Why, hello there!
It’s been several weeks since my last update, which blows my mind, but ever since Spring of 2021, it seems that I have lost all sense of space and time, so that kind of makes sense. So, let me set the scene for anyone catching up here: in my last blog entry, I revealed the exciting news that I had just registered for my fourth World Major Marathon – The New York City Marathon – the 50th running of the storied race, and I was just over the moon in excitement, scurrying about, securing reservations, working on training plans, and just freaking out with excitement at the idea of it all.
Well, since then, it’s gotten even more real, as I made the decision to add another event to my fall; not only another marathon, but an earnest attempt – the first, really, since 2014 – to give a go at qualifying for Boston.
So, I shifted my mindset, copied down my training plan, and got to work that day – July 5, 2021 – as my first week in a brand new training cycle. I decided on a modified Advanced Hansons Marathon Method plan, and got going. With 13 weeks to race day, I knew I had to train smart, yet still stay realistic about my goal, so I told myself to get 1/3 of the way in before officially registering, and thus fully committing, to the race.
Those first few weeks weren’t easy, but I showed up for each workout: easy runs, track sessions, tempo, and long runs – running six days a week, with mileage topping 40-50 miles a week. The structure of my weeks with the girls in summer camp worked well to my advantage, as I’d hit the trails or track after dropping them off, which has meant better sleep than my cycles in the past (where I had to wake up to run before getting them ready in the morning), and I know that’s made a world of difference.
On July 28, I had reached 4 weeks on the plan, with only one missed workout, and was feeling both consistent and confident enough to seal the deal, and I registered that evening for the Mud Mountain Dam Marathon, while relaxing on the couch, watching Sleepless in Seattle.
Since then, I’ve kept at it – I am now at week 7 of 13, and hit my highest mileage week yet (60.5). I’m still working on locking in paces (my tempo runs are consistently faster than my targets, as I get this strange anxiety over numbers sometimes) and working on keeping easy runs as easy as possible (my Wednesday Group runs help a lot), but in general, I’ve been pleased with the physical side of the training.
Now, the thing I am really focusing on – at six weeks to go – is the mental game. I have self-sabotaged in the past, and I know that it’s the thing I need to really work on the most. I’ve proven to myself that I can do the hard work, and that the results do show – but the brain part – that’s been a big challenge, as always.
To combat this, I’ve worked on, at varying levels of success:
- Reminding myself that the most I can do is to keep showing up
- Repeating the idea that running is something that is ADDING to my life (in confidence-building, endorphin-creating, and FUN), and thus, should not cause stress, or take away anything from me
- Adopting a mantra/theme to the training cycle
I was inspired by a song on my running playlist called “Burn the White Flag” by Joseph. If you have never heard it, here you go:
It is so good.
My fave lines:
They say “you’d better give up, you’d better give up
I’ll be an army, no you’re
Not gonna stop me gettin’ through, ooh
I’ll sing a marching song and
Stomp through the halls louder than you, ooh
I could surrender but I’d
Just be pretending, no I’d
Rather be dead than live a lie
Burn the white flag
And let me tell you, over the past few weeks, I have found myself whispering this mantra to myself- even today, as I struggled to get into the rhythm in the first few tempo miles. I’d calm my breathing, ask myself how I felt, scan my body for any physical impediments, sip some water, repeat that mantra, “burn the white flag” then remind myself about how accomplished I’d feel to complete this, but also gently confirm the WHY behind it, and each time, I found my legs back at it before my brain could catch up.
Looking ahead for the next few weeks, I know that there will be days that it will feel hard, and moments that I’ll question myself – but as long as my heart still guides this goal, I will do my best to follow it.