I’m 4 days out from the Monumental Marathon in Indy and I’ve found myself reflecting on this cycle the past few days. Yes, it’s been short. Yes, it hasn’t been without its challenges. And yes, it’s been quite the ride! I knew I was taking a gamble with a 12 week cycle after allowing the prepatellar bursitis to heal and I’m happy to say I’m feeling happy & lucky to be racing this weekend.
So, the GOOD STUFF of this training cycle!:
- I was smart and patient – from base building in June to dealing with injury in July and, finally, to committing myself to 12 solid weeks of training beginning in August. After some much-needed rest after Boston, I began building my base in June. I was super conservative and spent time cross-training and strength-training as I increased my mileage. I didn’t jump into tough speedwork right away and I felt strong running 14 miles as my long run before I fell the following weekend. I was incredibly sad and frustrated the week that I fell. I cried…a lot. After a few days of wallowing, I gave myself an attitude adjustment, got on the bike as often as I could (and as much as my knee would let me), and did what I could to stay fit. 3 weeks off running is no time at all in the grand scheme of things, but I’m very proud of myself for not being so stubborn to run through unnecessary pain. Not running for 3 weeks was the best thing I could do. Once the true training cycle began again in August, I remained flexible. I managed the pain of tendonitis (residual from fall + bursitis) in September. If I felt like I needed an extra rest day, I took it. If I felt like I needed to bike instead of run, that’s what I did. If I needed to shift a workout to the next day because I knew my legs didn’t have it in them, I did that too. Travel for work forced me to run when I could and accept when I could not. The big headline here is that I’m really proud of myself for sticking with it and not being a big baby about the things I could not control.
The range of motion in my knee went from this …. to this within 7 days of falling because I wasn’t an idiot & didn’t keep running on it. Win!
- I didn’t lose my mind! – I know! This is as shocking to me as it is to many of my friends. In 12 weeks, I packed up the old apartment, moved to the new apartment, traveled for basically two weeks straight for work (including a long weekend in DC with my sisters), and hosted family visiting Chicago several times — all while training. Moving apartments drove me to near insanity and I was seriously questioning my ability to function there for a week but hey! I’m still here! I’m alive! And we quite like the new place. BarkleeAnn does too…
- The best speed workout of the cycle was a workout I’d never done before. In week 5, I ran the first speed workout of the cycle where I felt strong and confident. 10 x 600s is no joke – I had FUN and I finished feeling accomplished, happy, relieved, and like I wanted to scream “cowabunga”! My splits were all between 2:15 and 2:20. It was a good week of training, finishing with my first 20 miler and a beer festival with my sisters. It had been years since we ran together. We ran the first 6 miles of our own long runs together – they are my favorite miles of that run. Looking back on the cycle, this was the week where I really started to think “ok, maybe it could all work out”.
- The best long run of the cycle was an 18-miler at the beginning of October. I felt like I could run for days – big confidence boost! I think this cycle has taught me to go with your legs when they tell you to GO. And today was one of those days. In the past, my schedule has dictated long runs with 2-3 miles fast finish. This cycle, I knew that that would be risky because I just needed to build my endurance without risking injury. But you take quality miles when you can get them, so I ended up running the last 6 miles of those 18 at 7:25/mi pace or faster. This was the best long run of the cycle by far and it was the confidence boost when I needed one, 4 weeks out from race day. It propelled me through peak week, just knowing that I was able to build my endurance and stamina in 8 weeks.
- I was patient with my running, but quick to get help when I needed it. I visited my acupuncturist to help alleviate pain from tendonitis in my knee and my chiropractor when I started to feel slightly ‘off’ or lopsided. If I waited to make an appointment with either one of these women, I don’t think that I’d be going into Monumental pain-free OR excited – because running through pain is most definitely not my idea of fun. Those small fixes made me feel so much better each week and now, just a few days out from racing, I feel balanced and comfortable in my stride.
- I’m proud of the big picture.
I’m going into Monumental with a fluid time goal. Putting the pressure of a PR on myself doesn’t sound fun – I honestly want to run 26.2 miles and have fun doing it. I want to avoid being an idiot in the first half and I don’t want to be a wimp in the second. I want to tuck into a pack and run with others as long as it works out and I’m feeling good (I rarely run or race with others). It’s almost time to take a victory lap around Indy!
[If you're interested in tracking me on Saturday morning, just enter my name "Jenny Poore" here.]