Wednesday, December 4, 2013

November: CIM - Half Committed

Trying to find something to say about my pending marathon, because I feel like there should be words here for it. 26.2 miles is a long way, long enough to appear something of an impossible stunt to a new coworker who hasn't been introduced to marathons as things that exist. But I don't have much to tell her, nor have I had much to tell you, because my heart just hasn't been into the training for this race and I'm left with a few days until race day, scrambling to figure out what I CAN do. 

It's not that I don't want to see how fast I could go. I want to know. Rather badly.  I'd really like to BQ, if I'm being truthful (even though I don't have any real desire to go back to Boston).  I haven't raced a road marathon in 4 years, but I can still feel the pain of those last few miles, when the body tells you to stop because you've overworked it, and yet you must ignore those warning - if you want to do well. 

And perhaps that's the problem.  Road marathons are cruel, in that they make you run - and run hard - the whole way. No stealing breaths on hills or overly technical sections like in hilly trail ultras have taught me.  And the result is what it is. You are what you ran that day, not what you thought you could do, not what that one workout said you could hit that you totally nailed a couple weeks back.  There's no room for error.  In a fifty miler, stopping for an extra few minutes at an aid station or walking because you're freaking tired won't bear much effect on your race.  Do any of those in a marathon and your goal is screwed.

My training for CIM started out well - I was hitting all my target runs on my plan.  For about 5 weeks. Then November struck.  I got sick.  I Lost interest in training for something.  I developed a glute "thing".  Lost even more interest.  I defended cake for dinner as acceptable nourishment.  And the illness - whatever it was/is - decided to hang on for weeks.  I even had a stretch of 5 days in a row in November where I didn't run.  O-M-G!  I found myself wanting to run for the sheer joy of - running.

Training for a road marathon takes a commitment of time to build up leg speed; my speed work for CIM can basically be summed up in the two races in November I did.

November 16th was the Pumpkin Pie 5k.  It was an inaugural event, which drew out an astounding 3500 runners (2000 in the 5k, 1500 in the 10k).  It was my daughter's 23rd birthday and she wanted to run it (she doesn't run).  It was a gorgeous, sunny day and I managed to drag the other non-running child into the action too.

We all ran our own races. Out of pure habit, I ran outside of my comfort zone and was dying by mile 1  and progressively got slower each mile.  Abbey and Brendan ran together for the first mile and I got to see them as we weaved back around towards the start.  It warmed my heart to see my two, the ones who don't run, together, running.  I finished a solid minute slower than my last 5k six weeks prior, which I will contribute some of that sluggishness to several tight, hair-pin turns, which left me disinterested in revving my pace back up. But some of that slowness is because I've lost fitness in those six weeks.  I managed to place first in my age group though and scored a sweet gift certificate.

I shuffled back out on the course and ran in Brendan, then back out again to bring home Abbey.  The girl is running...and smiling!

We then ate every last crumb of post-race face-sized pumpkin pie and called the birthday a happy one.

Best shirt of the year!
Time: 24:04 (7:45 pace)
AG: 1/82
Overall: 144/2030

Thanksgiving day marked the 40th running of the Mile High United Way 4-mile Turkey Trot.  I've run this race a handful of times, but not in the past several years.  I was invited to race this as part of Runner's Roost, a local running store here in town, and I represented the store where I work from time to time.  I really had no intentions of racing the thing; moreso I wanted to get a feel of 'marathon race pace'.  But when stores compete against one another and food is the prize.......

Wouldn't you know, the non-running child was there with me again - running.  Brendan had a great day and ran far better than he hoped.  He even enjoyed it.  I like to think I'm creating an epidemic of Parker runners.

4 miles is a long way to race, hard.  It's like racing a 5k but enjoying an additional pain-staking I-feel-like-puking mile.  

I was impressed with my first 3 miles, where I kept consistently in the high 7:30s, which was faster than the Pumpkin 5k.  The last mile, the one where the brain said it was time to stop because we had hit the 5k mark, was an unimpressive 8:04.  And I wasn't even running up a hill to earn that deplorable present.

Our store lost overall (but I was an entire 3 minutes faster than my predicted time since I had no intention of racing it when I sent in my prediction) so no food was won but overall I was pleased, considering this was my 2nd speed workout in my CIM training.  Basically.

Time: 31:12 (7:48 avg pace)
AG: 5/324
Female: 160/4778
Overall: 578/8519

November total: 
173.53 miles 
This is my 3rd lowest mileage month this year, during peak marathon training.  Awesome.

So I sit here and consider my options for CIM, on the eve of the eve when we head out of town to Sacramento.  My friend, Katie, is driving us (she will be staying with family the entire month; I will be flying home on Monday).  This is Katie's first marathon; I'm super excited for her and thrilled I could be a part of her journey as I helped guide her training.  I'll have more time to ponder my race in those 20 grueling hours on the road....

Jealous, aren't you?
I could hang back and enjoy the atmosphere of the race (like I essentially did the past 5 road marathons and the trail marathon I did back in October) since I only half committed to my training, and thus not beat myself up if the race unfolds poorly.  Maybe I could even run with Katie; that'd be fun!

Or maybe I can push myself out right out of my comfort zone, kiss this glute issue and sinus/chest cold goodbye, dig deep, and try to remember that I like to do hard things.  I mean, isn't the merit of things embedded inside the difficulty at hand?

Onto my last race of the year.... let's see what the girl's got left!


Gracie said...

"And the result is what it is. You are what you ran that day, not what you thought you could do, not what that one workout said you could hit that you totally nailed a couple weeks back. There's no room for error." - so true, and I think what makes the marathon such a challenge!
I really want to do a race with pumpkin pie at the end. Our races here are so boring!

Kandi said...

Best of luck to you this weekend. How fun that your non-running family members ran races with you! I got my Dad into running after he retired and he and my mom ran a turkey day 5k race and both won age group awards (pumpkin pies)! I couldn't be there with them but I was so proud!

Coy Martinez said...

I loved reading this. You have a great way of telling a story, even if it's one of justifying cake for dinner :) Last night I justified buying one of those white macadamia nut ones from Subway. I hate when I do that!

Congrats on your races! 5K's are all about how close you can get to the puke without actually puking. It's the gross threshold where your lungs are stabbing your heart. HAHAHA!

Do your best in the marathon. That's all you can do! Be happy!

GZ said...

Where is the header photo from?

... or you could "take it as it comes." Ten miles easy and enjoying the crowds. Then make a decision as to what to do in the next ten? Keep enjoying it? Push a little? Start to dig some? And then the last 10k if you have decided to roll ... making the teeth sweat.

Robin said...

I can totally relate, as I'm sure most of us can. Road racing marathons is hard! I think the same thing every time I register for another one! I'm moving towards the longer/trail events myself and looking forward to it! GOod luck with whatever you decide, I'm sure you'll do great. Heck you ran a 24 minute 5K with loss of fitness...that's some impressive stuff! All the best, hope there's no glute issues for you.

One Crazy Penguin said...

Are you telling me that cake is *not* an okay choice for dinner? Please tell me that is not what you are saying!

Road marathons are definitely rough. Regardless of what you decide, make sure you enjoy it. At the end of that day, that's what it is all about. I know we all like fast times and pushing through, but none of it is worth it if you stop enjoying yourself.

Kate Geisen said...

I for one am looking forward to seeing how it goes. Maybe we've been friends too long if your mileage is dropping and you aren't getting in the training? That sure foes sound familiar! (Well, except for your "low" mileage, that's pretty much twice what I've run in a week before).

Best of luck to you and happy travels!! Love that your non-runners are getting in on the act!

SupermomE13 said...

Good luck at CIM Jill!! You always manage to impress and inspire. I will be cheering you on! Hugs!

Char said...

You'll have to stop calling Brendan your non-running son if he keeps coming to races. Or is it that you're trying a little reverse psychology on him? You call him a non-runner and he tries to prove you wrong.

misszippy said...

I have a feeling that it will be better than expected. How can it not be with the stellar year you've had? But when it's done, do take some rest. You sound just as mentally tired as physically tired and that's always a sign that it's time to back off. Go get CIM!

misszippy said...

I have a feeling that it will be better than expected. How can it not be with the stellar year you've had? But when it's done, do take some rest. You sound just as mentally tired as physically tired and that's always a sign that it's time to back off. Go get CIM!

Katie @ Will Race for Carbs said...

If you really wanted to make people jealous of our car trip you should have mentioned the THREE dogs and the 4 year old! It will be awful but maybe the marathon will seem pleasant and easy in comparison.

I can't tell you how much your help with this marathon means to me! You have been a wonderful coach and friend through it all! I can't wait to see how we both do. I think you are going to go for it...I just have a feeling. If not you can run with me and hold my hair back when I start barfing.

sllygrl said...

I think you go - run your ass off and accept what the day brings you knowing what you put into training and being realistic about expectations because of the training effort.

And anyone who has ever said that cake is an unacceptable form of dinner - is just crazy - so any time you want cake for dinner just call me - we'll have it together!!

Good Luck Jill - nothing says a good marathon like net downhill and lower elevation!! :)

ajh said...

Have fun! I hope you do well but most of all....enjoy it!

Teamarcia said...

Kudos to the non-running kiddos! How fun to race with them!
Add me to the camp that thinks you'll do better at CIM than you imagine. You always do. I'm wishing now I were going to cheer you on.

Paul said...

Hey Jill,

Well, training sometimes doesn't go off as expected. I'm sitting here trying to shuck this stupid cold aftermath still after 10 days 8/. And only 9 weeks to Surf City.

You are right though..road races are very precise compared to trail. And if you've been good at optimizing in the past, that comes to bite you if you try to better your previous time ;)

But hey, CIM is a fun course, not supper pretty but fast...and all marathoners out for business...and point to point which is always fun.

I'm thinking the weather will probably be excellent this year (so far no rain at all, but nice cold temps out here).

So the course and the weather will be beckoning to
you to do the best you can do that day..and that's really special.

Enjoy that..have a great time and figure out a pace and see how it goes!

Remember when you hit the bridge at mile 22-23 it's all flat after that! Time to drop any hammer you have left!

Which I was going to be there!


Johann said...

I'm very jealous indeed...of many things in this post :) I've had a crappy year and the last few months have been frustrating to say the least. But I'm sure 2014 will be awesome! At least I haven't had any running injuries. Road marathons are cruel! I might do one as a training run beginning of March. All the best Jill, enjoy and run strong!

Kiki said...

I seem to recall a girl who said she wasn't ready to run 50 miles and rocked it so I am taking this with a grain of salt. I know you are going to do amazing. Look for Chris, she is running CIM too!

Unknown said...

Good luck to you. Sometimes it is fun to just forget about racing and just enjoy the marathon.

Liz said...

How lovely to race with your kids. Congrats on the AG win - fantastic time!

Best of luck for the marathon - enjoy!

Cory Reese said...

Wait. You're telling me that there is a race centered around pumpkin pie? Clearly someone has been reading the Wish List in my journal. How awesome that you got to run that!

Raina said...

There is so much wisdom in this post, Jill. You have the marathon "wrapped up" exactly how it is for us.. worded perfectly. No room for error.
So glad to see you and DS got to do this race together. You guys make a great team and this will become a wonderful memory! ♥

Black Knight said...

Congrats on your race and the 1st place on the AG. Too nice to run with your kids.
Good luck on this week end. I am sure you will do great.

mighty termitey said...

you rock, seesta! what incredible time!

now i feel like a slug. -.-
you've inspired me now..
after this doughnut. ;-)


Ransick said...

That is awesome your kids started running with you! AG win is impressive! Looking forward to reading about CIM. Good luck!

Half Crazed Runner said...

No, not jealous - that looks tough! Good luck!