Real quick – have you entered my giveaway from Schneblies ® yet?
I haven’t worn a Garmin while running in a very, very long time. It’s been so long that I’m not even sure I could tell you, exactly – probably sometime in Spring 2015? For a long time after my back surgery (then recovery, then reinjury, then recovery…) I have felt pretty ambivalent about pace. Well, maybe that’s not exactly accurate. I haven’t been ambivalent about it so much as I have been discouraged by the thought of caring. It’s been a long road back to running for me and trying to accept where I am with my body, fitness, and limitations now is sometimes a challenge. As a result, I’ve shied away from anything that would give me an indication of how fast (or slow) I’m going except races – and I haven’t really “raced” an entire event in a very long time. I’m struggling to even remember what race that might have been. The Newberry Half Marathon perhaps? Yeesh. (After reading that race report, I apparently didn’t race that one either. So, who knows?)
Perhaps it’s my newfound acceptance of where I am, but while getting ready for my run yesterday morning, I suddenly found myself feeling a little bit curious about my speed. I’ve been thinking about starting up a half marathon training plan with the intentions of getting faster, but I don’t even know what a reasonable goal would be at this point. Still not quite ready to face actually seeing my mile splits, I turned RunKeeper on on my phone and turned the notifications off. I figured I’d check it when I was done with my 3 miles and see what happened.
The run was a slog. I’ve been in dire need of new inserts for my shoes and my legs were tight and achy, and the hills around my neighborhood were unforgiving. The humidity was approaching 90% and I felt like crap. As I neared the general vicinity of mile 2, I slowed to a walk and decided to check my overall pace, expecting it to be something like 11:00 minute miles, and that was feeling tough. Instead, I was shocked to see that my pace was 9:35, and I had felt like I was crawling. That lit a huge fire under me, and although I still took a short walk break (the tightness in my legs wasn’t magically going away based on a number, unfortunately), I ran the last mile home like I was being attacked by birds (one of my top 3 fears). I finished with an overall pace of 9:25, including the walk break.
That run got me thinking. No, it’s not fast generally speaking, but it’s a lot faster than I thought I was going. It didn’t feel like the fastest that I could go. So maybe, just maybe, I haven’t been running as badly as I thought. Maybe I can get faster. Maybe I can actually train to run a decent (for me, for where I am now) half marathon time again. And this morning, I went for another run. Same routine – turn on RunKeeper, then promptly ignore it. This run, which is hillier than the route I did the day before, finished with a 9:01 pace, also including a (longer) walk break. I would be lying if I said that pace felt totally easy – it didn’t. But it felt possible, even if only for a few miles. That’s something I would not have had on my radar a few months ago.
So here I am, looking up training plans and thinking about goal races. I’m planning to head to Idaho for the Pocatello Half Marathon on Labor Day Weekend, and that is a mostly flat course with a slight net downhill and two medium-sized hills along the route. Targeting that as my goal race would mean my training plan would start next week! I decided to use a half marathon training plan from Women’s Running and shoot for around 2 hours. I say “around” because I’m going to Nicaragua for two weeks smack in the middle of July to do a charity construction project for work, and little if any running is likely to happen during that time. I need to be realistic, but I still want to set a goal and work towards something.
It’s strange that I’m feeling this motivated in the summer, which is the worst part of the running year for me. I really struggle with the heat, but I trained through the summer for a marathon last year, so I know I can do it. It’s been a long time since I actually felt inclined to put any real effort into following a training plan at all, and it’s actually a satisfying feeling. Although I don’t know how my back will hold up with the addition of speedwork and more mileage, we’re about to find out. Sub 2-hour half marathon, I’m coming (back, again, eventually) for you!
LEAVE A COMMENT: Are you working towards a goal race right now? Have you ever struggled with finding the motivation to train hard?