It’s Marathon Training time again.
Instead of heading to Core Power for an hour of hot yoga that would highlight every ache and pain in my weak ass, I went out for a run during a break in the massive windstorms of the past week. It had been four days since I last ran and my legs felt like a milk-logged Fruit Loop; colorful on the outside with no substance on the inside.
I turned to my tried-and-true comfort food run and headed up to Davidson Mesa, hoping that the exercise would clear my head and give me a chemical endorphin high because lately, my best friend caffeine hasn’t been cutting it.
Except I was tired. Couldn’t feel the love of the motion. I pushed through it by refusing to look at the Garmin to see how slow I was actually going. At the backside of the Mesa the wind kicked up again and I held onto my hat and tucked my head so the breath wouldn’t get ripped from my mouth. At one point the wind actually pushed me sideways into the path of an oncoming cyclist; it crossed my mind that we might become intimately acquainted on the ground if one of us couldn’t stay upright.
But no, that slo-mo movie sequence never happened, and a few minutes later my back was to the wind and I was alone with my thoughts. Those thoughts of mine aren’t always the best company… I’m just sayin’.
Today, six miles into the run and I’m ready to be done. I’ve been putting off making a Marathon Training plan for the upcoming Colorado Marathon because I didn’t want to face reality. But today, feeling like a soggy Fruit Loop, reality barged into my head and refused to leave.
When I signed up for the marathon I was coming off of my first Ultra and felt like I could do anything. I was such a bad-ass… 35 miles was no big deal, so sure, I should sign up for a marathon with my friends. Nice logic, hunh?
But now, six miles into the run and I’m whooped. I remembered how tired I was after 18 miles on the road. I remembered how much my legs rebelled after a long run and how I was a couch potato for the rest of the day. I remembered how tired I was, so often.
Over the next two miles this little pity-party in my head that had started as a side show on open mic night threatened to morph into an all-night dance club complete with electric guitars, drums and raging hormones. I thought about my friends running the race; they all have spouses to support them emotionally and logistically during the training cycle and considered pulling out of the race.
So then I started thinking about how other single parents balance training cycles and their dreams. If no one is there to lean on, how do people find the support they need to keep going?
The last piece of the puzzle for me was Expectation. In my first marathon I didn’t know how it was going to feel or what my time could be, except that everyone I talked to was sure that I was going to qualify for Boston and pull in something around 3:30-3:40.
This time around I’m not racing in another state and I’ll have friends running the marathon too. This time around I don’t have a spouse to support me during the training cycle. This time around, I have to support myself by sleeping enough, eating the right calories, and cross training enough so I don’t hurt my body.
The other morning I ran with a fellow DailyMiler trail runner. He’s running the Colorado Marathon as well, and follows the same training plan I do. Run when it feels good, hit the trails as often as possible, and enjoy every step of the way. Cross train. Sleep. Eat. Have fun.
After looking at typical marathon training plans and feeling that lump in my stomach that only usually visits after eating a Gluten-Free Buffalo Burger with bacon, cheese and mushrooms, I decided to do what I do best.
Trail run. Train on the mountain as though I were training for an Ultra. Mix it up a lot, cross train, lift weights, swim, and take it easy on myself. I know that for me, 40-45 miles per week is about the limit of what I can do before I get burned out. So I need to make those miles count in the best possible way, and running trail is the best bang for my buck.
I’m a natural runner that has never tapped into my potential. I get that and embrace it. I probably won’t get a lot faster before I start getting slower with age. The days when I’m feeling really competitive and frisky are the days I’m bothered with this, and other days I see myself through my Zen lens and I have a pile of compassion the size of Super Target for the soul and body that hang out together under the heading of “Lara”.
I don’t know how this training cycle is going to play out. I just hope that when I toe the line for the Colorado Marathon in May, I don’t look like the Fruit Loop that I am.