Dori, of She Do Run Run reminds us of "ordinary people doing amazing things," as she documents the Twin Cities Marathon last week. Dori got some great photos of the front runners, including the 41-year-old guy who won the race, and also photos of friends, those "ordinary people" just like me, including a photo of a friend who finished the race in seven hours, and didn't get a medal because she didn't make the cut off—but kept on going. Just a little reminder to me to be proud that I am at least out there trying my best.
Next up is Anita, of Phat Girl Walking, who competed in the Portland Marathon a few weeks ago. She suffered an injury, and you might say, was a bit disappointed with her experience. And today? She posts this about two people who finished:
One crossed the finish line first. One crossed the finish line last. One ran. One walked. There's a big difference in the racing world between 2:21:54 and 10:41:22 but in my corner of world their achievements are equal because both gave it their all and did their best.And then she added this:
I only know that whether in a marathon or in life, the thing that most matters is that we bring who we are to it and give our best. We step up to the starting line and we try.Damn straight!
And even if we fall short in what we hope to achieve in our lives, isn't it still better than laying in bed with a head full of dreams and a heart full of desires while we mutter from under the covers "I could never do that!"?
Reading this makes all the arguing about walk/run and who gets to say they ran a marathon and who can call themselves an athlete ... well, it makes it all just so much noise.
Time for Perspiration
Saturday's run was 10 miles, my last "official" long run with my group. My usual partner, the Other Jen, ran the Army 10 Miler on Sunday, her first 10 mile race, in an impressive time of 1:59!! Go Jen! Sunday was a beautiful fall day. Saturday, on the other hand, was rainy, cold, wet, windy as hell, and generally, miserable. But! I decided I would really push myself on this run. I started with a nice young woman who was running slowly, but talking a mile a minute. She was new to the area and really needed a friend. I needed to not slow down. I told her so, and she was nice about it. So I sped (ha ha, these terms are relative) ahead and caught up with Seguna (sp?), who was by herself, wearing a GPS thing-y, and who said she was running 11:30 min miles. Perfect! We ran together the rest of the way up through Rock Creek Park and back again.
I felt good. I felt strong! As we neared the end, I checked my watch (mistake!) and saw we had already been running two hours. I asked her what the pace said on her GPS thing-y: 13:00-something! WTF??? So, with one mile to go I asked her to check again and again, until we hit 9:30 min. miles.
I hate GPS thing-y. I finished 10.35 miles in 2:08. Which made me made because I could have done better. Bah! Need to listen to body!
(Sidebar: I had to attend a conference in D.C. last week. Which meant, naturally, that I would not need a hotel room. The conference ran through Saturday, with an awards banquet on Saturday night. So Saturday morning I did my 10 miles-in-the-rain run, came home, got gussied up, went back to the hotel for an afternoon of conferencing, which ended at 5 p.m. The awards dinner started at 7 p.m. What to do for two hours with no hotel room?? Well, I found myself a cosy little corner and did what anyone in my exalted position as an awards finalist would do: I slept in the lobby. And no, I didn't win.)
Woke up Monday morning with raging sore throat. (Wait: maybe this part goes under "desperation?" hmm. not sure.) Dawdled around the house and eventually went to work. And then ran five miles Monday night (cuz my throat? has nothing to do with my feet) in 10:40 min miles. (See??) Which made me feel slightly better.
So while all the inspiration is good and all, and the perspiration, as little of it as there was, is fine, I am now completely convinced that the plan I've been following, well, sucks.
The long runs went like this (I won't start at the Very Beginning, because I realize we all have lives):
July 8: 10 miles
July 15: 10.5 miles
July 22: 10 miles
July 29: 15 miles
August 5: 10.5 miles
August 13: 20K race (substituted for 10 mile LSR)
August 19: 18 miles
August 26: 10.2 miles
Sept. 2: 10 miles
Sept. 9: 20 miles
Sept. 16: 11 miles substituted for 10 mile LSR)
Sept. 24: 13.1 (half marathon--substituted for 10 mile LSR)
Sept. 30: 22.29 miles
Oct. 7: 10.2 miles
Which brings us to today. My group is tapering. It's three weeks out, and we're in full-blown y'all done running, start tapering mode! Saturday's run is six miles. I'm freaking out. Look at that schedule! I haven't done enough long long runs! C'mon, tell me the truth. I can take it. Some people have already told me this! This schedule I'm on had, after every long long run, two step-down weeks of 10 milers. And just now, three weeks out, am I starting to think that was a really bad idea.
I've consulted people. I've looked at other training plans. I don't see ANYTHING that looks like this. I see plans that slowly build up, and then slowly build down.
I'm going to try to get in another 13 miler by myself this Saturday. Because, you know, that will really make the difference in my finish time.
Some of you, who are new to me and my tribulations, might be scratching your heads at this point, wondering why I chose this plan. Well, it's a long story. But the gist is: I was too slow for the groups that had the serious training plans. And I knew I needed a group.
And what is the moral of this story? I have no idea!
I 'spose it's something about feeling good about having done my best (but...I don't feel like I did my best. I just don't). And feeling proud that I'm even toeing the line with a goal time in mind, as opposed to last year when my goal was to just drag my carcass over the finish line. That I should be grateful that I have escaped injury so far. That I treasure my introduction to speedwork and hills and that I can now talk track. That I loved all those Saturday mornings waking at 4:30 a.m. and watching the sun rise over the Potomac. That I made a new friend, the Other Jen, who not only pushed me, but never failed to make me laugh, even in the midst of my endless bitching and moaning. That I made new friends. That, despite evidence to the contrary, I loved my wacky coaches and their nutty advice each week. That even if I feel like I haven't done my best in training, I am determined to do my best come race day.
No matter what.