This weekend marks my “official” return to half marathon training. It’s not that I took the summer off, I just didn’t push anything or start the rebuilding of miles that distance racing requires. I kept my long runs to 6 or 7 miles, building slightly each month just to keep my aerobic base.
But, now, it’s here. I have about 11 weeks until my next race (a half marathon at the end of November), so it’s time to start adding miles to my long runs each week. Sigh. After last week’s awful seven miler, I didn’t really look forward to adding another mile to it. What a difference a week makes.
I took it pretty easy the first part of the week, walking my training runs, and going to yoga. We had a hurricane break midweek of which I took full advantage. We were very fortunate to just have tons of rain and some wind. Our lights didn’t even flicker. (Our hearts go out to friends along the coast and in Louisiana who weren’t as fortunate.) We just had a lazy day, watching movies and eating popcorn. The rains continued to fall through Thursday night, so there was no opportunity to run outside. By late Thursday evening, I was a little stir crazy, because, even though I have a treadmill, it almost requires a beating for me to run on it. So, we got up early Friday morning and ran before the rain could start falling again. It was wicked muggy, but the run felt great and I was able to really push the last mile hard and finish with that pleasantly fatigued feeling you get after a solid effort.
My long run this weekend added a mile from last week, so I headed out this morning to put eight miles on my shoes. I just thought it was muggy Friday. The bank I passed on the way to the Trace at 5:30 am said that the temps were already pushing 80. When I opened my door and got out of my car upon arrival, I felt like someone wrapped a warm, wet coat around me. When you can hold out your hand and see air in your palm, you know it’s really humid. So, I dialed back my intensity and just ran this one by feel. I didn’t worry about pacing or negative splits, I just ran. It wasn’t pretty or fast, but I got it done. Compared to last week’s ugliness, it was a beautiful thing.
I’m looking forward to ramping up my mileage this fall. I have a specific time goal for the half in November and my body is ready for the challenge. It’s a very conservative goal, the real test is going to be a spring half, but I’m trying to focus on the challenge directly in front of me and let the rest take care of itself. We have a road trip coming up, so I have some fun new locations to run planned, and that’s enough to breathe new life into any stale training plan.
I love that I’ve FINALLY learned to listen to my body. It’s only taken 50 years. This year has been about building blocks. Building a deeper aerobic base that I can stand on as I train. Building endurance under adverse conditions. Learning what it feels like to push myself past my comfort zone a little.
I love racing half marathons. My body likes this distance and can do the training without too much risk of injury. I hope there is another marathon in my future, but right now, I’m not sure there is. I’m excited that I’ve built a more solid running base, so we’ll see. I think it’s really important to continue to challenge myself, and right now, that challenge is speed. As that improves, hopefully the desire to run another marathon will reassert itself. But, if it doesn’t, I’m content to seek out half marathons that challenge and inspire me.
I’m shamelessly soliciting comments, so I would love for you to give me ideas of fun races in parts afar. Be sure to include a link to the site!!