Half-Marathon Training: Bringing Up the Rear

Another week of training is behind me.  Did I meet that determined goal to get all my miles in?

Well, kinda.  (Do y’all say kinda and y’all where y’all live or is that an Oklahoma thing?)  I got my Monday recovery run in and most of Tuesday’s track workout.  That aggravating hip flexor/groin issue is acting up again, and I had to cut the workout short on Tuesday.  Now, it’s MRI time to see what’s going on in there.  Great.

035I managed to sneak in a short run Wednesday before work (it was actually quite invigorating), and I was all prepared to get a run in Thursday morning when I left work.  I had my bag with me and everything, but a long night shift and a second shift coming up Thursday night squashed my will and determination.  Exhaustion won out, so I wen039t home and crashed instead of running.  And once again, I missed a workout.

Today, our long run day, we had 9 miles on the schedule.  I was feeling a bit nervous since my longest run over the last few months has only been 8 miles.  But I went into today’s run with a bit of a race strategy in mind.  I know me and that it takes 4-5 miles for me to find my groove.  It just takes me a while to find my breath and rhythm and pace, but when I find it, I’m ready to run.

So I stayed in the back of the group, pacing myself a bit slower but keeping the group within striking distance.  I found myself, at first, wanting to scold myself for not keeping up with the group.  You may remember I’ve had issues with being in the back of the pack before.  But as I ran, I realized some really great things were happening back there:

  1.  I had a chance to soak in my music and our surroundings.  So many times when I’m running in the thick of the group, I’m keeping up with conversations, trying to not run into people, trying to keep up but not go too fast.  But in the back I ran mostly alone, and I had time to really listen to my music and to enjoy the scenery around me.  Score for being in the back!
  2. I learned from my fellow runners.  When you run in the back, you only see the backs of people.  But that’s a great vantage point to watch running form.  I saw all kinds of gaits today, but what I honed in on was one guy who looked totally relaxed as he ran.  His arms were swinging gently from his shoulders, and while his elbows were tight to his side, his shoulders were totally relaxed.  I took a mental picture and filed it away.  That’s how I want to be when I run.  Score again for being in the back!
  3. I learned patience and pacing.  Long distance running involves a lot of patience and proper pacing.  Go out too fast and you’ll wear yourself out before you get to the finish line.  I’ve been told over and over as I’ve trained for long races to be patient.  Stick with your pace, and then when it’s time to go for it, use the energy you’ve stored up in not going out too fast to finish the race strong.  But pacing myself has always been hard.  Even with a running watch.  That’s one of the best things about running with a group.  The coach sets the pace and all I have to do is stay behind him.  But today, in the back by myself, I couldn’t just rely on the coach’s 046pacing.  I had to consciously pace myself a bit slower.  It’s hard to not get into race mode when you’re running behind people.  I just always want to catch them, but today, when I would start to get too close, I’d adjust my pace.  And it worked!  By about mile 4 I had my Popeye moment where everything inside of me started to feel alive; my legs felt loose and light, and then I ran with the group, in the middle of things, for the remaining 5 miles and felt great doing it!  Score yet again for bringing up the rear!

So onward and upward!  I have some time off from work this next week when work will not be an excuse to keep me from meeting my running goals.  It’s been a week of good runs, and I feel encouraged (if I had a “thumbs up” emoji, it would go right here!).

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Author: Juanita

Thanks for dropping in! I’m Juanita. People tell me I don’t look like a Juanita since I’m red headed and freckled with super pale skin, but what’s in a name, right? I’m a 40-something, single (as in no kids, never been married) gal from Oklahoma. I’m a nurse and most importantly, a follower of Jesus. I love chocolate, am scared of heights, and petrified of snakes. After my fortieth birthday and coming to grips with the fact that I was obese, I discovered I’m a runner and a CrossFitter, and that there’s a whole lot of life left to live. I just had to get past the fat, stare down the fear, and realize that 40 is not too old for new beginnings. So this is the story of my struggles and adventures in the quest to live a healthy life in mind, body, and soul.

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