Though you wouldn’t know it by my conspicuous absence (you did notice it, right?), I have been running faithfully and treating my body like a temple in preparation for the Heartland 39.3 Challenge (three half marathons in five weeks, beginning April 12th.)
I am exaggerating, of course. I have been running, but the Hal Higdon Advanced Training Program just doesn’t seem to be for me. As I’ve mentioned before, the program calls for six days of running each week. I can’t manage this. Every week, there seems to be some reason for me to skip one run.
Maybe it’s mental…I don’t know that I buy into the idea that one extra day of running will really make a difference, so I’m not committed.
I know it’s partly physical…my plantar fasciitis reallllllly doesn’t like the added day of running, and it’s like E.F. Hutton to me–when it talks, I listen.
Maybe it’s laziness…duh.
We also went on vacation to Florida, which included two LONG days of driving through every one-horse shithole in a 200-mile radius (name the movie, people!) The driving prevented the running, but I did have some BEAUTIFUL runs along Pensacola Beach.
Time with my favorite men and some much needed sunshine…priceless!
I have mixed feelings about the program’s emphasis on speed work and tempo runs. I’ve never worked so hard on speed. As a refresher, I am a pretty average runner, and I tend to run anywhere from a 1:52-1:58 for half marathons, which is usually in the top 30-40% for my age group (gorgeous shebeasts ages 40-44.) I have a goal of a sub-1:50 half marathon this year, so the speed work and tempo paces are necessary, but I don’t like them. Partly because they are so tough, yes, but also because they require so much focus and presence in the moment, which is exactly the opposite of what running usually does for me. I love running because it is a stress reliever and because it helps me to zone out and let my mind relax. Watching my pace during intervals and managing my tempo takes me away from that, which leaves me a little unhappy. Also, this emphasis I am placing on time doesn’t sit well with me in the sense that I want to be grateful just for the fact that I can run and not focus too much on it not being good enough. Of course it’s good enough!
The speed work and tempo runs are also difficult. No doubt about it. I am a tenacious monkey with a strong running base and loads of willpower…much more suited for long slow runs. I look like a flailing duck during speed intervals as my form starts to degrade, and I feel like a loser. I am definitely out of my comfort zone with this program…but hopefully it will result in a faster race (I would love to see a finish time of around 1:54-55 for the first half marathon, Rock the Parkway.)
What are my chances of reaching my goal? I have no idea, because my speeds seem to be all over the place this training cycle. Some runs feel pretty darn good and fuel my hopes for a great race, and other times I feel tired and close to overtraining, and then I go to the Dark Side, where…
Oh, and did I mention an important fact? My darling HH is running Rock the Parkway too! This is a marriage nightmare. HH is very fit, but he has a bad back and knees, so he doesn’t run much. He ran one half marathon in Geneva a few years ago, but bonked out and ended up finishing just over 2 hours (he is more than capable of a 1:50, imho.)
He’s trying again (I think he just wants one great race so he can put it to rest), and it’s just bad coincidence that we are running the same race….bad because neither of us wants to lose to the other one. He is super fit and a fast runner by nature, but he hates running and is only running a couple of times a week.
I am super fit in just one area right now, I am a slowish runner by nature, but I love running and have a good base and much more race experience.
I want him to have a great race, because his body just isn’t going to give him many shots at it; however, the bitch in me will be very sulky if he kills my time (which he should.) Our plan is to just line up separately, wear inconspicuous clothes and try not to look for each other during the race. It should be highly entertaining–unless I approach the finish line and see him munching on a banana waiting for me.