I have had two great workouts in the last few days. On Friday I did my 16 miler and decided to test out my knee/ITB with some faster miles. I started off easy and felt good, and then I just went with it. My splits were 7:28, 7:13, 7:11, 7:08, 7:18, 7:35, (uphill) 7:13, 7:09, 7:07, 8:19 (big big uphill), 7:11, 6:59, 7:31 (uphill), half of a mile at 7:12 average pace, then a 2.5 mile cool down.
Saturday was an 8-mile recovery run then yesterday morning was 10 miles and Coach said to try 4-6 miles in the middle of the run in the 6:45-7:00 pace range if all was feeling good. Yesterday's splits were 8:10, 7:43, 6:49, 6:40, 6:42, 6:57, 6:45, 6:38, 7:57, 8:22. Today was an easy paced 8 miler with some strides at the end. The knee is feeling better every day, even with the tougher workouts (I am still rolling extra and icing). I would say it is probably 98% better. :)
I have been thinking about time lately. If you are a competitive runner, you think about time a lot. There is
- the time you get up to get your runs in (setting your alarm clock!)
- the amount of time you spend running
- time splits (paces) for each mile
- goal pace times for workouts and races
- PR times
- time to fuel/eat well
- the amount of time you spend sleeping (getting enough rest!)
- the amount of time in days/weeks until a race
- recovery time
- MAKING time to get your running/exercising done
- the time on the clock when you are racing
All of these are a part of running. I often think when I am racing how I am "on the clock" and that every second counts, and how that clock relentlessly keeps ticking no matter what, until you cross that finish line.
But I have been thinking about a different aspect of time the past few weeks. I have been reminding myself that I HAVE TIME. Back in January of this year I set the goal to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials in 2016. When I set that goal I was well aware that I had a long way to go. I was well aware that achieving that goal would not be easy. I was well aware that it would take years of consistent hard work and effort, a deep-seated commitment, a little bit of luck, and a whole lot of heart (and sweat!)
Since then it has not been an easy year in regards to my racing. I have had really great training - I have had high mileage, seen consistent increases in my speed, and have been healthy and strong for the most part. But then Boston had a freak heat wave, and even though I ran a BQ time (3:37) in brutal conditions and finished in the top 8% of women in Boston, it was nowhere near the sub 3:20 time I was hoping for and was trained for. And then despite being in awesome shape and feeling 100% ready, physically and mentally, for a big breakthrough race, I had a DNF in Utah Valley in June.
For a few weeks after Utah Valley I was not in the best place mentally. I was frustrated, as I know I am in shape to run a 3:05-3:14 marathon and my current PR is far off of that. I was frustrated because I had put in so much work and was not getting the results on race day that I wanted. I was mad at mother nature for a heat wave and then high winds. I was doubting myself, as it is easy to get bummed out and start to wonder if maybe you just can't be as good as you thought you could.
But after a little bit of time to recover and refocus, I picked myself up, brushed myself off, and was ready to get back to work. I have reminded myself that it isn't supposed to be easy, and that it is smart to expect setbacks (and I will learn from them). I know that if I continue to put in the work and the training, that the race results will follow. I have rekindled my belief in myself. I am trusting in Coach Rick and in my training. I am smiling and enjoying the journey. I am doing what I love.
And I am reminding myself that I HAVE TIME. I have more than three years until I have to run a qualifying marathon time to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Trials. Three years ago it had been less than three months since I went on my first run ever. I had never run more than four miles. I had not "raced" anything more than a 5k and I had not even considered that a half marathon or a marathon would ever be a possibility for me. My "fast pace" was anything under 12 minutes per mile.
Two years ago I had just started training for my first half marathon. My only goal was to finish. Any run in the double digits (TEN MILES or more) seemed crazy, and very very hard. My "fast pace" was anything under 10 minutes a mile.
One year ago I had recently finished my third marathon (four months after my first) and had successfully trained and ran it in under 4 hours. I remember saying afterwards that there was "no way" I could every qualify for Boston and shave another 20 minutes off of my marathon time. (Four months later I did.)
Sometimes it is really encouraging to look back and see how far you have come. Sometimes looking back helps you look forward with renewed confidence and strength.
With all of the blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. it can be easy to read about other runners' workouts and other runners' race results and PR's and compare and be frustrated that I am not at the level I want to be at (YET). But I know that that is not a healthy way to think and I usually don't get caught up in it. On the rare occasion that I do catch myself thinking that way, I just remind myself that I have TIME. And I will get there. I have time to improve, I have time to make progress, and I have time to achieve the goals I have set. I never could have imagined three years ago where I would be now and I am excited to see what the next three years (and beyond) brings.
I have the love, encouragement, help, and support of some awesome people. I have the desire. I have the commitment. I have the work ethic and dedication. I have the faith. I have the confidence. I have the fire and desire. I have the heart. And I have the time. :)
"The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time." - Abraham Lincoln
"This one step - choosing a goal and sticking to it - changes everything." Scott Reed
"Goals.There's not telling what you can do when you get inspired by
them. There's no telling what you can do when you believe in them.
There's no telling what will happen when you act upon them.'
"Goal: an aim or objective, the end toward which effort is directed.
Resolution: The quality of not allowing difficulties or opposition to affect one's purpose." -Anonymous