Sunday, January 16, 2011

Week one: great tempo, speed bumps and keeping on...

Well, week one of my marathon training is done. Just 17 more to go. Week one called for 10/6/10/6/6. In reality it looked more like 14/6/curling/yoga. But that's ok.

Why, you ask? Because sometimes, despite our best intentions, life gets in the way. But you have to take those speed bumps and use them as learning opportunities in your marathon journey. And then, as the Chinese proverb says (not sure which wise man it was who said it, but I'm pretty sure he was Chinese): to get to your destination, you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, until eventually you get there.

The mental block is lifted:
For the last couple of months, ever since my first marathon, I'd been struggling with a mental block. No matter that I'd just run a distance less than one percent of the population has ever run, but even the shortest run seemed like a gargantuan task. Just the idea of lacing on my shoes was exhausting, and I didn't believe that I'd be able to run 5k, let alone 42.2.

But thanks to the support of my husband and running buddies, and the fact that I'd just signed up for another clinic starting next week, I forced myself to head out for a tempo run on Tuesday. And while the first few minutes had me wondering whether my legs could handle the pace, after the first kilometre or so, as I ran around the Commons and enjoyed the sight of families heading to the Oval to watch the speed skaters train, I found that I was only running about 10 seconds or so slower than I used to before my last marathon. And it felt great!

Sometimes, you just need a great run to get you motivated again and believe in your legs and yourself. And while there's no doubt that I'll probably have difficult runs again, where every step feels like agony and inside I'm just dying to stop and walk, you keep on keeping on because you know that every so often, you'll have a run where you just feel like you're floating. And that is the best feeling.

Yet despite my best intentions last week that I was going to run every run in the training schedule, that did not happen this week.

My speed bumps this week:

1) a work-related road trip to Fredericton. Normally, that isn't a big deal, because the nice thing about running is that there are roads/trails everywhere. All you need is your runners and you're good to go (ok you also need weather-appropriate, water-repellant clothing...unless you live in a nudist colony, which I don't, nor do I have any urgest to do so). Given that I was able to stay on track with my first marathon training schedule (for the most part) this summer while travelling for my wedding and honeymoon, I wasn't concerned about traveling. I'd even packed my running gear and was ready to explore Fredericton by foot, ecept for:

2) a blizzard (or at least lots and lots of snow) that dumped 30 or so centimetres of snow on Fredericton, making the unplowed sidewalks a little treacherous. And while running in snow is a good workout (it exercises different muscle groups and is actually a harder workout than running on dry ground, much like running in sand), I was a little tired after our drive, the sidewalks weren't plowed, I didn't know the city and so on and so forth.

3) a busy schedule, much of which was taken up by work, travel or other commitments. Like our curling match on Thursday night -- which I discovered is still a great workout, and lots of fun too! In any case, cross-training is always important in any running program, as it helps you build other core muscles that contribute to your strength and endurance.

4) a painless migraine on Saturday. What is that, you ask? Well, it's where you start getting these pretty little sparkles in your eyes and it feels like you've got tunnel vision and blind spots. So needless to say, I thought it wise to abstain from running until such time as I could see properly again. Though I did substitute the run with a great yoga class -- another opportunity for some cross-training and strength building.

Anyways, despite the road blocks this week I joined my running buds this morning for this Sunday's Long Slow Distance. Most of us had not made it out for more than a run or two last week due to the weather conditions. What's important is not to let those slight speed bumps get you down, and find other opportunities to get some training in, whether it be curling, yoga or other.

Although we ran down Novalea this week, the run seemed a little more challenging compared to last Sunday's, mostly because the surfaces were a lot slipperier, with a thin coating of ice or snow on the sidewalk. By kilometre 14, my legs felt like lead, so I headed back to the Running Room -- very, very slowly.

This week's schedule: 10/6/10/6/6

Tuesday night, the marathon clinic begins at the Running Room. I'm looking forward to starting another training program with my running friends, and making new friends and acquaintances as well.

~ Ceebie

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