I’ve been laying low this month. As June is ‘stepback month’ for me, I’ve had a lot of time to stop and think about where I’ve been and where I’m going this year in terms of training for the Chicago Marathon. It’s always difficult to summarize 6 months of life, no matter how busy or relaxed the half year may have been. And while it may be cool to look at my running stats and point out where I’ve excelled (at certain times when I didn’t think I would), I’m not sure I want to do that right now. That will be my gift when I complete my first marathon on October 9th.
For now, I’m reveling in the simple things. The daily accomplishments that make me feel good. Since 13.1 Chicago, I haven’t run more than 6 miles at one time. I’ll admit it’s frustrating. I told Coach last night that it feels like I’m going through a month-long taper tantrum. I see people tweeting about their first couple weeks of marathon training and get jealous of their long distance weekend runs. I want to shout out to everyone and say that I’ve “officially” started my training as well. I’m meticulous about planning. Manny will tell you that I create to do lists that must then be summarized into a “master to do list” afterward. I make lists in order to avoid forgetting about accomplishing certain things and then decide not to do them at all. This isn’t to say that I never accomplish those things that I set out to do. I guess it means I dedicate time to things worth accomplishing and instinctively neglect those that do not matter. That’s okay. At the beginning of this month when Coach told me that I should only run 60 miles total, I began each week with a goal to limit myself. After sprinkling in a few hot yoga sessions, I had a plan that would make me feel just as active as if I were starting that ‘official marathon plan’ among my running peers.
Last night I saw the light. It’s been about a month since I did any sort of serious speed work training and I was craving it. So I decided to run 1.5 mile warm-up, 6 x 400 meter speed intervals (with 2 min recovery), followed by a 1.5 mile easy cool-down. I typically do 800 meter repeats and was excited to see what kind of kick I have in my legs for a shorter distance. It was my first time doing an interval workout with the Garmin FR 305. (Super easy by the way). The watch beeped for a few seconds signaling the beginning of the speed interval and I took off. The trail I like to run on close to home is around a full recreation field at a local university; they typically have softball/baseball games going on in the evenings, which is when I like to run. I always get a bit nervous (self conscious) about doing my speedwork when there are other people around. Heaven forbid I should spit up a lung or unknowingly fling some spit into my face instead of the ground (which has happened by the way–wind on the lakefront). But I was feeling strong and I told myself they’d only be looking at my and thinking “wow, she’s running really fast!”. So I took off. In the end I completed 6 x 400s at a faster pace than I’ve run all year long. I was consistently running a 6:00 min/mile pace! Each interval felt more challenging, that’s for sure, but I had no idea what kind of splits I ran until I got home and uploaded the workout on Garmin: 1:28, 1:41, 1:32, 1:35, 1:36, 1:34. I’m impressed with these times and myself! The slow cool down home was calming and I managed to miss the rain after it started “misting” when I was one block from home.
I have a feeling I felt so good because I’ve allowed myself to slow down this month. It’s slowed my internal anxiety about running—those questions like: “Am I doing enough? Did I run that workout at the correct pace? Is it truly feasible to reach for Corral C at Chicago?”. (The only anxiety I have now is jumping into a serious training schedule next week!) This period of rest has also slowed my physical anxiety. I’ve been foam rolling almost every night, remaining conscious of how much water I’m consuming daily, and sleeping better than I have in a few months. And, finally, I’ve even been able to witness some more people in my life become active and start running themselves. A real treat.
Conclusion? A slow June may be just what I needed. See? I can be a speedster sometimes!