Today’s lesson: Marathon training = Patience. A lot of it.

10 Feb

I had the courage to sign up for a marathon, but do I have the courage to finish one?

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Training for a marathon requires dedication, commitment and time. Some days I want to curl up in my bed and throw the covers over my head and just sleep. I want to ignore the training schedule and nutrition plan. I want to sleep for hours, wake up and eat butter latent sugar cookies until my heart’s content. But no, I can’t. I have to get up off my rear and run. Some days running is effortless. Other days running pains me. Literally, it pains me. What was an easy 6 or 10 miler the day before could leave me exhausted and lifeless.

Fortunately, I don’t have too much trouble finding the time to train for a marathon. The trouble lately is practicing the patience to train. What I mean is, the distance I could accomplish in 1 hour is not the distance I’m told to cover in 1 hour. I’m being told to add an extra 15 minutes to hit my 8 mile mark. An extra 15 minutes!!! That extra 15 minutes could equate to an 2 extra miles in my “world” but NO, NO, I’m being prescribed to slow down. Slow down!  Really?! I’m not used to running in the 9 minute pace per mile realm, but here I am, running in it and I feel odd. My legs want to move faster.  The mental anguish! When the 60 minute mark goes by and I’ve only ran 6.6 miles I can’t help but to quibble because I know I could have had 8 miles under my belt had I just ran “my way”. But can I withstand “my way” for 26.2 miles? Probably not.

That’s why I abstain from doing things my way. It was hard to relinquish control. After all, to complete a marathon is big feat and I should accept the advice from those that have crossed that finish line. The advice being, SLOW DOWN.  Ugggghhhh!

Marathon training is forcing me to lessen my obstinacy towards what I know works for me. Marathon training has taught me to put faith in the experts and to allow them to weigh in with their advice in the “considerable” chance they can make me better.  

I know I can finish a marathon but can I finish with the time I have in mind? I wish I could be so lucky and qualify for Boston my first time like so many of my running peers. But it’s just a dream. Literally, just a dream. Actually, a nightmare.  I have been dreaming of running my marathon and missing the qualifying time for Boston by 2 minutes! 2 minutes! In my dream I cross the finish line in a euphoric state because I was faster than I imagined. Then when I become aware of my actual time I become overwhelmed with despair and shame for missing the mark for Boston. Yes, this is definitely a nightmare not a dream.

Boston’s Qualifying time for women in my age group 18-34, is 3 hours and 35 minutes, which equates to an 8 minute 12 second pace. I’m definitely not there, yet. Emphasis on yet. Maybe when I fall in the 35-39 age bracket I might stand a chance. The qualifying time in that age bracket is 3 hours and 40 minutes (so long as they don’t change the times!)

 http://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/participant-information/qualifying/qualifying-standards.aspx

I remind myself that finishing a marathon is a triumph of itself.  I know that. A girl can dream can’t she? (oh, Boston, how I lust for thee) I recognize that I have too many parameters to measure success associated with the completion of my first marathon and that I need to ease up on myself a little. But it’s hard. It’s hard for me to ease up because I’m a highly competitive individual who doesn’t like failure. I recognize failure makes us human but I can control “failure” in my running repertoire. Therefore, failing would be ridiculously reprehensible for me. I feel as if I’ve become a very natural and efficient runner and I want to showcase that on March 15, 2014. But with 9 minute “easy” runs, I don’t feel like I’m getting the aerobic challenge I need to prove myself successful.  I am, however, getting the leg training so that’s a plus. There’s the silver lining! 

Today I ran 15.55 miles in 2 hours and 21 minutes which is equivalent to a 9:05 pace. My only complaint about this is the pace because I am faster than this. I’ve covered this territory already, I’m sorry, I’m still getting accustomed to this reality. I have to learn how to slow down and enjoy the distance. These long runs are supposed to be completed at an easy pace. But guess what, these “easy” runs tend to hurt me more. Not in the lungs but in the legs, the feet and oh my gosh, my butt! Talk about a pain in the ass.  

I realized today that after completing 15.55 miles at an “easy” pace, I could happily and comfortably conquer a marathon sustaining that pace (or so I hope!). Sidenote *** Dear adrenanline, please kick in and help me crush my goal on March 15, 2014!

The task of running 26.2 suddenly feels really daunting right now. I don’t know what seems more daunting, the effort of running 26.2 miles or the time that I would have to spend to complete it.

Today’s lesson: Marathon training = Patience. A lot of it. 

Here’s to hoping that I can do it! 34 days until my marathon debut! 

Thanks for reading!

Happy Running!

XO

Valgal

 

 

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