What’s Right for *This* Race

I didn’t blog yesterday because, well, I had a bad attitude. Not in general, but about running for sure. And I didn’t want to rant and rave (I’ll save that for something really important, like the length of time some people take to text back), so I decided to spare you all.

But I’m back today, with a somewhat improved outlook on the whole running horizon, despite the fact that this happened during this morning’s 9 miler:Yup. AGAIN. This will make 3 falls since I’ve moved to D.C.??? Yep, 2 running, 1 walking, all painful. Roo got under my feet, and suddenly, I was on the ground. She seemed completely unperturbed by the situation. Like, “C’mon, Mom! Why are you laying down? Let’s go!”

She barely tolerates me.

I almost made it 4 falls. During last Saturday’s 16 mile run, my ankle was kind enough to buckle on me as I stepped off a curb directly across from the Capital. By some stroke of grace, I managed to right myself before hitting the pavement, but my ankle was somewhat worse for the wear. Let’s just say the last 6 miles of that run I did more hobbling than running, but it was graceful hobbling.

Overall, the run was . . . fine. Not great, not terrible, just “meh.” My running mojo seems to have taken a hike—so much so that I didn’t run AT ALL last week. That’s right—after the previous Saturday’s 20 miles, I didn’t do anything even close to running for one whole week. Right in the middle of training for a marathon, I took a week off. Like a total lunatic.

But really, I think it was the right thing to do. I was exhausted all.the.time. and getting up to run each morning was making me bitter and resentful. Simply put, I was overtraining.

Running long distances is incredibly hard on your body. And not only was I trying to log mad miles, but I was also trying to keep up with the paces set on my training plan which were waaaaaay to fast for me. I know they were based on my half times, which have been faster the last 2 times I’ve raced, but this is my first (and quite possibly only) marathon. I don’t need to run it in 3:22 like my training plan says I will. In fact, I think that’s asinine. If I finish at all, I will count that as a win.

My plan going forward? Log the miles—slowly. This morning, I ran 9 at a 9:46 pace—a full minute slower than the training plan said I should. And it was fine. Sure, it took a bit longer, but it wasn’t excruciating. I didn’t hate every second of it, and I feel like I can run again tomorrow and not hate it.

As for the race itself, my goal is not just to finish, but to enjoy being part of running the New York City Marathon. I want to take in the sights, feel the energy, and be happy with the act itself, regardless of my time. That goes against everything my competitive self usually strives for, but it’s right for this race. That’s what I finally figured out: not every race is for speed. In fact, a year ago, none of my races were for speed—not true speed. If I could maintain somewhere in the neighborhood of a 9 minute mile, I considered it fast. And then I had a crazy race that changed everything, including my expectations for myself. I’ve finally realized that I need to reevaluate those expectations and be a little more realistic. My body is already pushing back and telling me that the distances I’ve been running at the pace I’m running at is just too much. So, I’ll run slower. And after this morning’s not-awful run, I’ve got to say, it’s much easier than I thought it would be.

How do you change your goals based on the race you’re running? 

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18 thoughts on “What’s Right for *This* Race

  1. Glad to hear you addressed what could be overtraining…which could have sidelined your entire training if you let it get bad enough!!! Another thing that helps me is signing up for a few races during my training that way I stay excited for running. They don’t have to be long races, just anything to keep me pumped for the end goal: the marathon. Oh and stop worrying that you won’t finish already!!!!!! LOL, no more of this “if I finish”. You will definitely finish. You’ll run the whole time, you’ll have such incredible adrenaline from the crowds and you’ll feel great. You’re a great runner!!! 🙂

  2. I think that’s really smart, to run NYC & just enjoy it. When I ran Marine Corps last year I knew I only wanted to have fun and enjoy the experience. I knew (bc I am crazy) I’d want to run another 26.2 in the future so I gave myself no goals whatsoever. Yeah, maybe I walked the last 6 miles *ahem* BUT I didn’t hate the distance when I was done. And now I’m training for another.

    Once running makes you miserable, it becomes more of a chore than a pastime. And no one wants to get to that point. Finish NYC with a huge smile on your face. It’ll make the experience much more memorable 🙂

  3. Hey! I like that pace. It’s more my speed. Let’s run together, ok?
    If you train slower, that doesn’t mean your race will be slow. They say you’re supposed to train slower and the race day adrenaline will kick in and you’ll have more in your tank to actually run faster. So I think you’re doing the right thing, baby.

  4. hhrunner says:

    AMEN to this post. I think you’re doing the right thing. I love you. And miss you. But I feel like I say that all the time now?

  5. thehinzadventures says:

    enjoyment is everything…remember that…you know it all could change in an instant. its hard for us to slow down but slowing down to be able to take it all in while running and then laugh and drink mimosas afterward while being able to walk is WAY more important!

    xoxo from Trinidad

  6. Definitely taking all of the sights in and enjoying the experience for what it is…so important! NYC is one of those races where you just want to savor every moment! Enjoy having the ability to run…many of us take it for granted! 🙂

  7. Great mind think alike? I’m having more of a “I’m not running that much” problem – but it’s weird to not to be majorly training for anything and have that running mojo. I miss it. Without it it just feels hard.

    I know you are going to rock NYC and really running slow is not horrible. Hell, even the elites run 2-3 slow runs a week. It’s good for you and lets you really enjoy the run. I hope you find your mojo soon. Maybe it’s hanging out with mine?

  8. Good luck!!! I hope you’re able to enjoy it 🙂 I’m sure you will!! It’ll be such a cool experience. And if it makes you feel any better, a few months ago, I ate the pavement so hard I had to hobble around work for 2 days. haha

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