Over the last few weeks, I've virtually cheered on at least a dozen internet & real-life friends as they slogged through marathon cycles & peak weeks, endured taper madness, and toed (or will soon toe) the line at Smuttynose, Wineglass, Chicago, Nike Womens, Marine Corps, NYC, Two Cities, Grand Rapids, & Santa Barbara. (Did I miss anyone?)
And to be honest, every time I liked a Facebook status or favorited a Tweet or commented on a blog post about some gnarly 18-20-22 miler a compatriot had just destroyed / survived, I felt a weird mix of gratitude ("Better you than me, dude!") and envy ("I remember when I used to run 18 miles...").
Flying back from Hawaii on Halloween, it hit me that my season of long run hiatus / envy is drawing to a close.
This past Sunday was November 3rd. On Sunday March 2nd 2014, I'm (apparently? I guess?) running Napa Valley Marathon, which gives me just about exactly four months / 17 weeks to prepare. And with the shape I'm in now, I'm going to need every day of it if I want to have a strong, happy race and not just finish. I am sick & tired of just finishing.
For all that Mountains 2 Beach was somewhat more downhill (700 ft vs 300), coming off of a full month of rest, simultaneously preparing for a black belt test, barely able to run at all in the month prior to the race,
"running" running the last five miles with a torn hip flexor, & ultimately falling just 90 seconds (3:36:29) short of a BQ has made me feel pretty confident that if I can train consistently & stay healthy between now and then and not have to run through a freaking monsoon, there is just no reason why I shouldn't run under 3:35.
(Seriously. 90 seconds. I try not to think about it that often. But let's be honest. I think about it.)
Friends, the time for marathon training has arrived. I kicked it off Friday evening with a sweet six-miler that left me feeling fresh, strong, and totally pain-free.
(I also had plans to get in another six-miler on Saturday & try for my first post-injury double-digits on Sunday, but instead I came down with a wicked case of food poisoning Friday day night & could do nothing all weekend except lie on the couch & sip weak tea & try to keep myself from dying of starvation / dehydration. But that is neither here nor there.)
It's time to work back up to and through double digits (um, hello Berkeley Half in 3 weeks).
It's time to get back out on the track, consistently, no matter how long it takes me to park when I get home after.
It's time to attempt real, actual tempo / race pace runs, as opposed to the la-la-too-fast-for-maintenance-too-slow-for-threshold-work pace I've been keeping as of late.
it's time to stop being afraid of my leg and run more than 22 damn miles in a one-week period.
Seriously. I have seventeen weeks to get back to the top of my game, & this is week one. BRING IT, Napa Valley Marathon.
I freaking dare you.
**(p.s. not actually freaking daring you. let's be reasonable here.)