Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Getting From Point A to Marathon

In January I was at "Point A"--I was a virtual couch potato.  I set my sights on running the Rocket City Marathon in December of this year, so I mapped out a course of training I felt was going to be very slow--to avoid injury.

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I started with my end goal in mind--December 11, 2010, 26.2 miles.

Hal Higdon's Novice Supreme Training Plan looked like a perfect option.  It starts out with a 1.5 mile run//3 mile long run//9 total weekly miles and is 30 weeks long.  Counting back, that meant I would need to start that plan on May 24th (notice, today is May 26th).

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Using that plan meant I had from January 11th (my "Day One") until that day to be able to run three miles without stopping.  At the time, when I wasn't running at all, running THREE WHOLE MILES without stopping seemed a daunting task, but I had 19 weeks, I knew I would get there.

I decided to start out with Hal Higdon's 30/60 plan-30 minutes every other day, progressing from walking the whole time, to running for 15 minutes straight.   That would take me from day one until March 10th.

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From there I intended to put another training plan in the works that would get me up to a three mile long run (with a total weekly mileage of nine).

Knowing I wasn't supposed to add more than 10% onto my mileage each week, I tried to do the backwards math to see where I needed to be on March 10th, but I decided at that point I was over thinking the whole thing.  I told myself, "just go out and do it...see what happens".  I still had my end goal of Rocket City in mind...and, I had a starting point that would take me closer to the route I had planned for the "final leg" (the 30 week "Novice Supreme" route), but I didn't have the "middle leg" of the journey planned out.

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I kind of forgot where I had intended to be on May 24th somewhere along the way.  And, I know exactly where my adventure from Point A to the Novice Supreme waypoint took a wrong turn.  It was Feb 5th.  That day I was attacked by the deadly RACE BUG. 

I was feeling pretty good in my training.  The day before I had a GREAT run.  I walked my 10 minute warm up and then trained strictly to my heart rate.  I started out with a whopping two and a half minute run.  From there it was pretty consistent--45-55 second walk break followed by 60-90 second run intervals.  My run pace averaged out to 10:30!!  I ended that rulk feeling great.  I wanted to go further, but stopped myself--remembering to go slow to avoid injury.

The next day....(pause for scary theme music)....I decided to run a 5K race.  The day after that decision, I ran what ended up being a 3K.  I started out at a pace of 8:30--without warming up.  By the way, it was 35 degrees outside (with a wind chill of 26).  I slowed my pace down a bit after my heart rate reached what I now know to be 85% of my max.  My average pace ended up being 11:48, with a sprint to the finish (at a pace of 7:18).  I was hurting....but that darn RACE BUG masked the pain.  I felt like a real runner.  I came in fourth in my age group!!  I passed some people!  I ran the whole way!!  I had it bad.

I started looking, and found, a training group.  Originally I signed up for the 5K training group.  I toyed with the idea that I could train for the 10K, but decided to keep in mind the "let's not get injured" motto I'd adopted from the beginning.  I signed up for the Monday morning 5K group....only to find out that group was actually going to meet on  Tuesday morning (a time I already had booked).  The only other option was going to be Monday night (another time I already had booked).  I found out the 10K group was meeting on Tuesday night.  Gasp!  I was free that night!

I found out they had a "walk/run" group and they started out with a mere 2.5 miles.  I could go as slow as I needed to go--no big deal.  At that point, I lost complete sight of the 30-week final leg of my intended journey.  You know, the epitome of the "slow-and-steady-wins-the-race" route to Marathon bliss.  (Winning = finishing.)  My eyes became clouded with RACE stars.  I got greedy.  I wanted more than just nine total weekly miles, more than a measly three mile long run, come May 24th.  With the 10K group, I would be running a 6.2 mile long run that week!

I rationalized with myself.  I thought, 5K on April 17th (Cookie Dash), 8K on May 2nd (SteepleChase), 10K on Memorial Day (Cotton Row), 15K on October 9th (Monte Sano 15K), Huntsville Half on November 13th and ...Marathon nirvana on December 11th.   I completely forgot if I was running just nine weekly miles by May 24th I'd be on target for Rocket City.  If I had only taken the few minutes I took just now to do the backwards math.....I would have known I only needed to be running 3.3 weekly miles by March 10th.  That would allow me to increase 10% each week to get to nine weekly miles by the start of my 30 week Novice Supreme marathon training plan.  My "long run" only needed to be maybe 1.5 miles---not 6.2.

I overestimated my ability.  And then, I overlooked the pain I was in.  To make it even worse, when I went to the doctor, he told me I needed to alter my route by laying off completely for at least four weeks.  The director of the running group I'm in told me at that point they could switch me over to the other group....but my pride stopped me.  I didn't want to give up on my goal to run a 10K on Memorial Day....losing sight of the ultimate goal of running a marathon on December 11th.  I became very near sighted, not realizing my detour would bring me to a point devastatingly distant from my intended way point.

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Now I just don't know if I can make it to the Marathon by December 11th.  Even as I write that sentence  I'm telling myself IT WILL HAPPEN.  I might not be running the whole way, and my training might look very different....but there is more than one route from Point A, or Point Periostitis where I currently find myself, to Marathon.  I just have to find it without getting lost, or re-routed.

I know one thing's for sure--I won't try to take a plane to get there...I'd surely be delayed!!

Thanks for taking this trip with me...come back real soon now, ya' hear?!


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