Well, ready or not…the half marathon is here! On Saturday, I’ll be running my third Fort4Fitness half marathon…and I’m not sure I’m really ready for it. However, there is nothing more I can do at this point. I ran my last training run yesterday, so today and tomorrow I just rest. I’ve been struggling with my running lately due to some pains that don’t seem to want to go away. Several weeks ago, I stepped on a rock while on one of my pre-dawn morning runs. My ankle twisted really hard to the side and I almost fell, but didn’t. Right away, I was sure I hurt myself…but I was able to keep going and didn’t have any pain. Well, of course, a couple of days after that, my Achilles started hurting…and it seemed the more I ran on it, the more it kept hurting. I would slow down or reduce my mileage, but it would often start to hurt quite a bit only a half mile into my run. So…last week, I took four whole days off. FOUR. And when I started back up again, I didn’t run far or fast. That’s a long break for me when I so badly wanted to PR in this half marathon. Last year, I finished in 1:42.17 without any real speedwork or strategic planning. This year I have an actual running coach! I was positive that with the right workouts and motivation, a PR would be almost certain. (If you missed my first two posts in this series, you can read them here: Individual Coaching with Three Rivers Running Co. and Individual Coaching Week One Review.)
My running was going very strong and I was loving the workouts that Coach Mike scheduled for me. I had some great runs, even running a tempo run with my fifth (and last) mile coming in at 7:05. I clearly was getting faster and stronger with each workout…until the pain of my Achilles got to be too much. Such a bummer! I touched on the kinds of runs Mike had me doing in my first two posts, but during the last 3 weeks of training, he gave me some new types of runs that I was really excited about…but barely got to do any of them. 🙁
One was a Cut Down Run. This trains the body to recognize different paces and to get faster as the run progresses. Of course, this is pretty much how I run…all the time. I’m always running negative splits, so I was really excited to see how close I could get to meeting my goal paces for each mile. Unfortunately, the way it worked out, I never got to run a single one. Such a bummer. 🙁
My longer weekend runs were supposed to be Long Slow Distance with a Fast Finish. The goal was to run my regular long run pace, but then speed up during the last 2-3 miles and finish as close to race pace as possible (which, for me, was a 7:45 pace). I totally could have done that…but, of course, these last few weeks haven’t gone anywhere near the way I was hoping.
There was also a Race Pace workout included in the schedule. This was a 1 mile warm up with 4 miles at race pace. Again…well, I think you get the idea by now. Training has just not been going my way these last few weeks and I’m definitely worried about how it’s going to affect my race on Saturday.
I’ve also been adjusting my diet quite a bit lately. I touched on all of this in my recent post: Eating Gluten Again. Now that my LEAP eating program is nearing the end, I’m adding back new foods and feeling more like myself again. However, in typical LeAnn-style (and I have a feeling this is VERY normal), after feeling ‘deprived’ from certain foods for so long, I tend to go overboard when I’m allowed to eat them again. Well, the last two weeks, I did just that…and gained 5 pounds. Ugh. Not that it’s worrisome to me, it’s just uncomfortable and I have felt sluggish on my runs. The extra weight was definitely slowing me down!! I have been very mindful about what I’ve been eating this entire week and I’m now almost back to my regular weight. Those few extra pounds really do make a difference in how I feel!! I’ve been making sure to eat regular, well-planned meals this week…breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This will make sure I have the proper fuel and energy I need to race on Saturday.
I’ve also been very aware of how much water I’m drinking AND how much sleep I’m getting. With the exception of last night (due to the Big Brother season finale), I’ve been going to bed by 9:30 every night. There will be no excuses tonight or tomorrow night…it will be early bedtime, for sure!! The more rested I am, the better I feel!
So, even though I’m not feeling confident in my speed, I haven’t entirely given up on a PR yet. Is it probable? Hmm….I don’t know. I’m not very confident anymore. Is it possible? Absolutely. Will I be upset if I don’t PR? Yes, a little. However, I know that these things happen. Taking it easy for the last couple weeks and not doing the scheduled workouts was hard…but if I had kept running full-speed…maybe I wouldn’t have been able to race on Saturday at all! To me, being able to run and finish a race is more important than being bull-headed, not slowing down, and then causing a long term injury. So, ready or not…here we go!!
I will definitely post about how it goes on my Facebook page. Make sure you’re following along so you don’t miss it. 🙂
And if all fails…I have another chance to try again on November 8th when I run the Veterans Marathon (also a half). In between the two races, my husband and I will be going on vacation (just the two of us). I’m really, REALLY looking forward to that. We haven’t been on a kid-free vacation in over 6 years!! We’ll be doing lots of hiking/walking, but I only plan to run a couple of times. It will be a nice break from everything. When I get back, I plan to start regular training again and I’ll be anxious to see what Coach Mike from Three Rivers Running Company has in store for me!
I’ll leave you with this picture, taken after last year’s Fort4Fitness half. I’m ready for a new medal to show my kids…and some new running photos!! I will post back again soon!! And if you follow my blog and actually happen to see me tomorrow, please say hi! I would think that’s super cool!! 🙂
P.S. – I’m running the final mile of the “Kids Marathon” with my daughter tomorrow night. I can’t wait! She’s excited, but also nervous that she won’t be able to run the whole way. I’ve told her that if she gets tired, we’ll walk…but, I’m hoping that by pacing her early on during the ‘excitement’ of the start, she can run the entire mile. We’ll see! I’m sure a lot of it will simply come down to what kind of mood she’s in at the moment! It’ll be fun, no matter how long it takes us to cross that finish line!
Have you signed up for my weekly email newsletter yet? I share simple “real food” recipes and the occasional update about running!