Tag Archives: Goals

Recovering, and setting new goals

“Really,” I said Saturday afternoon after the race, practically bragging, “I’m not even that sore.”

Famous last words. At dinner, I noticed that my ankle was feeling kind of cranky. When I stood up after a two-hour movie, I noticed the weird stinging sensation on my thighs that indicates 13.1 miles is, in fact, long enough to need Body Glide. And when Steve hugged me, I noticed that even my lower back and abs were kinda sore. Oof.

Truly, though, as the queen of injury prevention, I take post-race recovery seriously, starting immediately after the race. Within minutes of crossing the finish line Saturday, I drank an Odwalla Protein Monster (get the vanilla kind — tastes a little like a milkshake) and ate a banana to replenish carbs and protein. I kept moving for a while, then I stretched, even though I desperately wanted to sit down.On the way home, still wearing my mylar blanket tied around my neck, we stopped at Giant to get a huge bag of ice for a dreaded-buy-necessary ice bath.

The FIRST half-marathon training plan I followed is pretty specific about rest and recovery. After an all-out half-marathon, which this certainly was for me, it suggests less-intense workouts for two weeks following the race. Fine by me! I took yesterday off, will swim today and plan to run easy tomorrow.

I’m focusing my energy on two things: taking care of the little aches and pains that cropped up during the race (more on injury-prevention tools later in the week), and setting new goals. Next up is the George Washington Parkway 10-miler on April 26. There will be other races to follow, but the one I’ve got my eye on is … wait for it … the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 25! I got an early sign-up coupon at the half-marathon over the weekend, so I rewarded myself for the good finish my signing up for the marathon yesterday.

This will be my second full marathon. I finished my first, the hilly and hot (but still awesome) Nashville Country Music Marathon,  in 4:34 in April 2007. My main goal for this one is to cross the finish line with no significant injuries. But I’d also like to improve my time. The McMillan Running race time calculator says based on my half-marathon time over the weekend, I ought to be able to run a 3:50 marathon. This seems a little fast, but I’m gonna set an early, seemingly do-able goal of finishing in four hours.

My 16-week training program officially doesn’t start until June. But it assumes you can run 15 miles from the get-go, so I’ll be keeping my mileage up and generally staying in training mode until then. I’ll also be trying to run a fast (for me) 5K — perhaps the Silver Spring Earth Day 5K on April 19. I’ll keep you posted, but keep checking in here for suggestions for running routes, training tips, cross-training workouts, race reports, sports-nutrition info and playlists I find helpful as I accomplish my next set of goals.

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Fear descends

Race day is three weeks from Sunday, meaning the end is in sight.

Clearly, I’m terrified.

It’s not that I think I won’t finish. It’s the weight of the expectations that have silently been piling up in my mind. It’s the only possible downside to training going well: I may say I don’t care how I finish, but if I’m being honest, if I don’t post a time for this race that reflects all my hard training runs, I’m going to be very, very disappointed.

Complicating matters is the fact that we’re pondering a ski trip to Lake Tahoe the week before the half marathon on March 21. It’s the only week that makes sense to take this trip, and it’s coming together beautifully so far. I know — everyone feels really, really sorry for me for having to be in this VERY difficult situation. Tahoe would be — will be — awesome, but I’m faced with the fact that there’s no way I can ski hard for a few days, take a cross-country flight and hop off and run a perfect half marathon.

Enter the backup race. I’ve added the Pacers Running Festival Half Marathon on May 10 to my race list. I’ll still run my heart out on March 21, but I’ll know I have another chance if I don’t meet my own mounting expectations.

Training log for the day: Historical Linden/Seminary 5.1 mile loop, which is quickly becoming my favorite Pacers route, last night; swim day today.

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Putting it out there

Motivation has many sources, and everyone finds it in different places.

As far as I can tell, the thing that drives me is shame.

This is the story of my training for the National Half Marathon on March 21 in Washington, my new home city. I have run one full marathon and two half marathons previously. One half ended with a stupid hip injury that continues to trip me up more than a year later and a stupid time I would rather forget. The other half ended with jubilation, mostly thanks to — you guessed it. Shame.

It was the Five Points of Life Half Marathon in Gainesville, Fla., in 2007, and it was my first distance race. My friends Jessica and Adam promised to come cheer me on, and warned that they would appear on the race course when I least expected it. During every rough patch, I thought of how horrified I would be if I was limping, clutching my cramped-up sides and groaning when I finally came upon them. So I pushed on, running longer and harder than I ever had before.

Turns out, Jessica and Adam had run out of gas on the way to the race, so they never made it to the course. But my fear of embarrassment helped me I post a time I never thought I could as a solid middle-of-the-pack runner, Jessica and Adam took me to a fabulous post-race brunch, and I discovered a powerful motivator.

It is in that spirit of motivational shame that I share my plans to run this race. I figure the more people I tell, the more embarrassing it will be if I get lazy and drop out.

My plan is to follow a combination of a Hal Higdon half-marathon plan, and a neato three-day training plan I read about recently in Runner’s World. I’m going for the less-is-more approach to avoid more of the aforementioned stupid injuries, and will be supplementing my running schedule with swimming days. Keeping me motivated to swim is the 1-mile Bay Bridge Challenge, an open-water swim in the Chesapeake Bay in June I recently plunked down 60 bucks to sign up for (another great motivator: the threat of financial loss).

Check back here a few times a week for workouts, running routes, playlists, training advice, injury-prevention tools and other cool stuff I find helpful while training. I may even post some non-shame-related motivational material while I’m at it.

I’m putting it out there. Now, I guess I actually have to do it.


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