Friday, May 2, 2014

Sacrifice: Do I have what it takes?

10 weeks to train to run the fastest marathon of your life.

Scary, right?

70 days to get into the best shape of your life.

Will it be enough time?

Luckily for me, I have incredible support from people who believe in me more than I believe in myself.

A lot has happened in these past three weeks since I announced that I would be running Grandma's to try and qualify for the Olympic Trials.

There have been MANY races that I have watched and thought, "Gosh, I wish I was out there competing"...

There have been days where I have seen cyclists and had tears in my eyes thinking, "I can't believe I miss biking this much"....

There have been treats at school that I have imagined eating over and over again.

But my thoughts always take me back to one main question:

How bad do I want to qualify for the Trials?

Bad enough to give up racing every weekend.

Bad enough to drop biking to two easy spins per week, knowing full well that my bike fitness that I worked SO hard to gain over the past year is slowly diminishing.

Bad enough to turn down cookies, ice cream, candy, bread (!!!!) and pizza.

Last year, I chased the CARA Circuit in hopes of being the Female Athlete of the Year after hearing early on that I had a good shot at doing so. Between CARA Races and money races, I found myself pretty much racing every weekend. This clearly worked to my advantage last year, but my goals are different this year. You see, you really only have a few QUALITY races to run each year. After already racing an Ironman this year, to have another quality race by mid-year (as in Grandma's Marathon), I needed to cut the excess out and have a strong focus on what was really important.

These past three weeks of training have included a few really successful runs that kept my goal in front of my eyes:

-YASSOS! For those who don't know what this workout is, basically you run 1/2 mile repeats at goal marathon pace. Coach Dave had me start off at 2:50 and work my way down to 2:42-2:45. Tracks aren't open to the public out by me, so I had to do this workout on the road. Did I mention I live in Oakwood HILLS? There is always an incline or decline on even our simple 2-mile route, so I sucked it up, realizing my odd 800s would be slower than my evens and was okay with that. Hitting 2:42 at the end as planned really solidified that this Trials goal CAN happen.

-15mile run with 6x1mile in between. This was run on the March Madness 1/2 marathon course on Miles 1-2, 3-4 and 4-5 due to the strong headwind. I was fortunate in that Ryan chose to run this with me and really helped me hit my times. The goal was to run the first two miles at 80%, the third at 80-90% and the last three RED LINED. We went 6:20, 6:03, 5:56, 5:48, 5:40, 5:38.

These past three weeks of training have also included some not-so-good workouts:

-Week 2 was supposed to include a hill workout, but my lower calf flared up so Coach Dave opted to have me run easy instead

-Week 1 and Week 2 included long runs with 3x2 miles at Marathon Race Pace (MRP) and 6mid-miles at sub-MRP. Both of these were really challenging, and Coach Dave was quick to remind me that I was one/two week/s out of an Ironman so should NOT expect the workouts to go as planned since my body was still recovering

With three weeks down and only seven to go, this Sunday will be a test for me on many levels.

I'll be toeing the line at the Palos 1/2 Marathon.

Ever the supportive husband: Ryan grinning ear to ear behind me:)

I shocked the heck out of myself at this race last year by running a 1:20 just one week after I ran a 2+ minute PR at the U of I 1/2 (1:18), so am hoping to shock myself again this year. The race plan is much different going into the half this year, but it is a plan that will show me how successful Grandma's can be.

One of my favorite pictures, running with my love (Palos 1/2 marathon, 2013)

A GIANT Thank You to everyone who has been so supportive and encouraging throughout this process. I cannot even describe how much it means to me to have people in my life who believe in me more than I believe in myself. Can't wait to post the Palos 1/2 recap....but first, off to the Junior High Conference Track meet!

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