray for a cloudy day so the big rat does not go back into hibernation and we have 8 more weeks of winter.
In the theme of "No Fear Year." I have signed up for the Black Mountain Monster 24 hour race in May.
This is a big stretch for me as the longest run I have ever done is only 9 hours so I look forward to training for it once I come back from Boston. Paul Sherman from Lewisville has already accomplished the 100 mile feat and assures me if I am willing to do the work, I will be fine. It still amazes me how we all have people in our life who have already gone through it or are willing to help if we will just reach out and listen. Here is another life lesson for me to absorb.

Thanks for taking time to read my thoughts & experiences and let me know how I can be of help in reaching your goals.

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