I am about 10 weeks away from (hopefully) running my first marathon.
I am following, a Hal Higdon 18-week program which last week had me running 4 miles on one night, 7 miles the next and then doing another 4 miles the following day. Hal then expected me to run 14 and 7 miles last weekend as well. Hal apparently doesn’t think I should get a day off to celebrate Mother’s day or my 19th wedding anniversary or The Child’s 15th birthday, all of which fell in the past week.
The idea of this program is to build a good foundation and work my way up to the 20 mile mark and then start to taper down as the race approaches.
I ran 23 miles one day earlier this year and I loved it. I started in Long Beach and worked my way up the San Gabriel River Trail and then across multiple cities back to Fullerton. It was tough and wonderful. The 2L hydration pack was heavy and I stopped about mile 19 to refill it with another liter of water and I picked up a liter of Power-Aid for the last miles. I also ate a hollow chocolate Easter bunny, strictly for medicinal purposes, ahead of the Fullerton Hills. The run made the 26.2 much less “the big bad thing” in the closet.
I am not enjoying process or the structure associated with training for this race. I don’t like going out and running on tired legs. I don’t like HAVING to run a prescribed distance. I love the fact that my pace has improved and the cost has been more bad running days than great ones. Tonight’s 7 miles took lack of fun to a whole new level, mostly due to lack of nutrition during the afternoon at work.
I know marathons are hard and training for them is as well. Two weeks ago, I took a few days off from Hal’s program in order participate in the OC Half Marathon with fresh legs and I had so much fun. There was a bit of Tigger back in my stride.
I infusing into my training some ideas from Don Fink’s program for first time Marathoning for those over 40. He has a number of good ideas for making the effort a bit more friendly for those of us who are children of the 60’s.
The truth that I accepted tonight as I was grinding my way though mile 3 of 7, is that I don’t recover quickly as I did when I was younger. I feel it when I play tennis. When I was 14 I could cover a court and play in the Las Vegas summer sun all day and all week-long. Ten years ago, playing a few hours a night on consecutive nights was no problem, but I was sore a day or so later. Now I have to schedule the better opponent on the first day and the weaker one the second, because I am just a little less effective the second day. Likewise, I have to run smarter too. That include nutrition and the thing called stretching.
I don’t stretch or roll nearly enough. It requires a discipline and a patience that is not in my nature. I remember when I was a teen working at the MGM Grand Hotel pool in Las Vegas, the summer of 1983. One day, this young guest walked passed the lifeguard desk towards the restaurant. He was maybe 16 and was completely ripped from head to toe. He was also stiff as a board, kind of like how I walk when I get out bed in the morning.
If I want to run, I have to stretch. I have to stretch before and after I run. I have to stretch on days I don’t run. I know what to do, I just need to do it. Running is the fun part though.
What is it you know deep down in your heart that you should be doing that you aren’t?