Updates Since IM 70.3 (including an exciting announcement!)
Right after the Ironman 70.3 Rhode Island, I was laying low and doing workouts as I felt like it. I took two complete days off after the race, getting a massage and just relaxing, walking, and stretching/foam rolling. Surprisingly, I wasn’t very sore; mostly just stiff in my lower back and hamstrings, and walking a bit funny from the blister at the bottom of my left foot. Still, I can’t stay away from exercise/the gym, so I was soon back at it. I made sure to ease my way back into running slowly, and in general have been taking the opportunity to do some of my fave non-swim/bike/run workouts the past few weeks.
I was a bit mentally drained after the IM 70.3, so despite having found some good Olympic-distance training plans, I haven’t put pressure on myself to start following them. However, since I do still have Nationals to train for (happening on August 18), I have been trying to keep up some swimming, biking, and running each week. Here’s a rough idea of my workouts (this includes some commuting bike rides) from the past month, as logged on MapMyRun:
Not too shabby, but definitely no specific structure.
Then, about two weeks ago, I was chatting with my friend Greg about “what’s next,” and he mentioned a marathon in Sacramento that he had been thinking of doing (and has since decided not to sign up for). Now, as an FYI, I have NEVER had any desire to run a marathon. Well…until recently. When I started training for my first Half-Marathon last fall, I thought the 2ish hour running race would probably be perfect for me, since I was never a sprinter in my swimming days, and figured that a Half-Marathon pace would probably be very enjoyable for me compared to the near-sprints I was doing at 5Ks etc. However, anything longer just didn’t seem enjoyable, and probably not very friendly for my joints. Still, part of me was definitely doing the Half-Marathon just to prove to myself that I could, and I definitely didn’t expect to enjoy my long runs as much as I did. Prior to last summer, I had never really run more than 4 miles at a time, and was soon finding myself going on runs of up to 12 miles. The first few miles were never all that great or particularly enjoyable, but then I would get into a groove and suddenly feel very much at peace. I was finally experiencing a true “runner’s high,” a sheer contentment solely as a result of running. Part of me was very excited and finally felt like a “serious” runner who “got it,” but the other part of me was thinking, “Crap, maybe I AM a long distance person through and through. Why can’t I like something less time consuming??”
Anyhow, the point of all this is that it made me reconsider my list of things I would enjoy doing, and things that I could never see myself doing. It made me question the limitations that I had set on my own abilities and potential (whether conscious or not). I mean, a year ago, I never would have imagined myself completing an Ironman 70.3 and actually enjoying it as much as I did. Not to mention placing! Even a full Ironman seems possible to me now (I’m not actively planning on doing one in the near future, but I no longer see it as something that only crazy people/genetic freaks of nature attempt to do). And suddenly, while talking to Greg that day, I got the urge to train for a marathon. Not even just to do the race itself, but to cultivate the long-distance runner in me.
So after some debate, it’s official! I’m signed up for the California International Marathon on December 2 in Sacramento. It will be pretty close to where I’ll be living, is point-to-point and fairly fast (though deceptively hillier than the website would have you think, or so I’m told), has received a ton of great reviews, usually boasts perfect running weather (low to mid 50s) and a million porta potties, and is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. I am PUMPED!
I also calculated the weeks until the race, and it gives me exactly 18 weeks to train. So without missing a beat, I started a plan this week. The mileage is still relatively low, and there’s cross-training worked in, so I should be able to stay in good tri shape until Nationals. From there on out, running and flexibility will be my main focus.
A few things I’ll be discussing in future posts:
1.) Taking advantage of my upcoming move to California to find some exciting running routes (and new running friends?).
2.) Fundraising for this race. It is not required, but I would love to raise money for one of the many great causes that I care about, and to do the race for something greater than myself. The main caveat is that I’m interested in supporting some smaller organizations who don’t typically have programs set up through races, so would be doing this totally independently.
3.) Not getting too far ahead of myself! The mileage on my current plan seems a bit low compared to other ones I’ve seen, and I’m fighting a mini-battle with myself: “Chill out, it’s your first marathon, just trust the plan, be smart, and focus on finishing the race” vs. “I’m in great aerobic shape! I should push myself harder because I’m competitive and I don’t wanna ‘just’ finish after all that training!”
Enough rambling for now! Time to go for a tempo run :)