Last Tuesday I was curled up in the fetal position on my yoga mat whimpering “I’ve reached my threshold. This is as good as it gets. I’ve maxed out.” Sounds a lot like peak week!
The last few weeks have been a fun, time-crunched build to the Indy Monumental Marathon in November. Here’s what went down:
Prior to the above, I raced a duathlon on September 21 and then a sprint triathlon on September 29, placing first in my age group in both of those races, plus Ironman Wisconsin on September 9. Given the balance between racing and building back up to marathon mileage in a few short weeks I made the most of the time I had and trained very differently than I ever have before. Not only was my training different for me, it’s very outside of the base building guidelines you’ll read in any marathon article or blog. Don’t follow my lead, just be open to the idea that coloring outside of the (guide)lines can be done.
After my spring marathon I thought of some things I would do differently in the next round of training, one of them being incorporate longer midweek runs. In the picture above, you’ll see that I can say I did that. The other thing I did differently was a tempo run the day after my long run. This was a friend’s suggestion on what to do if I couldn’t get the 20 miler in, but I used the suggestion for each long run. I’m excited to see how this pans out on race day.
With those longer midweek runs, the 13 miler and 16 miler I felt good enough to go out for a 20 mile run that landed appropriately three weeks out. This is the part of training where I really struggle on my own and second guess everything. I overthink how to tackle everything from here until race day. I’m fortunate for some great friendships from internet strangers who follow my training and can offer great wisdom. You know who you are.
After my 20 mile run I was a little discouraged at how many times I had to stop and collect myself during the last 5 miles, which apparently is very common? After I stopped being hard on myself and inhaled an Oreo Sundae I noted some really cool things about this run:
- First sub three hour 20 mile training run ever.
- A year ago this run took me 14 minutes longer.
- Steady, even consistent splits with a tough headwind both ways, ranging from 8:27 to 9:06.
- Pace average was 8:48, my everything-goes-perfect marathon goal pace.
- My slower splits were low 9:00s, a huge improvement over the 9:40s I trained at last year.
- There was a time many years ago when things felt tough in a 20 mile run and I literally sat on the curb on cried. I didn’t do that.
I’m excited to see where all of this gets me not only on race day, but in bigger picture goals as well. More importantly, I am proud of the work I have put in. In 2018 when I first dropped the 40 pounds and started to get faster a many people told me “this is only the beginning” and now I can see that. It’s never too late to just start.