Four Weeks

Four weeks.  That’s all that stands between me and a half marathon medal around my neck.

Yikes.

It really hit me on Friday just how close I am to race day. Unlike the two other times I’ve made a concentrated effort to train for a specific race, my half marathon training seems to be going way too fast. I definitely still have a lot of preparing to do, but after this week I’m starting to feel a little more confident.

On Monday, I had a pretty crummy four miler. My legs simply were not having it. I soldiered through the first two miles, mostly motivated by the incredible view I had of the city.

Major thanks goes out to Runner’s World for Motivational Poster #32, which became my mantra for the last two miles.

Running isn’t exercise. It’s not work, or a chore. It’s not a task to cross of your list.

Running is a gift.

Treat it accordingly.

That is definitely something I needed to keep in mind on Monday, and really is something I need to keep in mind throughout the rest of my training. I’m not going to lie: I have not enjoyed training for this half marathon like I enjoyed training for previous races. I think there are a lot of things that have contributed to this–the heat, learning how to fit in training while working full time, being in a lousy place mentally and emotionally for the past six weeks. All of this stuff has made it really easy for me to get down on myself for just about everything, running included. Regardless, I’m fortunate to simply be able to run. I may not always run as fast as I’d like, I may not always run as well as I’d like, but I still can run, and there are certainly people out there who can’t say that. Remembering that running is a gift makes it much easier to power through a difficult run.

I skipped my volleyball game on Tuesday for Coldplay, though it appears we only won one set again and lost two. I imagine my absence, and even more so, my Misty May Treanor/Kerri Walsh Jennings inspired braid, was mostly responsible for this. Never fear, team: I shall return this Tuesday!

Wednesday was a rough day in general because I was wildly sleep deprived after the Coldplay concert the night before. I finished work a little early, which turned out to be great because the weather Wednesday afternoon got progressively grosser:

Thankfully, I was able to get in most of my run without being rained on. I don’t hate running in the rain, but it’s also not exactly something I normally seek out. In an effort to avoid the rain, I ended up running my fastest 4 miler ever:

So that was thrilling 🙂

I mostly focused on cardio during my Thursday cross training, with about 30 minutes on the elliptical and 15 minutes of abs and arms. I made a point of working hard throughout my cross training, which made me feel a lot better than the past few weeks where I’ve put in half effort just for the sake of getting it done.

Saturday was great. I had a 9.5 miler planned, though I was a little unsure of how it would go. I spent Friday night in a hotel and definitely took advantage of the free continental breakfast. Since I normally eat a piece of toast with peanut butter before my long runs, I wasn’t sure how my stomach would feel about scrambled eggs, half a waffle, a biscuit, two mini cinnamon rolls, and a small piece of chocolate bread. Granted, I didn’t start my run until two and a half hours after I ate, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that my stomach didn’t rebel at all.

I wasn’t in Chicago on Saturday, so my running route was completely different than what I’ve done for my past long runs. I ran on hills and trails for the first time in almost two months. It was really nice to mix things up. I don’t know if the change of scenery deserves all the credit, but my 9.5 miler was simply fantastic.  It was another PDR for me, but I really didn’t struggle to run the distance. I was certainly tired and a little sore by the end, but there was never a point during my run where I felt like I needed to slow down or quit. In fact, I was able to run a 10:40 ninth mile!

Having such a great run really boosted my confidence for my half marathon. I’m only 3.6 miles away from 13.1, and when you’re already able to run 9.5 miles, 3.6 doesn’t sound like much at all. Of course, those 3.6 are in addition to the 9.5 I would’ve already run, and if there’s anything I realized on my run yesterday, it’s that 9.5 miles is loooooooong, but still. For the first time, I’m actually thinking I might be able to run a half marathon, and that’s an awesome thought.

What motivates you to keep going when things are tough?

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2 thoughts on “Four Weeks

  1. My new running mantra has been “I can do anything for ___ minutes”. When I was doing my tempo run on Tuesday it was tough to hold a fast pace for 4 miles but I kept telling myself that I could do anything for 16 more minute, 8 more minutes, 4 more minutes … etc. It helped!

    Also congrats on the great runs! The weather this weekend was perfect… bring on fall running season!

  2. Pingback: 13.1 | accidental intentions

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