False Stops and Restarts

The last couple of weeks have been a roller coaster for me and my running plans. I was planning to run a 10 mile race in late September as a means of testing my fitness level as I continue to get ready for the half marathon. I had to cancel this race, and the 10K that I have planned in early October, due to last minute changes in my work schedule. This was disheartening, but certainly not derailing.

I had been noticing that I had pains in my lower abdomen on days that I had to do a lot of lifting at work. My wife STRONGLY suggested that I go see the doctor. Not surprisingly, I found out that I have a hernia and will require surgery to correct it. This was not the news that I wanted to receive 7 weeks out from my first half marathon.

Honestly, most of the weekend, I was in a complete funk. It felt as though everything that I was working towards on a personal fitness level, was just blown up. I made the follow-up appointment with the surgeon and just spent the weekend waiting. I took six days off from running and just waited.

On Tuesday, when I met with the surgeon, my entire outlook changed. I have been ok’d to run the race, as long as nothing significantly changes. And the post-surgery recovery is not nearly as bad as I had envisioned. I need to take it easy over the next few weeks.  I won’t push my pace.  I won’t run extra miles just to be running them. I won’t do any strength training. But I can still compete, and with God’s help, I will be strong enough by January to start training for my next half (and hopefully,my first full) marathon.

All of this really gave me a reason to stop and reflect. I am excited about running this race. My family will be there to cheer me on, along with some great friends, and I am looking forward to the time together. I started running about a year and a half ago to lose weight and reduce my chances of having the heart issues that have plagued men in family for generations.  I have lost almost 50 lbs and am feeling great! My original goal was to be able to run a 5K in under 30 minutes.  I did that at my first race.  I set a goal of running 500 miles this year (I ran 300 last year) and I achieved that goal in early September.  I wanted to run a 10K in under 55 minutes, and achieved that in my first attempt.While I am disappointed that i will not be able to train as hard as I would like to, if I can maintain good health between now and race day, I should be able to run this race in under 2 hours, which was my original goal.  I have accomplished much already.

And having this corrective surgery will only make me stronger.

My best runs truly do lie ahead.

Interval Training!!!!

I began the 9 week training leading up to my first half marathon yesterday. Session 1 was intervals. Although I have built my mileage base up over the last several weeks, I have not really focused on pace all that much. Yesterday was all about pace. I had a good friend who told me that intervals will really separate the men from the boys. He was right! It was a tough workout, but I learned a little about myself in the process.

1. I am faster than I thought. My biggest concern was that I would not be able to sprint the 4×200 meters at the end of the workout. My target pace was 6:30 per mile. I was actually able to exceed that pace in each of the four intervals. I was shocked!

2. I don’t appreciate recovery walks/jogs enough. Although I walked more between intervals than I planned, these brief rests really gave me the energy to push through on the faster runs. I think that I could learn from this in my personal life. I would bet that the days that I feel most exhausted are the days that I try to sprint through with few rest periods. Taking a few “breaks” thoughout the day would allow me to accomplish more during the working times.

3. My body is getting ready to go places that mind is not ready for. I still limit myself via the self-talk that I do in my mind. As I begin to hit faster times and feel better while doing it, then I know that my mind will begin to accept the reality that it is wanting to reject right now.

I am feeling good about where I am and can’t wait until November.