So where were we...
Right, I was training for a Half-Marathon but sadly, there is a 90% chance it's not gonna happen. While there is still a bit of chance I could pull it off, I'm not gonna push for it too much. As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm still trying to figure out the whole cost and logistics of traveling to what I hope will be my first marathon in January so it's kind of important I don't do anything stupid in the upcoming months, so unless I can guarantee myself that signing up for the Half will not set me back financially, its not happening.
Not gonna lie. I really wanted to run it. As you will see, I have been training hard and I think I have progressed a lot. However, just because I will not run it doesn't mean it was time wasted. Far from it. I am one step closer to being able to fulfill my goal of running a marathon. I have also improved my running a bit. While I can't say the training has all been "peaches n' cream" I think there has been some definite progress. Let's take a look.
Like many others, I had set some goals for 2013 and most of them I shared with you guys. For example I'm working on running a total of 600 miles this year. Double what I ran last year and I seem to be well on my way but I also had some minor goals I wanted to work on. Nothing major; just stuff I thought I should naturally see occurring as I ran more. What I wasn't expecting was to hit those goals so early. Here they are:
1. Run a mile somewhere in the 12 minute range - 12:59 would've been just fine by me but I ended up totally shattering this one. On 3/5/13 I ran 2 miles. The first one in 12:52. Then on 3/9/13 I did another 2 mile run where I averaged 12:01, running the first mile in 11:33. Guess I got to aim a bit higher on this one.
2. Run 4 miles in less than an hour - Done! 3/27/13 59:37 I think I could have done a bit better here as well.
3. Run a 5K in less than 40 minutes - It was ugly as a mule but I pulled it off on 4/7/13. 39:53 You can read all about that fiasco here.
In January, my longest run was 5 miles. Last Sunday I encountered some trouble trying to reach 10 miles, and ended up barely doing 9. Up until that point I had not encountered any major problems increasing my distance. It hasn't been easy but I had hit all my targets up until that point. Thankfully I'm well aware of where I went wrong and it was totally my fault. I did two things way wrong: 1) I always run in the evenings but this one was in the early morning and I did not eat anything before the run. Bad idea. 2) I ran in an unfamiliar place. I placed a water bottle at a certain point in the course where I thought I was gonna need a gel I had with me. Well, I completely underestimated when and how much water/gels I was gonna need and burned out way before I reached the bottle. By mile 7 I could barely walk.
Despite the setback, I'm not feeling too frustrated though. I know I can run that far. The week before I ran 9 miles without any trouble at all. It was just lack of experience. This week, this setback will be avenged. lol
By far, this has been the hardest part of training and not just because I'm running at a faster pace than usual. Maintaining a certain pace - any pace - is hard. For some reason I was under the impression I was running at a pretty even pace but it seem that is not the case. Because I'm such a slow runner, my goal here has been to maintain the minimum race pace required for the Half-Marathon which is 16 minutes per mile. My goal then has been to keep the pace indicator in the high 15's but it's all over the place! I see 14's, 15's, 16's and even 17's when I know I'm not running that slow. Lately I have changed my strategy to focus more on my splits instead. It's a bit harder because I can't make adjustments in real time but it has helped me achieve more consistent results.
Also, it is here where the classic rookie mistake of starting too fast really haunts you. As explained in the training plan, during these runs, you run the first and last mile slow and run the middle miles at the goal pace you are aiming for. Well, hard as I try to run very slow, I end up just running at the goal pace, effectively adding an extra pace mile to the run. That's not a bad thing necessarily, but I have run into problems here and there. On two runs, I simply could not finish the final slow mile because I was too tired. Also, running the first mile at goal pace makes me speed up too much during the proceeding miles which tires me out too fast.
Having said all that, it has been quite motivating seeing that I'm able to run and sustain a faster pace for several miles. Light at the end of the tunnel.
I remember I wrote a post not long ago about reaching 13 miles/week on my training. How time flies. The past two weeks I have fighting to reach 20 miles/week. Work stuff has not allowed me to do a couple of short runs and that has denied me the big 20 two weeks in a row so the count currently stands at 19. Last Sunday, I was sure I was going to pull it off but not being able to finish the last mile of my long run left me short by one mile, totaling once again, 19. However, by the end of the month I will have shattered my previous monthly peak of 47 miles by a lot.
At 278 pounds, I am weighing 22 pounds less than when I started running. 40 pounds less than my worst recorded weight of 318 pounds. Not bad.
So there you have it. Progress, progress, progress. Slow and steady progress.