Sunday, April 29, 2012

Finish the Job

Week 11 of half marathon training.

We shall neither fail nor falter; we shall not weaken or tire...
give us the tools and we will finish the job.
-Winston Churchill

We rate ability in men by what they finish, not by what they attempt"

Two great quotes to help me realize what is about to happen.  Finish.  In a week, it will no longer matter that I put in almost 200 miles over the past 2 1/2 months.  It won't matter that I have seen some tremendous highs and heartbreaking lows through this.  None of it will matter if I come up short.  There is only one thing left to do, and although this week has been a struggle, it is not negotiable.  I will run my half marathon next weekend.  And I will give it my all.  Come around 9:15AM on Sunday, May 6th, I will have a medal around my neck.  

When I cross that finish line, it will be one little ounce of proof that life is all about possibilities - and it is up to each of us to make amazing things happen.

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - 3 Miles
3.11 miles - 27:57 - 8:59 pace
Good first mile, then started to slip.  By 2 I was exhausted.  By 3 it was difficult to breathe.   I don't know what's been happening - I've been feeing so much more exhausted all the time, and the last couple runs have been difficult.  I am happy with the time, but it did not feel that good.  And I finished feeling light headed.  I'm starting to get a little concerned.

Wednesday - 5 Miles 
I feel like I have been close to ready for my half marathon.  However, this week everything is starting to come undone.  I feel sluggish.  I feel exhausted.  Runs are becoming tougher instead of easier.  Even the short runs.  I feel like I have been pushing myself so hard over these past 2 1/2 months that it's finally catching up with me.  So while I still need to keep running consistently, I also need to rest.  I've been going to bed earlier, drinking more water, and trying to take care of my body.  It's tough to do all of these things at the same time, and I am getting a little nervous.  I'm a week & a half away.  But there will be nothing that stands in my way of this.

Thursday - 3 Miles
4.01 miles - 38:13 - 9:31 pace
I hate running in the morning.  I really enjoy late morning, but waking up early and pushing myself before 8 is the last thing I want to do.  My body feels weird and it sucks the fun out of the run.  Today, the 4th mile actually felt the best - maybe it takes my body 3 to wake up.  But, the run is done, and I can start my day.  A big test is coming on Saturday, and I feel like it has the potential to make or break my confidence going into the home stretch.

Friday - Rest

Saturday - 15K Race
9.32 miles - 1:35:07 - 10:12 pace
My last big test before my half marathon next weekend.  My knee has been acting up but usually feels ok during the run.  I was nervous for this race but also excited.  To date, it is the longest race I have ever done.  A chilly morning with piercing wind made me more nervous.  But by the time the race started, it had warmed up enough.  The race started uneventfully.  Between miles 1-2 I was already having issues with my bib - so I awkwardly tried to repin it mid-run.  I am very much a mental benchmarker when I run... because well, there's not a whole lot else to do.  When I crossed mile 1 - "Ok, just 8 more of those" - a little bit after mile 3 - "Ok, 1/3 of the way there." So on and so forth.  When I hit mile 4, I was still feeling strong - stronger than I usually do at that moment.  Breathing was great, legs felt good - hopefully I can keep this up.  During this stretch, I got a kick out of the signs along the man-made stream that leads to the reservoir - it was warning of the cold water and strong current that goes underground down river.  CERTAIN DEATH would result.  Mile 5 came and went, and I started catching a bit of a second wind.  So I picked up the pace a bit.  Mile 6.  Yesss!  It was unbelievable how I was feeling at this point - normally I ma struggling but today - magical.  Between 6-7 it got interesting.  I wouldn't call it hilly, but there were a couple of strategically placed hills that were enough to throw anyone off.  I felt great going down.  I felt pretty solid going up.  When people would stop to walk up, I would keep going.  That motivated me.  After a couple of the hills I was left out of breath, but I didn't stop.  And I quickly recovered.  Today's run was the best my breathing felt in any long run I've ever had.  I was amazed how steady and consistent it was and how easily I would recover when it started speeding up.  Normally, by this point I am panting.  But not today.  Mile 7.  Mile 8.

BAM!  There's the wall.  I tried to keep the pace up but it started slipping.  I tried to regulate my breathing but it started getting out of control.  I had a water belt on me, so I took one of the bottles out.  I kept taking sips.  I kept dumping some on my head.  I started slowing.  I started overheating.  I could see the finish area in the distance - only about 1/2 mile away.  Just finish.  So about every 10 seconds I would squirt a little more on my head.  I rounded the corner and saw the crowd of people relaxing after the finish.  So close!  I rounded the final corner and saw the finish line.  I took the final steps as I kept gasping for air.  I rarely feel that exhausted after a run, but I felt miserable.  I needed shade.  I needed food.  I needed water.  It's a little funny how after such a long, strong, and great race, the last mile can kill you.  Yet through the end, there was no stopping - there was no quitting.  I sometimes find myself amazed the determination I can muster up when there is a finish line waiting for me.  I am excited about this run, and it was a great last long run going into the halfathon.  13.1, I'll be seeing you very soon!

Sunday - Rest
My knee hurts...

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