As I headed out for my run yesterday morning, I started writing this blog post in my head. (Do you do that, too? I write the best posts while I’m in the shower or driving or running, and the ones that actually make it to the internet really pale in comparison, to be honest.) The title was going to be, “Loose Ends,” or “Drifting,” or “Undecided.” Something that reflected my current mental state about running and racing. I can’t say that I’m struggling with running, because I’m still totally getting out there and putting in some miles, but without a plan or a goal, I have definitely been feeling less motivated and excited about running.
I’ve been cruising around the internet, looking at races and trying to figure out what I really want. Am I looking for another ultra? A bunch of 5Ks? Maybe a summer full of half marathons? Nothing has really floated my boat, so I haven’t plunked down any money or noodled out a training plan.
Less than half a mile into my run, my thoughts had drifted off topic and on to other pressing things, like my kids, summer vacation, what to eat for dinner, etc. Big Boy’s end of Track season banquet had been the night before, so I thought about that for awhile. He had a good season, but in all honesty, not the stellar season I thought he had in him. We all had some terrible allergies this spring, and he ran pretty inconsistently. Don’t get me wrong, he PR’d at every distance with some excellent times, so it’s not like the season sucked! I thought about how there was one particular race that he ran with his whole heart, where he beat his previous best time (and a very fast teammate), and I wondered what the secret formula was for that kind of performance. Big Boy is very much like me, in that he occasionally psychs himself out of his best running by overthinking it.
|I love this photo. I may be the tiniest bit biased, but I think this is one handsome kid!|
I’ve been working on the mental side of running and racing for years, and I definitely do not have the answers! But like a weird bolt of lightning, right around Mile 4, I had a moment of total clarity and I knew exactly what I wanted for the rest of 2014: I want the CIM. I want to run my very best, and hopefully fastest, marathon at my favorite race. I want to overcome, once and for all, that stupid voice in my head that says I’m not good enough. I want to train hard enough and smart enough to squeeze in under four hours. I want to run with my whole heart.
As I finished up the last two miles, I formulated a plan in my head (again, these tend to be better than the ones I capture on paper. *le sigh*). There are a couple of areas of weakness that I will need to work on in the next six months before the marathon:
- Core strength and flexibility. I’m actually pretty good about core work and cross training, but I think it’s time to change things up and try something new. This is way, way, waaaaaaaaaaaaay outside my comfort zone, but I am looking into doing some yoga. I’ve never been to a yoga class before, so wish me luck and tell me your stories about how awesome it is, please!
- Racing nerves. This one is easily my weakest link. I am absolutely guilty of sabotaging myself into terrible race performances, so the best course of action here is pretty obvious: I need to race more. To that end, I have found a handful of races in a variety of distances over the next few months.
- The right training plan. For last year’s CIM, I used the Hanson’s marathon training book. It was awesome, except for that whole DNF thing that happened. I’ve used Hal Higdon and the Runner’s World free plans, too, with varying success. I’m working on my own version of a hybrid plan of the elements that I liked from each of these – high volume, consistent speedwork, short taper, plenty of recovery miles, and confidence-building long runs. I’ll let you know what it looks like when I get it put together.
I’m excited about this! I feel hopeful about the rest of the year, and I’m happy to give my running some purpose again.