Thursday, May 14, 2015

Let me tell you a story

Ten years ago this November, I started writing here to chronicle my Ironman journey.  This was before everything was done in 140 characters or even in status updates.  And that's where I've been, really--no time for much anything else except snippets, retweets, and likes.  Life lately has felt a lot like train, work, kids, sleep, train, work, kids, sleep.

When I was in 5th grade, all I wanted to do was be an author.  I think for that reason this space will never really go blank; at least not permanently.  The rest of the world might move on to snapchats and instagramming, but for me I think I'll always have a space in my heart to need to write more than that.  Even if no one is reading--well, especially if no one is reading.

I'm about to run a hard, fast half marathon on Sunday.  It will be hot--way warmer than I'd like--but I can't really control that so I'm working on letting that go.  There's not much  left to do except control the controllables--sleep, diet, staying positive.  So that's what I'm going to do.

Most of my training has been at 5am on a treadmill during this brutal winter.  Here in CLE, the average--AVERAGE!--temperature for the entire month of February was 15.1F.  So when I needed to run (like, when it was dark and icy), I had to do it on the treadmill.  Luckily, I have some great friends crazy enough to run with me in the cold on the weekends at least, and as always, training with them was such a gift when I had those moments to spare.

Boston came and went, and I was ridiculously happy for my friends and training partners who made it and got to toe that rather cold, rainy, windy line in Hopkintown.  But I'd be lying if I didn't say it was bittersweet.   I hadn't thought about it in a long time, but it was a little bit of pang-filled reminder that I wasn't there. I tried, and I wasn't good enough.  It's okay, because sometimes that happens.  I actually am of the school of thought that it's a good thing that those things happen, that you try your very best and still fall on your face, because it reminds you you're not invincible, and that hard work makes you better but sometimes takes a longer time than you'd like.  It was, and continues to be, a lesson in patience for me--something I definitely need more of.

I spent the better part of the past calendar year stepping away from that goal, because I was really starting to not like what it was doing to me.  So I rekindled my love for triathlon, where I know my heart really is.  It was perfect; it was just what I needed.  And on February 1st--the very first day registration opened--I signed up for the Columbus Marathon.  I felt a tiny bit of the fire coming back.

It felt good.

So I set the goal of going as fast as I can in a spring half, because I've decided that the next Spring Marathon I'll do will just have to be Boston.  No other spring marathon is worth that winter training for me--it's just not.  Done that enough times to know that fall marathons seem to be more my style.  A spring half, however, is a nice tune-up and long enough to make me work hard but not too long that it sucks the life and soul outta me.

The last time I did a standalone half marathon (without a 1.2 mile swim and 56 mile bike ride in front of it!) was in 2009.  Right before I got pregnant with Emery.  It was 1:47.06, and it was a great day.

I've progressed quite a bit since then, but I've been so focused on the marathon quest that I never really got a chance to see just how fast I can run a 13.1.  So that's what I plan to do.

I've been training for a race pace of about a 7:40/mile.  Just typing that sounds pretty freaking insane, seeing as for 9 years I could not run a 5K under a 7:42 mile.  But the body is a pretty crazy thing, and one thing I've learned is that I never gave myself enough credit or believed what my coaches always said to me--there's a lot more fast in here than I give myself credit for.  I've hit all the paces I need on almost every single run, and I stayed injury-free.

I am pretty confident that I will PR; it's just a matter of by how much.  Which is a great place to be, really.  It's kind of liberating.  Just how much is in me, anyway?  I plan on finding out.

Any PR is a good PR, so I may need reminding of that in case something doesn't pan out the way I plan it to.  But I feel good. I feel confident, I feel fast.  I feel like if you told me 5 years ago I'd be gunning for as close to 1:40 as I can get, I'd laugh in your face.  I still have a playlist on my old iPod called "1:54 or Bust" since for years I couldn't even go faster than that.

So I'll tell you a story of a runner who just won't quit.  The story seems to just keep getting better, so I'll write the next chapter on Sunday and let you know how it goes.


mg said...

Nice to see an update, Sara. I've always enjoyed your writing. Best of luck this weekend! You'll have cheers coming from Minnesota.

TriEric said...

I haven't given up on my blog either. I just need more time to write longer posts. Glad to see you have not given up either.....writing, running, "tri"ing.