Friday, October 12, 2007

Training: A Look Back

training for my first marathon was obviously not going to be easy but with a few halfs ( 1 race, a few runs) i felt with proper base building and the right plan i could do it. i had almost a year to train really well.

i knew it had to be a trail race. so i got on-line a found Bizz Johnson. it boasted fast times on a mostly flat route and i impulsively registered giving very little thought to susanvilles change of elevation. after a few restless weeks i decided to cut-my lossess and look for another race, one closer to home for sure. damn, that lesson cost me 70 bucks. to be honest i was more focused on finding a race, not necessarily the right race for me that i didn't really appreciate what it was going to take to actually train for a trail marathon.

i don't think i've bitten off more than i can chew, it's just gonna take allot longer than i thought. i have to be okay with that otherwise why even show up tomorrow.


i 've had a few conversations this week with people regarding my race. it's funny the different perspectives there are. some folks are very numbers oriented, others ask if it's a charity race...and seem a little disappointed that it's not, and still others plain wonder: why?

i've wondered all those things at one time or other myself. i think i've come to the conclusion that there were allot of reasons but probably more than just finishing, i wanted to train and do well.

i scoured the internet. my initial plan was an intermediate one, at coolrunning and by week 10 i was burned out and skipping runs bouncing from plan to plan, making it up as i went. training well had become training hell.

in hind sight there was nothing wrong with just wanting to finish, and wouldn't training have been more enjoyable without the added pressure of an intense program? training at an intermediate level, given my personality and lifestyle was a bit of a mismatch. why not just begin with being a beginner?

still, it wasn't all bad. i had a solid base building period. and i FELL IN LOVE WITH TRAIL RUNNING, discovering this race route. all those training days on the race route, getting lost and finding my way. spring was the most amazing time for me as far as breakthroughs and pushing limits.

so many times in the midst of an especially gruelling session just as heat and fatigue threatened to take over a gentle breeze would lift my spirits and i swear whisper to me that i was exactly where i needed to be in that moment.

so much of the time i'm so far down the road. nowhere near "in the moment" training really keeps you there, in the moment. as galloway describes,"positive behaviors and internal connections", i was beginning to understand.

summer is when the training started to really lose momentum and i went into party mode for a month and then vacation mode for another month. then it was back-to-school mode, which for the past month has been HELL.

still, i'm not going into this thing totally unprepared.
under trained and wildly enthusiastic would be more accurate.

my longest run was 21 miles and i ran 2 other 20 milers. i had my share of sucky workouts too. i often thought , usually afterwards, that they maybe were some of the most valuable runs because they hurt or just sucked so bad but i kept going anyway. deposits in the mental training account, right? while on vacation in hawaii, i got 30 miles of heat and humidity training, the longest run at 12 miles,or was it 14?

i didn't mention it at the time, but while on vacation our car got broke into. the shithead(s) got my 2 month old just got it for my 44th birthday 1st designer bag ever! dooney & bourke purse, damn! cell phones, M's shuffle, double damn!!. but it was the realization that my GARMIN was gone that reduced me to tears. all that data, poof! i learned a little bit more about my values that day.

galloway run/walk method was put to practice right after vacation and i tweeked it quite allot before settling into my current plan of attack. we shall see.
walking early and often is the only way i'm gonna finish, my training was for shit as far a time goal goes, not to mention the lack of cross-training or mindful nutrition. still, 6 hours would be thrilling for me. it's kinda of embarrassing ...taking it back and settling on just finishing. i'm more competitive than i think i guess, at least with myself. i ran well but i didn't train well.

i'm planning on walking(most)all the tough hills up to the first 20 miles and i'm counting on all my hill training to kick in during the last 6 miles. at least that's the plan, we'll see how it plays out.

i have no regrets other than i wish i would of been more realistic in my choice of training plans. had i settled on a beginner's program from the start, i would've stuck to it and had fewer missed sessions and i would have skipped burn-out.

i WILL have a good day out there tomorrow. the best advice i've received tells me not to focus on time but to just have fun. the weather appears to be cooperating, their predicting highs in the 60's. it's been raining on and off today, hopefully it won't be a major factor tomorrow.

so that's a look back on the training that has got me to here.
nerves haven't kicked in yet. actually, i'm feeling relieved that it's finally going to happen. letting go of the training phase and looking towards embracing the race day experience. it's been months since i've run in an organized event. i'm looking forward to the "buzz" and meeting new folks.

oh, and how cool is it that my first marathon would be under the direction of ultrarunning's legendary anne trason? i had read an article about her a couple of years ago when i first started trail running, she was a triathlete for awhile and a local gal. i had heard of golden hills marathon but i hadn't put the two together until after i decided against bizz johnson and started looking for a race closer to home.

so that's it for now. it's gonna be a helluva ride!


RHodnett said...

Hi, Christine. You don't know me, but I just now read a few of your blog entries.

Golden Hills was the first marathon I ran a few years ago. I'd been running on trails in the area to prepare for long hikes in the Sierra, and realized that I'd come pretty close to running the marathon distance, so why not try an actual marathon? At the time, I thought it would be just a one-time event, but a week or so later (once I'd recovered), I realized what a great experience it was, and I've run Golden Hills every year since.

I'm in my mid 50s, pretty slow, and I usually undertrain for these things, which sounds like what you think your situation might be. Maybe if I trained the recommended amount I'd be faster and feel stronger at the end. But running the amount I do (3 times a week, 25-35 miles total) keeps me from resenting the training too much, and is enough so that I can finish and not be totally wiped out afterwards.

The best thing you can do on race day is to eat and drink enough throughout the event, and also take electrolyte supplements to keep from cramping. You seem to like trail running enough that once you're out on the course, your attitude will take care of itself.

Good luck, and hope to see you on the course tomorrow.

Randy Hodnett
bib #515

Sarah said...

Your training sounds perfectly fine! I agree with Randy, just remember to drink/eat early and often. I think a 6 hr trail marathon is very respectable. I can run a 4:16 road marathon, but my best/only trail marathon is 5:22...and that's with a 6 mile downhill! So don't worry if you're not a speedster on the trails. Best of luck and don't forget to have fun!! : )

Mia Goddess said...

Go get her, Chris!!!! I love this pre-race reflection, btw, and you are my hero, my inspiration.