It occurred to me only after posting my week four recap that I’m a quarter of the way through Berlin training. September is now just a pair of month-clicks ahead on my Google Calendar, and while running a race on the very last day of a month has a way of making time feel deceptively compressed, I am still kind of running a marathon in two months, in the sense that said marathon takes place in the month that is two months from now.
That’s … nuts, basically, because I don’t feel like I’m training. It feels more like I’m “pre-training,” or “base-building,” or some other euphemism for running with slightly more purpose than I otherwise would — but a marathon, a whole twenty-six-point-damn-two, seems very far from where I am. Hell, my longest long run has not yet been a third of marathon distance. It’s still a long road.
But the road from “five-plus weeks of no running” to here was a long road, too, and I don’t want to lose sight of that. I never want to train for another marathon this way; I want more of a base, more time, more leeway, more cutback weeks, more total miles. But this is the way Berlin is going to happen, and do you see that? I’m finally starting to believe that Berlin is going to happen, and that makes me eager for, not apprehensive about, the weeks ahead.
Other thoughts from the first quarter:
- Sparkle Leg is, by and large, fine. It’s not 100%, maybe it will never be 100%, but most days I don’t think about it for even a second, and that is so far from where I was in March and April that it’s stunning. Every so often, there’s a bad day, but I have mostly managed to calm myself down with reminders that bad days happen and unless there are several bad days in a row, I shouldn’t panic.
- On that note, I “graduated” from physical therapy yesterday, and in all honesty I probably should have a couple of sessions ago, but I wanted to get solidly above my Wildflower average weekly mileage first. I’ve been over that total for a couple of weeks now, and even though I keep coming up with yet another milestone that will make me more comfortable flying the coop (10-mile long run! 20-mile weeks!), it’s time to move on. My PT is confident that if I keep doing what I’m doing, I should get through September, and I’m trying to absorb some of that confidence, too.
- I’m still a little freaked out by the relentless build in the second half of this plan. The SF Half is the halfway point, and that will be a great milestone, but going from a long run of 13.1 to double that distance in just eight weeks (including taper!) seems absurd. My PT is encouraging me to add another cutback week, too, so I need to do some number-monkeying and see if I can find a place for it.
- One option to create that space would be to move my long-run mileage up a week (10 instead of 9 this week, 12 the week after that), so I’d actually run 14 or 15 the day of the SF Half. This amuses me because for one reason or another, I have dropped a 9-miler from every. single. training. plan. ever. The only time I can think of that I ran 9 and only 9 miles was when it just happened to be the length of an out-and-back I ran when I wasn’t training for anything.
- Between weekends in Philadelphia, Michigan, and Chicago, I still haven’t done a long run in San Francisco. Frankly, it’s a relief, because I overuse my standard park loop for both running and biking and the potential for burnout is high.
- Runger has started to hit for the first time in a while, so apparently I need to start thinking about training nutrition again. I want to get smarter about both what and when I eat, especially on either side of long runs but even for weekday runs. My pre-run nutrition is pretty limited by what my stomach can handle, but I’m satisfied with my options. After, though, I’m kind of a disaster, either waiting too long to eat or eating something frankly inappropriate for recovery. (Bag of Starburst jelly beans, I’m looking at you.) Anyone have any favorite resources?
- I’m a pretty conflict-avoidant person, but man, I am so glad I fought for pool-running. My weekly session is about as close as I can get to a fourth day of running, and I’m actually enjoying it, thanks to a healthy selection of podcasts. I’ve had to go in the morning a couple of times when my least-favorite lifeguard is there, but I am slowly winning him over .
- I’m glad I’m not focusing on speed for any of my runs, because, um, I don’t have any. Sometimes I drive to the pool-running pool and pass the track, and I get this overwhelming nostalgia for track workouts, which I don’t even like all that much.
- My endurance has come back faster, but the last mile of any new long run distance is rough. I’m now even more certain that I’d like to run a longest run of 22, not 20; four miles in uncharted territory just sounds better to me than six.
- Starting marathon training right after a significant break is probably dumb on a lot of levels, but combining the promise of a first marathon with the “every! run! is! magic!” thing I always get after a layoff is pretty sweet. The idea of skipping a run hasn’t crossed my mind yet.
- That said: I keep thinking about triathlons. Someone accidentally sent a training kickoff note to my TAG group (instead of the summer TAG group) this week, and I wished it had actually been for me. Hm.