Friday, November 4, 2016

The Next Level

Last year I was listening to a series of webinars by Lewis Howes when he posed a question - What are you avoiding to get you to the next level?

To me, in terms of my running, the answer was obvious. I needed more structured speed work. I needed to run with a group and run regularly with runners that were faster than me. The answer was obvious. The question was whether I really wanted that next level.

For well over a year I didn't want it. I was tired of hurting every day. I was tired of running when I didn't feel like running. I felt guilty for all the family and kid stuff that I felt I should have been attending to rather than trying to squeeze in a run or a race. My goal had been Boston. I did it. I laid all my ghosts of what I could have been in the past to rest. I didn't need anything else.

Now it's time for that next level. I'm rested. I'm content. For once in my life I feel like I'm caught up. I'm ready to challenge myself again.

I took most of the summer off running. I got better at swimming. I can finally say I feel like I really know how to swim now. My heart no longer beats out of my chest after a lap and I don't feel like I'm thrashing around like a dying whale. I can swim a mile without stopping. It takes me almost an hour. But hey, that means I can swim for an hour. That must mean that I know how to swim!

I started back running about a month ago. The first 10 days were pretty ugly, then suddenly it all clicked again. Then I took a big breath and took that next step. I signed up for a running club to do speed sessions on Tuesday nights. I signed up to run with all the fast kids in Indy. Gulp.

Boston is in the back of my brain. I think I want to do it again. Concentrate on just Boston this time. Run it for time. I had the experience to take it all in. I'd have to say there is nothing in the road racing world like turning that corner onto Boylston, seeing and hearing the thunder of the crowd as you finish. I'm not sure when it's going to happen but I want to do it again.

Right now I have no races on the schedule. Saturday mornings are filled with driving my younger daughter to dance. My older daughter is a senior in high school. I don't want to miss her activities either. My training plan is this... be marathon ready. If there is a spring marathon that will work into my schedule, I want to be ready for it. Problem is I won't know what will work until maybe 4 weeks out until my work schedule gets published. I've already used my days off requests to accommodate my kids' activities rather than my race plans. That's not to say I've looked at various spring marathons...

Napa is March 5th. Carmel is April 22nd. Derby is April 29th. Maybe, possibly, one of those will work into my schedule. So this is Week One. I've started a training schedule again. I'm using the one I made up for Napa 2015...

I'm changing it up slightly as I'll be doing speed sessions on Tuesdays and swim days on Wednesdays as long as my work schedule allows. Last time I did this plan I was actually "marathon ready" by the time I ran the Charleston Marathon in January as a training run so it should get me where I need to be. After that, it will be a matter of maintaining fitness without injury until the right race comes along.

This evening will be my marathon pace run. I'm going to play it by ear to see what kind of pace I can maintain. Happy to be running again!

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