You read it right: after seven weeks of mental struggles, I finally feel like I'm back in the game, baby! Sunday's long run (19k) felt pretty great. I decided to make the move up to the 4-hour group on Tuesday, and ended up maintaining a 5:34 pace over 6k with relatively little effort (comparatively speaking). Who knows - I may not achieve the 4-hr goal on race day, but I might as well try and push myself a little. Hill training started Wednesday, Thursday was the first week in weeks that I ended up doing the three running days back to back as per the schedule.
In addition to all that, I've gradually been building my strength training back into my schedule (which I'll share in a future post, as per running buddy Carol's request :) ) and have started watching my nutrition and caloric intake more closely (I use an online tool called http://www.fitday.com/, which is a little tough slogging at first but is a great tool if you do want to track what you eat and/or lose weight). As Bruce and our guest speaker Ken Brandy reminded us at this week's clinic, now is about the time to start thinking about nutrition - not only on a day to day basis (I try to maintain a 50/35/15 ratio of carbs/fat/protein) but also on our long runs (experimenting with things like gels or sports drinks).
You've probably heard it time and again - nutrition is so individual, especially the gels/drinks for your long runs. Myself, I'm partial to gels in the warmer months, and Sharkies in colder months (the gels just end up getting frozen and gloopy in the cold). I used to enjoy the jelly beans, mostly for taste, but energy-wise they really haven't done much for me.
I finally feel like my mind is back in the game, and now that I've gone through the marathon training schedule once, the distances don't seem as intimidating as they used to. From now on, most of our long runs on Sundays will end up being at least a half marathon every week. Only a year ago, I couldn't imagine how I could ever run more than a half marathon. I'll say it again and again: it's all relative. Now that I have run farther than 21.1k, a half marathon seems like a humanly achievable distance. If you approach running as a gradual approach, building on the distance week by week, I believe that anyone can do it, if they put the time and effort into training.
I started chatting with another local runner this week -- Jon from the Spring Garden Road Running Room, who really put this into perspective for me. He's just started training for a 100-mile race. When you look at it that way, a marathon is just a piddly training run for him. Jon will be tracking his training on his new blog - http://www.seejonrun100miles.blogspot.com/. I hope to interview him here at Halifax Runner Girl in an upcoming post, and plan to follow him in the weeks and months to come for inspiration.
Speaking of inspiration, I finally got a taste of the potential that running has for inspiring others this week. Although we live several provinces away, my brother and I are fairly close. And while we speak once a week, we don't always manage to keep up with what exactly is going on in each other's lives. Well, I was at work this week, when I saw an email from him pop up in my personal account. It was a comment from my bro, who'd finally had time to read my first marathon story from last fall.
Like me, my brother has inherited some of our mother's crazy Quebecker spirit, along with our father's British stiff upper lip. So to read from my brother that my post had both inspired him and brought tears to his eyes made me feel proud. I mean, my hubby has repeated time and again how proud he is of me and my persistence in keeping up my training. But he's kind of partial to me ;) To read it from my brother, who took the time and post something kind on my blog to say that I'd inspired him...Well that was a feeling I kept with me as I started out on the first week of hill training -- four times up the hill at Bridgeview. But you know what? Somehow that inner glow of pride made my legs feel lighter and the hill flatter.
Another shout-out to my friend Laura, who has not only begun training to climb a volcano this spring, but who also managed to raise several thousand dollars through fundraising in the last year -- all to help Diabetes research. Her blog is also a source of inspiration for me (and I really enjoy the quirky illustrations she produces too).
This week, I plan to profile another person who inspires me and keeps me going - my running buddy Wendy, in my first Runner in Profile post.
Inspiration is all around us, if only we know where to look!