Thursday, September 19, 2013

That Moment When Reality Hits!

Evergreen Pumpkin 10-miler last year (2012)

This summer, when I started planning my race schedule for the fall/winter I think I got a little carried away.

So carried away that I tentatively planned 6 half marathons in 6 months with a 10-miler thrown in the mix.
The first half was planned for October 12th - just 6 weeks into my training season.  I thought I'd just use it as a "training run"


Today I had a 4 mile race-pace run on the schedule.  I'm defining "race pace" as 10:15, even though my previous (last season) race pace was 10:00.  My thought was to finish my first scheduled race at the 10:15 pace and then try to regain my previous speed by the time of my Thanksgiving Day Half.

Today, at about the 2 mile mark of my 4 mile run all that changed.
I realized that there is no way I will be ready for any kind of race over a 13.1 mile course in just 3 weeks.  

I'm still walking funny from my slow 10 miles on Saturday.

And even though I finished my 4 mile run at a 10:15 pace, I know that tripling that distance at that speed just wouldn't be fun.  At all!

So, I came home and rethought everything.  How important was the "6 Halfs in 6 Months" goal?  Which of the races was I really excited about, and which were thrown in to complete my goal?

After some soul-searching I decided that the goal wasn't nearly as important as staying healthy and having fun.  I have now narrowed my race schedule down to the 4 or 5 races that I am really excited about.

  • Evergreen Pumpkin Run (10-miler) October 27th- We ran this race last year and it remains my favorite race to date!   The costumes alone mean there is no way I am skipping this!  And this distance is actually beneficial to my training.
  • Starlight Half-Marathon December 14th - This is the only night-time half marathon that I could find within driving distance.  Since I seem to run better in the evening, I thought this might result in a decent PR.  Plus, it's a Christmas run - and I love dressing up!
  • Town of Celebration Half-Marathon January 26th- This is actually the inaugural year for this event, but I was excited enough by their website to sign up for it 6 months in advance!  Let's hope it lives up to the hype. This race will require an overnight stay, but I'm just turning it into a mini-vacation.  Without kids!
  • 26.2 with Donna (Half-Marathon) February 23rd - This is a HUGE local race that benefits breast cancer research and support.  It was started by a local newscaster (Donna Deegan) who is a 3 time breast cancer survivor.  I can remember Donna's first day as a newscaster with Channel 12 back when we first moved here in 1989 - and I've followed along through her fights with cancer, and the start of this race many years ago.  I never dreamed it would grow so huge or that I might one day run it!
  • Pensacola Beach Half-Marathon April 7th - This is a "maybe" race.  It will depend on how I feel after all the other halfs.  Pensacola is my home town, so this race has the added benefit of visiting relatives.  Plus, my blogging buddy, Mindy, will be running it and I have never met a cyber-friend at a race before! 
Whew!!  I feel so much better now that I have lost some race weight!  This new schedule looks much more manageable and FUN!  Woo-Hoo!

This week I read an article online that really resonated with me.

 Here’s a secret about running. The feeling you get after a new PR, the satisfaction from a tough workout well done, and the disappointment from a bad performance all feel the same no matter how fast you are. That’s the beauty of our sport.
There is no difference between the runner who breaks 30 minutes for the 5k for the first time and the one that breaks 16 minutes. Both worked hard, sacrificed to achieve their goal, and experienced the same challenges.
That means all runners can relate to each other, no matter their speed.

I subscribe to 42 blogs by runners.  Some of them are elite runners, some of them are age grade champs and some of them are (gasp) even slower than me!  It really doesn't matter because I feel a connection with them all and I can learn something new from any one of them!  This is what I love most about running.  No matter how fast or slow, we are all doing the same thing!

Go ahead.  Read the article.  I promise you will be glad you did!

I'm curious... how many races do you typically run in a year?