|The Columbus, OH chapter of Moms Run This Town (MRTT) February group run... over 100 strong!|
Love these group runs... so many choices of running friends! :)
When I laid out my training plan for this winter, I made a promise to myself that I would do everything I could to adhere to the schedule that I created. No extra runs "just for the fun of it". No skipping speed work or tempo runs to join my buddies for an easy romp. No going too fast on my long runs. Each run needed to have a purpose, since I would only be running 4 times per week. (Note: I say "only" because many of my friends run 5-6, even 7 times per week. I know that 4 times is a LOT to non-runners, but most marathoners do typically run 5 times a week. I have realized that when I add in this fifth day, injuries creep up on me... therefore, I need to stick to 4).
With my early-season training hiccup (that pesky mild calf strain) behind me, I attacked January with a vengeance upon my return. Okay, not really. I gradually built up my miles, just like I was supposed to do, adding in some quicker miles as my calf proved that it could handle it. I began with some progressive runs, and did a tempo run (a few miles at 10K pace) a few weeks ago with my speedy friends Allison and Meggie. I felt great during the run itself, but later that day and the next, my calves were screaming not-so-nice words at me. A friend who is much more knowledgeable about running than I am mentioned that she does her speed work on the treadmill in these bitterly cold months, as it's almost impossible to warm up enough outside to get in good speed work (especially during the pre-dawn hours when I do my running). Her words struck a chord with me. I took off a week from speed work when my calves and then my Achilles continued to express their displeasure with me, but I knew this week that I needed to get back to it. I've got some big plans for this half marathon in March, and I know that the tempo run is one of the most important workouts for half marathon fitness. I decided that I would start hitting the treadmill for my tempo and interval runs until the weather takes a turn for the better (meaning, above single-digit temperatures!).
Yesterday, a few of my favorite running partners were making plans in one of our Facebook message groups for this morning's run: an easy 5-miler in a neighborhood not too far from my house.
|Who wouldn't want to run with such awesome peeps?!!|
Marcie, a voice whispered in my head. You should join them! You haven't ran with Carolyn in weeks!
But it's speed work day tomorrow! another voice whispered. You haven't done speed work in two weeks, and the week is almost over.
So what? You almost got your BQ in October without doing very much speed work at all this past summer, the first voice retorted.
Almost, the second voice replied with just a touch of sarcasm. Exactly. Almost.
You'll have more fun with the girls, the first voice whined. Treadmills are boring, and tempo runs are hard.
The second voice didn't have anything to say to that. Because the first voice was right. Treadmills ARE boring. And tempo runs ARE hard. But I had decided back when I set my goals for this spring that I needed see if truly following a training plan would make the 5-minute difference between qualifying for Boston this spring and failing to qualify this past fall. If I started to skip my tempo runs just to hang out with my girls and run a comfortable pace, I knew that I would be asking myself come March (for my half) and April (for my full) if I truly had given it my all. And I knew that both voices would have the same answer for me: no.
The Marcie-of-last-summer would have ran with her friends at a 10-minute/mile pace in the bitter cold this morning and loved every second of it. The Marcie-of-this-winter woke up at 4:30 AM and was waiting at the door when the gym opened at 5:00 to jump on a treadmill. The Marcie-of-last-summer would have been afraid of the prescribed run--1 mile warm-up, 4 miles at tempo pace (7:47/mile), 1 mile cool-down. She would have psyched herself out and either shortened the length or slowed down the pace. The Marcie-of-this-winter ran her goal pace with ease and actually contemplated running an extra mile at tempo pace, or even quickening the pace for the final mile--something that the Marcie-of-last-summer would surely do if she was feeling as awesome as I was feeling this morning. Not the Marcie-of-this-winter... she is all too aware of what her body does when she pushes the envelope too much. 4 tempo miles at a pace that would be a dream-come-true in six weeks at my half-marathon is more than enough right now.
Running is still one of my most favorite things in the world to do, and I love my social runs with my besties. I have my eye on the prize right now, though, and I'm going to do all in my power to reach it. And I know that my friends will be there to celebrate with me when I do.